To passers-by, Andy looked nothing other than his usual magnificent lion-like self: as strong and calm as ever and able to stop you in your tracks with the intensity of his gaze. But to me, his partner, friend and wife, I could sense, hear and feel that the last 6 months had not only etched away a little of this beautiful man’s life force, but so too had it singed his wild mane and scorched him eternally raw.

As we sat across from each other at our favourite little restaurant in Auckland, it was the night before we were due to receive the results that would (hopefully) enable the second season of Spartacus to begin and, more importantly, the night before we would have confirmation that Andy was still very much in remission. And while as positive as ever, but just like anyone else who has been through the experience of living with a disease where not only your mortality is in question, but so too the epic courage, focus and commitment that it takes to embrace, cope with and survive the extraordinary ups and downs of the possible treatments, he began the inevitable conversation of WHAT IF?

I interrupted, firmly but with so much love, knowing that if I had learned anything at all from this current chapter, it was that trying to think things through too thoroughly was nothing more than an avoidance of the fear we were experiencing and that the sooner we jumped into the centre of the moment, the quicker we honed our ability to just BE with whatever the moment offered.

After having felt so very clear, still and present in those past moments that, upon reflection, were and indeed are quite unimaginable to most human beings, I was a little surprised when writing this post to realise that I was rather confronted by own recent wave of ‘how am I gonna make this all work?’ black hole of thinking.

So I guess before I return to my little story, I need to acknowledge that it often takes us being hurtled into the eye of the storm for us to actually access our trust, intuition and willingness to be in the moment, knowing that those moments may be few and far between.

‘I’ve been thinking about getting a new tattoo to mark this crazy chapter,’ I shared, knowing that Andy had been eyeing the tattoo shop that sat nestled above the cafes across the road.

He smiled at me and chuckled, acknowledging the last two small ink jobs that had suddenly appeared on his wife’s body: one after me having dropped Jesse at a kids’ party and the second after an innocent trip to the grocery store, and both absent of his agreement or co-creation. I knew that at first he’d felt a little hurt by my independent and non-inclusive behaviour, but I also knew that he would put that aside, knowing that they were an important reaction and, I suppose, a statement of my commitment to us, our life and the journey that we had found ourselves on.

‘Be here now is what I have been thinking about for a new tattoo.’ I offered.

‘Because being here now, right here, right now, is all we have, hon, and that is what you having cancer has given us. So whatever the outcome tomorrow, whatever the results say, whatever direction our lives take, this is what we know we have and that is where the juicy stuff takes place.’

His blazing eyes, as they so often did, filled with tears, as he squeezed my hands so tightly and without words, spoke of courage, fear, love, loss and the thing that so many of us find so hard to do: to trust. To trust like a surfer who rides the greatest, highest and mightiest of waves and who knows that it is being nothing other than intuitively in the centre of any given moment that will allow you to live, love or die with all that this life has to offer surging through, in and around you.

So lying side by side, the night before the test results came back, the results that would, in fact, inform us that Andy’s cancer was still present and was back with an even greater strength, we both had the words… BE HERE NOW passionately etched onto our arms and into our hearts.

And Andy, the amazing, courageous man that he was, declared through streams of tears that we would make a documentary film sharing the next stage of his life’s journey, whatever the outcome.

So to you, the inspiring collective of wonderful human beings, who have been moved enough by one persons story to stand up and want to make a difference in your own life. Enormous thanks, for your patience, impatience, commitment, challenge and your ongoing support in bringing this documentary to life. I ask you to trust, manifest and BE open to the fact that it will, like everything else in life, appear just at the right time…..

  • Julie Morrison

    Bless you Vashti, you break my heart but still manage to inspire. Much love.xx

  • Lois Salvatore Whitfield

    hugs and bleses, we are always waiting…and we’ll keep doing so. Everyone Asks me..”when is it comming out? you dont shut up about it….” and i just say it will come out, whenever the time is right ..hugs <3

  • Naomi McMillon Duvall

    thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story with us. Everything in this life happens as it should and when it should. We do not have control over events only our reactions. You both embraced the journey and its unexpected events and made the decision to share such a personal experience and for that I thank you. I will wait as long as it takes but I will be there on opening night I dont care how far I have to go!! Thank you Vashti<3

  • Terri

    Thank you Vash, for that wonderful and artfully told story. Thank you for sharing those special times and ultimately somewhat painful moments that you know within so much beauty lies. My own faith has truly been tested in the last couple of years with so many things happening not so much in my favor, but, I know it is the journey that is the real story and that road leads us to a better place for ourselves if I can just hang in there and keep going and keep learning and let it build my character further. That all being said, I have never ever lost faith in the Be Here Now story/film and I know in my heart it will happen when it is suppose to and at just the right time. Nothing but love to you and the little lovelies!

  • Teresa B

    In one of your earlier posts today Vashti I had noticed that someone had asked you about ” Be Here Now”… And if it had come out yet… And had they missed it… I took the liberty of posting the link to page for her to see… I apologise to you for the boldness of doing that.. Every picture I see posted of Andy and the Cubs that is not by you… Or a question like that one that maybe asked.. I cant help but wonder every single time… How that effects or possibly hurts you… I hope it doesn’t Vashti … People sometimes don’t think, as you know and can be hurtful. With you guys living in the public eye I am sure you know only to well. It was silly but I felt this need to ” Protect you”..No laughter here…from having to answer that question today.. And now here is your post in regards to that
    Question. Your an amazing Lady Vashti, I would love to be able to find the kind of inner strength you’ve been able to
    Find to weather through so much.. And on the day that Andy’s movie does premiere You will be foremost in my thoughts.. Much Love and Respect from AZ..❤️❤️❤️

    • India Courtney

      Obviously you aren’t aware that when someone loses someone they love, they are always happy for any chance to talk about them.
      This documentary is surely a thing to bring her joy, not pain, and not in the sense you mean.
      Many notice that, over time, that person seem to disappear from conversations. Well intentioned people mistakenly believe they are causing the person more pain by reminding them.
      I know it seems like it’s taking forever to release the documentary and I have no information on it. But it will be worth it when it comes.
      And although your intentions were good, you are way off the mark.

      • Teresa

        Yes, and I am sure you are right about that. I meant NO bad intentions at all. Vashti is an amazing woman. Probably I would say I was Putting MY FEELINGS into play.. Rather than what her actual feelings are. So maybe I should deal with my loss as my own feelings instead of assuming everyone feels like that!! Thank you for shedding some more light on that!!

  • Missy

    Thank you Vashti, that is a beautifully sad story. Much Love. Xoxoxo

  • Beth F

    Such a beautiful and inspirational story. The incredible love you and Andy shared, and your love of life, making every moment count! I never tire of hearing the story behind ‘Be Here Now’. ‘Be Here Now’ has inspired me to continue to follow my dreams and not fear what ‘what if’s’. I believe, and I TRUST deep down inside, everything will workout the way it’s suppose to workout. Thank you Vashti for this blog, your motivational and honest words, and all the gorgeous photos you most generously share. I always look forward to what’s coming next…..in life, and from you! :-) xx

  • Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe, Ca.

    Much love and respect for your recollection about Andy.

  • Dawn Marie

    I am moved beyond tears… Beyond words. You fill my heart xoxoxo

  • Kelly

    I have no doubts that the film will be just as meaningful and impactful to those who see it whether it comes out tomorrow or 10 years from now. Obviously those who contributed to the making of the film, and perhaps even those who did not, feel attached to its completion and all are anxious for it to be made available but, as this is a situation over which the contributors have no control over the outcome, it is wiser to fall back on the fact that those who do have control also have a stake in the outcome and clearly must be working and pushing for things to happen whether we know it or not. Kudos Vashti for having the clarity and calm to respond to the inquires so kindly and to once again open up to everyone with your personal stories and memories.

  • Natalia

    Thank you Vashti for sharing this story with us and make us part of your life. Love! You are not alone.

  • Natalia

    Be here now, eran las palabras justas, era la materialización de lo que estaban viviendo y de lo que estaba por venir. Be here now, es el hoy, el ahora, el momento que hay que aprovechar al máximo, porque no se sabe lo que vendrá mañana.

  • Rivke

    Everything takes time and the documentary will grace us when it is completely done and ready and not a moment before. I wait with patience, and support, understanding whilst many cant wait to see this film and are impatient, for me there is a hesitation because of the raw and painful reality of what this documentary is about. It is no longer about the journey of two people who are strangers to me. After these 2 yrs of being part of your MMQ community, getting to see and hear part of who you really are, getting to know you, feeling love and care for you, I feel it will be hard to see someone I care about hurting.

    Nothing but love Vashti!
    Blessed Be!

    • Susan_Mangan

      Beautifully put Rivke! This is exactly how i feel too.
      Gorgeous post Vashti. Much love to you.
      x

  • Elena F.

    A beautiful story of two passionate, loving, clear, direct people, that catch the life by the balls. I absolutely love the way of life of you both… Love the way you think, love the way you live…
    Don’t worry, we’ll be patient… you deserve it!!!
    Thousands of kisses and hugs for you and your cubs!!

  • Kat Daylyn

    Some of my work involves bereavement counselling. It seems to me with the different clients I’ve seen that their loved one has been stolen. Whether the thief be disease or an unknown cause I have found the unfairness of their situations a sticking point for me and the rage and frustration that it conjured within me has been something I have worked with and around. These were all good people who didn’t deserve their lives to be blown apart and sitting with their devastation, sadness, fear, loneliness and responsibilities that had been left to them now their loved one had gone is incredibly tough, I can only begin to imagine how it feels for them. The emotions I feel with my clients takes me to places I haven’t been before and feels like a huge privilege whilst showing me the wonder and resilience of humanity.

  • sherriebeary

    Amazing

    • Stephen

      i agree

  • Meg

    Ever since watching Andy in Spartacus and learning he had cancer, and consequently learning of Be Here Now… That phrase and what it means, I try to keep at the forefront of my mind every day. Especially since my son was born; I try to BE here in the moment with him. I can’t wait to see the outcome of this passionate project, so dear to the hearts of many of us.

  • rosalielillian

    Ever since seeing Gabriel, the movie he was in, I have pictured him as an angel. Sounds weird maybe but he’s extremely angelic and the strength that you convey to us about your husband only makes that more true. We may not know Andy like we wish we did or like you do but we do know that he was passionate and kind and strong. He loved you and you can see it in his eyes in the film you’ve taken and the pics you’ve shared. That’s priceless. I always start crying when I read something new from you or really anything about Andy. More so than I would any super famous actor. Bless you and your family.

  • Raluca Eftimie

    :)

  • Laz

    Be hare now will be release no dough about it , both did a magnificent thing in a very sad moment of your life and still today is a great inspirations for many ,specially me that I have a profound respect for all you work and your family , thank you for being so open and for sharing so many good memories with us , Andy is a hero and always will be …. lot of love

  • SamuelBanks

    Once again you have moved me to tear’s my lady. Your’s and Andy’s love seems so entwined and compassionate it is truly amazing to me. I wear my BE HERE NOW bracelet all the time and in some difficult moments it has kept me strong and moving forward! They are showing Spartacus again on TV and even though I have the entire series on DVD I found myself watching it on TV and just staring into Andy’s eyes and seeing all the life and compassion he had shine through. There is not telling what all he would have acheived in this life if he had been able to remain here bt apparently he was called home to do rest after his battle and there is not doubt he watches over you and your Cub’s.
    Nothing but Love and Best Wishes for you and your family and LOVE always goes up to Andy from All of US!
    Sam

  • Maria

    Such a beautiful moment in the middle of such a great storm. Thank you for sharing your memory of such a profound moment in your life with all of us.

  • Miriam Finol

    Andy’s story will always inspire me to be here now everyday! God bless you Vashti!

  • Lizl

    Andy’s story is an inspiration to all who are struggling; whether illness or say goodbye to a loved one (my father) 8 weeks ago he died.In those difficult moments of life, you only realize what it means to live in the moment and to have confidence.Vashti, don’t get fooled by others, the documentary Be Here Now is ready, when it’s finished! Thank you for sharing your emotions, your experience on how to make this trip without Andy. Love from the Netherlands

  • Mai Parks

    I’m guilty of reading the news letter and blogs and that’s that….
    ..but this truly made me think about what it truly means. I suffer from depression after losing my mother , with treatment , it’s improving. It’s been 2 yrs of treatment and I just now feel Be Here Now should be the mantra for so many people. Not just the words , as I was guilty of doing, but what it MEANS .
    Love and light to you and your cubs Vashti , and to all who follow your journey.

  • zoomer

    I am a 3 time cancer survivor with no radiation or chemo and writing a book about my experience and the natural healing processes I have taken. This story touches my heart in ways I cannot describe. My heart goes out to Andy , friends and family. God Bless !

  • Cat

    Thank you for sharing this bittersweet and personal post. Your Andy will always be so proud of what you are trying, and ARE accomplishing in his loving memory, and the grateful life you both shared with each other. Thank you for all that you do to inspire. We all hold a piece of your journey close to our hearts because of this, and cherish the *Now*, more than ever before…

  • Geoffrey

    I just checked the kickstarter page, and thought I should comment to tell everybody to be patient. While I wrote, I thought it has been a long time since I came here. And poof, your post is strangely linked to mine :)
    … I just wish I had your ending line that is perfect: “…BE open to the fact that it will, like everything else in life, appear just at the right time…”.

  • Theresa

    This is so beautifully written, the courage and the dignity with which you write about what could only have been the hardest thing in the world to go through inspires me. You are perhaps the most inspirational writer I have read and I wish you all the best, and your children, living with Andy’s memories.

  • Penny Douglas

    <3 <3 <3 With love and appreciation always, Penny

  • Nothing

    I have noticed that the topic of the documentary has now ended up here and it is sad to see. I don’t think that the backers are trying to be mean or hurt anyone during this time, but I do feel that maybe people should try to see it from their point of view. They are investors in this project and from what I have read, they are feeling cheated as to what has happened so far and have gotten very little response as well. Maybe this is something that needs to address on both sides so that other people do not get involved.

  • drytech

    I was thinking of Andy yesterday and began to cry. I don’t normally cry, but to see such an amazing, strong man, with such a beautiful family taken in his prime is such a sadness I cannot understand. I was a fan of Andy since day one of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I was going to write this yesterday, but became to emotional and even now as I write this my eyes tear up. I will never get to meet Andy, the real Spartacus, but he will live on forever in his family and what he accomplished on film. We love you and miss you Andy.

    • drytech

      No disrespect to Liam McIntyre, who I liked as a replacement. He did not hold a candle to Andy’s portrayal of Spartacus. I have been watching the reruns on Sci-Fi channel and relive Blood and Sand, brings up a lot of good memories of watching it as it was coming out on Starz and really thinking this guy, Andy, is damn good. Not knowing that after the season was over I would never get to see him in that role again. I know that Spartacus is not what Andy was about as a whole, but it is all we have.

  • michelbarreau

    andy etait brave dans la maladie vous serez toujours sa moitie et vos posts nous apportent du baume nous pensons toujours a lui a vous a vos oursons bisous de FRANCE

  • Hannah

    adore this – read it over and over again. Life has a funny way of showing us what is important, like death. Losing someone sheds a completely new lease of life and an exciting path for each of us. Everything happens for a reason, the main aim is to find what that reason is. My grandfather who was a very intelligent and humble character used to tell myself and my brothers whilst we were growing up that ‘everything will be okay in the end, and if its isn’t okay, its not the end.’ – this is just one of his many theories of his experiences in life. When i lost him, it made me realise just how important life is, and how loss can affect a tribe of people, in many different ways. Us as humans face many challenges, hurdles, and triumphs, however the one thing we all have in common is love and loss – this is what makes us as people, and allows the new lease of life and the new chapter to begin.

  • SOLEDAD AVIA ARTES

    Alguien muy importante y valioso..

    me dijo una vez,con el corazon en la mano..Una vida sin amor ,no es vida,porque una vida ,sin tu amor..No es una vida.. Un dias mas,un dia menos..for ANDY..

  • kinglet

    Beautiful Leon will be at all times.

  • toni

    Hi Vashti, I saw the fathers day post on Bellamumma and feel a need to reach out to you. I met Andy not long after moving home from Los Angeles Dec 2001. I was auditioning for something, I can’t remember what it was but I do remember meeting your husband in the waiting room. I didn’t know who he was or what he had done but he was so friendly and had such a great warmth about him. I was so struck by his warm presence. I have always remembered him. To learn of his illness and passing brings so much sadness. He affected me and may others I’m sure with his open heart and mind. My heart goes out to you and his family. Thankyou for sharing your journey this fathers day.
    Kind regards,
    Toni

  • Joy

    “I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” —John Keats

    Reminded me of Andy.

    • Stephen

      Great words. Thanks for posting Joy. Just wonderful.

  • Stephen

    Vashti, Thank you for your message. This is so incredible and words to the wise “life is for you not to you.” I’ll try to remember that and work on that when I’m having a tough day. Just thinking of you, Jesse, and Indigo today and I miss Andy very much. I think of him often, and what could’ve been. You are truly inspirational in dealing with this tragedy. Your reasoning and resiliency is unmatched. I hope to grow the same way. About the film, Be Here Now, I can’t wait to see it, and when it’s ready it will be ready. My thoughts are with you and your family, and Andy’s mom and dad.
    Hugs
    Stephen