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MOMS TALK: How to Handle Losing a Best Friend

Let's show our kids how deep friendship can run — Here's how we step up and support our friends

On June 20th, our community lost a stand-out mom — Andrea Conklin Bucklin.

Andrea was visible because she was often the team parent, auction chair, and uber-organizer. She was loved because looking out for other people was the way she did everything, from helping folks figure out sports training to getting support for learning issues, her specialty as an Aministrative Law Judge. She did everything from Chess Club to . She was the ultimate planner, and reached out to include anyone and everyone in the teams and events she worked on, whether it was forming teams for basketball or USTA tennis. Most recently her passions were watching her daughter Molly's crew regattas and her son Zach's .

At 51, Andrea lost a very short battle with breast cancer, a condition known only to a few so that life might go on as normally as possible for her family. A small cadre of friends circled the wagons, demonstrating the love and care that Andrea deserved. These friends prepared special foods when she had trouble eating, made family meals, drove her to appointments, drove her kids, helped her shop for hats, organized hospital visits, and even coordinated and provided medical care.

Most of the kids on Mercer Island who know and love Andrea did not know this was going on, under the radar. But Andrea's children, and the children of the moms who helped out, saw this outpouring of love and it will be a memory that will strengthen them all. The emotion is raw, but a positive message will spread and endure, that of close friends coming together to give Andrea their best.

As the news of her passing has spread, the community struggles to grasp the huge loss this represents. She will be missed at , and also among her daughter's community at Holy Names Academy. Let's remind our kids of what Andrea stood for most -- treating other people well. She reached out to others, included everyone, and spoke about positive things when talking about others.

A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 28 at on Mercer Island, all are welcome.

Our hearts go out to her children Molly (15), Zach (17) and her husband Kerry.

Terri Caditz June 23, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I was blessed to meet Andrea 25 years ago when we worked together as lawyers in Tacoma. Although we only worked together two years, I was blessed again to reconnect with Andrea as a fellow parent and Mercer Islander. I loved Andrea over the past 25 years for her positive outlook, sense of humor, dedication to her community, and deep love for her family. When I last saw Andrea a few months ago she shared with pride photos of Zach and Molly. I will miss Andrea very much. Our world was a better place with Andrea in it. With heartfelt sympathy to Andrea's family, Terri Caditz
Diane Taylor June 24, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Thanks Terri, there are so many who feel the same way. What I loved about her most, is that she stayed true to her common sense and never got caught up in some of the hysteria around here -- she was steady and smart and cared about everybody.
Susan Bucklin June 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Andrea was my most beloved daughter-in-law. She was the kindest, most thoughtful, warm loving person I have ever known. We were truly blessed to have her as a member of our family. She is terribly missed and I will never forget all of the brightness and sunshine she brought to our lives. She was special indeed. Sue B.
Diane Taylor June 25, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Susan, Andrea appreciated having such a caring, appreciative mother-in-law. Thanks for adding your kind words about her. I heard you had a nice visit with her on her last day.
Linda Williams Rorem June 26, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Thanks, Diane, for the beautiful tribute to Andrea and to friendship.
Gail James June 26, 2012 at 06:31 AM
Thanks, Diane, for posting this. I didn't get the chance to say goodbye, but I admired Andrea and respect that she wanted life to be as "normal" as possible. She will be missed by so many of us.
Denica Bucklin June 26, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Thanks Diane, for capturing the essence of Andrea in your tribute. My life has been blessed by having Andrea as an amazing friend and sister-in-law for the last twenty years. You have depicted her selflessness by keeping this very private for the benefit of her family. I want to thank the "Mercer Island Angels" who made Andrea's final journey as comfortable as possible. You all are the shining example of true friends. Denica Bucklin
Amber Dodge June 27, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Andrea showed me that being family was a choice of the heart. She accepted me with open arms even though I was a straggler my sister brought along. I adored and admired Andrea very much and treasure the advice she shared with me over the years. She is a stellar example of humans are supposed to treat each other. Amber Dodge
Stacy Jones June 27, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Diane, you beautifully captured the essence of our friend and how much of an impact she made in our lives, our community and our children - thank you for posting this and honoring her life. We are so lucky to have her spirit with us as I know I am living each day trying to be better with her in my heart. We are lucky to have a community that cares and work together to surround the family and each other. Thank you for putting words to our feelings - and somehow I hope she feels the love she has given back to her. See you all tomorrow. Stacy

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