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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Remembering Andrew P. Bauer: the Love, the Pain, the Spirit

Today, I ventured to Father Flanagan Park (NYC) where I, along with friends, planted a tree in memory of my younger brother, Andy, who passed away exactly one year ago.

I was sitting on the Staten Island Ferry, reflecting on the pain, the love - ya know all those memories some which I hold onto and some which I wish I could just let go of.

Andy's Tree - Father Flanagan Park, NYC
The day was somber, quiet and very emotional. I got to meet up with some of Andy's friends and his life-long care taker to exchange memories and "hug" his spirit-tree.

There is much pain I hold inside, and I thought this would be a good time to let some of it out. . . it is time I be blunt about what is going through my head. I wanted today to be a special day of remembrance, but it is was difficult because my head was so clouded by the very immediate events which led up to his final breathe. . .

I remember getting a call from my half-sister, telling me that my younger brother, Andy, had been rushed to the hospital, as he could no longer walk and could barely breath on this own. 

On October 7, 2010, I was able to reach my little brother on the phone (after learning of this news) and he told me they (the doctors) were about to intubate him. He asked me to please come to the hospital right away and tell the doctors not to and that if I didn't get there in time, to remove the tubes. . . and let him go in peace. 

Me (in the red) and Andy
Andy and I were born into a very privileged family and lifestyle. We had 7 brothers and 1 sister (half-blood). Andy took a wrong turn somewhere in his life and started to hang out with a crowd because he thought it would be "cool".  He landed a life of addiction to heroine. It was sad to see him fall so hard so many times.

I assume, while I am not certain, that Andy became infected with HIV through IV drug use.  I recall clearly the day he came home and our family learned of his diagnosis. The reaction was hateful. One of our older brothers punched him in the face and told him never to return home again.

Andy had lost contact with the family for some time - he reached out many, many times for help, but he could not win the addiction fight and he didn't want to deal with the other fight inside him . . . he could not live with the fact he was HIV+.

My mother and the rest of my family were fully aware Andy was in the hospital, and this time he would not be coming out. NO ONE in my family wanted anything to do with his passing. One of my older brother's had told me on the phone that "the family buried Andy a long time ago." (My jaw dropped).

The hospital required, that if I am to have the tubes pulled out of Andy, I needed the doctors in charge to speak with his biological mother (our mother) to pass on the primary medical decision making to me. On October, 9, 2010, the doctors reached my mother, and in less than one minute made it clear to the doctors she wanted nothing to do with Andy.

Just before I ordered the tubes, as per Andy's wishes, to be pulled out of him, I called my mother and said, "do you want to say anything to Andy before I pull the tubes out? I will put my phone up to his ear. . ." She said, "No."   It was done. I was ready to help Andy go in peace, however I was far from being at peace. The tubes were removed and in an an hour, at 2:25 pm on October 9, 2010, Andy took his last breath. No one should ever have to witness this kind of pain. It has scarred me for life.

I realize that when I die. . . when it is time for my personal journey to come to an end . . . I too, will be family-less. While there may be a family plot. . . actually I don't know if there even is one. . . what I do know is that I nor Andrew are "good" enough to be buried along with the family because of HIV. 

It fucking sucks and there are no words to describe the deep, dark pain I feel inside; so let me focus on what is helping to heal the pain. . .

On October 9th and days just prior, I am grateful to ALL of my friends who were there to console me and who came to see Andy at the hospital. I am truly grateful to my friend Samantha for taking time out of her truly dedicated family life to make sure I was able to be at the hospital to see this through.  I also am grateful for my friend Lance. . . for making a quick connection to make sure my brother's body was properly taken care of for the after-life.  And lastly, I am grateful for Joel. . . he was Andy's life-long care-taker here in NYC, and without Joel I am not sure how Andy would have lived as long as he did! I can only imagine the pain you are feeling, you were the closest thing to an angel he ever had in his life.

I am proud to say I have a new family today. . . built of friendships more solid than "born-blood" could ever bond or fuse together. Anyone who has been disowned by their family, much like my brother Andy and me, I wish there were words I could share to make you smile or feel better. It's tough and the reality is only time will heal this pain.  So as time passes I remember that my life today is not only an adventure for me but it is also an adventure I will continue to live for my brother. HIV will not beat me down.  Today I find comfort in my friends who I am proud to call my new family! You know who you are. . . through the good and the bad times. . . we stick it out! 

Thank you for being there.

I am Daniel, and I am living pozitively.  Thank you for following my blog.


  1. What a heart wrenching but beautiful post ... obviously the love between you and Andy was, and still is, very strong ... I just can't believe in this day and age that family would so harshly and, in my opinion, very cruelly turn their back on one of their own that was in such need of love and support ... at least you know you have a very special angel watching over you and even your family as well because when you cross over, I've heard that there is great love and peace which I'm sure Andy found ...

  2. OMG Daniel. I don't know what to say...I read the blog first and started crying then I watched the video and it tore my heart out. I'm just so glad that Andrew had you to love him. And I KNOW you have people who love you just as much. True families are bonded by love. That's all. Whether related by blood or not. Thank you for sharing your day and your pain with us.

  3. I know this was a hard day for you. But I know by this post that you are handling it as best you can. I am so glad to be one of your friends and new "family".I am so glad you feel the love. Do you remember whT your reply was when I first invited you to Thankgiving dinner the first year we met? I do! You said" Marty I hate to be alone. I would love to come. You are an ANGEL!!!"... And so our journey began. ... I love you and I'm not going away... Big huggggg,s

  4. Life takes us on journeys we often do not want. It is how we deal with them. That is what makes us who we are. Family is what you make it. In the military we make new families all the time. We grow from others. Tough love is not an easy dish to give, just image the guilt those giving it out have to carry for the rest of their lives. I am sorry for your lose. In a sense you lost more than your brother. DANIEL... i wish you well.

  5. I read your Blog and I follow you through your words and video, I know that you are loved by your friends from the words that they type and I know that you are cared about. Your brother had you and if no one else he had someone special in his life. He was loved and so are you and he was not alone and neither are you. I do not know what it is like to lose a brother or sister because I was an only child, but I know what it is like to lose someone from my family that I was close to. I can not tell you that it gets easier for it doesn't and to be honest who would want it to. See as long as it hurts you remember and feel, I can say that you learn to handle it better with time. I can be a shoulder to cry on and an ear that you can chew, I can be almost anything that you need including your family for you are you. The bright smile and friendly face that you always were. You are no different to me now then you were before and that will not change, I would stand proud beside you and not care what others thought. I wish that I could take your pain away from your loss I would if I could, but I can be there if you need me. Your family has no clue what they are missing out on, just sad that they can't realize that before it is too late. You and your brother are amazing and we all have our "demons" that we carry it is what you make of them that matters. All my love and prayers for you now and always.

  6. Daniel, what a beautiful tribute and celebration for your beloved one can ever know how deep such pain runs within you, but I know I can surely relate...

    He was loved ....IS are you.

  7. Cheney, Tim, Marty, Anonymous, Margaret & Richard,

    Thank you for taking the time to read about my brother and leaving your comments - they have helped tremendously.

    Big hugs,

  8. You did an amazing job expressing yourself and paying homage to Andy with such a wonderful tribute video. Sherry got in touch with me again yesterday and was asking after you.

    There is much pain, and working through it can be very hard. You _do_ have the strength to do that. With all the support you have around you, with the family you have built around you and have stood by you and helped you when you've needed it. You have the strength and support to heal and move on. No-one wants that more for you than those who've seen you at your darkest and helped to see you through it.

    Andy was a wonderful person, as are you. He did not die alone, and neither will you. Like him, you have a tendency to _feel_ alone, even though you are not. Just remember that you do have a family and it is there for you whenever you need to call upon it. He had a peaceful passing, and it was a wonderful day, driving around with Joel and re-connecting with the places and people who were important in his life. Remember the good times and focus on them. Move beyond the hurtfulness of others and just feel the love, baby! ;-)

  9. Daniel I just saw your beautiful tribute to Andrew today; Im sorry I got to the shop so late that day and didnt get time with you. I feel that we are friends in the way that real families are often not. People around here still talk about Andrew and his magical way with flowers and of course THOSE PIES.
    lOVE AND HUGS, Joel M

  10. Hi Daniel - I've listened to your radio interview with Robert & Jeromy, and have now read this part of your blog. I am so very sorry for the great loss of your brother- and more so the circumstances and manner that you experienced in his passing. I witnessed this many times over where family disown their own son or brother because of HIV - even at death's door. Like you, I too offered to hold up the phone for a mother to speak to her dying son---only to be told "no" - that there was nothing to she had to say. There's a special hell reserved for those people. Like you, I too have been disowned by my family for being gay - not even to my face - they just closed the doors - everyone did, all the relatives. I truly know what it's like to be alone in the world - so I'm here on God's Good Grace. I hope to get to know you better - and thank you for sharing your life and pain and truth. You are not alone - many out here have similar experiences - and we're here to love and support one another. Much Love to You. Mark

  11. So Sorry Dan
    .. We... (as others may not know ... are recent friends) .... (and family now)..... (and yes .. I consider you close now - very close) ...... and I really new nothing of this .. Your family and your brother - and his situation .. as this subject never really came up - between us before ..... and as you know .. I ..... just lost .... my sister ... in ... April 2012 ......(my only sister) .... and am still settling all things ... with her estate .... and her wishes ... due to the after effects of her cancer ... and brain tumor .. etc ...

    What a sad time .... for us both !!! ....

    I wish you well my friend ... I genuinely think that you know that .... and ... I hope that both of their souls .... are at piece now ... both .... Mona's and Andy's .... for ... Death comes to ... ALL ... no one escapes it .. No one .... ahould be ... So Judgemental .. !!! for it is against all things to be so .... and against all things ... which makes us .... human and compassionate beings.....
    We that live on .... have to reconcile things and do the best ... that we can ... and be moral ... and upright ... and forgiving .. and be proud ... of our ... OWN Actions ....
    Proud to be your friend Daniel ... and proud of you ..
    and the way that ... YOU ... have ... Risen Up ... with the family circumstances of which comprise .... exactly who ... YOU... are ... and you are ... a good man .. a good friend ... and a good brother .... and that .... is the most important .... thing of all .......... JF/Jeff Friedman


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