Today, my brother, Andrew Waldkirch, would have turned 29, and I realize that there are now dozens more people in my life that will never know a story like his unless I tell it. The 8, nearly 9, years that Andrew has been gone have come with new people who did not know him, or know me as a person with a brother like Andrew.
Last year, I posted all the things that people should know about Andrew. I still think they should know them, so please, if you haven’t, read this. But today, on his birthday, I wanted to thank Andrew Waldkirch for everything he gave to me in the 15 years I knew him and the 20 years he was with us.
Thank you, Andrew, for my love of music, which to this day, makes me turn my head, cry when I hear songs that touch me, and dance in my car so vigorously that it’s honestly a little irresponsible.
Thank you, Andrew, for teaching me that anger is not an emotion that has ever been helpful or moving.
Thank you, Andrew, for teaching me that no matter what I go through, you, and millions of other people in the world, have had it worse.
Thank you, Andrew, for loving my Mom and Dad. I know that sometimes I’m not the best at it, but I’m thankful every day that they had a son who was able to love them unabashedly and with no hurt for 20 years.
Thank you, Andrew, for making Dan and I friends. It might have taken 21 years, but I think, and I hope, that we’re hanging out now because of the example you gave us.
Thank you, Andrew, for giving me a sense of humor and a reason to laugh. Nothing about your life was funny, but the world around me wasn’t that serious.
Thank you, Andrew, for being an example of a friend and a patient and a sibling. You taught me to listen, to let those around me care for me, and to fight fiercely for the people I love.
Thank you, finally, Andrew, for letting me know you. I do not know what your voice would have sounded like, or how tall you might have been, or what your favorite food could be, but I do know you. I know your heart and it is undeniably, unselfishly good.
This week, my all time favorite singer, Adele, released a new song off her album, “When We Were Young”. Andrew was, and always will be young. He never has to grow old and fall away from the people he once loved. He stays perfect, suspended in time in exactly the way he was meant to be. The last photo I have of Andrew and I is still one of my favorites. I was young, innocent, and had the world on my shoulders, not realizing things were about to get worse and life was going to get harder and I would lose a brother. Whenever I get sad about Andrew being gone, I let myself feel it. Not because it’s a helpful emotion, but because it’s the time I feel most close to him. He touched my soul in a way that many other people will never experience.
So for that, for everything mentioned above, and for everything that cannot be put into words, thank you, Andrew Waldkirch, for everything.
Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized