The Way He Faced Death (Knowing He Had Life)

September 28, 2009 | 23 comments

Andrew Kippley
September 14, 1993 – September 25, 2009

“I have fought the good fight.
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.”
— 2 Timothy 4:7

He celebrated his 16th birthday two weeks ago. He was just a boy — but every bit a man.

Andrew Kippley took an early exit Home last week after a courageous fight with cancer. He faced Death like a soldier: on his feet with head held high.

Back in July, Andrew — the nephew of family friends — gave me permission to share his story and poetry here. He dropped by a few days later, leaving his thanks to you in my comment box. You had prayed, and he wanted you to know it meant something.

His User ID in the comment box was “takemefaraway98.” I daydream about what he sees now, in that faraway place. Andrew once wrote about a “special place” with a gentle breeze and golden sand.


He wrote this of such a place:

“This is my special place. My one spot.
It’s my dreams.
To think such a perfect place exists,
to think nothing is wrong with the world.
For now, I must stick with the place I have created ’til one day,
when all is well, and such a place is not required. A place where even that little sand crab walks by, but doesn’t nip your toes.
Where even the lowest of animals, including I, feel important and at home.
My special paradise home.”

A few months ago, Andrew was told that there were no more treatment options left for his cancer. He could look at life one of two ways: One breath closer to dying. Or having another breath in which to live.

Andrew chose the latter.

Andrew was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma — a form of infant and youth cancer — when he was a toddler. After 10 cancer-free years, the ninth grader from Minnesota found out last month that the cancer had returned.

Drugs could have slowed the progression, but Andrew didn’t want to spend his days sick. He wanted to live.

He’s the sort of kid who had this quote on his Caring Bridge page: “When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life you have a thousand reasons to smile.” At the beginning of his chemo treatments, he walked down the hall singing, “Ain’t no mountain high enough” with his IV pole in hand. He kept a day planner to keep track of the things he wanted to do, people he wanted to see.

And he wanted people to know that if this earthly life is “but a breath,” we ought to start living like it. He wanted us to see the world “through the eyes of a dying man.”

Andrew gave me permission in July to reprint a poem he wrote. I’m reposting it here today in his honor.

Andrew — You lived well, to the full.
Enjoy your view.
Savor your reward.
May it be more than you could have imagined.

Through the Eyes of a Dying Man
by Andrew Kippley

Through dying eyes, it’s a new world I see.
The colors are so much brighter.
The little things grow bigger day by day
And burdens grow even lighter.

As times grow shorter, you’d think I’d grow sadder
But it makes me cherish everything more.
And with each passing day, it’s easier to say
Live this one like never before.

And as sadness looms, I grow in faith.
As I trust in God for safety
this situation is out of my hands.
And I know that he will guide me

At a passing glance, there’s nothing to me.
but there’s more than meets the eye.
I see the world in a much different view
Than the average person passing by

And I wish everyone could see the world
through the eye of a dying man
because maybe, just maybe
people would live and see the world like I can.

Photo: Used with permission via stock.xchng.

by | September 28, 2009 | 23 comments

23 Comments

  1. Warren Baldwin

    I have no words.

    I only hope I can have the courage and faith of this exemplary young man when my time comes.

    What an amazing post.

    Reply
  2. RCUBEs

    He may not be here but he is a great encourager despite of the ordeal he went through.
    I'm sure he is enjoying that "special place" and that his dreams are not dreams anymore!
    May I have that same courage this faith-filled young man had! Thank you for sharing his poem!

    Reply
  3. Bina

    I am left speechless at such an amazing young man. Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  4. Tabitha@ichoosebliss.net

    I stand in awe of his courage. Thank you for sharing Andrew with us. I truly feel blessed.

    Reply
  5. Jennifer

    What a beautiful tribute to such a special young man!

    Reply
  6. Lori

    I am always humbled by the wonderful attitude of those in crisis situations…when PMS can bring me down so low…Thanks for the reminder to look up and live.
    Keep up the God work.

    Reply
  7. mom2six

    More than an overcomer are the words that come to my mind when I read about this amazing young man. To keep each breath precious, may God give me eyes to see, to cherish, and the courage to live fully each day. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  8. Angela

    Wow! That is simply amazing!

    Reply
  9. Deb

    Jennifer,

    What a young man!

    His attitude about life.

    His approach to death.

    His amazing faith in his Savior.

    May God comfort his family in their tremendous loss.

    Sweet dreams.

    Reply
  10. Steve

    Glory to God. Thats all I can say. God bless, and thanks for sharing

    Reply
  11. Beth E.

    Andrew has made his mark in this world and in our hearts.

    The young son of our friends (and neighbors) is also battling neuroblastoma. It's an insidious disease. Westin in 4 years old. If you would like to see his website (and encourage his family), simply paste this address into your browser:

    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/westindietz

    Praying for Andrew's friends and family…

    Reply
  12. travelmom

    What a beautiful tribute and a blessing to all who read his words. It is also a comforting reminder that when God calls His own to enter into difficult providences He provides grace unimaginable to His beloved to walk the difficult road. Andrew is a testimony to that grace. Thanks for the beautiful post.

    Reply
  13. Denise @ A Sacred Longing

    I remember your original post on Andrew and I sit here in awe today as I did when I read the first post back in July.

    May we all learn to live with courage. Andrew was given a gift of knowledge – knowing that time was fleeting for him – he took that gift and wore it well. For those of us who know not when our days will end, we would do well to learn from his example and "live like never before".

    Praying for Andrew's family and friends.

    Shalom,
    Denise

    Reply
  14. ~*Michelle*~

    *jaw open, tears flowing*

    all I can say is thank you for sharing Andrew with me (us) this morning.

    Reply
  15. Julia C

    awesome young man. I'm touched by the story! Few months back I watched a popular japanese drama titled "One litre of tears" Similar to this man's story, its very touching one too! they made her courageous story into a movie and drama 🙂

    When there's a limit to how long more you can live, its great that Andrew has a to-do list. Greatest of all he know where he's going after this short life on earth 🙂

    Reply
  16. Doug Spurling

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    Andrew knew Life and thus knew how to live. Life here is so short whether a day or a hundred years.

    Thank you for continuing to spread Life.

    Reply
  17. Runner Mom

    Oh, Jennifer! I am so sorry. What a wonderful boy he was–what faith, what courage! What an example to us all. I will be thinking of you all and his family.
    Hugs,
    Susan

    Reply
  18. Rick and Monique Elgersma

    Whew. To see life brightly. I had a thought that when all of us were praying for this boy, praying for healing for his body, that the moment God took him home, he answered our prayers with a resounding "YES, I will heal this young man."

    Reply
  19. Jennifer

    My heart aches for his family left behind. I pray this young man's testimony will point many others to Jesus.

    Reply
  20. Anne L.B.

    "If every day is lived with excellence, excellence will mark the last day."

    I wrote those words. But Andrew lived them. I'm blessed to know about him, Jennifer. I'm truly touched.

    [and sorry about calling you Wendy :Y]

    Reply
  21. LisaShaw

    I'm weeping reading this…

    no words…

    but am deeply touched and so glad this incredible teenage young man is now HEALED AND WHOLE in the arms of JESUS. I pray for his family.

    What an amazing legacy of love and LIVING he has left behind.

    Reply
  22. LisaShaw

    I'm weeping reading this…

    no words…

    but am deeply touched and so glad this incredible teenage young man is now HEALED AND WHOLE in the arms of JESUS. I pray for his family.

    What an amazing legacy of love and LIVING he has left behind.

    Reply
  23. cindy

    I agree with Warren.

    I have no words.

    Reply

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