Andrew Bryson Odenthal.

This week marks the anniversary of Andy’s death. We miss him terribly. That will come as no surprise. I thought I would take this week to share about him. It will make me feel better to talk about him. Thank you for indulging me. I think I shall do this in random, bullet fashion. Which would have driven Andy totally crazy.

  • Andy was born on April 11, 1988. I had been visiting my sister that weekend. Hoping he would make his appearance while I was there. Of course I turned right around and headed back down to Roanoke.
  • He was the first grandchild in our family. That right there makes a kid hold a special place in the family’s heart. Not that he was loved more; he was just loved first.
  • Coinciding with Andy’s birth, my dad had retired from a career as an Army officer and was working in the pubic sector. I don’t think he was thrilled with it. When Andy was about 18 months old, my parents drove from Springfield to Roanoke to visit. And never came back.
  • Okay, so it wasn’t quite as dramatic as that, but they did, completely out of the blue to me, at least, buy a house while they were there. Pretty quickly, the house in Springfield was sold, we had packed them up and were driving moving vans to Roanoke to move them into their new home during a memorable ice storm.
  • I spent a lot of time running up and down 81 the first two years of Andy’s life. My trips slowed down a bit when Shawn was born in 1990. But picked back up again when Sarah was born a short 11 months and one day later. This momma needed her momma. Complete exhaustion was all I remember of those first two years. Besides,  I wanted the cousins to know each other and actually like each other.
  • Andy was extremely athletic and smart. It didn’t take long to see that he had inherited his father’s Type A personality and everything had to be done perfectly: sports, school, clothes, his room, work. 
  • He continued his Type A path through high school, college and into his first grown up job.
  • He could easily have played, and excelled, at baseball at VT, but he chose academics over sports. He developed, instead, a love of working out and eating healthy. He was working out when he passed away.
  • We laugh when we think of Andy working with the public; his first real job. He always said he hated people. People, however, were very attracted to Andy. In the front office of the management company where he worked, “people” would wait for Andy to be free to assist them, instead of dealing with another person there. 
  • If you came to Andy’s visitation, you know how well loved he was. The lines were literally out the door and wrapped around the place. My sister and her husband stood at the front of the line and greeted every single person who came. For three plus hours. 
  • We miss him. Terribly, as I said. 
  • The grief of losing him is beginning to feel like a comfortable old sweater to me now. I take it with me everywhere I go. I still have days where I feel almost immobile; lost in a fog; totally enveloped by grief. Those days have lessened. My missing him has not.
  • Please keep my sister and her family and my mom and dad in your thoughts and prayers this week as our family remembers that night from a year ago in our memories. 

Love y’all.

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2 Comments

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  1. Sue, (Okay, I've typed that several times, even changed from a comma to an ellipse, back to a comma), but can't seem to get past that. I am at a loss for words. I keep typing then deleting. Why even comment? Because your memories of Andy spark my memories of Jeffrey and those are good memories that will be with us forever. As always, prayers – Joyce

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  2. Thanks for sharing these lovely memories and glimpses of Andy. Know that all of you are in my prayers especially this week.

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