by: Kailla Coomes
Stories about struggle and death are something that I like to avoid but “Andre’s Story”, written by William Browning, caught my attention. After reading the third paragraph, I felt that Andre was someone who I wanted and needed to know. This story is about a man who is terminally ill and how he shares his final days with a new-found friend that he learned to love.
Browning begins the story at a doctor’s office where Andre is being delivered the most horrible news. His description is graphic and effective, “his abdomen had ached for months and he began spitting up blood.” Browning also emphasizes on the fact that Andre is all alone when he hears the news and your goes out to him.
Browning describes Andre as a stubborn man. Andre refuses to receive hospice care and felt that if he did have hospice he would “be on lockdown”. Andre’s realization that he was far worse than he seemed was laid out pretty graphically by Browning. Andre was portrayed as being almost helpless and was now finally willing to admit that he didn’t want to go through this alone.
The tuning point in the story was when Browning introduces Kelly Racine, she would be taking care of Andre. She was described as a beacon of hope for Andre. Andre and Kelly were polar opposites but this seemed to be what brought them close. Once Andre started to open up to Kelly you could feel and sense that this relationship was unlike any that Andre had had before.
Browning described this relationship in a way that touched my heart. Andre allowed Kelly into his life as not just a caretaker but a friend that helped him through the final days. She was there through it all and you can’t help but wonder if she kept him alive longer than he was meant to.
Andre’s death was descried as being peaceful. He was surrounded by the people he loved. When reading it, you felt as though you were also losing a friend. Browning’s writing allowed you to be apart of this man’s last breath and it was sad but not morbid.
Browning’s story was real and not sugar coated. You felt many emotions and created a relationship with Andre that was unexpected. He gave you this man’s story in a way that was painfully honest yet also uplifting.