Looking Back A Year

Andrew on his first bike - Summer 2008

For some reason I was thinking about what life was like this time last year.
I had just recovered from a bad, but luckily short bout of depression. Once I was on my feet again thanks to a combination of antidepressant and Law of Attraction positive thinking, I put our house on the market. By that time I was so buoyant, that I was absolutely certain that our house would not only sell, but that we would have a bidding war.
“It’s a tough market,” my realtor colleagues said to me at the time. “You’ve priced it too high.”
“It may very well be a tough market for some, but it has nothing to do with me! There is going to be a bidding war on my house within two weeks of going on the market,” was my reply while smiling from ear to ear.
“She’s never serious, she’s always joking,” one or two of my colleagues would say.
But I was right. We did have a furious bidding war within two weeks of my house going on the market, leaving the nay sayers in my office gob-smacked. And, having put the house on the market on February 11, we closed on May 20th. Nice!
That’s the good part. Now comes the bad part.

Andrew had transferred from Drexel in Philadelphia to NYU. He, we, had all been excited when days before Christmas he was told that he had been accepted to NYU’s college of arts and sciences as an East Asian Studies and Mandarin major.
Alas the mid-year transfer proved more than a bit rocky. By the time of his orientation weekend, days before classes started, none of the classes he needed for his major were open. Yes there was an advisor on hand, and he could and did confirm what classes Andrew needed to take. Alas he got no help in actually getting from A to B.
Imagine being accepted into one of the most expensive universities, if not the most expensive university in the country, borrowing to the hilt in order to attend, and not being able to get into the classes for the major that you’ve been accepted for?
The only Chinese class he was able to get into was for Chinese students whose families spoke Chinese at home and who were more than a little familiar with the language. Yet, despite the severe handicap and disadvantage, Andrew ended the semester with a B.
And as if that stress alone wasn’t enough, as well as having to navigate a new and highly bureaucratic college, Andrew went from having a great room with a great room-mate at Drexel, to finding himself sharing a smoke-filled cubbyhole with a smoker.
Pleas and complaints got him nowhere.
“Students are encouraged to resolve their conflicts between themselves,” was and is the administrators’ answer when you bring this up with them. Never mind that there are conflicts and then there are conflicts.
Smoking wasn’t the only issue, his room-mate liked to entertain his boyfriend in the room!
Having verbally complained to various authorities and gotten nowhere, when Andrew found certain artifacts amongst his belongings and could take it no more, he finally made a written complaint requesting to be moved and finally, in the middle of March he was moved. Thank God!

“What was so bad about your room-mate,” I asked Andrew while driving him into the City to get his Bike from a Craig’s list seller.
“Well, you see.. he smoked pot and I would often walk into the room and find him having sex with his boyfriend, sometimes I couldn’t even study in the room.”
“What?” I shrieked and nearly drove into another car from the shock.
That’s how I found out, but it wasn’t until the summer, or else I would have MARCHED into NYU and made a bit of a fuss myself.

Even now I get SO upset when I think about it. Actually I get even more upset now.
To think of what he had to deal with, yet he never complained. He did his best, he “showed up for work” every day. Now he is dead, and in hindsight I can see how that rocky start at NYU must have affected him.
It is hard to think about it and not want to start breaking things.
So I tell myself what Doctor Weng told me to tell myself:
“It doesn’t help my son to get upset,” and it works. But I have to tell myself often.

Dearest, bravest, courageous and patient Andrew. Oh God, how much I love and miss you my sweet son!

2 thoughts on “Looking Back A Year

  1. Makes a mockery of NYU’s “duty of care” (which I believe they should have had) – Dizzy this makes me so ANGRY!!!!! Even as a smoker myself I can quite see that it would be ghastly to have to share your room with one.

    I don’t know if it’s a problem because the place is run by academics, or because it isn’t but they really should sort it out. Of course young adults need to learn to look after themselves and to negotiate their own solutions … but there’s a limit. Anyway Tigs is happy now and surrounded by love.

    • He should not have had to put up with that crap. And when you talk to them they take three months to give you more bureaucratic crap!
      I am f…ing angry (understatement!)

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