noon

This is by one of Andy's best friends Case. He spoke these words at Andy's memorial service.
 

Case Conover: Reflections on a Life Well Lived: Andrew Nicholas Marshall       
 

One of my favorite memories of Andy-man is from a summer years ago when I was driving down the dip on south Freeport road approaching the village. I happened to look off into the woods and see a flash of a familiar curly haired head crouching low to the forest floor.  I slowed my car and yelled out the window “Hey man, what you up to?”  And with that magical mischievous grin he yelled back “MUSHROOMS!” Well, that was enough for me to stop the car and bound into those woods myself to see what this was all about. And there he was, surrounded by a circle of chanterelles, excitedly filling a paper bag. “I know an even better spot,” he said, “want to go?” And off we went to the valleys surrounding his old Freeport house where Andy taught me the ways of foraging...what to look for, what to avoid, how we'd prepare these mushrooms into the tastiest of stir-frys. I remember talking about that old house where he had grown up, about old memories, old friends. And I remember stopping for a moment together to enjoy the subtle music of the forest, the soft light coming through the trees, the good maine air. Its memories like this that I have been cherishing the most. Nothing too profound, no big message there to remember..just a good afternoon of enjoying life, enjoying each other, soaking in the good afternoon sunshine. An afternoon that somehow seemed infinite in its own way.  
 


 

      And so many more there are. Such a rich garden of memories to walk through. Ping pong at the Nordenson's, fires at my house, music jams in living rooms, boat rides to islands, rooftops in Oakland, drinks at Gritty's, coffee at Mama Buzz, pool at the Stork Club, soft footsteps through ancient redwood forests... Andy was a guy I could mosh with at the grungiest punk dives in Oakland then snuggle with on the coziest couches in front of the silliest movies back home. I remember a friend of mine in California meeting Andy and saying “wow, he's so cool AND so nice.”  And the conversations! Oh that brilliant head of his.  
 


 

 [READ THIS PART!]   Over the past year Andy often talked about the word noon. Wanted to get it tattooed on his sweet skin. Noon, when the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Noon, the peak of intensity.  The beginning of one time, the end of another.  Noon, the moment of change.  Finding balance.  Noon, the palindrome, coming full circle.  Noon, two circles coming together, creating infinity. What a poignant poem, that one word, echoing so much of where Andy was over these past months of his life. What a poet, that Andy. 
 


 

      One thing I know most of us will especially miss about Andy is his wild and wacky and wonderful way with with words. Another favorite memory with the guy is strolling through the Asheville hills rapping back and forth for hours, deep into the night, just stringing unlikely combinations of words together and laughing and laughing and laughing, barely catching enough breath to let the next non-sequitur come tumbling out. Andy always laughed at almost everything I said. He made me feel like the funniest guy in the world. He made me feel good. Creative. Loved. Andy inspired creativity in the people around him just by the way he lived, simply by being his unique self. His life was his art. And what style! What imagination. What kindness. Humor. Everything you'd look for in a masterpiece.  
 


 

      Lying in bed with Andy at the hospice just a few days ago, me snuggling him on one side and sweet Heidi on the other, Andy made his last real gesture to me, one that I will surely hold close to my heart forever. In his peaceful sleepy state, closed eyes and steady breath, he took my hand with his two hands and gently massaged it. Ahhh, still giving, still loving, still so so sweet. And then he took Heidi's hand and mine and gently brought them together, held them together. The same gesture he had made with Heidi and Larry earlier in the day. “Oh sweetest heart,” we whispered, “Yeah. We're here for each other. We'll take care of each other.” Andy had told me in Oakland just a month ago that he felt more sorry for the ones he'd leave behind than for himself. But there in that hospice room, and here in this chapel and all the places in between, I have felt deeper friendship and community, more connectedness and love, than probably ever before in all my life.
 

And thats the gift Andy has left us with. Thank you Andy.  Thank you for loving us. We'll continue to love you and find you in ourselves and each other, in the earth, the music, the stars.  And Thank you Sarah, Larry, Byron, and everyone else for your courage, your wisdom, your patience, your strength, your love.  SO. MUCH. LOVE.  
 

Case
 

May 23, 2010
 

========================
 

Sarah here again... remembering last Christms. Andy was grieving for his own life, about to be over. He didn't want any material possessions... was pretty ambivalent, to put it mildly. Byron caught him off guard though with a vintage NINTENDO game... REALLY? NO WAY! Way! NO WAY! Way! They played and played, and laughed for hours. I was soooo happy to hear them laughing again.
I had decided to give him the tatto he wanted - not a 'thing'! Just the word noon. He was so happy with it. But we never got around to it, between one thing and another. Travel, rain, snow, feeling sick, too early, too late. We designed it but it never happened. I feel sad about that.
After he died, some of us thought about getting it ourselves. But y'know, I didn't really want to.  I don't need to do that to prove anything to myself or anyone else. Maybe someday. Yes, if it could have kept Andy with us, or bought him a little time, I would have it on my face.
I'm really happy that I have found two other ways (and it will keep happening, I bet) to bring the word into my life and share it. First, I have made BUMPER STICKERS!!! They are white oval int'l style, with the black word just the way he wanted it, in bold lower case typewriter font: 
noon
 and in teeny tiny red letters below it says:
andy :: 1982-2010 :: so much love
 just like he wrote in his letters, and how Case ended his eulogy.
I am psyched about giving these to friends and family and seeing them drive around!!! If you see one (I'm sending all over the country) you'll know!  Second, I am having a vanity plate made with the word noon. Love love love it. The love is everywhere.
It's so so SO unfair that Andy had to die of cancer. It had nothing to do with HIM. Or me. Same with all of your beautiful children who got hit or hurt or diseased, and died. Nobody deserves this. Things like this are going to keep happening -- hopefully we can end cancer and drunk driving and stuff like this. I just want to send my love to you all and tons of love to Andy and say it's OK to not be OK with life coming to an early end. And that I will never ever forget how special you were, honey. You had a gorgeous soul... everyone could see it in your big brown eyes.
Peace. Noon. Love.
xoxoxoxo
 

 
p.s. I wrote this whole thing three times! I kept losing it somehow. All the font fuss. ARG! I'm going to quit now while it's still there... shhhh... tip-toeing away..... lol......... 
 
 
 

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

this is a beautiful tribute to Andy....it is as lyrical and poignant as his life....i love the whole \"noon\" thing...I have never thought of it in quite that way...thank you for sharing that perspective....it is lovely. I hope for you a peaceful day and God\'s powerful arms to hold you.....hugs...dale, brandon\'s mom
colored-cheerios
colored-cheerios

Thank you for sharing Andy with those of use who were left behind and not able to experience his joy and laughter. Peace with you today my friend.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Your Andy... how loving and how loved. Such a moving entry. I\'ve no words but to say I wish I had known this exceptional person.

Love,

Sus
CorysMom
CorysMom

An Amazing Man, your Andy. The friends were lucky to have each other. A toast to NOON! I shall remember its meaning.
CorriesMom
CorriesMom

I love Andy\'s take on \"noon\" and his living legacy to the world. What a love!

Sending much love and many hugs to you ~ Debbie
deleted_user
deleted_user

Such a kind and wonderful tribute to your son, Andy. He was so loved and gave back so much love. I feel as if I have known him, or maybe I have known someone similar to him. May you find the comfort we all so need as you re-read your own journal. Kudos, my friend, BarbaraWawa
Livingjuicy
Livingjuicy

Andy is all about LOVE and that just permeates all of your writing,Sarah... always... what a tribute to your son and to each of you. Love in the midst of all the messiness, humanness and joy. I have also never thought about noon in this way and will be now. What a mind and heart Andy has. I feel such a strong spirit and suspect you are learning how to be in relationship with him now. I just cannot imagine him having it any other way. Still so involved with those he loves. I\'ll be absorbing this for quite some time. So much love to you dear Sarah, Andy\'s mom forever. XO Joanie
mybeachlover
mybeachlover

Thank you for sharing your son,Andy with us. I have a Andy my oldest. Your son touched so many lives with his love and left you with great memories. I wish you peace,comfort, and joy and many great memories. God Bless Lynette Bills Mom
inmemoryofhattie
inmemoryofhattie

Ever since first reading about you and your andy and family my first respons is to feel struck dumb, like there are no words that I can find to say, like what you are saying is beyond, so beyond words, but of course it needs words to be said, to be manifested. There is so much fullness and life in what is written. I had some real momentary images of Andy and his friends as I read this loving tribute. Thank you for sharing all these deepest of things.
deleted_user
deleted_user

You raised a wonderful young man. Andy was wise beyond his years. Thanks for sharing his life with us. Love, Pat
biowoman
biowoman

What wonderful tributes to your precious Andy...this warms my heart...love to you...Karen
deleted_user
deleted_user

I can\'t put into words how beautiful that is! My heart is aching, my eyes are crying. I love the word \"noon\" now. It has much greater meaning. And the last part - \"It\'s OK to not be ok with life coming to an early end\". I\'m not ok with it. I\'m so not ok with living without my Nic, with our family being broken. But life does go on and we shall make the best of it. Your Andy was a beautiful person and his spirit live on!!! Love, Julia
Robin4
Robin4

What a truly beautiful entry. I feel I know your Andy even a little by these wonderful memories shared. Your Andy did and will continue to live on in the hearts of many. The mind is an attribute of the spirit and what a spirit and a mind Andy possessed. His grace, his elegance, yet his rough edges are truly unique and made up a brilliant human being. I will always think differently when I hear or see the word noon. I love that metaphor and how I\'d like to think of all of our children as passing at \"noon\". The end of an earthly existance but the beginning of an eternal existance. Sending you continued love and support in the days ahead. Thank you again for sharing your beautiful son. Robin
PLA58
PLA58

I feel your love for Andy in your words, a beautiful tribute to a man. You did well.
Hugs Penny