Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is Windshield Wiper Fluid Flammable?

Earlier today, my friend Jesse responded to an email I sent on Monday. I had written to all of my old friends high school to congratulate our friend Aaron on his anniversary. I think Jesse responded to the same email since it was a quick way to use a ready-made distribution list.

Jesse's message was brief; Andrew Sayre, who we had all been good friends with up until about freshman year at Mount Abe, died. We've heard it was due to a heroin overdose.

I was good friends with Andrew in elementary school and junior high. We were identified as "gifted" children in those years, and we would often partner up for projects. I have very clear memories of competing in a balsa-wood bridge contest with a design we created together. But in high school, Andrew started getting into trouble some, at school and beyond. You could say we drifted apart, but it might be more accurate to say I chose to drift away from him. Not maliciously; I just stopped hanging out with someone who was gathering a reputation as a troublemaker.

As years wore on, I heard from time to time about Andrew. I got the impression he had not fulfilled the promise he once showed; truth be told, neither did I. But the few times I thought of him, I did not picture him doing particularly well. But this news exceeds even my worst imaginings. It is a tragedy, made even more so by how easily he could have been a success.

I am troubled; I knew 15 years ago that he was moving in a bad direction. He was my friend. And I did not do anything to help him. We are all responsible for our own lives and decisions, but that does not absolve us from failing to help those around us. I'm not here to rend my clothes and gnash my teeth, blaming myself for Andrew's tragic loss. But I can't help but wonder what portion of blame is rightfully mine.

Most importantly, my sympathies go out to Andrew's family. Even if he was troubled, if he caught some bad breaks or made some mistakes, that does that change the fact he was a good man. His passing is a great loss, and I hope they can find some comfort in this trying time.


enjanerd said...

That sucks... I knew an Andrew too who passed away a few years ago. Your last two paragraphs say it all. :(

Christopher said...

I hear you, Dan.

I think there are a lot of us who know exactly what you're talking about, and feel the same guilt. I know I do.

Rest in peace, Andrew.

Anonymous said...

If this is the same Andrew I knew that passed away on October 8th then I have something to say.

I went to college with him. I hate to burst your bubble, but he was doing extremely well for himself. He had a condo in Manhatten and a six figure job. He had a very high stress job that made him work many hours. The industry he was in is tough..I heard many stories of those people turning to drugs.

He was a great friend and a successful businessman. He was always funny and knew how to brighten everyone's mood. His passing is a tragic loss. Too bad you didn't keep in touch with him because he was a great friend. You can always seperate that portion of his lifestyle from yours. Not once does he ever pressure anyone into doing anything they are not comfortable with.

Dan said...

I find it reassuring that my assumptions were wrong; I had not heard anything definite about Andrew for many years, and it sounds like reality was very different from what I extrapolated from the last I heard. That was unfair of me to assume so much about someone I really didn't know anymore. I don't believe it makes any difference, in the end - his passing is a tragic loss, regardless of the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Since last Thursday when I heard the news about Andrew’s death, I’ve been trying to get more information and so far this blog and a three line obit in IL, is all I have been able to find. I’ve had a mix of emotions since I heard this news and I’m thankful that whoever ‘anonymous’ is made the post that they did. I guess you could consider me one of the friends Andrew had when he started down his “troubled” path. It seems like the only information that is circulating is speculation based on the Andrew that people knew 10 years ago. I’m thankful to say I’m not the same person I was when I left Bristol, and it troubles me to think that his memory may be tarnished by rumors, when in fact it sounds we like lost touch with someone who ended up to be not only successful but touched lives since he left Bristol.

One of the things I’m struggling with is that there seems to be no arrangements made for those us who want to get together and remember Andrew. I’m not sure where to start but since this is the only place I can find where people are talking, I’ll start here and hopefully we can pass the word and I can organize some sort gathering for the friends that Andrew had, whether it be from elementary school, high school, college or now. If you are interested helping me organize or attending, please email me. If anyone has any real information about Andrew, please, please contact me. My email address in

Margie (Truax) Klark

Anonymous said...

His funeral was today in IL. His parents are planning to have a memorial service in Vermont on a Saturday in a few weeks for family and friends in Vermont.

He was a great friend, and I miss him dearly.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that it was NOT heroin but other drugs were involved. You are all right. He was a great guy, he was very successful, he was a good person, he was a good friend, sometimes he made some bad choices/decisions. He died too early. He touched alot of people, he had a great career. It is a great loss, for his family, his friends and this world.

Anonymous said...

Makes sense that it wasn't heroin. I didn't think he was into that

Anonymous said...

A memorial service for Andrew will be held in the Federated Church in Bristol, on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 11 a.m. For those who so desire, memorials may be made to the Federated Church, in Bristol, or the Valley Vista Drug Rehab Center, in Bradford, Vt.

Anne said...

Andrew was one of my son's best friends. He was to be in Chuck's wedding next year. Andrew was very successful and positive as well as willing to believe the best about people. He did stuggle with addiction but that never stopped him for being there for my son and helping him with his struggles. I have great respect and admiration for Andrew and his rise to success and his continued battle to do the right thing. My family is deeply saddeded by his death. He was supposed to be in Vermont and stay with Chuck and his fiancee this weeked. Chuck had been unable to reach him. His help with Chuck's sobriety will never go unnoticed or forgotten. We love you Andrew.

Anonymous said...

I just learned of Andrew's passing, and want to echo the kind sentiments for this great friend and exceptional person. I have known Andrew since 2003 and can personally attest to his gift in the business world. More importantly, we were great friends outside of work and it is here, as a friend and human being, that his spirit, leadership and enthusiasm were personified.

I will miss you, bro.
Andrew M.

Anonymous said...

I thank all of you who continue to hold Andrew in high regards. I'm his sister. He was an outstanding brother. He always put his family first and visited us frequently in Chicago. He had great numerical, reasoning, spatial, and inter/intrapersonal intelligences. He was invincible to me, which makes this all seem the more unreal. No matter what kind of "trouble" he got into, he managed to turn it around 180. His drive to succeed in business and 90+ hour work weeks precipitated the drug use in some instances. He began using more frequently to stay awake. On top of this, he had to wine, dine and entertain clients. It became a cycle. He entered rehab in June of this year, in Manhattan. I was unaware he was still using until he surprised us with a visit in late Sept.

We played mini-golf with our significant others. He just turned 29 a few days earlier. Andrew was as he always is, laughing, charming, incredibly generous, humorous, competitive!, affectionate and honest. He told the family at dinner that he was struggling again. There was this saddness in his eyes, one that I've noticed off-and-on since he lost someone he held dear a couple years ago. The expression didn't last long. Soon he was smiling, reassuring us that he would be alright for now. He was too stubborn to listen to advice. He was off to show his girlfriend the city. I looked forward to Thanksgiving, when we would have one of our long talks.
Drugs became a tremendous struggle for him since he lost his love. There are some drugs that cause irreparable damage to the heart, and his was already broken.

But I ask those of you who knew him to not remember him because of the "troubles" or the nature of his death. Remember him for his kindness and incredible generosity, his dedication and loyalty to family and friends, his fluid athletic abilities, his outstanding work ethic and interpersonal skills, his unique humor and ability to entertain others, his strong desires to achieve, his compassion and understanding of others' needs and difficulties, and his great willingness to help his loved ones conquer his or her personal demons. Remember these great successes.


Kim W. said...

I feel like I'm the last to know about Andrew's passing and I can't be sorry enough that I didn't find out when it all happened and couldn't be there with others who cared for him to celebrate his life.

I met him when we went to Babson College and even after I had transferred to another college we had stayed in touch, hung out a lot and even dated briefly before I left Boston to move to LA. He was larger than life and so much fun to be with and just know. We finally reconnected on myspace, of all places, in '05 and were in constant contact despite our miles apart. His emails and comments always made me laugh and bring a smile to my face when I really needed it. I was so happy to see how sucessful he had become and how his sense of humor and kindness was always at the forefront.

One day his emails and comments fell silent. I thought he was busy or preoccupied and always just looked forward to his response that never came to my emails. After months of huge events happening in my life and him not responding, I finally invaded his myspace and read his comments to find out I had been in a selfish darkness that he had passed away months ago. I'm so sorry I wasn't there to celebrate his life with people who truly cared for him. I wish I could have helped with any personal struggle he may have been facing, I never thought something like this could have happened to someone with such an invincible presence. He will be truly missed and if anyone has any information regarding where he lays to rest or who or where I may still pay more respects to, please email me at

Again, I am so sorry how late this comes.

Kim W.

mary said...

I met Andrew in Boston 2002, and we became immediate friends despite the fact that I lived in NJ. One of my greatest memories of him was spending New Years 2003 in NYC with him. When I found out he was moving to NYC I thought we would be closer, but in fact we started growing apart, only seeing eachother every few months. The last year of his life I think we spoke only a handful of times. I deeply regret this. I didn't know how much I would miss him, even now a few years later I miss him so much. I feel like he was one of the few people that really understood me. I really regret not helping him out more with his problems. I kind of just ignored it and went along for the ride. I am so sad thinking that I just let this happen. I also regret not spending more time with him the last year of his life. I didn't even go to his birthday celebrations and I was in the city that night. I am so sad. Andrew, I miss you, and I hope you can forgive me for not being a better friend. I hope there really is a heaven and that I get to see you again.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mary,

"Even now, a few years later, I miss him so much." I still feel that pain very deeply, and I relate to the guilt and regrets that you mention. I'm so glad to see that he is still in the hearts and minds of a few people. This blog and his myspace page serve as important memorials to my dear brother. I think he would appreciate your honesty, but just know he'd hold nothing against you in life or death. His soul is one of a kind...and I'm glad you got a chance to know the great person he was.

Nov. 2010