Andrew. Lazarus. Samuel.

The week after graduating college, a car collided with his collarbone, shattering the frame of his face and the easy architecture of his arm, where a guitar had loved to cradle.  His brain, his bones, his life took days to choose their course; weeks to recover, months to reconstruct themselves.  Mouth wired shut, Andrew did time behind the bars of silence, held for a while by the patient attentions of love.

When he arose and walked out the door, at last, he was as Lazarus, given life again, and knowing it for the first time.  He started over.  Got a job, bought a house and filled it with what he loved, took the blonde beast, Stella, into his heart.

At nine o’clock each evening, Andrew unlocks the door at his grandfather’s house and wheels him into the night’s ablutions.  He knows the routine like a musical score and plays it with quick grace and the strong grip necessary to hoist his grandfather into bed.  They laugh over the details of the day.  Andrew soothes the fiery feet, calculates the meds, affixes the bipap mask, all in nineteen minutes flat.

In the middle of the night, sleeping in his grandfather’s third floor study, Andrew hears his name called over the monitor.  Like Samuel, he slips quickly to his elder to tend emergencies, call nurses, change equipment.  In the morning, he is up at 5:30 to rouse Grandfather Bill, dress and cook him poached eggs and grits.  The sausage sizzles; his smart phone plays blue grass in the morning dark.  His day will grow into grocery lists, medicine refills, doctor’s visits, caretakers schedules, new flowers for the deck.

My father’s father was one of nine children; and yet, two generations later, Andrew is the only male descendent left to carry their name forward.  As my father’s light dims, he passes a candle in the night to his grandson; their faces are both lit by it.  When Andrew is old, he will speak of the crossroads where his own life could have slipped away, but didn’t.  He will tell of how he returned to health, the better to tend the sick. How he returned to life and learned to hold the dying.  How he returned from silence to become the voice of those who cannot speak.  He will tell of how he inherited the family name at his first birth; and how, in the dark hours of his second, it became his own.

~ by Susan on 04/12/2011.

6 Responses to “Andrew. Lazarus. Samuel.”

  1. Fresh off a weekend playing Andrew, doing the delicate maneuvers to make a shower or getting mom dressed look like no-problem when every move, every minute task is a monumental endeavor, and after interviewing private duty nurses on our search to find an Andrew-like presence to abide by her, I know fully that he is nothing short of a miracle. A full-blown blessing. I want to hear his bluegrass playlist.
    And might I add that this is incandescent prose.

  2. I love this essay. I’m crazy about Andrew, a true healer.

  3. What a beautiful way to honor Andrew and your father. This gave me cold chills and made me want to hug them both! What a blessing they each are to to the other.

  4. I remember hearing you and relishing your insights, Susan, at the WFU School of Divinity Chapel. Now to read you adds even more to my soul.

  5. Thank you so much for including these wonderful pictures of Bill, Andrew, and Stella! I am homesick for the Hulls! Have never met Andrew, but heard the delight in your parents’ voices over the telephone when they spoke of him. As Mom’s memory slides further into oblivion, the soft flame of friendship still flickers little sparks from the past. I will make sure she has the opportunity to see this pictures and to read your lovely reflections, Susan. Mahalo and much love to all of you.

  6. Susan, that it beautiful. I admire Andrew and the man Gos had made him.

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