While cleaning up Andrew’s room a while ago (that is a post all by itself one day), I came across a few file folders on his shelf. There were no papers or anything in them so I was about to through them out when I looked inside one of them and what I found amazed me. I found Andrew’s Bucket List. I sat down on the edge of his bed and read what I had found over and over again. It truly is an entry into my son’s personality, into his mind, into his amazing sense of humor, and into his true compassion as a human being.
I showed it to his friend Wally who said he remembered seeing it a few years ago and thinks Andrew wrote it while a junior in high school. Not a project or an assignment – just something that he wanted to have.
Below is what he had on his list, the list of what he wanted to accomplish in his life before he left this world. Most people make this list later on in life, when it is usually too late to fulfill the list. With Andrew everything had to be done early, so he did it at eighteen or nineteen. While he was only able to accomplish a few of his dreams, what he listed is truly insightful. Read it slow, and think about each one, you will come away from this list a changed person, I promise.
Get out of Harrison alive
Visit Amsterdam / Europe / Australia
Own a pet monkey
See someone hit by a car and have his shoes come off
Own a pool full of Jello or pudding
Live in Colorado at some point of my life
Save 1 life
Live on an island (but not the island from Lost, it confuses me too much)
Count cards in Vegas
Meet a Ninja
Become a Ninja
Learn to surf
Read a book all the way through
Write/Publish a book
Have a water fountain in my house this is filled with fruit punch
Don’t get kicked out of college (for not going to class)
Citizens arrest a cop
Parachute from a plane onto a mountain and snowboard down
Blow up something with my mind
Take a vow of silence
Never fail a class
Go back in time and stop the following from happening”
Movies: The Happening
The caveman in the Geico commercial gets his own show
Ms. Fitzsimons from being allowed to coach.
There are so many things I can write about on this list, I can go into each one and it would take weeks of journals, and eventually I might. But there are a few I want to highlight that really touched me.
The first one, and it was probably the most important item to him, and the deepest, is “Save 1 life”. In his passing, I think he did accomplish this one item. Actually I think he may have saved several lives in his passing. His friends told me that they can not believe he is gone. Of all the kids they knew, all those who lived on the edge, all those who experimented with drugs, drove recklessly, played with knives, pushed the limits as hard as they could, Andrew was none of these. He was the safe one, he was the cautious one. Yes, he drove fast, and smoked a little weed years ago, but he was the funny one, he was the smart one, he was the last one who death would come after. And yet he is gone the first. This scared a lot of his friends, and maybe, just maybe saved a life or two – I would like to think so.
Cure cancer. What 17 year old thinks of that? But his compassion for others, and his want to help others made him put that on his list. I am not sure he really thought he could do this, but he did dream.
He did Get out of Harrison alive, and he did Live in Colorado. He was so thrilled to be out there, he loved the mountains, he loved to snowboard, and he was away from the politics and the crap that runs this town. He took a lot of pictures of Colorado, they are on his I-Phone and on his laptops, so if and when he came back here, he could always look at them and remember how beautiful and how much he loved living there.
But he also took some very nice pictures around the house here in Harrison, and the people here, so that if he did not get back he would have them to look at. I will post those pictures some time soon, they are really nice.
Own a pet monkey? Become a Ninja? Citizens arrest a cop? Blow up something with my mind? He was a funny little boy and it does show. I am sure he would have owned the monkey and arrested the cop if the situation presented itself.
He never Failed a class, and he never Got kicked out of college. He graduated college and that would have made him happy, although not on his list.
There are some things I never knew he wanted to do. Skydive. Parachute from an airplane and snowboard down a mountain. Lucid dream. Visit Amsterdam / Europe / Australia. If only I had known these things I would have done what I could to make them happen. We had time when he was home and if I had only known, I would have done whatever it took to make him happy.
To those of you out there who have dreams and have a list in their head, share them with your parents, don’t hide them. Maybe they will become reality, but only if others know. Only if I knew.
The one entry that hurts me inside is Learn to surf. He did tell me about this desire to learn to surf recently and we did act on it. Andrew and I were planning to go to Mexico this past summer to learn surfing, but his broken right hand got in the way and we could not make the trip. Before I left Boulder the last time I saw him, we talked about going to Mexico during his winter break and he was excited and happy to do that. It would have been our time together for a week or so, just dad and Andrew living on the beach, learning to surf, taking some pictures, and doing what dads and their sons do. I will forever miss that opportunity.