Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sweet Memories of Todd

Hello, friends. I am sorry to have "gone missing" slightly over six months ago. A lot has happened in my life since the last time I posted, and I am finally ready to make a record of it here. I like the idea that, when I create my next blog book, the events from July 29th and onward will be captured in print.

Many of my faithful readers already know my news from Facebook, but for those to whom it is new, I apologize for the abruptness of it all. The sad truth is that my son, Todd Anderson, passed away in his bed on July 29th at the age of 36. He had been ill for a long time, so it wasn't exactly a surprise to us. Having said that, it still managed to be profoundly shocking. Strange how two opposite feelings can exist simultaneously, but that was our experience.

We have had wonderful support from family and friends, and the funeral was perhaps the most lovely (and loving) that I have ever attended. I am going to begin by chronicling the days following Todd's death in the exact form as it was sharedon Facebook, not only for my blog friends but for posterity:

July 30th
It is with heavy hearts that we tell all our friends and family that our son, Todd Anderson, passed away early Sunday morning. His funeral will take place this Thursday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The viewing will be at 10:00 AM and the services at 11:00 AM. Though Facebook has a pretty far reach, if you are aware of any friend of Todd's who might not see this post, please share the information with them. Thanks. 

July 31st
We are getting questions from friends who are not members of our church about whether the funeral services for Todd Anderson are open to them. The answer is, "Of course they are!" Our family is grateful for anyone and everyone who wants to join us in remembering Todd this Thursday. You are all more than welcome. 💕 

August 1st

Never imagined writing an obituary for one of my children, but here it is, Todd. We love you.

TODD ALLAN ANDERSON

Todd Allan Anderson was born on May 18, 1982 in Verdugo Hills, California. He grew up in Northridge, California until the age of eight, when his family relocated to the Bay area and their current home.

An accomplished student, Todd was well-loved for his intelligence, humor, and insight. He was an eagle scout, an all-star little leaguer, and a varsity football and basketball player who graduated from Saratoga High School. Todd, with his affinity for helping others, did social work before receiving his bachelor's degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Arizona. He then attended the UC Irvine School of Medicine until his failing health made that impossible.

Todd died on July 29, 2018 and is survived by his father (Dave Anderson), mother (Sue Anderson), brother and sister-in-law (Matt and Heather Anderson), sister and brother-in-law (Karin and Bob Valdez), and his brother (Ryan Anderson). He also leaves behind two grandparents, five nieces and nephews, and an extended family that loves him dearly and will miss him every single day. Todd was laid to rest at Madonna Cemetery on August 2.

Later that day
And on the heels of that obituary, a snapshot of Todd Anderson, Ryan Anderson, and Dave Anderson in happier days. Todd loved our Newport Beach vacations. What a good-looking guy, and how I will miss looking into those beautiful blue eyes, lit by that dynamite smile. Love you, buddy.

Senior picture. What a great kid!

Just found this picture of Todd Anderson, taken at the conclusion of his white coat ceremony at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. What a joyous conclusion that was!

August 4, 2018 - funeral day

This is the memorabilia table from Todd’s funeral service. His cousin, Kristin Blake Mills, put together a wonderful video slide show that we just loved, and Tyler Blake set up a great sound track to accompany it. 
A lot of friends Todd and Ryan went to high school with were there (thanks for coming, guys), and it was a nice way for all of us to take a walk down memory lane. We miss Todd so much, and remembering him and all the good times means everything to us.

.
The men Todd knows and loves best carried him into the chapel. It was a sad but stirring moment to see them all supporting Him so lovingly. We were touched by how many friends and family members attended the services. 

Bishop Robinson opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the services, then Ryan Anderson gave perhaps the most touching ecology I have ever heard. It had all the elements of humor, sentiment, and thoughtfulness that make up a memorable tribute, and we know Todd had to love it. (We feel sure he was there to listen.) When Ryan concluded his talk, Tyler Blake (cousin) sang and played a David Gray song for which he had reworked the lyrics, personalizing them for Todd. It touched our hearts so deeply; and man, is he talented (if we do say so ourselves, and we do). Todd and Tyler have always had a close cousin bond, and this offering more than did it justice. After Tyler, our BFF Mike Taylor gave an incredible talk about eternal families and perspective, both earthly and eternal. We love Mike, and he loves Todd; so we knew he was the right one to speak. Following Mike, Caroline Call Owens sang a stirring arrangement of The Lord's Prayer, accompanied by her mom, Sheila Call. We have always loved Caroline's voice and were so thrilled to have her participate with us. (Wish we had a photo for you, but we somehow missed getting one.) We then gave family members a chance to speak briefly at the podium to and about Todd. When the service came to a close, the pallbearers reverently removed the casket. As you can see, Ryan and Matt were making sure their little brother was closely attended. (I don't think we are supposed to take pictures in the chapel, but our relative who took them didn't know. To be honest, I am grateful to have them.)

We left the chapel and arrived at the cemetery, where Todd was carefully carried to his final resting place on this earth. It is a beautiful spot, and his family and closest friends awaited him there. 

Todd's father, Dave Anderson, dedicated the grave, and the services concluded. It was a day of extreme sorrow, but our knowledge of resurrection and eternal life brought hope and joy as well. How grateful we are for a Savior who loves us, and we will rely upon His spirit to heal and comfort this unspeakable loss of our beloved son and brother, Todd. May we ever continue to stand all amazed at the love and hope our Savior offers every child of God, and may Todd be encircled in His arms until we are together once more. 

FUNERAL PROGRAM


August 5th

We visited Todd’s grave yesterday and feel grateful that he rests in such a beautiful, peaceful place. Several dear friends are buried near him, as we will one day be. I like that. 
∞§∞

That's about all I can take of this walk down memory lane for today...The memories, as you can imagine, are still very tender. From here on out, I will just start posting the poems I have written, the thoughts I have had, and the beautiful things I have found in my journey of healing thus far. I hope some of it might be as helpful to someone grieving the loss of a dearly beloved person as it has been to me.
{Love you, Toddy}

6 comments:

~T~ said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and happy for your hope.

Susan Anderson said...

Thanks, T. It's a hard one, but we are trying to move forward as best we can.

yaya said...

I'm so sorry Sue. He sure was a handsome, talented young man. Your poem on the program was beautiful. I wish I was there to give you a big hug..know that you're in my prayers and in my thoughts.

Dawn Anderson said...

Well my mother heart is sad with yours, Sue. I hope the waves of grief are less overwhelming these many days later. I read a book called, A Grief Observed, by CS Lewis which truly helped me at the time I read it and I continue to re-read parts of it as I lost both parents in 8 months 2016-2017. I decided that grief is leftover love with nowhere to go. It's a blessing and a sorrow.
Todd's service looks lovingly done and shared. You did good, Momma Sue.XOXO

LeAnn said...

Oh my dear friend, I am happy that you are back blogging and especially doing this one. My heart did ache for your loss and I can’t even imagine the pain on this one. That being said, you have handled it all with great grace. I loved reading through all of your thoughts. When I read some of them on facebook, I cried a lot. I am so grateful for your gift of words and have loved the poems you have written as you have been grieving. I do think your words can heal others who are grieving too. Having been a Hospice nurse, I have been taught well in the grieving process and you are doing it in a very healthy way by getting your thoughts on paper. I’m so happy you got the photos from the chapel. I know how meaningful they can be even if they aren’t encouraged. These blogs can be such a wonderful family journal.
Even though we haven’t met, I feel a connection and hope someday to meet you.
Thanks for the way you have influenced my life through your written word and your spectacular poetry.
Sending prayers, love and hugs your way!

Karen Sue said...

I have just taken a minute to go back to catch up on some blogs. I have been awol there for quite some time. My heart is aching for you as a mom's heart would. I know there is comfort for those who love and trust in the Lord. May some of your sad places, be replaced with the wonderful memories you hold close to you.