Monday, September 26, 2011

not just another kid

18 years ago I met the sweetest and arguably the purest person I would ever love.
We laughed and played through elementary school. We cruised through Jr. High and it was at that time partly inspired by him I decided that I should go into special ed as a  career. I was drawn to this amazing population and firmly tethered to them by my Drew.
If you didn't know him, when you first looked at Drew you would see a boy in a wheelchair who couldn't walk or talk. If you were meeting Drew for the very first time you might wonder if he understood you or how much of him was really there at all.

Drew pre-dates all of my other friends and has been a major part of my life.
He's not just another one of "my kids", when I told someone about Drew recently they said "this is the downfall of our profession, we lose kids". It's true; when you work with kids who have various abilities sometimes their bodies just get tired. I've lost kids before and yes it sucks. But that's not what Drew was to me. I respect other's point of view and I know we are all different.
He was MY Drew-bug, my forever boyfriend, my little brother from another mother, my friend. He held up his end of the friendship. That's what people don't always understand. I wasn't being kind to this disabled kid by calling him my friend. We communicated in our own way. We shared secrets and laughed. He showed approval and disapproval for my boyfriends and I helped him pick out his clothes. He grounded me and gave me perspective and I gave him a heck of a ride along the way. Even when I fell short he was still there patiently waiting with a smile. Drew deserved everything we could give him. He knew what was going on around him and he wanted to be a part of it.

I would like to think that Drew showed people to look below the surface. If you took the time to look him in the eyes and talk to him you could see his enthusiasm and engaging personality. He never complained and in the few times I ever saw Drew unhappy it was heart wrenching. He was patient and had a sense of humor. I didn't automatically know how to do things for him. I started learning in Jr high by learning to feed him and after high school I learned the rest of it. I made mistakes along the way and he was always there to laugh at me. (Of course there was the occasional angry snort if I accidentally twisted his arm getting him dressed or hit a sensitive spot while brushing his teeth.) Mostly though my mishaps were his entertainment.

I could talk about him forever because 18 years is a gift. I admit I took a lot for granted with Drew because he had always been there I assumed he would always be there. I hate it when people say things like "you're such a good person" and talk about how I'm the good one for taking care of him. It isn't true. I didn't do anything that a friend wouldn't do and if you think differently then maybe you need better friends. Yeah... that came out a little rough... but it's true from my point of view.
He wasn't any different than anyone else and I have never understood why anyone though he was.
He did things that everyone else does.

He supported me with a smile.

Now my wonderful friend is gone.
His poor body was tired and he can do so much more from heaven.
It is SO hard for me to think of a world with out Drew.

I'm told that writing this is going to help me to accept this nightmare.
Maybe it will...
More than that though I want people to know about Drew. I want you to understand that he wasn't just some mindless kid in a wheelchair and that he was a good and faithful friend to a lot of people.
His last act was a gift of life. Drew's family courageously decided to donate his organs and he was able to donate a number of things and give 4 or 5 other people a chance. I don't know about anyone else but I am somewhat comforted in knowing that this wonderful pure heart lives on in someone else.
There at least a thousand of things that I have learned from our Drewser and I'm still learning.
I have heard people say that his life was probably torture for him and that he went through everything so needlessly but I don't see it that way. He has met thousands of people and he touched everyone of them. Drew lit up the world with his laugh and everyone took away something different from knowing him. I can tell you first hand that he was awfully happy for someone who was supposedly so tortured. He loved his mom, he loved his brothers, he loved his teachers and caregivers, and he loved me unconditionally.

I am so blessed to have shared a love so amazing that it hurts this much to say goodbye.

1 comment:

  1. All I can say, through tear-filled eyes, is WOW!