My friend Andrew Copeland

He would have turned 36 a few days ago. It has been over 6 years since he passed away and over 7 years since I saw him last.
I think about him a lot in December, both of our birthdays and the holidays. He has a daughter that will never know what a beautiful man he was. Funny, sensitive, strong, so caring. I loved him like a brother and miss him. I don’t think I have ever mentioned him here before. It’s a quiet grief I carry. I never have trouble seeing his face and hearing his voice, his laugh. I love that, it brings me comfort.
Once, when we were about 17, he was at our house in Pollock Pines and we were jumping on the trampoline (yes, we were often ridiculously immature), he decided he could do a front flip. Andy was at least 6’4″ tall. I wondered how he would get all that length tucked and around. He did. He went so high and tight that he went way over the side and landed on his head on the gravel. Knocked him out, I was thanking God I was working on the ambulance going through the medical ROP program so I could do CPR in case he was dying. His eyes popped open and after a second of unbelief we started laughing maniacally. Then we got on our mountain bikes and rode trails for a couple of hours.
We spent more time together on our mountain bikes, in our trucks offroad, at his house listening to music. Even in college I would leave work late at night, drive to his house in old town Sac and stay up most of the night listening to music, laying on his bed talking and laughing.
He was always a protector. He would tell me a boyfriend was cheating, he was right. He would tell me I was being stupid about something, he was right. His gut instincts about me were always spot on. From our sophmore year in high school until I got married he was my rock. I always knew he was where I could go.
Maybe that is why now I miss him so often.
He did the music at our wedding. He wanted me to walk down the aisle to Punk Rock Girl but my husband didn’t think that was a good idea, I shrugged it off and went traditional.
I didn’t spend much time with him that day and after I was married it was hard to have a man as a best friend when I had a partner, another half. We drifted apart. We would talk on the phone every so often but it wasn’t the same.
About a year and a half before he died, we were living in Placerville and he and his wife and baby girl were living in Pollock Pines and we were able to have more contact but not much. Not as much as we both wanted. Spouses came first as well as their wishes. Our spouses weren’t jealous I don’t think. But they weren’t okay with us being friends either. Even as couples it didn’t work out.
That made me more angry than sad, especially after Andy died. He was my friend, I should have had the right to have him in my life. I missed out, my kids missed out on ever getting to know him and his family.
I couldn’t make it to his funeral. His wife Mary called me the day after he died, I was on my way to knitting when we did a once a month Meetup group at Muddy Waters (old school SBKnitters will know what I am talking about, I do believe it was the night the guy had the GodBox there performing, whatever).
I had time to get to Placerville for the funeral but there were circumstances that kept me from going. I am angry over that too but wonder if there was some other reason I wasn’t supposed to go. I remember what I was wearing, where I was at in my car (before the no cell phone while driving law). It was a horrible moment that I pretty much immediately internalized. I told George, I told Tracy. Noone else. We never really had mutual friends, he had his and I had mine without them ever overlapping really. Seems odd now but it worked well for us.
I didn’t keep in touch with his wife and daughter or his dad after the first set of holidays. I feel bad about that, I think of them often.
I miss Andrew. I feel he’s always been at peace. He was an amazing man that I love still. Friends like Andy only come along once in a lifetime, I was blessed to have had him.
Now I will go laugh, cry and listen to Nine Inch Nails.

P. S. Someday I will tell you about trying to make me a fake ID so I could go to a show that was 21 one over. Funniest fuckin’ night ever…. well maybe just to us…

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4 responses to “My friend Andrew Copeland

  1. Thanks for sharing about Andrew. I have fond memories of him from grade school & riding the bus home with him. In third grade we both played Paul Bunyan’s mother & father in the class play because we were the tallest kids in the class. When I saw him years later he would remind me of that… “Remember when we got married & had a kid in third grade???” Funny shit. I wish I would have known him better in the teen years and beyond.
    This time of year can mess with your mind & memories for sure. Conflicting memories of loss & gratitude for being blessed enough to love someone that much.

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  2. I knew you would understand, Ali!
    I do believe you have a good picture of a group of you from grade school that he is in. Ah, fond memories!

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  3. Hi…I was bored thinking about people that I used to know and decided to google Andy Copeland.i came across your article and I’m not sure if this is the same Andy that I met in middle school. I am completely devastated and would love to know if this is my old friend( I hope it isn’t though) We went to Cal Middle School together and he lived with his mom and sister on 3rd Ave in old Land Park. After his mom passed away he moved to Placerville to live with his dad. Then eventually moved back to his moms house. Is this the same Andy???? I had such a fun friendship with him but lost touch in early 2000. If this is the same Andy he was such an awesome guy. Such a big heart. Please let me know if this is in fact my old friend. My heart is really hurting. Thank you

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