I went to a memorial service for a very special, exuberant young man named Kory today. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was attended not just by his former caregivers (my old coworkers) but by his family. A lot of people showed up to celebrate Kory’s life and that is nothing but a positive thing.
I wish that some of those family members had been present in Kory’s life. And I wish that one of those family members, a super duper Jesus Crime Stopper Minister of some kind, could have spent his eulogy honoring Kory instead of welcoming those in attendance to seek eternal life through the one true path that he magically and fortuitously had stumbled upon. (He even managed to add a jab at Muslims in the midst of the general Jesus-centric proselytizing, which was above and beyond the call of zealotry.) But. It isn’t really wise to go to a funeral expecting a good time, so it is what it is.
This is what I want to say about Kory.
Kory loved to smile and he loved other people to smile. It delighted him to see how big you could smile. If he was happy, it was infectious. Not hyperbole. I’ve never met another person who could radiate joy in the pure and innocent way that he did.
Kory was not good at not getting his way.
Kory loved money and hated to spend it. Kory converted a lot of his funds to quarters.
Kory was a pretty bright 22 year old, but generally he was childlike and he liked to stick to anything he liked as a kid. Chucky Cheese was a major obsession. Kory lost his mother when he was young and there are some blanks in his history but basically, things were not good for him after that.
Kory’s life was too short and too painful, by any fair estimation.
Kory reminded me of Lenny from Of Mice and Men because he was not a small guy, because he was kind and gentle at heart, because he sometimes did not have control over his behavior, because he could be misunderstood, because he did not get a fair shake.
Kory frickin loved mayonnaise. Mayonnaise on eggs for breakfast, tuna fish for lunch. Unfortunately, Kory hated brushing his teeth.
Kory was a most enthusiastic fan of all things Batman.
Kory had frequent seizures at night, which caused him to be physically exhausted the next day. For some reason, he would apologize to his caregivers for having them. We would apologize to him that he had to go through them.
Kory gave the best hugs. Kory loved fiercely. No amount of bad breath would make me avoid being near him.
Kory was one of the best bowlers, I remember him scoring a 104. His peers didn’t often break 100. And he was mighty excited to have such a great game.
Kory did talk about heaven, mostly about his mother being there. He liked seeing his friends at church every week. Kory easily earned his place in heaven by their standards. But by any standard, he was amazing. And he deserved better than he got here. So in that respect, I hope his self-righteous minister is at least partly right.
“He’s in a better place.” Who the fuck knows. But he’ll be missed here.