Raymond Joseph Bryant
Raymond Joseph Bryant was born June 7th, 1981 to his mother Dawna Bryant and father Raymond Bryant. Raymond was born with a rare eye condition called “Congenital Aniridia” (in layman terms it means he was born with no iris in his eyes). To learn more about Aniridia please Click Here.
Raymond from a young age loved exploring and investigating anything and everything to learn how it worked. Raymond never let his visual impairment prevent him from being who he was. Like most children with an obvious disability he was teased and bullied in school, but even though this happened Raymond stood strong and did not change or hide who he was.
Raymond had a close friend named Charlotte, whom he grew up with since he was a baby. His family and Charlotte’s family were family friends for a long time. He always felt that Charlotte and he were close, but he did not realize how close until the summer of 1990. Raymond family lived in Connecticut and in the summer of 1990 they came up for 2 weeks to spend time together. Raymond had no clue that this visit would show him how much Charlotte really meant to him. One day when Charlotte, her brother and Raymond were playing hiding go seek, he realized Charlotte was no where to be found. He was worried about her, but was not sure why. He double checked all the places he tought she would have been hiding to no a vale. Raymond try asking Charlotte brother where he thought she might be and her brother and no clue and was bored of trying to find Charlotte. Raymond then decided she must be somewhere and kept looking. He searched the common places he thought people would hide and found nothing. He was standing in the backyard and noticed a refrigerator in the yard closed. He prayed that Charlotte would not hide in there, but when he tried to open the fridge there she was. She was beyond scared and jumped out and hugged Raymond. He was beyond elated that he found her and that she was safe. He realized that if he had not found her she could have died, and Charlotte would not be a part of his life anymore. The feeling that gave him was just beyond saddling. He realized he never wanted to lose her. He did not know how to tell her, so he kept it to himself until Thanksgiving of 1992, when he asked Charlotte’s brother to tell Charlotte that he loved her. From that moment he knew even though he could not talk to her or see her every day that he would do anything for her. Life was good even though his life was in chaos with his own family situation. He could close his eyes and listen to music and think of her and it would ease the stress of the situation. Raymond’s mother moved from Connecticut to Massachusetts to take in Charlotte and her brother, so to prevent them from being separated. Sadly, in mid-October of 1996 the Department of Family and Children services felt that Charlotte and her brother needed to be placed in foster care instead of with Raymond and his mother. This was a very depressing time in Raymond life because he lost the center in his life. The person that he could confide in, the person who loved him for him and he had no clue how he would ever find her again.
After the tragic loss of Charlotte, Raymond and his mother had to move into a smaller place to live. During this move he seriously injured his back and had to miss a lot of school. In addition to his bad luck with his back the school he was attending did not have sufficient services to help in succeed in high school so, in September of 1997 Raymond decided to take the GED course to obtain his Graduation Diploma. In December of 1997 he earned his GED diploma. After that Raymond decided to attend Northern Essex Community College to obtain an Associates in Criminal Justice, while trying to work at the same time. The reason Raymond wanted to get a degree in Criminal Justice is he wanted to be able to help protect people like Charlotte whom were abused. He knew this journey would not be an easy task but to him it was like keeping Charlotte a part of him in his life, and giving aid to others who need help. Raymond finally obtained his Associates Degree in 2010. After he obtained this degree he was told by others this profession that, because of his visual impairment doing criminal justice would not be a good profession for him to pursue as a career. This frustrated Raymond because he put so much time into this dream to have it be shattered. Raymond then decided to attend UMass Lowell to start a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. During this time, he was happy with his life, even though in the deepest parts of his heart were deeply sad, when he would think back to Charlotte. He often hoped she was happy and safe wherever she was. He had from time to time tried to find her, but with no success. The main reason he wanted to find her was to know for himself if she was okay, because when she was taken he did not even get to say goodbye and tell her he would always love her. Little did he know that a year after he received his Associates degree he would reconnect with her and his life would change forever.
On June 7th, 2011 Raymond 30th Birthday, Raymond would receive the best gift he could have imagined for his birthday. On this day he was supposed to attend a soft skills training at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. He had no clue that when he entered the building he would see the person who he has been missing for the last 14 years of his life. He was nervous, but excited. He wondered if she would talk to him or would she ignore him completely. Raymond had no clue where she lived and if they would have time to chat after the meeting, but during the entire meeting he prayed they would. After the training they both left and ended up taking the same train to Lowell. Raymond had no clue she was living in Lowell. He was excited to know at the minimum they could hopefully be friends, to him that would be better than no contact at all. After reconnecting with each other, Raymond was grateful that Charlotte wanted to be friends and he could tell in some shape or form she loved him. Raymond loved her so much that he would never push her to tell him how much he loved her, he would just wait until she was ready to tell him how she felt. Raymond and Charlotte finally started talking more and more and he felt extremely grateful he had his true friend back that he could confide in. Charlotte told Raymond in one of their many conversations that she loved him and wanted him to be happy. Raymond told her the same thing and told her how he felt when she had been taken away. Raymond explained that he felt that she was his soulmate, the one true person that could complete him. On December 10th, 2011 Raymond moved in with Charlotte and they began their journey as one.
To learn more about Raymond’s journey please read "About the Family" page. Reading this will tell you about how the family and Raymond are doing. Please Click Here to continue reading.