Comedy comes in threes. So do Waldkirchs.
Unless you are in my family or are one of the ones that I am privileged enough to call my best friends, you may not know that. Or, at least, you certainly don’t know that from me.
I was born into a family as the baby. The third. I completed the comedy rule of three. But my third was different than most. The first of us was a little different than most. Different in the way that people don’t know what to ask or say or do when they first hear about his differences. The different one is my brother, Andrew. The first in so many things in our family. He was the first born and he was also the first to go to heaven.
Andrew’s differences started the second he entered this world. Due to an unpredictable complication when my mom went into labor, Andrew was born, 28 years ago to the day, severely developmentally disabled. His disabilities meant he would never live a normal life. He would never walk, talk, stand, or eat on his own.
The thing about Andrew, though, and all of us, really, is that he did not know he was different. To him, he was the same. He was a Waldkirch, he was just himself. He would never know that his body was originally built to run and jump and sing and write and start the rule of threes for the Waldkirchs.
While he may have been different, he was still unique and wonderful and human. Here are some of the things I know about Andrew and his life and his spirit:
He was kind. He lived in a Center that was best suited to care for him for the 20 years the world was blessed to have him. There were dozens of others that lived there with him that were angry and upset, understandably, but not Andrew. He was kind and calm and lovely to everyone that met him.
He was strong. He lived 15 years longer than was originally expected, and, oh yeah, he kicked butt when he was born, too. They thought he might not even survive that night. He lived through countless surgeries and illnesses and procedures and dealt with them all head on for 20 full, beautiful years.
He loved music. This was one way he didn’t seem so different. He was the star student in music therapy classes. His party trick was turning his head when he heard music, and though you may not know much about the extent of his disabilities, this party trick was worth a million bucks. I’m still proud of him for it.
He was generous. Even though he couldn’t respond to someone by speaking, that didn’t mean he couldn’t be the best listener in the whole world.
He had the prettiest eyes. Selfishly, I like to say we were the only two Waldkirchs with hazel eyes, but his were better. They were, like him, perfect in every way.
Those are just some of the things I know about my brother and those are the things about myself that I try to make more the same. I try not to be so different.
Yes, I’m angry and sad and confused and hurt about the fact that I was only 15 when Andrew was yanked from my life, but I know it’s better this way. I know I never had to deal with being mad or sad or any other bad feeling at my brother. I got all the good things.
Today, I wanted to share a little about my amazing oldest brother, Andrew, because very few people got to know how cool he was.
The comedy rule of threes was not broken when Andrew died. In fact, I think it lives on more and more every day when the second of us, Dan, and I take all the good parts of Andrew and use them. We do this whenever we make music or write comedy or smile or laugh. That is who Andrew was and I know Dan and I are forever jealous of how cool and perfect Andrew was.
So, Happy 28th Birthday, Andy, and thanks for paving the way.