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Because I can.

Some of my precious treasure…

As your children grow, all mothers collect pottery, drawings, and other projects your children have worked on throughout their school years. These three are my favorite of Corey’s.

Before you are the first pinch-pot he ever made, the vase he gave me for Mother’s Day in eleventh grade, and a life-sized replica of his shoe that he made his senior year.

In Kindergarten he really struggled to understand directions. That’s when we realized he had a communications learning disability. Any of you that knew him when he passed away probably didn’t even notice this because he’d worked his entire life to overcome it. But if you ever saw him pause after you said something, think about it, then answer… that was him processing what you said to come up with the proper response. Sometimes people misunderstood this as arrogance or him being funny. But in reality, it was a coping mechanism.

That year (Kindergarten) the counselor sat me down and told me that Corey may never graduate from High School. That I had to prepare myself for the worst. She told me “More than likely he will become too discouraged with school and drop out.”

She told me to prepare myself for everything “he just can’t do.”

At the end of the year, he brought me his pinch-pot. He was so proud of that tiny pot. I remember putting it high on my shelf for everyone to see.

As the years went on, my shelf became filled with hand-print pictures, pinch-pots, paintings and projects… not just his of course, his brothers too. Corey and Justin helped me build a shelf in my dining room to hold them all.

Year by year, I counted off the projects and the grades that Corey didn’t give up. He never said, “I can’t.” He never quit.

Junior year he came home with the beautiful vase-like pot you see in the picture. He was so mad that he’d accidentally caused the black smear in the paint during the glazing process. He wanted it to be beautiful for my Mother’s Day present. He’d made the yin-yang to match the one I have tattooed on my back.

I told him I didn’t care about the black smudge… and I didn’t. I just kept comparing it to the tiny pot he’d begun with… how far he’d come. How far he could go!!

Then senior year his teacher told him he could make anything he wanted. So he chose a life-sized replica of his shoe. It weighs about 5 pounds. It shows the details of his shoe, the ripples, and dents. The wear and tear.

I asked him why he made it. He said, “Ya know, my teacher asked me that too!”

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her, ‘Because I can.'”

Corey graduated with the Blue Springs class of 2009. He then graduated posthumously with the Wright CC Class of 2014.

Because he could do anything he put his mind to.

Gwen Carver

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