There are not many places where families can post pictures of their child’s grave marker and have others comment on how lovely it is. The While We’re Waiting page is one such place. A gal recently asked “How do you decide what to put on a headstone?” Dozens posted comments and pictures showing the diversity in our choices for headstones and markers. I hated looking at those pictures. And I loved looking at those pictures.
It took us just over a year to get our son’s headstone set.
We had discussed the need to decide on a design many times during that year, but we wanted to get it just right. After all, it would be written in stone.
We wanted to honor Andrew and design it such that anyone who sees it would understand some of who he was while here on earth.
We chose black granite. It looks strong and masculine. Powerful! The base is rough and unpolished, like Andrew sometimes was. But most of it is polished and smooth. Oh! How smooth he could be when presenting his arguments for some project he wanted to take on!
And when he delivered a pick-up line…he was smooooooooth! That boy loved his pick-up lines. They rarely worked, though — Perhaps because so many of the women he danced with or went to school with saw him as a true friend, not just another guy trying to get a date. Maybe it was because he never used his pick-up lines to ask out the gals he actually wanted to go out with. To those he was kind and considerate, and a bit shy. To Andrew, the pick-up lines were funny, a joke, a way to bring a smile to those around him.
Andrew’s siblings had said they wanted “FOREVER OUR PRINCE” on the front of the headstone. They had asked the local community theater to put this on the marquee the week he died.
Andrew had played Prince Charming in community theater productions of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella. He made a wonderful Prince Charming. Snow White was one of his first roles when he was just about 12. A few years later his big brother Adam played a dragon/boy (Prince Charming’s friend) in Sleeping Beauty. In that show, during rehearsals, Sleeping Beauty actually threaten to slap him if he really tried to kiss her in the “Kissing Scene”. He and the actress had a bit of middle school history. They did make up later, but never kissed. Cinderella was produced his senior year of high school. At six feet tall, Andrew looked dashing as the prince. Years of dance had made him graceful as well. He loved the role of Prince Charming.
Andrew did not just play a prince on stage.
He was a prince of a student — honor roll at both Midwestern State University and West Texas A&M University. He majored in both dance and accounting and made great grades in both areas of study. He would have finished his BBA this past December and his BA in dance a year later. Instructors from WT sent kind notes after his death telling telling us how much they enjoyed having him in their classes.
He was a prince of brother — his siblings all had their challenges and conflicts growing up, but they all agreed that he was a great brother. He loved them and they loved him. Family dinners were full of stories and laughter. Three of the brothers had taken a road-trip to visit their oldest sister his last Christmas. The boys had lots of fun adventures together. And Margaret and Andrew looked amazing when they hit the dance floor together at parties and weddings.
He was a prince of a dancer — though clumsy off stage, he loved to dance! And he was being paid to dance with Lone Star Dance Company in Amarillo. Yes, Andrew fell sometimes. All dancers do. But he pushed himself to try harder, leap farther, jump higher and to do lifts beyond what his experience would expect. It was a joy to watch him dance.
He was a prince of a son — I adored my son. Andrew had a way about him that made me feel like a good mom. He was quick to blow up, but quick to repent as well. We had lots of deep conversations about what was going on in his life, his fears, dreams, hopes and friendships. I loved hearing my Prince Andrew tell stories. He made me laugh. A lot. I smile when I think of him. I am grateful to God for allowing me to be him mom. I miss his hugs and hearing him stomp through the house.
On the front of the stone, we have his full name: Andrew Raymond Duncan. His middle name is after his paternal great grandfather Ramon Estes. Ramon Estes was a godly man, kind and compassionate. He loved music! Even in his 80’s he would go to “the old folks home” to do “singing’s”. I know he and Andrew are worshiping together now.
We knew we wanted a passage of scripture on the stone. Andrew was a follower of Jesus Christ and we wanted to reflect that in the design of the stone. His little sister Margaret suggested Psalm 16:11: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures evermore.” Andrew brought joy to many people in his short life. A huge part of his joy came from knowing Christ. The rest came from just being Andrew – fun, smart, kind, and a bit goofy. He is experiencing the ultimate joy now in Heaven.
Here is the front of the headstone.