Hi Everybody! This is Shayna writing. Though most of you won’t know me, Andrea was my good friend and a wonderful friend to my daughter too. We miss her. (great big sigh) Towards the end, I told my daughter, Jahna that we needed to say goodbye. I told her to think of the things that she wanted to say to Andrea. By this time Andrea was heavily medicated most of the time, so visits were unpredictable. Sometimes she was asleep. Sometimes she was upset. One day, perhaps a week before she died, we planned a visit. Jahna had written out the things that she wanted to tell Andrea. It was a list of all the things Jahna liked about her. We finally got to see her late one night and lucky for us she was awake. It was the last time I talked to her at length and it was really perfect. We told her how much we would miss her and how we loved her so much. She told us she loved us too. She said she wasn’t scared. That always amazed me. As usual, the kids were in and out of the room and Andrea was talking to them, directing them, advising. She was a mother right up to the end, telling Alec what phone he should get, telling Jesse which bedroom he should pick at the new house, talking about clothes for Bailey’s new school. She gave me some good advice too. She told me that when it comes to love that no one is perfect, that everything goes in cycles. She told me to be patient and to stick things out. Then her eyes started to shut. And I just held her hand and Jahna hugged her goodbye. Jahna still had her list, but Andrea was too tired so we left.
These are some of the things from Jahna’s list:
1. Her feet were a size ten (which made me feel better about my feet).
2. She only did her food shopping at Trader Joe’s.
3. She intimidated everyone.
4. She looked beautiful and put on make up even when she was really sick.
5. She knew everybody.
6. She had great fashion.
7. I loved to just be with her.
8. She told good stories.
9. She had a “Looking Good for Jesus” tote bag.
10. Her house was full of good energy.
11. She was totally different from anyone I had ever met.
12. She dressed Clay like a rock star.
13. She was hilarious.
14. When she ordered pizza, she told the pizza guy how to cook carmelized onions because he always did it wrong.
15. She had a mink stole (that always scared me)
16. She loved leopard print.
17. She rocked at board games.
18. She totally loved God and was never embarrassed to talk about it.
19. She really was a punk rock mommy.
20. She always told me how much she loved me
Last year I walked 60 miles in three days to raise funds for the Susan J. Kohmen Foundation. I walked in Andrea’s honor and it was really fantastic. I raised 2200 dollars in her name. Most of that money came in through people that I had never even met. People that read this blog, that loved her.
Andrea was really happy that I was doing the walk. At one point, I had walked about 40 miles and she called me up all excited. She had just gotten some seemingly good news about a scan and wanted to tell me about it. It was an optimistic time. She told me she was proud of me and said she could never walk 60 miles. I told her that fighting cancer was so much harder– but she said that she would rather have cancer than walk 60 miles! That was Andrea’s kind of humor. Well, this year my step daughter, Erin and I are both walking in honor of Andrea… in celebration of her life. It has been a great honor for me to be a part of her life and her death… and a part of her family. As much as I miss her everyday, I feel so lucky too. So, I do this walk as a thank you to Andrea —for the time she gave and for her six completely awesome kids and in hopes that someday soon research will lead to medicines that give women like Andrea more time. Please visit our sites and thanks to everyone.