Andrew Daniel Certuche ✵ 1996-1998

Andrew Daniel Certuche

Name at birth:  Andrew Daniel Certuche
Date of birth:  26/07/96
Place of birth:  Fremont, CA USA
Date of death:  21/04/98
Place of death:  Fremont, CA USA
Resting place:  Fremont, CA USA
Submitted by:  Susan Summy  (



On a warm, early spring evening, April 21, 1998, my little 21 month old grandson, Andrew, was hit by a car and killed. Our family was traumatized by Andrew’s sudden and unexpected death. July 26, 1996, Andrew was born 2 months premature, barely weighing 4 lbs. He spent the first 2 months of his life in the hospital, learning all the things he should have learned in the womb. He had to be fed from a feeding tube because he was too young to know how to suck. His respiratory and digestive systems were not fully developed. Andrew was a little fighter and clung to life, giving his family much joy…endearing himself to each of us. God was good (isn’t He Always?…). Andrew thrived and grew more everyday. When he finally got to go home 8 weeks later, he went home on a heart monitor. It’s very common for “Preemies” to forget to breathe, so their hearts can stop beating. We had a couple of scares with his breathing, but all in all he did very well and was gradually weaned off the heart monitor. On this unforgettable spring evening, Andrew was run over by a car backing out of the driveway in front of his home. There was no negligence involved. Andrew’s family were out there with him. But it happened so fast, no one had a chance to save him. Andrew was Life-Flighted in a helicopter to the hospital, but when we arrived, we were taken into a small room and told that our Precious Little Baby Boy had not made it. He had extensive head injuries and we were later to find out that he had died instantly. This truly was a terrible tragedy that literally threw us all into a numb state of shock and an unshakable feeling of Disbelief. The driver of the car was devastated and in shock. In the middle of our own horror and grief, we all assured him that we didn’t blame him…it wasn’t his fault. My heart went out to him….It just happened too quickly for anyone to have a chance to react. It could have happened to any one of us. I pray for him often, for this is an awful thing to have to bear for the rest of his life. My daughter, Denise spent most of the time with her little son at the hospital, trying to say “good-bye” to the Little One who had fought so hard to survive just 21 months earlier. Andrew had bouncy little curls and had never had a haircut. Denise, looking bedraggled and lost came back into the room where we all were waiting, held out 3 little bottles in her hand and said, “Mom, I just gave Andrew his first haircut..” It was the most unbelievably sad thing that I ever have or probably ever will experience. Now…not only was I grieving for Andrew, but my heart was Broken for my daughter and grandson, Mario. The sad days that followed seemed like a dream…a numb blur. How unreal and somewhat twisted this whole thing was. And in the midst of all this, swirling around my head, was this total and absolute feeling of Disbelief that had attached itself to me like a balloon tied to a string around my waist. No matter where I went or what I did…there it was hanging on to me…DISBELIEF! The clinging feeling that “this isn’t really happening. There’s a logical explanation for what is really going on here…” Because Andrew had been taken from us so suddenly and unexpectedly, we were suffering quite severely from not being able to say “good-bye” to him as we might have had if he had died from an illness. This kind of a death snatches your loved one so brutally and unmercifully from your hands that the family is left with an unusual level of Shock and Grief and a Profound Sense of “Unfinished Business”… One minute he’s eating dinner with the family and running around in his diaper playing with his brother, and an hour later…He’s Gone… How can the human psyche possible comprehend and absorb this unnatural and bizarre twist of events and cope with the reality of it, and not even have a say in it???…All our choices and options were taken away from us. No one asked us if we were ready for this to take place. No one asked us if we were ready to say “good-bye” to Andrew….We weren’t given a decision to make. We weren’t given any options….We weren’t given any hope that maybe he would recover… It was just….BOOM!!! He’s Gone…now deal with it!! Case Closed! We had a short period of time to see him and say “Good-bye” privately as a family. I combed his beautiful curls with my fingers for the last time. I put my finger inside his chubby little fingers. I felt his soft little cheek that I had kissed so many times…for the last time…I brushed his long curly eyelashes with my finger… I kissed his sweet face for the last time…And now, quietly and gently we said “Good-bye” to our Precious Little Boy. It is hard to express the level of loneliness that I felt that day. Denise is the bravest young woman that I will ever have the honor of knowing. I Love Her with a New Love. The hardest death to comprehend and accept is the death of a child. But when that child is a baby and hasn’t had a chance to live yet, the Grief goes far deeper and stings like a whip. Andrew had just cut another tooth two days before he died…In my finite mind, these things were just incomprehensible. There are so many things about Grief that are the same for all of us who are “wounded grievers”. This thing called grief is an ominous thing. We can’t always recognize it as grief, but it comes in many packages. Sometimes it packs a wallop and knocks us off our feet. At other times it shows up in impatience or misplaced anger. We wonder why we are having such out-of-control feelings sometimes…And Grief never really leaves us, it just changes its disguise and moves around subtly, in and out of our lives. It may even seem to have vanished for a period of time, leaving us to wonder if we’re “all well” now… But I think that if the pain, if the Grief should ever leave completely and never come back…then I would miss its Presence. And that, to me would be an even greater loss… The whole community was touched by Andrew’s death. The Church was full for his Memorial Service. The outpouring of love and prayers and support held us up as we gave our Precious Baby over into the Loving Hands of Jesus. Jesus has never been more real and powerful and comforting, and His Presence so real than when I have had to let go of the ones that mean so much to me, and release them back to the Heavenly Father from Whom they came. That’s when He gives us His Unspeakable Peace that Goes Beyond All Our Understanding. It’s that very Special Peace of God, the God of All Comfort, that we only experience at those times when we are Releasing…Turning over…Letting go…Giving up to Him. My Grief was so great when Andrew died. Because he was snatched from us so suddenly and tragically, I was feeling very “disconnected” from him. There was still so much “Unfinished Business…” I had a compelling need to keep him included in our family and not to forget about him. So I began a Journal, “Letters To Andrew”. This gave me an outlet for my grief. I shared with him the depth of my sadness and the JOYS too. I “talk” to Andrew in my Journal. I tell him about the things that are going on in his family. I talk to Jesus in my Journal. The following is my first letter to Andrew, June 2, 1998, Day 42 after his death: My Dear Sweet Andrew, This Journal of letters to you is more for me than for you. It’s but yet another stepping stone along the painful path of the Healing of My Broken Heart. I write to you with all the Love of a Lifetime that was so brutally ripped from us the night you died. This is going to be a very difficult, but much needed, Labor of love. Sometimes I will tell you Happy things that bring a smile to both our faces, and there will be times that I will have all I can do to keep from drowning these pages in what seems like my Never Ending Tears. There will be times when I am in a Lighthearted, jovial mood, and I will bounce you on my leg, up and down, and you will smile and laugh with your little “button” mouth with the corners turned up. And I will sing to you and you will make me Laugh. And there will also be times when I talk to you on these pages when I feel Melancholy and Sad. And those times will be reflected here too. And you will have to press your Sweet Soft Cheek next to mine and Climb up into my lap and Hold me tight and Comfort me, or I Shall Surely die of a Broken Heart…. Today is Tuesday. Exactly 6 weeks since you died. It’s now 7:01 pm. You died at 7:37 pm, Tuesday, April 21, 1998. And from that night on, I have never been the same. I’m Missing You so tonite Andrew. I fear I will never be happy again. My Heart aches for you. There’s a heavy pain inside my chest. It is the aching emptiness and loneliness I feel without you. I am having a hard time writing this first entry… I cry for you…My Heart Longs for you. If I live to be 80 or 90, I will read these letters to you, and my Heart Shall Ache and I Shall Miss You as if You Left Only Yesterday. But today it’s all still so fresh and new that at some moments I feel that I cannot bear to be without You another minute. I see Your Sweet Little Face and Your Golden Curls all around me in pictures. Everything I do or say or think or feel is So Painful. Life Hurts so much right now for me My Dear Sweet Andrew…Jesus will have to Rock Me To Sleep Tonite. “Rock me Jesus, soft…and gentle…Rock me Jesus, so Tender tonite. Sweet Jesus quiet my spirit, slow my breathing…Assure Me of Your Presence…I must Climb Up into Your Lap Sweet Savior, and lay my head against Your Chest, Close to Your Heart…And You, My Father, Hold me close and Rock me…Rock me…Until I fall Asleep In Your Arms…for I am missing My Baby Andrew tonite… Our Beautiful Baby Who Is In Your Wonderful Presence now… “Rock Me…Hush, Hush…Sleep, Sleep… Jesus and Andrew are Rocking Me to Sleep Tonite… My spirit is now quiet, My Longing Heart Is Satisfied…And I am at Peace One More Nite.” O, My Sweet Baby Andrew, I have so much to tell you. So much has happened since Jesus took you. I’m writing to you because I want you to know all about your brothers and your Grampa and your Momma and Daddy. I felt like I was losing touch with You. You were Gone! POOF!! Just Like That! And I couldn’t bear the thought of You not being included in our lives anymore. So talking to you in these letters sort of “reconnects” you to us. And this Journal once again includes you… brings you back to us in a sense, to all of us who Love You. Please don’t think me morbid if I sometimes talk to you about your death and the things that happened afterwards. It is a Catharsis for me. That means that talking to you in this way helps to heal my Broken Heart. I have a deep compelling need to include you, My Precious Andrew, in the rest of our lives. I can’t seem to bring myself to say Good Nite to you, but I feel better now, and Jesus has Rocked Me and given me His Peace….So My Love….Good Nite…I Will Always Love You…. Forever and Always, Gramma And as I approached my first Christmas without him I wrote: Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1998 6:36 pm, Day 245 My Dear Sweet Andrew, O, My Baby, how I miss you so today. I could barely make it to work today. I almost turned around and came home. What a horrible struggle I had all day long. I thought I would be the one to go sailing through the Christmas Season cheering everyone along the way… But the old demons of death keep dancing all around me, taunting me, until I come apart at the seams. I recognized this morning, the old familiar pattern of grief. Fits of rage for seemingly no apparent reason that explode into uncontrollable crying spells. I need some quiet time, some sacred privacy to cope with my grief and unpredictable wave of emotions. I only hold them in for so long, and then they come gushing out all over everyone at the most unexpected times. I’m so glad I have you to talk to Andrew, because now you know and understand everything. I need your Sweetness to Rock me tonite. O, how I miss you Baby Andrew… I feel as devastated tonite as I did the nite you died. It’s New All Over Again. The Ache is fresh again…I’ve been thrown back to square one…I have to Learn to Walk All Over Again… Sing to me Andrew…Sit on my Lap and Hold Me Tight for I am Just A Little Girl Again, Andrew…so vulnerable, so Unsure, so Needy, so Scared…Rock Me, Baby…Rock me and Sing to Me…What New Songs do You Sing these days? What New Colors are in Your World Andrew??… Draw me a Picture Tonite…I Need to Feel Your Closeness…Breathe on Me Andrew, with Your Sweet Smelling Breath…press Your Soft Cheek next to mine… Sing to Me with Your Little Angel Voice that we got to hear for such a short time. At this Moment I feel that Eternity will not be long enough to spend with you…But it will…it will…THEN! Then! In Heaven it will be Satisfying and Will ease the Longing in My Heart For You. Because, Sweet Baby, My Sweet Andrew Baby, Heaven will make everything okay again… And I will Hold Your Pudgy Little Hand and we will Dance through Meadows, and Roll down Hills, and Wade in Cool Waters, and Catch Butterflies and Sing…Sing… Sing! You and I Andrew, will do All the Things Together THEN, that we never got to do Here…. I’m not afraid to die anymore, Andrew. For You will be the First One to Greet Me THERE! Maybe God will let You come down with the Angels to Carry My Soul to Heaven! What a Thrill that would be! Because of You Andrew, I have the Courage to die…but better yet, I Have the Courage to Live! You have done Both and so shall I…. I know now what God means when He says “There is Nothing Greater Than Love…” For I have Loved You Since the Foundation of Creation and Love is So Deep and So Wide and So Boundless, that as I Loved You Then, and as I Love You Now, I, too, Shall Love You with an Even Greater Love For All Eternity. That’s what You and I have, Andrew….ALL ETERNITY! TIME WITH NO END… And You will never be snatched from me again…. You have been Rocking Me Little One, And for Tonite, I am at Peace… From Creation Through ETERNITY I Will Always Love You… You have Eased the Ache In My Heart Tonite. I Am Eternally Yours, Gramma Andrew’s short life and unexpected death is teaching each of us many good things about life and death and God’s Love for us and His Great Purpose for Each of Our Lives. Andrew’s Life and Death Have NOT Been In Vain. And it is because I know the Savior Personally that I have the Complete Assurance that I will One Day See My Little Andrew Again, and Live with Him Forever….That is the Blessed Assurance and Hope that gives me the Strength and Courage to Go On Living. It won’t be long and I Will See Him Again. I am so Thankful that God Gave Andrew to us for 2 extra months because of his early birth. God Is Good…His Compassions Never Fail…”Though weeping may come for a night, JOY Cometh in The Morning.” Psalm 30:5 I am growing stronger in all the weak places of my Life because of the various Life Experiences, Tragedies and Joys that I have Encountered Along the Way. I know that each trial makes me a little Stronger to Bear the next one. I have Learned the Goodness and Kindness of Friends, Family and even Strangers Who Care. I’ve Learned too, that I can Survive the Deepest Grief that my Heart can bear…and not just survive it but be Victorious Over It, because Jesus Loves Me With A Love That Won’t Let Go… None of us ever wants to face these kinds of Sorrows and Losses, but we can only REALLY know the Savior intimately when we have had to Walk With Him through the Valley… putting one foot in front of the other and Trusting His Heart. I don’t want to walk there again…no one does…But I Know that I will have to again someday. And Now I KNOW that I Can…not just because I’ve been there…But Because I’ve Been There With The King….! Andrew Daniel… The Littlest Angel I Love You… Gramma

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