"Not everyone will get to be a hero in his or her lifetime. But at only 13 years old, J.D. Taylor inspired others in ways that would make the most courageous men pale in comparison..." from The Paper's #1 story of 2009.
I've been having a hard time finding the words to say to accurately express what's in my heart. I cannot find the words to do the memory of my little brother justice. The things that I would say barely touch the surface of the depth of my love and admiration for J.D.- but I'll do the best I can.
Clearly, 2009 will always be the year of J.D. for us. There were tremendous ups and downs, incredible amounts of heartache, moments of joy and lots of sadness. We're beginning to wade through different emotions, walk in different parts of grief, and continue to ache at the gargantuan hole in our lives. Where I'm at now, what I keep rolling around is how to preserve the memory, how make this story live on, how to appropriately honor my little brother and the way he lived his life. He lived so boldly, he spoke what he believed, he left no room for doubt. He truly inspired and so many lives are changed...
I keep thinking of all these moments. I remember him as he really was now- laughing and joking, making faces, dancing... There are moments of the hospital stay that I treasure, too, though they're much harder to think about. He received hundreds and hundreds of cards while sick. The last couple of weeks of his life he was unable to talk. I would sit by his bed, grab the basket of cards, and read each one to him. There was one day that I was in the middle of the basket and stopped for whatever reason, but as soon as I stopped he quietly moaned, articulating no words, but saying so much. He'd do the same if I stopped holding his hand, or when I told him I loved him. He always wanted Sissy nearby, was always quick to let me know he loved me. One night, we couldn't get him to take his anti-seizure medicine (as usual). Four or five of us tried, and he fought and fought. Finally, it was I who got him to swallow it down. And when I went to leave, I got a hand squeeze AND an eye brow raise AND a moan. Triple 'I love you'. The last conversation he had was with my son. Oh, how JD loved Corban and vice versa. JD had said nothing for a day or two, and we brought Corban into the room which was a rare occurrence. I took Corban up to the bed right by JD's face. Corban pointed and giggled saying "Das J.D.!" I said "Can you say 'Hi'?" And he responded, "Hi, DayDee!" JD raised up his eyebrows, swallowed hard and said "Hi Corban." Corban said, "How are you?" And J.D. said "I'm good." Corban told him he loved him, and J.D. said "I love you, too." A few hours later he said 'Okay' to my parents when they told him they were going to rotate him and those were the last words he spoke. Man, I miss that voice.
That isn't exactly what I planned on writing about, but that's okay. I want to have these memories recorded, I want to remember them as vividly as I do right now- thought I don't think that'll be a problem.
Anyway, a conclusion of sorts to a jumbled post: JD was always so quick to let me know he loved me, both in word and action. Just one more thing my little brother taught me and has encouraged me to do... I want to love like that. I want to live like that.
#1 story of the year... A world changer you are, J.D. ... I couldn't be prouder to be your Sissy.