Andrea Ziouras forever loves her children, Yianni, Alexander and Stella, more than anything in the universe because they are gloriously, perfectly themselves. She passionately loves her devoted husband, Michael, even if he didn't pass along her favorite curls to the children. She deeply loves her family and friends because they let her be her silly self and let her bring them joy. On January 12, 2016, Andrea left her children, family and friends as one form to join them in another as pure love.
Gratitude encompasses Andrea. She feels positively grateful for her lucky, happy life; for her adored and astonishing children and husband; for her extended family; for the numerous dearest, funniest, most generous friends possible; for stunning Greek beaches; for hugs that happen for no good reason; for church bells in the distance; for TJ Maxx and Target; for the color red when it's vibrant and deep; for books themselves-capable of being lovingly dog-eared and shared, hand-to-hand; for traveling; for companion animals; for the vast variety of flowers, and especially gardenias; for White Chocolate, triple-shot lattes with no-fat milk at Starbucks; for the bumper stickers that make her stop and think; for the underdog; for sharing Iron and Wine with her children and dancing with Chris Isaak; for hummingbirds; for the beauty, magic and safety of home; for waterfalls; for British television; for wonderfully interesting people in her hospice care; for pie, fabulous pie; for those who right wrongs; for walking in the rain; for teachers inside and outside of the classroom; for holding hands; for art in all its daily manifestations; for countless opportunities to love, grow, fail, struggle, succeed, reflect, create, and laugh; for life. As joy comes from gratitude, Andrea is unabashedly joyful.
This is what she knows: that when you least feel like it, do something for someone else; that learning requires a willingness to be bad at something for a while, and that is okay; that love must be outwardly shared and compassion acted upon; that people who deeply listen and closely observe radiate light from within and access their empathy; that sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy; that it is indeed later than we think; that full engagement in the shining, startling now is pleasure waiting to be had. Those wishing to make a contribution to the world on Andrea's behalf can do something kind, unexpected and wonderful for someone, anyone, and in sharing themselves, become just like Andrea.
In lieu of sorrow, express your love. Smile when the people you cherish enter a room. Let them see your eyes light up. Again and again. And again. And remember Andrea.