Jeffrey Schoorman
7/10/1984-7/02/2024

This is a place to celebrate the wonder of life, the wonder of the world, and the wonder of Jeffrey

Autism is a multi-faceted condition. It is an alternate way of looking at the world, appreciating its beauty and interacting. Jeffrey shared beauty and laughter and sometimes his pain to our world for almost 40 years. For we who knew him, loved him, and nurtured him - we are grateful. We will continue to honor what he taught all of us. And so: welcome to the world of Jeffrey.    

Jeffrey has gone to find his place among the stars

Jeffrey was plagued by seizure disorder. In the midst of his projects, or the peace of sleep he would suddenly be stricken by a seizure. This is a frightening thing to watch, left him drained and in pain and was very unsettling. He would seek his blanket and ultimately relax into sleep. It took some time for the sparkle in his eyes to return, and the confidence in his place in the universe. He would say "home" if we were away, and "bed" if we were already home. Each re-awakening and re-adjustment was a beautiful small miracle of existence.

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    written on the plane home
    “You OK.” my son would say. “You OK.” Jeffrey is now among the stars. Like the Little Prince, he has returned to his planet. We can no longer hug, but I can feel his arms around me in my dreams. I see his beautiful brown eyes that sparkled like an elf when he was young, and were filled with worries for the world as he grew older. Jeffrey was an expert worrier. And so we would hug. And when I suggested a kiss he would put his head down and let me kiss his gorgeous dark hair. A few days ago he let me cut his hair and trim his beard. He spent 2 days admiring his new look in the mirror. What a handsome young man! No not so young. There were occasional silver hairs in the dark brown mass. He was due to turn 40 on July 10, 2024. He was always about 6 years old in his behaviors, just like Big Bird. He was close to 80 in his worries. He was a lot more conscious of things and people around him than most observers realized. He could know what was said on the other end of a phone conversation. He could hear dog whistles. He was an empath. He was over-bonded with his mother. And I was over-bonded with him. I did let myself loose once in a while, and that was when I would run away to Paris: not to escape Jeffrey, but to find Sandra again. I found a Sandra that became fluent in French, that was inspired by art and music and architecture and the beauty of the City of Lights. I took lots of pictures. Jeffrey diligently placed the prints in album after album after album. They are still on the living room floor. I am writing this on the plane home. Jeffrey died yesterday, in his bed, with his blanket pulled up around him and a faithful caregiver running to his short cry when another seizure cut his life short. There is no blame. There is no reason. What remains is love.
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    Jeffrey and Daddy
    This next part I am dedicating to David: Daddy. Daddy is all things solid and reasonable. Jeffrey adored his Daddy. When life got tough he took Daddy to bed with him because nothing could chase away the worries like Daddy. David has chased away a lot of my worries as well. He puts them in perspective, finds solutions and chronological progressions to keep them packaged and generally has made our life magical and secure. What could be better than a magical Daddy. Daddy always promised to be back from his trips, and Daddy was always back. Daddy was the first on his feet after a seizure, the first to the rescue, the first to find the band-aid. David happens to be a world expert on the development of trust in organizations. He knew how to do it for home, too. When Jeffrey was first diagnosed with autism, David’s reaction was: “We will just have him with us for longer than most parents.” We did not expect that “longer” to run short. We have gone from being 24/7 caregivers to empty nesters in an evening. That can’t be right. No, we are not empty nesters because our boy has gone among the stars. His blanket trailing behind him like the Little Prince. He will be talking with Pooh and Piglet, Mary Poppins and most definitely all the characters from Beatrix Potter tales. He would watch the Royal Ballet’s version of the Tales of Beatrix Potter constantly. A bit of Mommy’s dancers, but Jeffrey’s friends. And naturally he will be visiting Shining Time Station and the Island of Sodor, along with Sesame Street. Jeffrey had a big heart and these friends all lived in his heart. They live in my heart and they bring me news of my son.
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    what comes next
    Being the parent of a special needs child, adolescent, adult, is already a ticket that comes with a destination unmarked and unsupported. And so you navigate, and find the paths, and the lights, and the smiles and the tears. And you are happy the journey has changed you. Then suddenly, the journey is terminated. Jeffrey has gone. He is with the stars. Who are we now? How can we re-invent ourselves as seniors who have suddenly been given a wild card of choices but not what we had selected for our lifetime plan B. A new discovery. Deep sadness. But there is still beauty in the world. We cling to each other in this new world of emptiness.

One of Jeffrey's favorite ways to sort out his world was with his scrapbook. It was a world of photos - of himself, his birthdays, his favorite people, and all the places Mommy and Daddy visited. Jeffrey traveled the world in his pictures. He connected and organized his perspective. This website is an extension of that scrapbook. We hope that you will peruse it often. We hope that you will add your memories and your treasured interactions with Jeffrey for all the world. We will make Jeffrey's world ring in the hearts of all those who struggle to find a place of acceptance. For Jeffrey's world was a world of LOVE.

A former Klondike Nugget enjoying his nuggets.
The Little Prince on his planet


the journey will continue

I have wanted to write a book to share our experienes with other struggling families for 30 years. This is a more effective way in our fast-paced world. It is flexible and open. We encourage you to share with others so that the place for those with differences is not clouded by fear and anxieties. Nor should the outlook of care and dedication by the families involved be clouded by guilt.


WHO WE ARE

We are Sandra Peticolas and David Schoorman. We have been married for 47 years and Jeffrey enriched our lives for almost 40 of them. We welcome you to submit additions to our page through the email link. Please contact us with your photos and memories !

GET IN TOUCH

the world of Jeffrey

West Lafayette, IN
47906 US
EMAIL:youokjeffrey@gmail.com

Jeffrey would be smiling.