Since Andrew’s passing, I have received dozens and dozens of notes, letters, e-mails, IM’s, from his friends, teammates, and our family. I have kept all of them and when I have the need to hear about my son, I read and re-read them. It brings me to tears every time when I read them, but they are tears of happiness to hear how he was loved by so many and how he helped and changed the lives of so many.
I have put together some of them below to share with you. They are unedited and have come to me over the past year. There are so many more, I will share some time soon.
Dear Perry – today I had quite the unusual encounter… It started off with GoogleEarth, I was looking at maps and decided to take a “street view” of Rocky Ridge.. and nostalgia started to kick in. In particular, this story came to my mind – I remember one day, Andrew and I were practicing or yo-yo skills, when we realized we sucked. Our goal was to beat Max (the German boy up the street) in a yo-yo “sleeping” competition (where the yo-yo keeps spinning, once all the string is drawn, typically when tricks are preformed) and Andrew had this great idea – why not put WD-40 on the bearings of our yo-yos so that we could beat Max, and sure enough it worked like a charm, and we became the yo-yo king and queen of the block! Max was stupefied because we all had the same model yo-yo!! But I digress.. anyway as my work day was coming to an end, we have to chase the chickens around to put them back in their coop. It’s always a struggle, and we have to walk pretty far into the woods to go find them. And, this one particular chicken, orange/bass in color, looks me dead in the eye, jumps out of the coop and proceeds down into the woods. I followed him quite some ways, nothing out of the ordinary. But then — and I kid you not Perry, I walk in these woods everyday, along with my co-workers, this chicken sits down by a hockey puck in a clearing of tall grass. I’ve never seen the hockey puck, and I walk that path, everyday!!! And oddly enough – my whole day fit together in a strange puzzle of nostalgia. I am so sure that was Andrew somewhere, laughing at our times growing up together…….
Perry, I am so sorry to hear about Andrew. I regret being unable to make it yesterday to the services. He was truly part of my farm family and I have so many fond memories of him.
I remember one year at the farm, when they had those hand sanitizer wipes in the barn, he took a bunch with them for no other reason but to be funny. All week, he kept cracking jokes about them, and with anyone else, those jokes would have gotten old. But with Andrew, it was funny every time.
I remember all the times we went to arts and crafts together. We made lots of bead bracelets and fuse bead crafts. We’d always trade at least one craft every day with each other. And, he would sit there until his was done, even if Todd, Lauren and myself had already finished.
I remember him as someone who got along with everyone. Nothing negative ever seemed to faze him at the farm. He was always so upbeat and positive. Just the way he would enthusiastically get up and say hi to Daisy every single time you walked by with her just showed his true self even more. His sense of humor, his kindness, and light-hearted spirit are qualities I will always remember him for.
I’m so saddened that this kind of tragedy has happened to such an amazing family like yours. You all have touched me with your kindness throughout the years. Andrew will always have a special place in my heart. Sending all my thoughts and love your way.
From another A.N.
Hi Perry, Hope you, Dorothy and Nicolle are doing okay. My mom was just playing with a rubix cube and it made me think of Andrew…he is the one who showed me the algorithm to complete the cube….of course I couldn’t’ figure it out but he was a good teacher! I just wanted to share that with you. We think about him everyday – he was a good friend. I remember he drove me to school so many times junior year during finals, and senior year before I got a car – he’d see me at the bus stop and tell me to jump in his car. And he would drive barefoot. If you ever need anything from us we’re right down the street. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all
Andrew really was a great person and one of the friendliest people I have ever met. He has inspired me to live my life to the fullest each and every day.
Andrew was such an amazing person. I went to my first ever music festival with him and my older brother Henry. We camped out for The Gathering of the Vibes in Connecticut for 3 days and it changed my life. I saw how carefree, worldly and full of joy Andrew and all of the other concertgoers were. It changed my taste in music completely and opened my eyes to a world I never thought existed. Andrew will always hold a special place in my heart for this and I am so thankful to have met him and created such amazing memories with him and my brother. I miss him so much
Hi Perry, I just now found out about Andrew… Absolutely shocking. I was definitely one of the few people who really got to know him being that we were roommates for the better part of two years. Those years were really special to me; Andrew had a certain aura to him that was truly unique, truly profound. He had such a light that emitted from his smile, such a positive glow that was unmistakable. You could instantly feel the atmosphere of a room brighten whenever he walked in – kid was special.
I spent so many days and nights philosophizing with him about everything from consciousness to politics to the value of being a good person, and everything in between. He always had something new to offer to the conversation that changed my perspective; I learned so much through and with him. Every once in a while, I find myself laughing in reminiscence about things we talked about, the witty comments he would make, the way that he could turn anything into a smile.
I just want you to know that when it comes down to it, Andrew, specifically, has positively influenced my life, and he lives on in my own life in how his presence has affected me. I will always look back fondly on my time spent with Andrew, and how I’ve grown through his being a good person.
He was so smart – everything he came into contact with was left with a residual glow that was simply beautiful. My heart hurts for you and your family, especially because he was all the way out here when it happened. I just want to reassure you that his time spent out here really was a blessing to many people, and that in my experience with him, he made me smile more times than anyone else I’ve met out here. If there is anything I can do to help you or your family to ease this process of transition, please do not even hesitate to ask. I am going to get together with some people from the dorms in his honor- one last hoorah for the beauty that was Andrew’s life.
I didn’t want to send this message too soon so I thought that now would be a better time. I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I understand that there is nothing anyone could ever do to make the pain go away but I wanted to tell you how much I loved spending summers at EHF with Andrew and Nicole.
The best memory I have of Andrew is when Nicole and I decided to wake up really early on the LAST day you guys were at the farm and DUMP cold water on him. I just remember how after we dumped this water and woke him up he was NOT upset and was just laughing! ( Nicole and I were hysterical ) It’s a memory that is just so simple but stays with you for a long time. Both your kids are outstanding and hilarious and KIND people and I am so happy that I was able to meet Andrew and your family and shared wonderful memories. I am thinking of you during this difficult time, always.
You raised a great kid. I’m thankful everyday i got the chance to meet and be friends with such a wonderful individual. andrew truly touched the hearts of so many people. thank you for doing such a good job with him. he gave nothing but respect since day one.
And finally, from M.J.
I’ll always remember our last conversation. I dropped you off at your house just hours before you left for the airport to fly to Colorado. Although I wish every day that we could talk just one more time, and of all the conversations we had, I know our last conversation was the perfect one because it reminded me of the great, selfless friend that you are. I use the word “are” because the things you told me are still with me and always will be. It has been a sad day, undoubtedly, but it is the happy memories of you that carry us through days like these. Thank you for everything and I love you brother.