I thought that I would have a hard time at the event and be a crying mess like I was at his wife, Bri's, wake, but there was such positive energy in the air for the family that it was so easy to feed off of that energy and know that we were all pulling together to help the family in the wake of their loss.
I saw and spoke with a lot of Andy's family members. A few of them came up to me and started talking or I just happened to run into them while I was walking around looking at silent auction items. I talked to his uncle and his aunt for quite some time and heard of another very sad and sorrowful story. Andy's cousin,whom he was the closest with growing up, was married a couple of years ago and had a baby one year ago. His wife found out at 33 years old that she has breast cancer. The family found out while Bri was fighting for her life after giving birth to Leland. Words can not describe the sadness I feel for their whole family during these tough times.
I had an opportunity to briefly talk with Andy's dad. He gave me a hug and asked how I was doing and told me to take care of myself. I reassured him that I am being closely monitored during my pregnancy. Then he told me something I will never forget. With tears in his eyes he said, "Kris, I was extremely impressed with you coming to the wake and sending that beautiful card to us. Thank you so much. It meant a lot to us." I told him that I was happy to and that Andy, Bri and Leland will always have a special place in my heart.
A little while later I saw Andy's mom and went up to her to say hi. She was laughing and smiling and then when she saw me she started crying and gave me a huge hug. After we were done hugging she asked me how I was doing and about my pregnancy and told me to take care of myself. She told me that she was so happy that I came and told me that Andy is a great dad and that he insists on doing every feeding, bath, temperature check (to check for infection since little Le.land was born with part of his liver outside of his body), etc. She was telling me that she is going to watch Le.land when Andy goes back to work as a St Paul Police Officer working 10p-8a. She told me to make sure that I say hi to Andy before I leave.
A little while later I saw Andy talking to the media. My mom, cousin and I were standing off to the side watching him holding his precious angel baby in his arms. When he was done being interviewed he turned and saw me standing there and came running up to me and gave me a huge hug. As we were hugging he said, "I hear you are having twins." He told me congrats and we had a chance to chat for a few minutes. I also had an opportunity to introduce him to my DH. We are planning on getting together sometime when things settle down.
DH told me as we were leaving, "Andy is a really nice guy." I looked at him and laughed and jokingly said, "Yes, dear. Did you expect me to ever be with someone who wasn't nice?" I was so glad that DH and Andy were able to meet and I thanked DH for coming. He was glad to come and, like me, felt good to be able to contribute to the benefit.
Below are some articles on the event:
- This is a big article that was on the front page of our local newspaper on Sunday morning: http://www.twincities.com/ci_13787019
- This is the website for their benefit: http://www.herouxfamilybenefit.com/
- This is Le.land's Caring Bridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lelandheroux/mystory
- This is a video clip of the event (I am the one hugging Andy- I have a pink shirt long sleeve shirt and grey short sleeve sweater on. I think it shows us hugging two times in the clip): http://wcco.com/video search the videos for "Benefit Held for Family of Still.water Cop Who Died".