Yetserday we said goodbye to our dear friend.
Andy was the classic Southern gentleman. He was kind, thoughtful, deliberate, and a man of staunch faith and consummate humility. I was proud to call him my friend.
He had been battling liver cancer for several weeks. When he told Liam and me about the diagnosis, he cautioned us not to tell anyone. He did not even want to have his name on the prayer list, but we were able to persuade him to do so.
His death was utterly unexpected. He had been going through chemotherapy and even though we could tell by the weight loss and by his haggard features that it had taken its toll on him, no one expected his sudden passing. He died in his sleep last Friday.
Yesterday his funeral was held at Holy Family. I was on Altar Guild and ironed the pall that would cover his casket, shedding many a tear as I did so. We have had such wonderful times at their house--I remember especially last Thanksgiving when we brought up a turkey dinner and emptied an astonishing number of bottles of wine as we sat and talked.
Linda Gail, Andy's wife, is an Episcopal priest, although she was not allowed to serve in the Diocese of San Joaquin. She has battled several health issues over the last few years and ironically (and blessedly), as Andy's health deteriorated, Linda Gail's improved. Father Keith, in his graciousness, allowed the former Bishop of San Joaquin to deliver the homily, as he is a close friend of Linda Gail. It was a very comforting homily.
Liam went over to thank Bishop Schofield after the service and they exchanged good wishes. Whatever happens in the future, I will always have a bond with Bishop Schofield--he confirmed me and when I told him I had taken the name of St. Brigit as my confirmation name he approved my choice with several anecdotes of her life. Please pray for Bishop Schofield as he looks to be in very bad health.
Andy, we will miss your gracious presence and comforting ways. Know that you are missed, but we are happy to know your suffering is over. May light perpetual shine upon you, my friend!