Submitted by: Mary Gibson
My Tribute: Andrew started using drugs in Middle School in his hometown of Billerica, MA at the age of 13. First it was marijuana. He sold marijuana for years until he graduated to opiates. Andrew told Meyers later that he had no idea Heroin was so addictive...that his body would need it....and without it he would be sick.
Andrew never liked school and did not go to college. He was very successful his last two years of high school at IACS, a charter school in Tyngsboro, MA principally because of the supportive community at the school, the teachers and administration. Andrew graduated from high school in 2012.
Andrew loved dirt bikes and did his senior project on the dynamics of dirt bike engines. He also loved cars and was proud of his Acura Integra that he would drive to school with the sound system he installed blaring.
Andrew was always put together...looking "fresh" and wearing a hat to match the color of his shirt and sneakers. He took pride in how he presented himself, cleaning the dirt off his spotless white sneakers, wiping smudges off his mirror sunglasses and sporting a crisp haircut. He was well liked, charismatic, respectful, kind, a good friend, and always willing to help a friend. Andrew had difficulty being kind to himself always focussing on his mistakes and diminishing his successes.
Andrew relapsed many times and struggled with embracing the 12 steps. It took being arrested in 2014 for possession of Heroin and being sent to Middleton Jail to make him realize how serious his addiction had become. He went to a sober house in Portland, Maine called Skip Murphy's where he learned how to live sober. He got a job as a cook at a local restaurant, learned how to do everything on the grill, was proud that he learned and was good at something new, started to work the steps, got a sponsor, attended and spoke at regular meetings, started mental health counseling, joined a gym and was feeling good about himself. Physically he looked great having gained back some weight he lost when he was on dope. Andrew helped countless people in his short time with us. Many people have commented to me that they would not be sober or even alive if they had not met Andrew.
So what happened? Fentanyl being sold as Heroin by dealers making money by killing people. Fentanyl is 20 times more potent than Heroin. When laced with Heroin, the substance is toxic and deadly.
Where do I begin to put into words the pain of losing my son at the age of 21? Drug addiction and the underlying mental illness that it carries with it is an epidemic in this county. An evil life sucking plague.
Andrew loved going to the coffee shop around the corner from his apartment and ordering his usual sweet iced Vietnamese Coffee...he took me there many times. The people who work there remember Andrew fondly...always smiling and polite. My proud son.
Andrew loved the Lord of the Rings books and movies. One of the lines from the movies that he often referred to - "it's a dangerous business stepping outside of your door because. If you lose your feet there's no telling where you will be swept off to." I hope and trust that you, my darling angel, have been swept off to a magical, peaceful pace free of pain and filled with love and joy. I will see you soon...I love you to infinity, my beautiful son.
I picture you driving the car you were saving for...a Subaru WRX with your tunes on...very loudly...just having left the tanning salon and the gym..heading to Whole Foods for one of your favorite protein burritos..feeling and looking good..and chillin with friends...all of your favorite things..
You will be missed...never forgotten...and always loved..for infinity My Beautiful Boy.
Love you, Mom...your number 1 Fan...xxoo
Submitted by: Diana
My Tribute: Our daughter, Kayla, lost her battle with heroin addiction on 1-22-15. Kayla's story is by no means a unique one. From an average, middle income, suburban, family she could be anyones daughter, she could be your own. Kayla didn't chose to be an addict. However, a "friend" of hers (for over 10 years) brought her into the environment through his own addiction,. He helped Kayla to try Heroin, by injecting our needle terrified daughter, and she became so addicted she couldn't escape it. The downward spiral began.
It took 3 years of hell on her and her family but she had finally found sobriety last October, cold turkey, in a cold jail cell on her own. She came out changed, almost scarred, but with a determination to get help and recover. She loved the intensive, outpatient rehab and was devastated when, three short weeks in, she had to leave for a sober living home when insurance funds ran out. She wanted with every fiber in her being to be clean! She was excited that she was soon to embark on a new & sober life. Excited to be mending relationships and the damage caused in the heat of her addiction. Kayla was a changed girl and I was so proud of her progress. Then, one bad day, one weak moment, 83 days in to her recovery and our beautiful 22 year old daughter was gone forever.
Despite losing her battle, she is MY hero. She was and is stronger, braver than I could ever dream to be. Oh the things she endured, her stories.... broke me. Kayla had a kindness for everyone, no matter their situation and wanted more than anything to be able to counsel others. To this day I continue to hear from people she met along her path, those she helped and many more she touched forever.
Submitted by: Sister
My Tribute: My dear sweet brother, I love you so much, I will forever be heart broken. I wanted so much for you to come home and have a normal life. Now you will forever be warm and safe and no one can ever hurt you again. You will always be in my heart and my memories no one can take that from me. Intill we meet again, love you brother.
Submitted by: Connie Cooper
My Tribute: I lost my son to heroin 11 days ago. My heart is heavy and my mind is sad. I love you son. I don't know how to live without your beautiful smile ❤️