Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remembering Jean-Richard

I tossed and turned much of the night trying to decide how I would write today's post. It is difficult. As my regular readers know I've developed the habit of sharing pictures of my family on their birthday and today is the birthday of my step-son, Jean-Richard. He would be 39 years old. But we lost Jean nearly 14 years ago when he was 25. He suffered a massive seizure in his sleep and was gone before anyone could help. We miss him always.

Special Olympics was an important part of Jean's life and in 1991 he participated in the International Special Olympics in Minneapolis as part of the Colorado swim team. It was an event I will never forget..inspiring and humbling all at once. Jean came home with three medals and could rightly lay claim to being a world class athlete.

Jean-Richard & Tom
Our hero

Jean was and continues to be, the inspiration behind my husband's work with those with developmental disabilities. We were blessed to see him blossom in his last years as he held a job he loved, moved to his own apartment and found love with a young woman who made him very happy. He was a gentle, loving, generous man who taught us all much about life and how it should be lived.
We miss you Jean and will see you again one day.


Barb said...

Thank you, that was a sweet story.... It is so hard to lose someone so young and so close to you.

Anonymous said...

Things finally settled down enough here in Wichita for me to check your blog and find this. What a special surprise. Thank you. You are so correct. Jean- Richard is as much one of the heros in our constellation, Besides being a world class athlete without an egotistical bone in his body he was also a real pioneer in the field of indpendent living for persons with developmental disabilities. And to be with you at your initiation into the world of Special Olympics in Minneapolis in 1991 was unbelievable, Jean-Richard brought more than he could possibly know into our lives. I'm keying this in through misty eyes. What a special rememberance. See you tomorrow. Tom.

Donna said...

What a nice way for us to get to know about Jean-Richard, Mary. He sounds like such an exceptional young man, and I know you and Tom will never get over missing him.

Sunna Reyr said...

Thank you for sharing Mary. That smile of his is just beautiful.