Andrew: A Memoir

I did not go to Andrew’s memorial service. It was too much to bear, and he was too far away. I purchased a small monument in memory of his loving soul.

I did not go to Andrew’s memorial service. It was too much to bear, and he was too far away. I purchased a small monument in memory of his loving soul.

Kristin Iler, Staff writer

Most people feel as though their closest friends will always be there for them, but that is not always true. Maybe they just leave or maybe others push them to the boiling point. In fact, they push them so far off the edge that they decide to put their own life to a screeching halt. The feeling of losing a best friend is a dreadful experience. Life comes crashing down in a silent disaster.

My best friend Andrew was a different kind of soul. He had the mind of Einstein, the heart of God, and the personality to make everyone feel as if no one else in the world mattered in his presence. However, he struggled greatly with depression. Every awful joke and phrase that was said to and about him pushed him closer to the edge.

Andrew had an ongoing problem that would never leave him alone. He was bisexual. We lived in a small town known as Ellijay, Georgia and no one had ever witnessed someone like Andrew. He was criticized and judged on a daily basis. I was the only one who ever gave him the chance that he desperately deserved.

In Mid-March of 2013, Andrew began struggling with high levels of depression and suicidal thoughts. He did not want to live his life anymore, and he expressed it every day. It wounds the heart deeply to know that one cannot help a friend in a way that is needed; it is even more heartbreaking to know they are likely to kill themselves and no one has any control whatsoever over if they do or do not.

Months passed by and Andrew moved a great distance away from me, so my only form of communication to him was over the phone. The distance that separated us was very difficult, and it hurt both of us to great extents. In the end, the distance bonded us more, and we were closer than ever. He became my rock, and I became the only person he would talk personally with.

Saturday, January 11, 2014 is imprinted in my memory forever. Andrew called me because he was really scared. He had cut himself numerous times to ease and release his pain and had taken way too many pills to erase every thought that went through his head. I talked on the phone, comforting him, for a solid hour and a half. His breathing began slowing down, almost like his lungs were preparing to shut his body off. At 9:56 p.m. he said I needed to be strong for him, and he was in extensive amounts of pain. He told me that this was not my fault. He stated that he did not mean for it to go this far.  At 10:47, Andrew stopped breathing. The only thought that kept me alive at that exact moment was the hope that someone would sprint into the room to find and save him. I tried to convince myself he was only in a deep, soft, slumber. Around 11:20, I heard a scream of sheer horror. It was easily identifiable as Andrew’s mother.  It rang throughout my head as she was cried his name. I could not stand the mournful shrieks any longer. Click. The thought never crossed my mind that it would be the last I ever heard from Andrew.

It was a very challenging recovery for me, but I managed to pull myself together after eight months. I kept recalling the last words ever spoken by my unforgettable companion. I knew that I had to be strong not just for myself, but for Andrew as well. Andrew’s death scarred me deeply. He was a very strong individual, and every moment I think about him I know in my heart how much he would have wanted to see me the way that I am as of now. I live my life knowing that I have made him proud.