Miles to go

Hi Everybody! This is Shayna writing. Though most of you won’t know me, Andrea was my good friend and a wonderful friend to my daughter too. We miss her. (great big sigh) Towards the end, I told my daughter, Jahna that we needed to say goodbye. I told her to think of the things that she wanted to say to Andrea. By this time Andrea was heavily medicated most of the time, so visits were unpredictable. Sometimes she was asleep. Sometimes she was upset. One day, perhaps a week before she died, we planned a visit. Jahna had written out the things that she wanted to tell Andrea. It was a list of all the things Jahna liked about her. We finally got to see her late one night and lucky for us she was awake. It was the last time I talked to her at length and it was really perfect. We told her how much we would miss her and how we loved her so much. She told us she loved us too. She said she wasn’t scared. That always amazed me. As usual, the kids were in and out of the room and Andrea was talking to them, directing them, advising. She was a mother right up to the end, telling Alec what phone he should get, telling Jesse which bedroom he should pick at the new house, talking about clothes for Bailey’s new school. She gave me some good advice too. She told me that when it comes to love that no one is perfect, that everything goes in cycles. She told me to be patient and to stick things out. Then her eyes started to shut. And I just held her hand and Jahna hugged her goodbye. Jahna still had her list, but Andrea was too tired so we left.
These are some of the things from Jahna’s list:
1. Her feet were a size ten (which made me feel better about my feet).
2. She only did her food shopping at Trader Joe’s.
3. She intimidated everyone.
4. She looked beautiful and put on make up even when she was really sick.
5. She knew everybody.
6. She had great fashion.
7. I loved to just be with her.
8. She told good stories.
9. She had a “Looking Good for Jesus” tote bag.
10. Her house was full of good energy.
11. She was totally different from anyone I had ever met.
12. She dressed Clay like a rock star.
13. She was hilarious.
14. When she ordered pizza, she told the pizza guy how to cook carmelized onions because he always did it wrong.
15. She had a mink stole (that always scared me)
16. She loved leopard print.
17. She rocked at board games.
18. She totally loved God and was never embarrassed to talk about it.
19. She really was a punk rock mommy.
20. She always told me how much she loved me


Last year I walked 60 miles in three days to raise funds for the Susan J. Kohmen Foundation. I walked in Andrea’s honor and it was really fantastic. I raised 2200 dollars in her name. Most of that money came in through people that I had never even met. People that read this blog, that loved her.

Andrea was really happy that I was doing the walk. At one point, I had walked about 40 miles and she called me up all excited. She had just gotten some seemingly good news about a scan and wanted to tell me about it. It was an optimistic time. She told me she was proud of me and said she could never walk 60 miles. I told her that fighting cancer was so much harder– but she said that she would rather have cancer than walk 60 miles! That was Andrea’s kind of humor. Well, this year my step daughter, Erin and I are both walking in honor of Andrea… in celebration of her life. It has been a great honor for me to be a part of her life and her death… and a part of her family. As much as I miss her everyday, I feel so lucky too. So, I do this walk as a thank you to Andrea —for the time she gave and for her six completely awesome kids and in hopes that someday soon research will lead to medicines that give women like Andrea more time. Please visit our sites and thanks to everyone.

16 Responses to “Miles to go”

  1. Tamara says:

    Very sweet Shayna-Thank you.
    What I miss the most from andrea is when she would look me in the eye and say, “I love you”. She meant it when she said it, like no other friend I have ever met.

  2. Nat says:

    This is such a beautiful tribute to her. Makes me wish I’d had a chance to meet her.

  3. Bill & Karen says:

    Hi Shayna,

    Thanks for sharing Jahna’s list. It really captures much of Andrea’s amazing spirit. We visited your site for the walk, and added a little bit to help you make your goal. Thank you also for welcoming us into your home and creating such a nurturing place for us to take Clay – it made a huge difference for all of us. We’ll be back in September and hope to see you then.

  4. Linda Conley Soffer says:

    Love this story, just fantastic! Thank you for sharing it & good luck on your walk!

  5. Rachael says:

    Thanks for posting Shayna. What a great list. The onion thing made me laugh. I wish I could have met Andrea – she sounds like such an amazing woman, just the kind of person I’d form a great friendship with.

    Good luck on the walk this year – I’ll pop over to your site now.

  6. Celeste says:

    What a wonderful tribute! Best of luck on your walk.

  7. Lizzie says:

    I learned of Andrea only after her passing. Since then I have read every entry in this blog and came away feeling blessed that she had touched my life- even from the afterlife. Through her writing, Kelly’s obvious adoration and the love shared from family and personal friends, it’s clear that Andrea was indeed an angel. I’m sorry I didn’t know her sooner.

    Thanks for sharing Jahna’s list and a good memory of Andrea. I am in awe of the way her spirit touched so many. Bless you for bringing more of her to us.

  8. monique says:

    Hi Kelly,
    Monique here, from Rock School. Our kids were in the documentary together. I’ve been following the blog, and sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your family for a while now. I saw the kids and the festival and got to spend some time with them.
    About Slo, we would love to adopt him and help you out. We have a sweet 8 year old golden retriever and my husband is an excellent dog trainer. I understand if you have other options but let me know if your interested.


  9. Angela says:

    Thank you for the beautiful post Shayna. It touches my heart to see such an amazing woman had so many beautiful people in her life that loved her so much. Good luck on your walk, and God bless you.

  10. Renee Khan says:

    Shayna: I am a woman like Andrea in that I have IBC. Thank you for walking for us, and I hope to that through the money you raise and the research done because of it we will live a little longer.

    Love Renee

  11. Gift of Green says:

    Great post! Thank you for sharing with us a bit more of Andrea for those who never met her in person.

  12. Mary Beth says:

    Hi Shayna ~ Thank you for sharing Jahna’s list … it really is such a cool list! Thanks also for letting us in and hearing more about Andrea and the kind of person she was.

  13. Roads says:

    Well done for doing something positive, Shayna. So many people talk about these things, but so few actually turn that will into action.

    After Jenny died, I ran the London Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support, the UK charity that provides care and counselling at home to cancer sufferers and their families.

    It was a good opportunity to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition and to ‘put something back’ in a positive way for all the assistance they had given us. The personal connection meant that people were generous, and my work chipped in as well.

    In the end I raised £7,600 ($15,000) which was about $1 a second for the whole length of the race, and that day transformed my life in lots of different ways.

    Good luck with your 60 mile effort again, this year, and all best wishes from London.

  14. Brian says:


    This is Wonderful! It’s just exactly what Andrea wished for. Not only to have You and others tell of the efforts made, but also for a time and place to tell of their experiences with Andrea, knowing her or not. She touched many lives without meeting the many who have read her blog.

    I’m hopeful that this thread will continue. Even with some corrections if necessary. For example, how did Andrea ever have a #15 Mink stole? I gave her the whole damn Mink coat! Did she and the kids have a ‘craft night’, cut it up for costumes? Sheesh! lol I bought it at an estate sale, and Andrea loved it!

    I’m hopeful that folks will feel free here to share comic relief times spent with Andrea. To share those times spent with her that only they can tell. To share the moments spent with her that will ease the pain of her passing to all who have read and followed her writings.

    Time for some great rememberances of her life here. Thanks sooo much for sharing such personal thoughts from yourself and your daughter. And thank you for posting the site of your walk. Pretty amazing. Donation made. I feel greatful now that I work for a company who’s interest is bettering the human condition, medically speaking. Even tho a small part in the big picture, I know every mg or gram of chemicals I weigh out will hopefully help in the research of Cancer and other deseases that plague our lives.

    And Monique, Do tell about the documentary. share…Great DVD with Andrea (for those who don’t know). I watch it often. Who were your kids?

    Again, thank you Shayna.

  15. Laurelin's Jenn says:


    Letty and I would love to walk with you. Let’s connect.

  16. debi says:

    Hi Kelly, Thinking of you today. I always think of you and the kids. debi