Thanks to Carrie Butler for creating this awesome virtual balloon!
So, today is the day of Andrew McNaughton's funeral. During a week of sadness, I know for sure I have been lifted by the kindness and generosity you have all shown for Nick Wilford and his family as they slowly begin to prepare and adjust for life without Andrew. (If you'd like to join in with the blogger virtual funeral for Andrew, the details are here)
Aside from when I let you all know how much you raised, this will probably be the last time I post about Andrew until the anthology launch, so I want to take this time to thank you all again for everything. Messages, donations, pictures, ideas on ways to help, and this exceptional outpouring of love and support have overwhelmed me, and I know it has filtered through to Nick. Your messages will be passed on as the family will need all the help they can get once the funeral is over, and they try to find some semblance of normality without Andrew.
Fellow blogger Michelle Wallace called Andrew "an amazing young man who inspired a writing community." - This is perfect. A perfect description for Nick and Heather's superstar.
So far this morning, your balloons, and flowers, and candles have made me cry - not just with sadness for Andrew's family, but with happiness that you all care enough to release a balloon in the middle of the night, or light a candle and say a prayer, or create a virtual balloon so those who couldn't get access to a real balloon could still join in the celebration of Andrew's life. In a world where people often utter things like, "Nobody cares anymore," you have proved them all wrong. You've proved that, when it counts, people DO care. They love, and they feel and they grieve for people they've never met because we're all connected - not just through the magic of the internet but through the fact that, when it comes down to it, we could all imagine ourselves in the terrible position of losing someone we love.
This post stands, not only as a tribute to Andrew, but to every single one of you who reads this, who thinks about Andrew today, who has sent a message for Nick, who has donated, who has joined or will join in with Andrew's funeral celebrations, and who has said a prayer, and felt this loss as if it were your own.
I thank you sincerely for everything.