My Buddy – Who Was – Yet Still Is

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Well, he’s still part of my life, just not in a physical sense.

I make my living using technology, and one of my greatest teachers/supporters/technological playmates was a quadriplegic named Buddy.

Buddy went to school with my sister, who is three years older than I. They were friends, and I remember the day when I learned that he was injured during a football game (he was in 11th grade). He was paralyzed from the neck down.

TBH, I’m not certain when he and I became friends. Or the moment when he became more family than just friend. All I know is that by the time my son CJ was born, we (myself, my husband and Buddy) all jokingly called him CJB (with the B standing for Buddy, of course).

Back in the day of the landline, we would talk for hours. He made it through college with a degree in something computer-related, and it fascinated me. In the early 1990s, it was Buddy who got me chatting in IRC, and it was Buddy who introduced me to the magic of Dragon Naturally Speaking.

I started to learn code after Buddy died, and I landed my dream job with Automattic four years after he left our planet. But I still find myself mentally sharing my technological successes with him, and I will always thank him for his part in my journey.

When I go to WordCamps and see classes focused on Accessibility, I can’t help but think of him. How thrilled he would have been to see the Internet open for people with disabilities like his.

I was at an amusement park the day I found out Buddy died. As a non-crier, I resented the tears that flowed, but I could imagine Buddy laughing at me. Laughing in a body that was totally free. He didn’t complain to us, and he was always filled with hope and positive, encouraging messages. But I know his reality was far from ideal. I’m glad he is free now.

I miss you every day, Buddy. And I thank you every day, too.

3 responses to “My Buddy – Who Was – Yet Still Is”

  1. What a sweet tribute to Buddy. This was wonderful and I enjoyed reading about Buddy. I was sorry to hear he had passed away in your story.

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