Thursday, July 09, 2009

enough

There won't be a lot of papparazzi here on Saturday morning, no news vans parked for blocks, no thousands of mourners jostling to find the best place to get a glimpse of what-they-are-not-certain. There won't be any superstars, politicians, or flamboyant preachers in attendance.

There will just be me, and Justin's family, the teachers and aides he had over the years in his special education classes, the lady who drove his bus back and forth to school every day, the classmates who, though struggling with disabilities themselves, loved Justin in ways that only those who are seen as 'different' by the world can love another person - deeply, unconditionally, unreservedly, openly.

Justin couldn't see, but he knew the touch of each and every person who came into contact with him. He couldn't speak, but he could squeal with delight whenever Teddy would go over and tickle him. He spent his days in a wheelchair, and loved it when someone would push him down the sidewalk, each and every bump in the walk evoking a gurgle of laughter, almost as if he was saying, 'do it again! do it again!'

After a long, long struggle with intimidating health issues and against overwhelming odds, Justin made it to his mid-20's, in and out of hospitals a lot over the last few years. No one who has not gone through a journey with a family member with profound special needs can truly understand the physical, the mental, the emotional, the financial, the spiritual toll such a journey makes on every one in the family. So, when Justin took his last breath last week, and ended his journey, the grief was mixed with relief; the sobs were for both loss and remembrance.

So, when we gather on Saturday morning, we will remember and give thanks. We will remember watching the kids pushing Justin round the gym, as they rollerskated to the music. And we will give thanks that he is now able to skate on his own two feet. We will remember the stories read to him. And we will give thanks that he is now telling his story to the Master Storyteller. We will remember his delightful peals of laughter. And we will give thanks that he is now playing tricks on his new family in glory.

There won't be thousands and thousands here on Saturday, or a billion or more watching on TV. It will just be me, and Justin's family, the teachers and aides he had over the years in his special education classes, the lady who drove his bus back and forth to school every day, his classmates from over the years.

But it will be enough.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

1 comment:

liz said...

More than enough - folk who truly love and care. Love the idea of Justin on roller skates, telling the master story teller his story. Your eloquence is inspring. thanks, Thom