OTHER VOICES - DOUG
THE FINAL WEEK FOR A GOOD FRIEND - by Doug Nelson, Editor
Monday, 3-3-03 - I come home thinking it is a normal day. Around 3 p.m. my brother, two friends, and I
are watching “Beavis and Butthead.” Our neighbor came over, hiding his tears, telling us that Andrew
Burkholder got into an accident and his brother Jarrett died. Then I receive a call from somebody saying
that Andrew got in an accident. I feel sick in my heart and stomach and am in disbelief. I then call my
friend and he doesn’t believe a word I’ve said. He is in total shock. As my brother and I are crying, my
dad comes home. It is snowing badly out, and I am stuck in my house. People keep calling with different
rumors. I can’t sit and wait, so I shovel the driveway. I sit in a yellow chair with the phone practically glued
to my hand. Another friend calls me and says he is at the hospital. He says Andrew is in critical condition
and Jarrett is dead. I turn off the TV to go to sleep, but I can’t stop thinking about Andrew.
Tuesday, 3-4-03 - My mom wakes me up and I hurry to get ready for school. I arrive with my eyes
turning red, and about to cry. Then at first hour a close friend and I wait for the announcements to come
on. Mr. Bertrand [accidentally] calls Andrew “Aaron,” which makes me upset. Mrs. Welker pulls us outside
and give us each a hug and sends us to room 68. We meet with other friends and none of us are crying,
but, instead, are telling stories about Andrew and Jarrett. Then Officer Demeter brings us a cross with
Andrew’s name on it. A couple of us take the cross outside and tear it apart. I kick off the bottom and
Demeter smashes it against the wall. Andrew is not dead; we don’t want a cross for him. After second
hour we leave school to go to the hospital. There are so many of us there that we get our own room.
Donna Burkholder says to us that [the administration] tell us to leave. She knows we won't leave and she
is happy we are there. We learn that Andrew going into a drug-induced coma to control the brain
swelling. We leave the hospital with high hopes that our best friend will live. The doctors make it sound
like he will live through it. I drop off my friend thinking everything is good. I know Andrew is strong, and he
will pull through.
Wednesday, 3-5-03 - I wake up as my mom’s leaving for work to find it’s a snow day. My brother goes
snowmobiling and I called another friend and tell him to come over. I call him thirty minutes later and he
tells me to go to the hospital; Andrew isn’t going to make it. I call another friend and pick him up and
hurry to the hospital. We run inside and go into a room and learn that Andrew’s brain has shut down. We
wait for a while and they pull the plug at 2:40 p.m. I am in shock. I sit there thinking my best friend has
died. My heart hits the floor and my eyes begin to tear up. We go into the cafeteria and sat and we are
just remembering Andrew stories. I still think I will see Andrew again. The whole matter doesn’t hit me. We
leave the hospital and go to a friend’s house. We all go out to eat at Bennigan’s. None of us has cried
yet, we just tried to make each other laugh. We go home and sleep. I am still in shock and disbelief.
Thursday, 3-6-03 - During STEN I walk to my locker and people are staring at me, knowing my best
friend has died. I lower my head and keep walking, but my eyes started to tear up. I walk down the junior
hallway and more eyes look at me as I began to tear up again. I find my friends and they help me calm
down. I hate the looks I am getting. When I saw their faces, I know what they are thinking. I go to English
and Mrs. Welker is upset and it makes me cry. She hugs a friend and me, and she lets us go help plan
for the funeral. We start making posters for Andrew. The second hour bell rings and we decide to all
leave school and go to a friend’s house. Tigger Kainz comes over and shows the setup of the funeral.
Soon after we decide to make shirts and we go to the store for spray paint. We then all go home and
sleep. I’m still in shock. I still think of Andrew as alive. I keep thinking I’m going to meet up with him and we’
re going to go see a movie.
Friday, 3-7-03 - We all go to school and we begin to set up for the memorial service. Everyone is
working together and some other people show up to help. There are some girls who start to work on
balloons. It takes them the entire day, and if they don’t do it, it will set us back a lot. I still need to thank
them. We get done and we all go home, except for some that go to Caribou Coffee to get Andrew’s hacky-
sack off of the Bedding Experts sign. We all meet at the wake and we put the hacky-sack and some sour
worms in the casket. Neither Andrew nor Jarrett look like themselves and as soon as I hugged their
parents I cry. We all sit down in the front row and we all cry. When I look up I see other people crying
when they see Jarrett and Andrew. We sit for hours until it is over. It finally hits me that I will never see or
hear Andrew again. When other people come up to me, I try to hide my tears. We go to Bennigan’s again
and tried to remember good stories of Andrew. I go to sleep crying…
Saturday, 3-8-03 - I go to the funeral and we sit in our own section behind the family. The service starts
and the choir sang. After [Pastor] Gary Augustine talks he summons us up to tell a funny moment. I am
worried nobody will laugh and when they do and I sit down and start to cry . Then we go outside while
they load the caskets. They wheel them past us and we all are about to cry. We get on the bus and it
starts to rain. We arrive at the cemetery while it's still raining. We watch the caskets lower into the graves
and we leave. The entire group walks back, and the bus trip makes me cry softly. After that I go to a
friend’s house and spend the night. I miss my best friend.
Editors note: The editorial staff chronicled the events of March 3-8 by keeping journals. This is one
All Material © 2002-2003 Krier/Kaneland News Bureau. All Rights Reserved
The following account was written by Doug Nelson who was one of Andrew's best friends. He
graduated from Kaneland High School with Andrew's class - the class of 2003. I'm sure it
wasn't easy for Doug to write this and expose his innermost thoughts and feelings to the world .