Memorial

Memorial

Andrew Smith

Born
Died

I simply miss my son! He was my only boy, my youngest. Even though we lived in different cities, he was always there in my life, sometimes in the background because he had distanced himself from me at times over the years (due to the drugs). But I always knew a phone call would come at some point and also a visit. I had hopes of grandchildren because he talked of becoming a father. He said he wanted to meet someone educated, maybe a doctor.

Tell us about your loved one.

When people remember Andrew - 99% of the time, the first words that are spoken would be about Andrew's incredible intellect. He was extremely bright from the very beginning. He was accepted in to the Gifted Program in 1st Grade. He always excelled in school and graduated from college in 3 years. Many of his friends have said "He was the smartest guy I ever met". After his intellect, people always remember his razor-sharp, witty humor. He was extremely funny, sometimes self-effacing. He loved to laugh and share his laughter with others. Andrew was also a good listener and a loyal friend. He was an obedient child, rarely getting into any type of trouble. He loved music and played guitar. A friend told me on campus, you always saw Andrew barefoot carrying his guitar wherever he went. His incredible listening skills often resulted in deep, sometimes heated conversations. Andrew was very polite and likeable immediately. He was just a very sweet young man with the world at his fingertips, so it seemed. Andrew appeared confident about his opinions, views of the world and his goals in life. He inspired so many people during his short life. He was well loved by co-workers and was a role-model for new employees. His new position in Las Vegas held such promise. His employer said they had so many plans for Andrew's future. She also said he always volunteered for extra projects, never complained and would have given the shirt off his back to someone in need.

Tell us about Andrew's struggle with addiction

Andrew began experiment with drugs in high school, but his addiction happened in college in 2009 with Oxycontin. He was in FL during the Pill Mills, and Oxy was cheap and readily available. Oxy made people, life and college tolerable. Andrew often expressed frustration with trying to find people on his intellectual level, so Oxy made him more like everyone else. Andrew tried all drugs, but Oxy was the one that hooked him. He never thought so, of course. He always thought he was in control. Even when he was forced to switch to heroin in 2014, he told an old friend "Heroin is not so bad, it's just like Oxy". But in August 2014, when he took the job promotion in Las Vegas, he thought he could leave heroin behind. He told me "Mom, I never planned to do heroin here. I planned to quit, but I realized I was an addict when I got to Las Vegas and still had to have it." Even at the end, when his life really began to unravel, he still thought he had the upper hand with this drug. He refused long-term treatment, he thought after de-tox he could go back to work. I spend the last 6 days of his life with him, he was clean 19 days. He told me what I wanted to hear - "I don't want to do heroin again, Mom". But he struggled so much, he was so sad and ashamed of what his life had become. On the surface, he was a very successful corporate executive who had everything. In reality, he was a struggling addict who lived for Oxycontin and ultimately heroin. He didn't not want anyone to know. So on a Monday afternoon, 11/10/14, he told me he wanted to attend and AA meeting down the street. I was so excited and happy he was making progress, I dropped him off. One hour later he did not respond to my texts or phone calls. (remember, Andrew was VERY obedient). I knew in my heart what had happened. 1 hour and 45 minutes after I dropped him off, the hospital called. He was found in the bathroom at Petsmart, just down the street. It was too late to save him. He died alone.

What made Andrew smile?

Andrew loved music, it was an outlet for him. He told me the only thing in the world he wanted was his acoustic guitar (which was pawned). I did get the guitar back and will be restoring it in Andrew's honor. He also loved animals and had hoped to adopt a retired greyhound someday. He loved intellectual humor of all kinds too. He loved Seattle and the West Coast. It made him happy to be there. Unfortunately, Andrew never really grew into the person that he was meant to be because of the drugs. He reverted back to his boy scout days and went camping alone 2 months before he died. He was so proud of the campfire he built with just kindling and matches.

What do you miss most about Andrew?

I simply miss my son! He was my only boy, my youngest. Even though we lived in different cities, he was always there in my life, sometimes in the background because he had distanced himself from me at times over the years (due to the drugs). But I always knew a phone call would come at some point and also a visit. I had hopes of grandchildren because he talked of becoming a father. He said he wanted to meet someone educated, maybe a doctor. What I miss most is what could have been. He said he wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest eventually, I have re-located to Portland, OR. I had always thought he would eventually join us. I miss his open-mindedness and intelect. His willingness to try new foods, adventures, new place, his humors\. I miss him lovingly calling me the "Food Nazi". I miss every phone call that ended in "I Love You". Now there is just an enormous void in my life without him.

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