This article was first published in Facebook on September 1st, 2016. This is what I read at Jack’s memorial service.
As it was for my special needs child, my Rachel, I have often noted the uncommon spirit our disabled naturally possess. Jack possessed that in a most remarkable way. He truly touched all who drew near to him.
The life of someone disabled is hard for most to realize. Those things that we most take for granted, – walking, feeding our self, communicating – breathing – unimaginable to think of losing even one. The thought of a life without all four is beyond consideration.
Now imagine a life spent in constant need of medical supervision and care. That was Jack’s lot.
We’ll never truly know the pain that Jack felt. No doubt, each breath was a challenge at times for Jack. Minutes must have seemed like hours. The very basics of life – a breath – was obviously ever-present on his mind.
But, It is in overcoming that heroes are born. When we rise above our daily challenges, when we reach beyond our own circumstance – no matter how great – and realize the need that eclipses our own – the greater need that effects our world – this is what makes a hero.
Jack accomplished that with just a smile. A smile that was both genuine and piercing. A smile that reflected a wisdom that came from quietly observing the world around him – 24/7. Of course, that’s all he could do. Though he had his weak moments, as all heroes do, he embraced his challenges. And yet, with just a glance, he could pull you into his world. He could do so much without uttering a sound.
Being Jack’s cannabis caregiver inspired me to believe that even our most disabled deserved a chance at life and freedom from debilitating pain.
As it was with my Rachel, Jack reaffirmed my belief that “modern medicine” made little provision for our chronically and terminally ill, in the event that they should live. And, that it is our duty to insure that even our weakest, our most vulnerable should have the chance to thrive.
For you, Jack. I will not give up. I pledge to do the work for which I am called…to heal as many as I can. What’s more, I will not forget that for so many of us, physical and/or mental disability persists for a lifetime, so for a lifetime our community must embrace these the least of our own.
The world will hear your story. Fore I will repeat it a thousand times, if I have breath. We will rest together, someday, son. But for now we have much work to do.