My name is Jesse. I was floating around in the cemetery earlier today. I should do that more often. It’s fun to bounce from stone to stone, seeing where some of my friends are buried. I laughed and laughed at the dreadful things that were written on their stones. I am absolutely sure that they were never consulted about what would be written on their grave markers. Rest in Peace; Loving father, brother, husband, son. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Decorated with pretty little angles and crap. I didn’t laugh with my angelic celestial laugh. I freaking bellowed! When I return home my departed friends will go crazy with laughter when they learn of this. You would not believe the rowdiness that goes on up here. There was so much more to us than those lame epitaphs.
Anyway, I finally came across my stone. I am looking at it now. OMG! My parents got it right. There’s an etching of me, stretching my arms into the air, shouting FREE AT LAST! I struggled for twenty five years on this earth. Few people can relate, but now I am free.
Only my brothers and sisters with Cerebral Palsy can know what that means. My body was so broken. My family did all that they could for me. My legs wouldn’t work right. I struggled to bring my hand to my face. My mouth didn’t work correctly. It was so hard to swallow. I couldn’t talk. All I could do was moan with sounds that no one could understand. I was blind. I had surgeries to cut my muscles and stuff so I wouldn’t be in so much pain.
For 25 years this was how I lived. I caught pneumonia every year because my immune system was weak from inactivity. Every year I was in the intensive care unit, fighting for each breath.
I lived in my own world, trapped within a body that wouldn’t work, and few could understand. My brothers and sisters who read this know how it is, don’t you?
I was blessed because I had a family who loved and cared for me. I know it was difficult for them. Dad, it’s ok that you didn’t come to visit me as much as some thought you should. I know it was because it was hard for you to see me like that. You felt such sadness. I forgive you. I am so excited for the day that you will fall into my arms and cry, knowing me for who I am, not how I looked.
Seth and Wesley, my dear brothers, cry for me no longer. I am like you now. There was a purpose why I was asked by my creator to live as I did. I can see it now. I can see all the people who were touched by my life, who grew to appreciate the bodies and lives that they had. My caretakers learned to love in a way they would have never known. I loved them. I tried to smile when I heard their voices. I caused people to think about their lives and how blessed they were. There is purpose of which I cannot even speak. You have purpose too.
My life was worth living. I had significance. I was loved. I was needed. With my spirits eye I saw his tears when dad made the decision to pull the plug and let me pass from that world to this. You still have nightmares of that day, but I love you, dad, for letting me go. It was time. I am alive in the memories of those who know me. I walk with you.
Now, I am free. Free at last!