Our story begins in the fall of 2008. We were the best of friends for almost a year before dating and really couldn’t have been more different. He was in flight school training to be a commercial helicopter pilot. I was a web designer at the headquarters for a fashion company.
He was analytical, I was creative. He liked guns, flying, beer and war movies. I liked art, beauty, nature, writing… I was terrified of guns and hated war movies. But somehow all those differences formed a beautifully complimentary friendship… one with ease and trust and a mutual respect for and love of our differences. He would ask me out on a date every so often, but having been in an abusive relationship prior to this time in my life… I was still running. I always said no, time and time again, and he always replied with “if all we ever are is friends, that’s fine!” He was the first man to come into my life who just wanted to know me – my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my pain – without any agenda. The first person whom I’ve ever felt has truly seen me all the way down to my core.
In the summer of 2009, we took a trip down to the South Texas coast for a week together. I had more fun 24 hours of every one of those days than I’ve ever had with another soul. Skydiving, parasailing, tons of fried seafood, drinking beer in the bed of the truck at night on the beach, star gazing and talking about the universe… and having more laughs than you might think possible in a week. There was an ease about us… an effortless flow together and a deep trust, always a feeling that we were so content together even as friends that we were never in a rush to be more. That week is when I finally stopped running, and said yes to a real, official date.
For the next 3 years we enjoyed the best love of our lives together. He worked on finishing flight school, I started getting more into photography on the side. We went skydiving and parasailing, we bought kayaks and started exploring local lakes and camping a ton. We went to all the local air shows in the summertime. We rode in an old B-52 bomber war plane for what ended up being our last Christmas together. He got me my first flying lesson flying a small Cessna plane for our anniversary one year… and his parent’s and I got him a race car experience package for his 27th birthday – I will never forget how big his smile was that day.
He was my photo assistant for every photo shoot I did for 3 years… even if it meant waking up at 5am to be outside before the sun came up. He’s the one who bought me the camera too. He taught me how to shoot guns – erasing me fear of them. It’s something I still enjoy as a sport to this day (and might I add I’m a damn good shot thanks to him). He was an excellent teacher and had such a passion for learning and sharing his knowledge. He loved history and the physics of things – particularly aviation related.
I taught him about art, design and photography, and about seeing the world in new ways…about seeing beauty wherever you look. I encouraged him to write – as he was an excellent writer and one day wanted to write a fictional aviation story. He introduced me to dark beers – I can’t even imagine a time when I didn’t like those now. I was his first flight student – letting him practice his lesson plans each night with me while he worked toward his flight instruction certification. And of course.. he took me up for a few helicopter rides. These are by far some of the most special memories – watching him in his element – living his passion and sharing it with me. The war movies though… I never got on board there!
We had our struggles too of course – no relationship is perfect. But those struggles helped us to learn HOW to struggle together, as a team. We learned how to love through the tough stuff – how to be upset with each other and still make sure the other knew they were loved. How to communicate our needs or our fears directly with each other so the other could acknowledge them with love. We supported each other’s dreams fearlessly and helped each other heal old wounds from the past. And above all, we were always, always gentle with each other’s hearts.
Drew passed away on June 12, 2012. He was at the pinnacle of his life – flying commercially and living his dreams. We were at the pinnacle of our life together – as I’d just picked out the ring and he was planning to propose to me when he came back from the 3 month work trip he was on… but we never made it. The helicopter crash happened, and took him and my whole life with it.
It was as if I was too was plucked out of one dimension and thrown into a completely knew one – I felt like we both died. I still feel that way. Both of my parents are on the other side… and I honestly thought that I was safe from losing anyone else. But that is life you know, no guarantees.
By August, I quit my corporate job and left Dallas, the city we called home. I just felt like he was telling me not to be there anymore. His family took me in as their own – and we’ve been loving each other fearlessly ever since. With the love and support of his family, my family and our friends and with my art… I’m making it through. And to my utter surprise… with his help too. I’ve received signs and messages from him – coming at me from so many different avenues and levels. It has completely transformed my views of an afterlife and of the world we are in here on earth. I’m learning more and more each day that love never dies. You cannot make it go away and you cannot ever lose it.
As it turns out, Andrew and I spent right about 1000 days in togetherness. My goal here is to post our memories as well as the new journey for the next 1000 days. I hope that you enjoy seeing into the heart of our lives and our love as much as I enjoy sharing it with you. This is for you, Andrew.