Dinner with Jason

Andrea Cannon
3 min readJun 14, 2018

We took Jason out for dinner a few days ago. I was shocked that he agreed to go.

He normally is so stubborn about leaving the house, argumentative even. And I can understand why. The journey from his familiar chair in the living room to the car outside must feel like a triathlon to Jason.

But he agreed to go out and I smiled inside. His new antidepressants were beginning to work.

I asked him if he was ready to go. He wanted to finish his cigarette (which he should no be smoking because of his asthma, but that’s a fight for another day). Dad tried to help Jason out of his chair, but he didn’t want help. He never wants help. We stood watching him reach for his walker. After adjusting the angle of his head, trying to find the handle through his narrow, two-dimensional field of vision, Jason finally grasped it with his right hand. He stood up and slowly, one methodical clumsy step at a time, Jason made his way to the door.

This late in the day, sometimes Jason has the tremors so badly that walking is nearly impossible. But not that day. It was a good day. After several long minutes with Dad, my husband, and me hovering around him, Jason was finally buckled into the car. We were off.

Getting Jason from the car to the restaurant was much easier thanks to the wheelchair that we insist he uses whenever he is away from home. We were finally seated. The waitress set a heaping platter in front of Jason — cheeseburger and onion rings. Those are his favorite foods. Jason didn’t stop eating until his plate was clean. It had been months since I had seen him eat so well.

But the best part is Jason seemed happy to me. Thank God for his new psychiatrist. She listens. She keeps notes. She shows genuine concern.

She changed up Jason’s meds and I was beginning to see the difference. He’s been more pleasant. He talks to me again. And he eats. He’s blind, he has physical limitations, and he makes a huge mess when he eats. But I don’t care. Taking my brother out to dinner was pure joy that day. I’ll take him out any time he wants to go.

Jason had such an overflowing smile when he was a kid, a smile that spread across his face turning his cheeks into apples and his eyes into sunbeams. Any little thing I can do to bring that smile back into my life — and his — is worth it.

Thank you for reading as I share stories of my by kid brother who is not a kid. He is a grown man who lives with many disabilities. Every day of life is a challenge for Jason and all of us who love him.