Back of the Headstone

Last week I posted about the front of the headstone. Here is the back.


2014-08-31 13.53.33 - CopyThe back of the headstone tells more of the story of who Andrew was. (To see the front, click here.)

Many people put the last name at the top of a headstone. Andrew never went by “Duncan”.  (He did go by “Dance Drew” at Texas the Musical. And his Uncle Bob called him “Ronnie Bob”. But that is a whole different story.) And since his full name is on the front, we put his first name at the top “ANDREW”.

The cross design is from a dog tag Andrew had hanging from his rear-view mirror from the time he first learned to drive. Even when he had to change cars with one of his brothers for some reason, he took that cross dog tag and hung it from his mirror. I bought duplicates of the necklace and gave one to each of his siblings after his death. The original still hangs from the mirror of the car Andrew drove. Margaret now drives that car.

While trying to design the headstone, I made little cutouts of these symbols to arrange. Our oldest son David walked by and saw what I was doing. He reached down and moved the cross to the top. “The cross has to be at the top, Momma. It’s obvious,” he said and walked off. He was right.


Going clockwise from the cross – 1453517_10201594402154673_221423990_n

Batman needs no introduction! Andrew loved Batman! When we first talked to the other kids about what to put on his headstone, “Forever Our Prince” and Batman were the two things they insisted on.

In the pictures of our family in My Family you can see his nephews wearing Batman t-shirts, and they got Batman bathrobes for Christmas this past year. Some day they will understand the significance of Batman. At rehearsal for the first production after The Accident, Andrew’s dance teachers from WT wore Batman in his honor. I love them for that. I could list dozens of times his friends have worn Batman clothing and sent me pictures with a note of how much they cared for Andrew and still think of him. I love them for those pictures and notes.

Next is the Boy Scout Eagle symbol. All of our boys are Eagle Scouts. Andrew worked hard to achieve that honor. He was proud of being an Eagle Scout. I am glad to have four Eagle Mom pins. In the days after The Accident, his Scout leader had a new uniform made with all the correct badges and pins. He build a shadow box frame for that uniform. It was on display at the memorial service.  Scouts from around town lead a Color Guard ceremony during the memorial service. It was touching to see dozens of Scouts line the theater aisles and to hear Scouts of all ages throughout the audience recite the Scout Oath.

The bottom shows the logo from the show Texas the Musical. Andrew was in the show summers of 2012 & 2013. He loved being in that show. He was on his way home from the annual cast party when The Accident happened killing five cast members. Including the show’s logo on the headstone is also a tribute to the others involved in The Accident and to the 12 Second Warriors.

Next is the West Texas A&M University logo. He attended WT summer of 2012 through his death. And loved it! Andrew was majoring in both dance and accounting, working on two separate degrees. He was set to graduate with the accounting degree December 2014 and was to have completed the BA in dance a year later. He made excellent grades in both areas of study. He loved both accounting and dance. And he loved his classmates and instructors at West Texas.

The drama masks represent Andrew’s love for live theater. He started acting at about the age of 12 in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. He was in more than 24 community theater shows during high school and worked for three summers as a professional actor/dancer. When not on stage, he was often working backstage for productions at our two community theaters. Some of the shows he was in include Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, Cats, South Pacific, Guys & Dolls, Narnia, Beauty & The Beast, Little Women, Les Mis, Pirates of Penzance, Joseph and his Technicolor Dream Coat, A Christmas Carol and many more I can’t remember. He was in some youth shows, but because of his height and talents, Andrew starred in many shows with adults as well. He sang with the Community Orchestra and Community Singers. He was a part of Opera Breve at Midwestern State University while in high school. I am grateful that I have hours of video of my son singing and dancing and bringing joy to audiences of all ages.

The very bottom has the quote “Hey! I’m in the show!”. Whether only chorus or leading man, Andrew was glad to be on stage. When he explained his roll in Texas the first year, he said, “I am carrying a flag.  The Mexican Flag.  I am in the back row.  The best guys dance “partner dances” and are in the front row.  I am in the back.  But, HEY!  I’M IN THE SHOW!  And hundreds of people who auditioned for dance rolls are not.  I can get better and move up if I work hard.” The second year, he was in the center of the front row for the opening number. He did all partner dances that summer.  He had worked hard, had great instructors and had become a talented dancer.  He was still thrilled to be in the show.

All of these symbols surround the word DANCE because that was his passion. Andrew began taking dance lessons at age 16 because of his passion for music theater.  He was a great actor and had a terrific voice; however, dance was his weakness.  He knew he had to improve his dance skills to make it in musical theater.  Once Andrew began taking dance lessons, he soon fell in love with dance and took every class he could fit into his busy schedule. Gals loved to dance with him – on stage and off. He owned a tuxedo and rarely was there a high school dance in our town that Andrew did not have a date to. As a homeschool guy, Andrew got asked to dances at just about every public high school around. What high school girl doesn’t want to go to a dance with a guy who will spin her around the floor, make people laugh and looks good in a tux?

We were pleased with the way the back of the headstone turned out.  It tells the story of our son’s life.  His was a life centered around dance under the cover of the cross of Christ.  It still is. Now Andrew dances for an audience of One. Some day I will join him in worshiping at the throne. 

If you do not yet know Christ, I pray that you find Him so that you, too, can join us some day in worshiping at the throne of God.

7 thoughts on “Back of the Headstone

  1. Pingback: Photo 101 Day 18: Edge and Alignment  | kathleenbduncan

  2. My husband insisted that we buy the headstone the same day we wandered in shock through the the cemetery searching for a buriel plot for our family. Who would have ever thought our youngest child would be the first one to be buried. Unnatural order produced two devastated parents who went through the motions of buying the tombstone in an auto pilot mode. I wish we would have waited. The tombstone your family lovingly designed for Andrew is beautiful. ❤️


  3. We found that deciding what to put on a headstone was really difficult. We felt like we had to decide right away, but I wish we had waited just a bit until we weren’t in such deep grief. We probably would have done things a bit differently, but I like Jason’s headstone as it is. Because he was such an encourager and had such an empathetic spirit, we put a Bible reference of Isaiah 61:1 on Jason’s headstone – “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…” We had to have a headstone that laid flat, so our choices were limited by size and elevation. You are right (previous post about headstone), there aren’t many places you can talk about your child’s headstone and not have people react like you are strange.

    Liked by 1 person

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