Spring ahead a year. Our family is still dealing with the shock that our youngest took his life. We try not to focus on the "what ifs." That would drive us all crazy, because we all think about what we could have done to prevent this. But this is our new reality and so we deal with our grief daily. One way Bill and I have dealt with the loneliness we feel in our lives is to do projects. We have done a lot of projects around our home this past year...it is better to be busy than to deal with the quiet in our home. The main thing that Bill and I wanted to complete this summer was to fulfill Andrew's Senior Project. It was very logical for us to do something at the football field, because we knew how much he loved being on any football field. For us, Bulldog Stadium was the place where the community shared with us in our grief in those early days. However, the original plan didn't work out, so we went to Plan B--give the boys' locker room a face lift and paint the back of the bleachers at the field.
So on the weekend of Bud and Marilyn's 50th anniversary Amanda, Clint, Ashley, Aunt Vicki, Bill, and I worked on making the locker room full of Bulldog pride. It was a great way for our family to do something in honor of Andrew for his friends. We taught Andrew, just as we had been taught by our parents, that service to others is important. So in service of Andrew we gave two places where he was happiest--the gym and the football field--a new look. In service of Andrew we gave back to our community as a thanks for the love and support they have given us during this past year.
When the boys go to get their gear for the first practice of the year they will see a "new" look in the locker room. There's something for the girls too. When they go to practice at the field, they will see a little more crimson and gold. It is a time they will remember their friend Groomer and one way for him to be with them during this last year of high school.
One night, when we were painting the back of the bleachers, a friend was at the field watching the soccer camp. He made a comment that sums up why we wanted to do this project... our kids deserve this. That is why Andrew wanted to make the bleachers look better. He was proud to be a Bulldog and he wanted to have the place he loved so much mirror his pride. So in service of Andrew...we begin the journey of a senior year without him.