When Jason was very young he was a happy, outgoing child. Nothing held him back from saying or doing any of the fun things in life. He always had a smile on his face and was a joy to be around.
As Jason’s physical disability progressed, he started to become very shy and introverted. He kept more and more to himself and was not often invited to participate in what we would all consider the regular social milestones of childhood. Becoming concerned I often asked him who he ate with at lunch or made suggestions for him to reach out to certain kids.
One day, Jason came up to me and asked if my husband John (Jason’s step-father) and I could be his friends. There was hurt written all over him. It was then that I decided to stop asking questions and to just be Jason’s friend. Above all else he needed friendship. It was so lacking from his life.
Kids were never mean but were uncomfortable or unsure how to reach out to someone who was both shy and physically challenged.
After losing Jason, his lack of friendships are something that my husband and I continue to discuss often. We wish to share our own and Jason’s experiences to help others understand how important it is to reach out. To just be a friend.
Jason lived his life with bravery and courage, but most people didn’t really know that about him. Hopefully by understanding his true heart through us, others will take small steps to include anyone who may be different. After all, aren’t all of us different?