On an unforgettable morning in March of 2011, I was driving to Starbucks on Riverside Avenue for a meeting with my friend and award winning author, Jerry Webster. I wanted to get his impression of the eulogy I had written and delivered at my brother’s funeral Mass. As I pulled into the parking lot, I immediately noticed Jerry had already arrived and was sitting under the outside terrace enjoying his coffee. After I parked my car and greeted Jerry, he invited me to join him and we started to chat. When Jerry realized I wanted him to take a look at my brother’s eulogy, he suggested I get my coffee and give him a few minutes to give the eulogy a read.
With coffee in hand, I returned to the table. I noticed Jerry was still actively engaged in Michael’s eulogy. He nodded and extended his index finger indicating wait a minute, I’m almost through reading. A few moments later he shuffled the pages together and placed them on the table in front of me asking, “What are you planning to do with this?”
“Not sure, I was thinking about writing a short story of Michael’s life so our extended families in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Pennsylvania would have something to remember him by, he was quite the amazing guy.”
“An amazing guy, that’s an understatement! Your eulogy chronicled the events of his entire life. I believe you have a story here that needs to be told. This story would apply not only to Down syndrome children but anyone familiar with a handicapped child. Can you tell me more about your father and what was behind the statement he made at the hospital, confronting the doctor saying, ‘We are taking Michael home, and we are going to leave the living and dying to God!’?”