I got the news on Saturday evening. Andy was a childhood friend with my friend, Mary. He came to Asheville to connect with her on his cross-country journey. What a light this man had! Wow…I met him in our restaurant on a karaoke Sunday. He was lively and shooting stills and video of the day. What a great day it was, too. He then stayed on for a few months. He, of course spoke about his “Embrace Your Awesome” and videoed us brewing sake and danced and played. We were following our passion and it thrilled him. Around Andy, you always felt as though he had a magic that was out of reach for so many of us. What I’ve learned since then though, is that you attract what you are. What you see in people is simply a reflection of yourself.

I was never close with Andy but, somehow his passing has had a major impact. When I heard about his passing on Saturday, complete and utter shock. I can’t stop crying. Is that crazy? When I open my facebook, my newsfeed is riddled with so much love for this man and it begins again, the tears come. On his personal page, you could scroll for days with all of the images and stories he created with people. There have been groups created in memorial and for sharing and celebrating his life in grief. Even a worldwide dance party was shared last night in his honor.

He really, really would have loved that.

One of the things I loved most, was that he loved to document, everything. EVERYTHING. As a photographer and videographer he understood completely how impactful imagery is. When someone is gone, you pour through photos to remember that moment with clarity and depth…and love. This was the image that he stated “If ever were there a picture to memorialize me, I want it to be this one.”

Photo courtesy of John Shim. John, thank you for capturing such a perfect moment.

Photo courtesy of John Shim. John, thank you for capturing such a perfect moment.

Andy, dear sir, I don’t know that you ever truly knew what kind of legacy you have created through this terrific web of people you have connected. It is astounding to me the outpouring of love so many are sharing. You never did get to compile and share all of your imagery and cinematography as you’d planned. I can only imagine how fantastic a story it truly would have been upon completion. In fact, if anyone in his family is interested in putting this documentary together, I am more than happy to help in any way. Please, feel free to reach out to me directly (Cat@Studio-828.com) to discuss the details. That legacy, his dream deserves to be shared.

I know that I am sharing this on my professional blog. Perhaps I should create a personal, I don’t know. I needed to write. To get this out of my system and into the ether, as it were. I can only imagine how those closest to him are feeling. I knew him only a few short months and I am heartbroken for his passing.

My hope is that everything he brought to every. single. person Andy ever met was that, that love that he spread like wildfire illuminates the sky. Every day he made the world a better place and we are all richer people for having known him. Burn bright my friend.

“There are no happy endings because nothing ever ends.” – Peter S Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Now, I have to go and put together my “Notes to Self”. You probably should, too.