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Andre’s Ghost Bike Reflections of the Love of My Life

A beautiful person; a beautiful life; a love so pure but one I could not secure.

Andre was and still is the love of my life; my shinning star, the only person I ever loved more than myself in this entire world. So when he was abruptly taken away, my entire world was shattered. I immediately found myself thinking and feeling that no one cared about my loss, my sorrows, or the aches and emptiness that now reside in my heart that I am instantly forced to live with for the rest of my life. So I started to surf the internet for articles on cyclists killed on the streets of New York City and I came across an article written by the Right of Way, an organization that does street stencils of cyclist/pedestrian fatalities. This link took me a step further and I was connected with a group of ladies from Times Up!, the organization that installs Ghost Bikes on the streets of NYC. Before the passing of my son Andre I had no idea what a Ghost Bike was or of its significance. The idea that a group of total strangers wanted to recognize and memorialize my son was astounding. My perception that no one cared changed immediately after our first conversation.

We made plans to have Andre’s Ghost Bike installed on February 18th 2006, what would have been his 15th birthday. It was one of the coldest days that winter yet four caring, loving and dedicated ladies from Times Up! came all the way to the Rockaways to honor him. I called them my Angels. It was no easy task as the location is parallel to the Atlantic Ocean so you can only imagine how harsh the cold breeze was on our hands. At one point we thought it would have to be postponed but I insisted that the sun is going to emerge from the clouds and we would feel much better and so it did; we were all amazed. I knew it was my Andre’s way of saying thanks.

Now we have a Ghost Bike that we all call Andre’s Ghost Bike. I have developed a forever love for this Ghost Bike as I do for Andre. It is very precious to us and is constantly cared for by his friends and family because we consider that spot his home; the place where he took his last breath. When we are feeling down and lonely without him we would visit his Ghost Bike and sit around and talk just as if he was there and everything would feel normal for that moment. Its white color reminds us of how pure his heart was. Its stillness indicates the end of his vibrant life. Its installation symbolizes the love of people.

Ghost Bikes are a commanding symbol that serves to inform everyone who encounters them that the most precious gift anyone on this planet has received, the “gift of life,” has been lost, gone forever because of carelessness. They are a reminder that more caution should be taking when approaching cyclists and pedestrians on the streets.

I truly believe that there are angels on earth such as the ladies from Times Up! who are eager and willing to cast their angelic touch to broken hearts and make you want to love and live again.

RIDE IN PEACE ANDRE F. ANDERSON 2-18-91 – 9-24-2005

  Photo by Audrey Anderson