She said: 'It made me proud.
Surgery to rebuild his face left him with a tiny mouth and a prosthetic nose that frequently fell off and he retreated from the world, ashamed of his injuries, until he became part of a face transplant programme at the Mayo Clinic.
As she touched the hairless gap in his chin, she added: 'That's why he always grew it so long, so he could try to mesh it together on the chin'.
"The way Rudy saw himself. he didn't see himself like that".
Lilly had already agreed to donate her husband's lungs, kidneys and other organs to patients. Ross consented to the face transplant from her husband, despite her hesitation about someday seeing Rudy's face on a stranger.
When doctors reviewed the face to see how well it would match with Sandness, they said the men's ages, blood type, skin color and facial structure were so near-perfect that they could have been cousins.
Visiting Andy with her late husband's child Leonard, she said the meeting had helped her move past her husband's death.
More than a year after a surgery that took a team of more than 60 medical professionals, Andy is finding a groove in everyday life while still treasuring the simple tasks he lost for 10 years, such as chewing a piece of pizza.
Speaking of his new-found confidence, Andy said: 'I wouldn't go out in public. "I hated going into bigger cities", said Andy, according to ABC News.
Life with a transplanted face takes work, every day.
But without the same eyes, forehead and strong cheeks, she was relieved to find Mr Sandness looked quite different.
"And now I'm just really spreading my wings and doing the things I missed out on; going out to restaurants and eating, going dancing."Mr Sandness is on a daily regimen of anti-rejection medication. He says the alphabet to himself while driving to work on his speech, and gives himself massages whenever he can.
"I wanted to show you that your gift will not be wasted", Sandness told Ross.
Dr Mardini and the rest of Andy's medical team have delighted in seeing their patient and friend open up since the procedure.
'He's enjoying these times, where he's missed out on 10 years of his life'.
The pair now plan to build a stronger connection and Andy wants to contribute to a trust fund for Leonard's education.
Ross and Sandness say they feel like family now. On the day of meeting, Lenoard was apprehensive to approach Sandness, but after some time had passed, he walked over to him and waved to Sandness to pick him up.
For Ross, just meeting Sandness felt like a huge release - a way to get past a year filled with grieving, funeral planning, childbirth and gut-wrenching decisions about organ donations.
Lilly showed Andy photo albums of happier times with her late partner while introducing her son to him.
'Everything happened so fast'.