Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. ~Psalm 5:11
Andrew has been gone five months on November 7th and the missing him hasn't subsided. I still expect to have the phone call be him or especially, in the morning, I expect him to bound down the stairs to get ready for school. Ocassionally, when I am in the kitchen, I think I see a glimpse of him sitting on the sofa in the back room, playing video games. However, I am mistaken. Andrew no longer lives in my home. Sadness has taken his place, but we continue to live our lives. Time keeps marching on.
I know this is true, because football season is almost over. Last night was Senior Night--Dain, Josh, Patrick, Michael, Big D, and Albert will never play a high school football game in Bulldog Stadium again. Andrew's presence in the stadium has been visable all season via the #55 jersey that hangs below the announcer's booth, but for Bill and me his presence is in another place on the sidelines. His presence exists in the crimson parkas that keep his teammates warm and dry.
One of the first decisions we made shortly after Andrew's death was what type of memorial we wanted to set up in his name. We didn't even really think about it; we wanted something created that would benefit Andrew's friends and teammates. I contacted our superintendent and he told me the school could set up a fund to receive donations in Andrew's name. Knowing all the stipulations put on schools concerning money, we were please that he told us we would be able to decide how the money would be used.
One thing that both Bill and I wanted the memorial to be used for was the purchasing of rain parkas for the football team. On many occasions as a freshman and a sophomore, Andrew could have used a parka as he stood on the sidelines. We watched other younger players or an injured upperclassman stand freezing on the sidelines. Therefore, a portion of the money was used to buy these necessary jackets. In addition to the ones purchased through the memorial fund, the family purchased four more, insuring that any player who needed one would have some type of protection on a cold football game night. I wonder if the boys thought of Andrew as they pulled those coats out the first night they were needed? Did they think of him last night as the evening air grew cold and damp? I know that I thought of him everytime I looked at those crimson clad football players.
People were very generous with their gifts in Andrew's name. Not only was there enough to buy the parkas, there is enough money left to help purchase a new set of varsity basketball uniforms. So people in our valley have allowed Andrew to help his teammates one more time. How appropriate is that for a boy who was remembered by one of his coaches as the ultimate teammate? I think Andrew is please that he is able to spread his protection over them.