A Letter from Andrew’s Sister, Florentina


To my darling Tigger,

What can I say? You have left me completely heartbroken. I miss you more than I think you could even have imagined. I am working through anger and pain each and every moment I take a breath. You were my partner in life… every single memory I have on this earth, you were around for… even if not with me, not far from me.

I remember going down to the Thames in Twickenham to feed the ducks with Mummy and Daddy. I remember walking into Queen Mary’s hospital with you when the twins were born. I remember when you went looking in all the cupboards to try and find Alexander when he left us. You will be with him now, please let him look after you.

I remember arriving in New York with our seventeen suitcases, and Topy, feeling overwhelmed, but excited, but again, with you at my side. I remember building our special fort with the Spitzer-Williams’ in between our two houses. I remember walking up and down Halfmoon lane twirling multi-colored umbrellas to try and attract customers to our little toy stand outside the house. It didn’t work, but what a great memory. I remember when you gave me Silky for Christmas, she is not as silky now, but still carries your presence and I will keep her with me always.

I remember when we went to Agrigento with Nouf and Bernard. It was so cold at night sleeping under the stars and I didn’t really want to cuddle with Nouf or Bernard, so I used the one sheet we had to cover you and me and held you close all night to try and keep you warm. I remember on your 13th birthday running around with Daddy to get you all the things you needed to become a ‘man,’ shaving cream, a razor, deodorant, yes even a copy of Penthouse (that was Daddy’s suggestion).

I remember coming down with Daddy and Robs to visit you at Drexel and having tea in the lounge on your floor looking out over Philly. I remember running out of the office ecstatic when you called me to tell me you had been accepted into NYU.

I remember walking down 2nd avenue with you just last week, trying to figure out where to go for dinner, when all of a sudden you said to me, ‘Nanny, d’ya fancy a curry?’ We discussed the incredible ability of the British to diminish centuries of history of a civilization into a short sentence. And then we giggled about it all the way to Gandhi on 6th street. I remember sitting at my office in Alumni Hall and seeing you pop up at my window with some nocciola ice cream for me to come out and try.

I remember meeting you in the middle of the street on Monday at 5pm giving you a big hug and being spun around (in the middle of the street) by you. We went to Sundaes and Cones, obviously ordered nocciola (hazelnut) ice cream, but you insisted that I try the corn flavor, to check if Daddy (who is obsessed with corn) would like it. The corn was good, as was the nocciola, but my favorite part was just sitting next to you, being with my Tigger. You gave me a hug good-bye and told me you loved me as you left.

I love you too Andrew and I promise to you that I will work through the anger and pain to come to a complete peace with you. Stay by my side Tigger, as I did for you while you were on this beautiful earth.

I’d like to close by thanking each and every person who has come to support me and my family during the past 6 harrowing days. Your love has literally been our strength and we are eternally grateful for it.

5 thoughts on “A Letter from Andrew’s Sister, Florentina

  1. Oh how I cannot wait to hug you and comfort each of you the best we can. Our hearts are breaking for you all, we cannot imagine the pain you are feeling. I eagerly search each day for an update to the blog as it helps to feel you so close by. You and your mother have a wonderful writing talent. Keep writing, it is very cathartic. Work, as you say, for complete peace….it is a journey, one step at a time, one day at a time. Love, Sue

  2. What a beautiful letter. It was so moving to hear you recite it at Andrew’s service; it made me laugh to hear such funny stories about a young Andrew that I never knew. It was so charming to hear you tell about the way he lifted you up in the street; it sounds just like something the Andrew I knew would do.

    I won’t pretend we knew each other back and front, but I knew Andrew. We met at movie screening I did as a program; we walked back to Coral from the theater and I got my first taste of Andrew’s affinity for all things British, including his careful accent. He told me to look him up on facebook and I did – turns out we had a friend in common that he’d met at Drexel, who I’d known all my life. I sent him an excited message and he came by my room to talk about it…what should’ve been a five minute exchange turned into an hour conversation about coffee, Britain, music, his hair, my hair, zombies, surviving a zombie attack, stocking up on food…not peanut butter, though, because Andrew hated it.

    Your brother was indeed a knight; he brought me espresso (pronounced properly, I might add) in his tiny little white cups every Saturday when I worked the desk at Coral; he would read over my students’ work with me and recite their stories in funny voices. We graded my papers together – he was fond of one of my students I had trouble with, he taught me to see her side.

    My favorite thing about Andrew is his laugh, which followed a lot of silly things we said together. I will never forget the Friday we spent together making homemade peanut butter cups…which he tried even though he’d told me a million times he hated peanut butter. He laughed so hard when I showed him his face in a mirror, which was covered with bits of chocolate and peanut butter…he didn’t wipe it off.

    He was a gentleman and a good friend and an absolute light – I loved when my apartment door would swing open and his face would appear and he would sit and talk with me about China, about his motorbike and the day he’d bring it in the city so I could try it out, about his beautiful family whom he adored, about the Nutcracker and how we’d see it in November, about Spongebob Squarepants (he memorized basically every line from every episode). Monday night he helped me with my bulletin board; we talked about what he felt thankful for, we talked about the coffee we’d have the next morning when we both woke up.

    His salad dressing bottle – the one I used to poke fun of, he took it everywhere and put it on everything! – is filled with flowers now. I miss him dearly.

    • The last time I saw him he was rushing to make the 5:17 train to the city. He had a dinner date, no time for a hug, a train to catch… did he make the dinner?. I never saw him again.
      Andrew’s mummy

  3. Dear F.

    Wow, what a beautiful letter. You have such wonderful memories of your brother. Hold on tight to the good memories – he clearly loved you. Keep writing – you have a gift.

    I hope the love and prayers of all the people who care about you & are thinking of you help lift you up.

    Stay as sweet as you are.


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