Andrew Holmes loved the St. Louis Cardinals. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He was that person who could bring the best out of anyone. And when he started studying at Webster, he felt as if he had finally figured out what direction his life was meant to take.
In 2010, Andrew Holmes died suddenly at home at the age of 22 as a result of post traumatic seizure disorder. He was a senior psychology major.
“Webster made such a big impact on my son,” said Maria Holmes, his mother. “The teachers he encountered at Webster changed his way of thinking and enriched his life in a way that gave him purpose.”
Through her grief, Holmes wrote a book – Connections: Making the Most of the Moment, or Conexiones: Aprovechando el Momento – filled with family stories and anecdotes from Andrew Holmes’ friends. The book also includes letters and poems written by Andrew before his death. Uniquely, the book is written in both English and Maria Holmes’ native Spanish.
On Thursday, November 21, Maria Holmes is visiting Webster University’s campus to talk about her book and celebrate the memory of her son. The event, sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences and the Behavioral and Social Sciences department, is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Webster Groves Room (room 135) in Webster Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend. Since this is the same day as Webster’s annual Thanksgiving Feast in Marletto’s, the department encourages everyone to bring their meals to the event.
Over the last two years, Holmes and her family have found different ways to cope with the sadness of losing this vibrant young man, who is still remembered by many Webster University professors.
Michael Hulsizer, chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences department, remembers how Andrew Holmes was unsure of what profession he wanted to pursue when he first came to Webster, but soon found his passion for psychology.
“it was clear to me that Andrew had found his calling when he began to dig into the field of psychology. He was to learn as much as he could and succeed in the field,” Hulsizer said. “When Andrew spoke in class, he was that student who could always integrate the material well into real life situations to help other students understand the material better. He was a joy to have in class.”
“What I knew of Andrew as a person touches me even more deeply than what I knew of him as a student. He was good and just,” said Grenwald, who served as Holmes’ psychology advisor and professor.
“When he interacted with others, it was always with respect, it was always with concern, and it was always productive. He reached out to others in groups in a quiet, inviting way, showing fairness and inclusivity. He was kind in how he interacted with others. Andrew did not gush and he was not effusive. But very clearly, in his solid, kind way, he expressed his interest in and acceptance of others. And he had a great sense of humor.”
Andrew’s passion as a student of psychology and his kindness toward others are only a few facets of the son Maria Holmes has memorialized in Connections. The book, Holmes says, is a “journey of love, heartbreak, forgiveness, family, faith, and joy” filled with stories of Andrew’s life. It also is about how those he left behind have learned to deal with their grief and have begun to live for the moment in honor of a young man whose life ended far too soon.
The following is an excerpt from Connections: Making the Most of the Moment:
Andrew was full of life until the day he died. Andrew was an expressive little boy. A profound writer since the age of four, he would teach me the songs he learned in kindergarten. He read and knew the books of the Bible by heart. He loved to play his cello, and people felt really good to be around him. Andrew was kind and loving He was a good brother, uncle, friend, loyal fraternity member and he was a family man. My son remains my hero, and perhaps as you read these collections of thought, poems, and heartfelt stories, you too will be lifted, inspired and healed.