A little bit about Andrew

I talk a lot about my feelings, about our loss, about what people say – and don’t say – or how they say it.  I talk about what is in my head at any given time, but try to make my posts relevant and interesting, not just to those of us who are suffering, but to those whose friends are in situations where what I am writing hopefully helps.

I am off that track today. I fell I need to talk about Andrew.  To tell people who did not know him that well, or at all, about him.

Andrew - Happy

Andrew loved to make people smile and laugh

Andrew was always around.  But he was also that person who was quiet, in the background, never wanting the spotlight.  He was always invited out with his friends and teammates, and he went out with them often, but did so while staying almost anonymous in a big group.  He was also a funny kid, as anyone who knows him will attest to.  He would be quiet in a crowd, then all of a sudden blurt out some funny comment and break everyone up, whether in a locker room or at a party.  We heard some of the comments he made in his varsity hockey locker room, all told by teammates with a smile on their face.  He did not look for attention, and was very happy just being there, just being part of a group, part of the crowd, part of a team.

He was pretty popular, and everyone knew and loved him.  For his memorial hockey game last December we had an amazing turnout, and we all laughed and cried.  People told us stories about Andrew, from school times to hockey to going out at night. It was truly a night to remember for Dorothy, Nicole and I. Thank you to those who participated. Hopefully this year’s game will grow some, and we will keep this one-game-a-year alive for Andrew.

He never wanted to have birthday parties, or even a graduation party, but he was always invited and was always going to someone else’s party.  He never wanted to be the center of attention, but whomever he was talking to – he made them feel like they were the most important person on the earth at that moment.  He never interrupted you, and gave you his undivided attention, and you felt and knew that. We have heard that so many times.

Andrew - dress 2

Nicole in Nicole’s dress, and later that day Andrew in Nicole’s dress, just so people could smile.

Andrew was close with a lot of his friends.  After he was gone many of his friends told us that they would talk to him for hours, just the two of them.  They would tell Andrew so much more than they told others, the words therapist and shrink came up many times when others talked about him.  He would sit and listen to them and they felt comfort in talking to him. He was such a compassionate, caring and gentle person that no one ever felt threatened by him or by telling him their deepest secrets, their fears, or what was on their mind. And he would listen and nod his head and make eye contact. And then when they were done, Andrew would respond with some pearl of wisdom that made them feel better.  I never heard any of these conversations, he never talked to me about this part of his life, but I heard about it from at least a dozen of his friends afterward.  They all had tears in their eyes when they told me about these conversations, and said that they learned so much by having Andrew just listen to them.

Andrew wanted to be a therapist, a healer, a confidante.  Even before he graduated college, or learned his calling, he was doing this, he was helping others. Very rarely does someone find their calling in life so early, Andrew did. He knew he could heal people not just by talking to them, but by making them laugh. Even as a little boy, he would make funny faces for the camera, or do funny things to make others laugh – he loved to make others laugh.

One thing that Andrew did was to collect tickets. He liked to look at them and remember the places he had been, the games he had been to, the concerts he laughed at, the mountains he ski’ed. He had collected hundreds of tickets from Ranger games, Mets and Yankee games. He saw Meatloaf, The Who (two times), Dane Cook, and Berlin in concert (sitting atop the right sides stage speakers, he couldn’t hear for a few days after that). He had tickets from the Circle Line, Westminster Dog Show Exhibitor, along with NBA Championship games, World Series tickets, and backstage passes.  He kept them all in a small wooden box in his room next to his bed.

ticketsSeveral years ago I had heart stent surgery and was unable to do anything for a few weeks. I had an idea that took the better part of that time. I had a board cut five feet tall by two and a half feet wide. I hijacked his ticket box, went downstairs and  meticulously sorted the tickets on the floor. Some were sets of two, others were three, and some were fours. I then applied them to the board. No real order, no real pattern, just his memories all laid out on  twelve-plus square feet. After I was done, I called him downstairs one evening to show him what I had made for my son. He was amazed, overwhelmed, and truly appreciative for this gift. We had it framed and it has been in his room ever since.

Those who have been to our home have seen the board, he shows it to everyone and hangs in his room. It is his memories of his life. It is now our memories of our son. We remember the games now, we remember the concerts we took him to, we remember riding the circle line as a family. It is still Andrew’s ticket board, but it is now our memories. I often go into his room just to look at it. The box is still there and has so much more in it, maybe one day I will make another board.

We gave Andrew to the world, and we hope the world is a better place for the time he spent here. We hope that those he met, those he befriended are better people for the time they spent with our son.

 

5 thoughts on “A little bit about Andrew

    1. Susan Wallace

      Good Morning Perry,

      I saw that you posted this yesterday, but as you know, you are part of my Sunday morning ritual, so I waited until now, coffee in hand, house silent, so I would be able to read and think about your post as I always do. As usual, your words are touching. This post in particular is beautiful because it’s all about Andrew and how he touched so many lives, was a great listener, good friend, and funny guy. Nick aka Wally – I don’t think I will ever call my son Wally – I think it’s ridiculous- LOL! – loved Andrew because of all those gifts he had. I, too, heard so much about Nick’s feelings and thoughts about Andrew when he spoke at the service. They were probably best friends because they complimented each other, and both of them were extremely funny – each with his own unique sense of humor, but able to make people actually “belly laugh”… Since Andrew’s passing, there is an empty space in Nick’s life… He has no confidant… No one to share his inner-most thoughts with. I miss hearing them laugh when they were hanging out in the basement, or outside, or wherever they would be around the house. Nick has changed considerably with the loss of his best friend. Nick is somewhat lost himself.

      The board you created from tickets is wonderful, and, as you said, maybe in the future you will make another. All the good memories are so precious. Isn’t it funny that oftentimes, when the boys would get in some sort of mess, it seemed so terrible. But those memories are long faded, and only the happy times are in the forefront. Your post reminds me to look for the good each day. Celebrate happiness. My 100 happy days challenge is helping me do that, but some days life is so crazy, it’s hard to find happiness. I feel embarrassed saying that to you… But I’m merely expressing the admiration I have for your strength to get out of bed each day. These reflections of the happy memories of Andrew are a blessing.

      Although once again, I have rambled on, my thoughts are with you always, and keep writing Perry, it does more good than you know…

      Susan

      Reply
  1. Sally

    I hope you do make another board of Andrew’s tickets and frame that one for his room, too! How lucky you were to have such an amazing person as Andrew as your son and I am sure his friends count themselves lucky as well to have had Andrew in their lives.

    Reply
  2. Patti

    Unfortunately, I never met your son, Andrew. Your description of Andrew is breathtaking. Regretfully, I never had the chance….Your board was amazing… Continue your writing… Fondly, Patti

    Reply
  3. Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

    This is so very touching. I came across this blog from a posting on the group 10591. I dint know how Andrew died, but I do know a lot about what it feels like to lose a brother, as I lost my brother Mark when I was 19 years old. The hurt never goes away, even after more than 30 years, but I compartmentalize very well and mostly put it aside to think what a great privilege to have known him for 15 years. Now, like your most recent post, my best posture is to thank Gd for my three kids. One day, they, too will fly the coop. But until then, thanks for reminding me to appreciate them even when I feel being a single mom is hard or I feel low energy.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *