Pastor Benji relayed a powerful message and said some things that we really needed to hear. The staff at Hall-Wynne Funeral Home and Daniel especially were so kind and compassionate to us during this time. Thank you Jen for singing such a beautiful lullaby in honor of our baby. ("You Can Always Come Home" by Andrew Peterson) Another song that Gene and I chose for being very close to our hearts right now is "Homesick" by MercyMe. My mother gave the most beautiful tribute to Andrew- we are so grateful to her for this. We know this was not easy for her to do and we will cherish these words forever:
Where to begin – I have never known anyone in the world to impact the lives of so many people for good as Andrew Weston Hobbs. His journey began early in 2009, and he was loved and prayed for by hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the world as soon as he was introduced to them, either by his amazing parents, their families and friends, or through the blog his parents created, sharing Andrew’s journey and their hearts to the world on behalf of their precious son.
Gene and Becky chose the name Andrew for their son because it means brave – and they knew their son would have to be brave when he was diagnosed with CDH at 17 weeks gestation. And Andrew proved to be just that and more. Everyone said Andrew would have to be a fighter to survive this battle, and he must have heard this early on because he started his kick boxing exercises in utero and boy was he strong! When he was born and we saw the size of his feet, we all had a new appreciation for the kicks Becky and Gene felt from Andrew while he was in Becky’s womb.
Andrew was born Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 @ 8:37 a.m. and the word love took on new meaning for everyone that met him. The love on Gene and Becky’s faces was unmistakable, and looking at Andrew was like looking at Gene with Becky’s nose! 9lb.4 oz and a head full of dark hair – he was so handsome! I remember the first time I saw him in the NICU – he was supposed to be still but he was busy looking all around – and when I asked if I could touch him he curled his fingers tightly around my finger and won my heart forever. He was such a beautiful baby it was hard to believe he had such a difficult journey ahead of him, but he proved true to the meaning of his name – “brave” – as he faced heart surgery and CDH repair when he was 7 days old.
Throughout his 30 days, his mommy and daddy were beside him, fighting for him, praying for him, caring for him, reading stories to him – his favorite one being “ Guess How Much I Love You”, and holding his hands, imparting their strength and courage to him. And Andrew felt that strength, courage and love and would open his eyes and look right into their eyes, and squeeze their fingers. And what a grip he had! He liked to listen to lullabies his parents would play for him on an Ipod – he had his own headset for quiet times, and he could always count on his mom and dad being there for him, every day of his life, to love him, hold onto him, and stand by his side. It was amazing to see his facial expression when he would hear Becky or Gene’s voice – no matter how sedated he was, when he heard their voices, he would open his eyes and look right up at them, or at times when he was unable to open his eyes, his eyelids would flutter and you knew he was trying to open them, and his fingers would curl tightly around their fingers.
His loving character and cute looks won the hearts of the cardiac PICU staff, as well as the hearts of his parents, grandparents, extended family, and hundreds of people across the country, across the world for that matter, as they joined in his journey.
Andrew’s 30 days on earth changed more peoples lives than I have personally ever before experienced. He drew not only our family closer together but hundreds of families closer together. People who had not prayed in a long time turned to God and prayed for Andrew, and experienced a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father as a result of this, and people learned the importance of making every day count, and to love each other more deeply.
Andrew had the best parents God has ever given a child, and the example they have set for us will live on forever.
Andrew – your time was short – but your eyes and touch showed how deeply you loved your parents, grandparents, and others. Your parents were with you from the beginning through to the very end of your journey. You remain in their hearts, and in our hearts, forever. We don’t understand why we are here right now, but we look so forward to the day we can be together with you in heaven.
In the meantime, we will try to live as you and your parents taught us to: to be brave, to love deeply, and to embrace whatever life brings you with courage.
Until we meet again, thank you, Andrew, for these gifts you have given us. As Paul said in II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”, so the same is said of you, our precious Andrew.