I miss you little buddy. You weren't "disabled" to me, you were someone who I aspired to be. Despite the hand that fate had dealt you, you always looked to the positive. I hated when people pitied you, for there was no need for the pity, lest they were gauging themselves by the example you set, and found their own faults compounded.
At the time "retarded" was an acceptable term, and those same people seemed grateful that they weren't "afflicted" with the same challenges as you.
If those same people had spent a minuscule amount of time actually getting to know you, they would have seen how vastly superior your intellect was to theirs, if only they considered the things of true importance.
So you couldn't do math at all; that wasn't necessary. Despite your motor control limitations, you could still kill at Pac-man, until it got too fast for your hands to negotiate. And despite how you pretended to not know how to play checkers, you were a damn fine checker player. Other people thought you cheated on accident; I know (and called you out on) cheating on purpose, despite the fact that you always let the other person win in the end. You just wanted to prolong the game. Much as you asked questions you already knew the answer to ( I know
forgot any person who had ever told you their name) just to keep people talking to you.
You asked the same questions to keep people talking, because you knew talking about themselves made them happy. You cheated at checkers to make the game go on longer, but let everyone win because you knew winning makes people happy. You played dumb at times because you thought that would make people happy, but you showed me your gifts because you knew I didn't pity you, and you knew it would make me happy.
Some people thought you were challenged, yet you dialed at least thirty numbers from memory to talk to people. You pretended not to know the peoples names you asked about, but if they bothered to ask you "What's the name of that barber who cut your hair 8 years ago when we were on vacation and you only saw once?", you'd immediately answer with the correct name, and any other details he had told you. And these people thought YOU were the one with the disability.
You were my dearest relative, and I miss you greatly. I couldn't speak at my adopted mother's funeral, because I have a severe aversion to public speaking outside of work related, and as "Mom" wouldn't have approved of me being under the influence at her funeral, I was as sober as the preacher. Your funeral had hundreds of people there, and I took the stage with no problem; after consuming a pint of whiskey which I knew you couldn't have cared less about. (Apparently I was quite eloquent; I have no idea what I said in particular, but I remember the gist. I'll have to see if someone recorded it so I can see what I said.) And if there is an afterlife, I know you wouldn't care in the least about my being intoxicated. You'd only be glad that I was there. But if there is an afterlife, boy- you and me are gonna settle the score on our last checker game. You only beat me because I was anticipating you throwing the game as usual, but you wanted to win because I told you that you could, and you knew it would make me happy to see you actually try. I wasn't prepared you bastard! (I can picture you laughing at that right now, and putting your head to the side as you say " Uncle PsYcHo, I just,.. I just wanted you to play again"...
I miss you C man.