Our Angel

A letter from Andy's mother, Paulette on his life and the effect on their family.

We had an angel living in our home but never realized it until now. When Andy was born the doctors came in and told us that he was going to die on the third or fourth day. He had congenital heart disease and nothing could be done to save him. The heart team was away in Toronto at a conference (this would never happen today - there is always someone on call).

Andy in the summer of 1998
Andy in the summer of 1998

The pediatrician and others decided to send him to Montreal Children's Hospital by ambulance. There were terrific heart specialists there. The nurse came in to see if I wanted to see Andy for the last time. I could not bear the fact of never seeing him again.

Andy only 7 days old at the Montreal Children's Hospital
Andy only 7 days old at the Montreal Children's Hospital

My husband and Andy's grandfather (Mr. Adrien Beriault) drove up to Montreal every night to see Andy. There was always good news to bring back to Roddy (Andy's older brother) and myself. On the seventh day I couldn't stand it any longer not seeing my baby. My husband gave me the phone number of the doctor caring for Andy. He told us that every possible test was done on Andy and they could NOT find anything wrong. They didn't understand what happened but said, "If we believe in miracles - so be it. You can come and get your baby. Forget what happened and treat him like a perfect healthy baby because that is what he is".

Andy in his father's arms on his date of birth, March 13th 1975
Andy in his father's arms on his date of birth, March 13th 1975

When we picked Andy up, he was sitting up in a little sitter with such a peaceful glow on his face. He was just beautiful. Our prayers were answered - we asked God not to take him.

As a child Andy was the easiest little boy. He always had a smile. He loved life and was so content.

Life was good to all of us. I have always said to myself that things were too good - it couldn't stay that way forever. Our boys were our life and always will be.

Andy's Nortel badge photo
Andy's Nortel badge photo

Two years ago, just after Christmas Andy got sick again. We thought it was just the stress of school and the holidays. The hospital here in Brockville phoned us at 3 a.m. to inform us that Andy was in there. We had heard the door open early on that morning but thought Andy was just going out to the car to get something, University students don't sleep much at holiday time! The nurse on the phone told us that Andy had a heart attack and to come down as soon as possible. My husband was beside himself and could not function. Tears rolling down his cheeks, he told me to go down to the hospital and don't let anything happen to Andy. He can't die. I remember driving in the car and thinking how am I going to stop Andy from dying - I have no control over this. It's all in God's hands. I remember saying over and over - PLEASE GOD DON'T LET ANDY DIE - .

The hospital decided to send Andy to the Ottawa Heart Institute. There they did tests on his heart. They said Andy had contracted a virus similar to strep throat. He was lucky because the virus attacked the muscle and not the heart itself. In time and with rest Andy would be fine. The heart muscle would heal. God didn't take him again. He let us have Andy a little while longer.....

We didn't realize how Andy has touched so many people. He was always the peacemaker in our family. It seems he was the same with his friends. We received a card from a student that said Andy was there for them at the lowest point of their life. He would talk to them and play tennis. That person always left feeling good after being with Andy. There are many stories like this one being told to us. We didn't realize how Andy has touched so many people.

Andy celebrating a birthday with his brother Mike and father
Andy celebrating a birthday with his brother Mike and father

Andy loved his brothers. He always wanted to be a big brother and so when he was 11 years old, little Michael came along. Andy was Michael's mentor. He had so many plans for Michael's future but he knows his older brother Roddy will take over.

Over the past three years attending Ottawa University Andy got very close to Rod Jr. Rod Jr. had also attended Ottawa University and graduated with honours from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. He was always there to help Andy with his studies if he needed it. They both loved the computer. They shared the same interest and were both there for Michael. Their goals were the same which was to become engineers and later Michael would be part of their dream.

Rod Jr. is hurting greatly by the loss of his brother. Hopefully in time he will cherish all the memories of Andy. Some brothers live to be 80 years old and never experience the closeness and love that they had. They even worked side by side at Nortel.

As for Michael... Well, he wraps Andy's quilt around him at night and says Andy has his arms around him. He wants to grow up and be just like him!

Andy in his home in Brockville
Andy in his home in Brockville

Andy lives in our hearts forever. It hurts so much right now. When the sun comes out and shines brightly, it reminds me of Andy. He loved the sun. He loved being warm. Andy is buried in the open where the sun will shine on him forever. We will never forget our special son nor will I EVER forgive the person who took his life so tragically. We didn't have to forgive Judas.

Life is so unfair. We must keep the good memories of Andy alive and hope someday we will all be united.

We will love you forever ------ Mom, Dad, Rod Jr. - Karen and Mike

   Letter to the Media
   Bill C-393
   Our Angel
   Thank You
   Mike's Speech
   Memorial Speech
   Andy's Story
   Our Brother