Buy the steaks behind the glass: Stories of Andrew

2008 Holiday Dinner (corporate world)

These past few weeks Benjamin and I have been mourning the loss of one of our dearest friends, Andrew. His wife, Meagan, my best friend, as many of you know on here over the years I refer to as MK at times. His sudden passing has left us broken. If you type in “Andrew” or “Meagan” or “MK” in my blog search you will see pages upon pages pop up. I photographed all of her maternity images and many Christmas photos.

I have known Andrew for about 16 years, meeting Meagan in the corporate world in marketing. Meagan and Andrew were newlyweds and Meagan sat next to me in our cubicle area, we became fast friends. When I heard the news of his passing, I went to my computer and began to write. We had shared a lovely dinner a few weeks prior together and I didn’t want to forget the details. I also decided to write a few memories I will be sharing with his 4 young sons in an online memory book.

Today we attend his celebration of life with friends and family, and I wanted to post some stories today that we have been sharing with another for comfort these last few weeks. I feel blessed to be able to recall such great memories with a friend who was filled with passion, and woke up every day with excitement for life and adventure.

Hawaii, Andrew carrying everything

Meagan is hands free

The night after our corporate CRS holiday party, it was the end of the evening. I’m not sure what Andrew was carrying but it looked like stacks of boxes, piled on top of one another. Right along side him was Meagan walking gracefully. I watched from behind laughing to myself at what a cute vision it was. 

I remember Meagan telling me Andrew rarely let her carry anything because he insisted on doing it all. It was a sweet scene I was always used to seeing, Andrew always taking care of his lady.

A Wii Birthday Party

On my birthday in my mid-20s, Andrew and Meagan hosted me with my friend and co-worker Brianna, at their house to play Wii games. They ordered pizza and decorated the living room! The planning of that evening made me feel so loved that friends would create a night just for me. 

Andrew helped create my Wii character and taught us how to play tennis, and we tried to figure out if we could somehow cheat running faster on screen if we moved our stick faster without actually having to physically run. It was such a fun night that Andrew and Meagan created and I realized Andrew saw me not as Meagan’s friend, but his friend too – and that’s how Andrew makes everyone feel – special, loved, and celebrated. 


Maternity shoot with Meagan and Andrew

Game night

Andrew is bold and I love his straight forwardness to tell anyone, a stranger or a friend, if they are out of line. He protects his family and friends who are like family, and I’ve discovered many of us close to Andrew have had similar stories as I’m about to share below. Ha! He knows what he believes in, he’s firm in his delivery and Benjamin got a taste of it when he first met Andrew which we all laughed about later once Benjamin got to know Andrew and absolutely respected and thinks of this moment as a favorite memory.

It was the first night Benjamin met Andrew. 

As we played board games at their home, we discussed the move from my townhome to the new house I had purchased.

Benjamin, trying to be funny, joked he was going to help move my underwear drawer.

Andrew’s immediate straight faced response, “Don’t joke about that, I’ll shoot you in the kneecap.” 

My eyes doubled and I whipped my head in his direction, “Andrew!” 

Benjamin’s eyes looked down as he mumbled, “Yes, sir.” 

Meagan let out a giggle and said to Benjamin, “Careful, you’re talking about his sister.” 

The lava rock excursion

October 2008 to Oahu Hawaii – Meagan, Andrew, Donna, Dave, and Me. We were a group of Meagan and Andrew’s best friends on a fun group vacation! We stayed at Andrew’s parents’ incredible vacation home on Lanikai Beach. Every day was an adventure and one day we decided to walk on lava rocks along the beach.

I guess I was a bit slow, or hesitant about one area because Andrew, without asking, immediately picked me up and threw me over his shoulder like I was a farm animal! With no way for me to free myself from this position, I succumbed to defeat and was left staring at the back of Andrew’s feet stepping on the lava rocks as the waves crashed below. I started to pray out loud for God to guide his footing and make it firm because if he slipped, my face was about to get crushed. It was a terrifying moment at the time that I/we laugh about now – how I looked helpless thrown over Andrew’s shoulder, and Andrew taking matters into his own hands!

Enjoying our snow cones in Hawaii!

The table of gifts

Meagan and I spent a girl’s weekend in Dana Point in May 2019 at Andrew’s parents Dana Point residence. When we walked through the door after our road trip, I spotted the dining room to the right. The dining room table was covered in large color coordinated gift bags with colorful tissue paper. It looked like a party! 

Andrew had taken the four little boys shopping earlier that day and each boy picked out a gift for Meagan for Mother’s Day which was the next day. It put a smile on my face and warmed my heart to see my best friend married to such an adoring and thoughtful husband! I wanted to take a photo but it stays in my memory! How precious to see Andrew showing Meagan how celebrated and loved she is, and helping the boys show that too! 

Holiday dinner party 2009 (Corporate world)

The ceiling fan

Andrew is a man who loves to serve others even when he barely has time, and is a new dad! There is nothing Andrew doesn’t know how to do, if he hasn’t done it before it, it just means he was about to do it for the first time, and do it right! 

When I bought my house, Andrew and Meagan came by my empty home with baby Anderson for a quick photoshoot. Andrew was able to check out my new empty house quickly then insisted I pick a day for him to come over so he could install the ceiling fans and any other tasks I had around the house. 

Andrew and Meagan arrived with baby Anderson as Meagan played in the guest room and Andrew began to work on my living room fan. I was pretty useless and went back and forth from room to room just to check in to see if anyone needed anything.

After the fan was installed, Andrew flipped the switch but it didn’t work! He was so puzzled and very annoyed because he knew he had installed it correctly, and I knew he did too. I blamed it on old house wiring. It bothered Andrew so much he wanted to start over again but they had to get going, they had already been over for a while. We decided to leave it and figure it out later. A few days by accident, I toggled the dimmer switch and the fan came on. The fan did work! It was the switch! The switch was replaced with an appropriate switch! The living room fan became a joke with Andrew, he liked to remind us he knew he installed it right the first time!

Some photos from our time together and maternity sessions.

The steaks behind the glass, our last dinner together

I can surely blame myself for the first batch gone wrong since I am detail oriented everywhere — except in the kitchen. I decided to marinate the steaks a day before our hosted dinner.

When I prepared the marinate, I doubled the salt incorrectly misreading teaspoon for tablespoon, which I soon tried to compensate with adding more worchester sauce by eyeballing it, only to succumb to the realization that I not only did I add too much sauce, but prepped it too early, possibly over flavoring it. There goes some money, I thought. Later that evening after hours went by, as we laid in bed about to fall asleep, I insisted I had to start over and get new steaks.

So Benjamin went to the store the next day, to gather more groceries and came back with freshly wrapped steaks from the deli. They were double the thickness of what I bought pre packaged. I looked at the sticker price tag, realizing they were triple the price of what I had purchased. And since I am not exactly a seasoned cook, I didn’t understand the difference between the two ways to purchase steak. I teased Benjamin for over praying when the other steaks would have been just fine and probably the same. (I see you shaking your head reading this, yes I know there is a difference).

When Andrew and Meagan arrived, we gave them a quick tour of the house updates. It had been a while since Andrew had seen all of our home updates from the backyard updates to my dressing room. We were so excited to share everything with him.

After the house tour was done, the men went outside to the grill with smiles and properly marinated steaks in hand. Andrew was excited when he saw the size of the steaks.

I caught up with Meagan finishing up the tablescape, and cooking some frozen packaged Mexican corn. As the guys came back and forth from the outside grill to the kitchen, cutting small slices to make sure our steaks were cooked to our preferences, Andrew couldn’t wait to start dinner. Andrew has a smile that glows. It’s one of the first things you notice about him, he likes to smile and he has a lot to smile about because he has this inner joy and appreciation for everything around him. That evening, his eyes lit up all through dinner, he had a nice smile and you could tell he was enjoying the meal.

As I pushed my chimichurri sauce on everyone because it was part of the recipe, Andrew insisted he needed to take his first bite of steak without anything on it, to get the true taste of it, to appreciate it as it was he said.

I’m not sure how many yums and declarations were made by Andrew throughout the dinner from, “This steak is amazing,” to “This is one of the best steaks I’ve had,” the dinner was successful and filled with praise and satisfaction from across the table.

That evening we sat around catching up, listened to their plans of their upcoming National Park trips to hit about 9 parks, a route and timeline which was carefully and thoughtfully planned by Meagan. Their four young boys were going to have a trip of a lifetime on the road together. They had planned to borrow an RV with friends.

“I’ll be gone for three weekends!” Andrew told us with a big smile as we tried to count exactly how many days that meant.

I recall telling Andrew during dinner I believed he was, “very capable of anything,” for this RV trip, which he agreed, almost cutting me off before I was finished, with a grin. I chuckled. I loved Andrew’s confidence because that’s what made him who he was. He was not all talk, he delivered, and if he didn’t know how, he would quickly figure it out.

We had ice cream, then split off to catch up.

Benjamin’s birthday was a few days prior and Andrew had text me earlier that day, “Good morning Diana, we’re very excited to hang out with you guys tonight! Hey I wanted to get Benjamin this cool gun cleaning kit for his birthday, but if he already has one that he uses now then I’ll get him something else. Do you know if he has one by chance? If he doesn’t, what caliber of firearms does he have?”

So you can imagine the thoughtful and cool guy gifts Andrew brought over for Benjamin that evening. They talked about his boys, plans for the both of them to go shooting together so Andrew could teach Benjamin all sorts of gun related things. We had tickets to Metallica in a few weeks and we couldn’t wait to see each other over dinner then some high school heavy metal!

Meagan and I sat in the garden room catching up like best friends do. I never know what we actually talk about but it’s just about everything. I’m sure we mainly discussed the upcoming road trip as she thought this was the perfect time for the boys in this age to find this type of road trip exciting (being all together in an RV) and though Andrew hadn’t had much experience driving an RV from what I gathered, we knew he would remedy any problems that might come their way and he would just figure it out.

Later that evening after they had left, Benjamin and I had great enjoyment discussing his reaction and smile.

“See, those steaks were so much better, aren’t you glad I got them? Andrew loved them!” Benjamin said.

I recall that evening, a month before he left this world, with great fondness, even before realizing it would be the last time we’d see him. It was a gift to spend that evening with Meagan and Andrew, and witness his sheer appreciation and satisfaction of the dinner, to the fellowship during and after our meal. Benjamin had hours of quality time with Andrew hearing his stories about the boys which he later retold to me the next few days, about Andrew’s work, and the plans for the upcoming trip.

Andrew had shared with Benjamin all the business lessons he was teaching each one of his boys with the family farm stand. From finances to buying supplies to pricing, and if they should sell out or make another batch only to not sell it and take it as a loss. He had shared and bragged at how proud he was that the boys knew how to do certain chores around the house, fix things, drive, he wanted them to be constantly learning for the future and providing help around the house. We always admired Andrew’s passion for teaching and desire to raise up strong, polite, independent boys with life lessons to make them great men. As they continue to grow and go through life experiences, we pray that those lessons of strength, service, love, and attention to detail, and experiences of watching their father adore their mother, all the great memories, are always with them.

I’m glad I messed up on those first batch of steaks because I’ll always remember Andrew’s happiness that evening. It will constantly serve a reminder to have friends over when you can, be completely present, and beautifully set the table.

Though it’s not about the food, if the menu calls for steaks, I insist, buy the steaks behind the glass counter.

Andrew with Meagan (in the houndstooth black and white jacket) on our wedding day.

Life here won’t be the same without you Andrew. We yearn for heaven more and look forward to seeing your big smile we loved so much. Benjamin says he hopes you are the first person he sees when he gets to heaven. Andrew, your company, your enthusiasm for life, your willingness to teach, and your friendship will be forever missed, there is no one like you, and we feel blessed to have had you in our life to teach us, love us, and set a true example of Christ’s love for others. Until we meet again, we will miss you and promise to take care of Meagan and the boys.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Don

    So sorry for your loss, will remember his family and friends in prayers. Just the other day I was talking with co workers about how much time we all might have left on the streets here in Chicago an I made a half serious joke about retiring in AZ or FL an getting taken out by a scorpion or spider soon after. We can’t understand so many of the crazy/ nonsense/ unfair things that go on this side of heaven and it’s not our place to but we wish we could.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Thank you Don, well you never know how we’re going to go, but let’s say I have yet to hear about a spider or scorpion being the cause of death :) YET.


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