|Tere & Taylor|
I got a call late last night from my friend Tere. I knew immediately from the sound of her voice her son Taylor was dead, before she said it. I even knew why.
I met Tere & Taylor when I worked at the YMCA Daycare in Metrotown/Burnaby the year before I was pregnant. Taylor was this painfully cute little ginger boy with endless energy and a killer smile. Tere was a single mom, struggling to keep afloat in the big city of Vancouver...struggling with a boy who never tired and kept her hopping. She was beautiful - so petite and small in stature but made an immediate impression on me b/c she was tough and independent. At the time I had no idea I would be in her same position a few yrs down the line but when I was she was someone to emulate.
She was amazing with Taylor...her patience with him, her sense of humor about all the shitty things that would happen in life...she always smiled. It was clear where he got his smile from. Taylor was not your typical kid - he had some behavioral/learning issues, if I recall he was ADHD back before it was the popular diagnosis...she got him through high school and graduated...he did try living with his dad when he was a teen but he always came home to his loving momma...Tere worked with him and he got into BCIT! This is a HUGE achievement for someone who struggled to learn traditionally all through high school - he completed 2 years of his journeyman's ticket, was doing well...always smiling, made people laugh, nicest kid ever...He was living on his own and Tere would pick up his laundry once a week and make sure he had clean clothes...he would come to her place and "grocery shop" in her cupboards...he was on top of the world seemingly.
He had started taking some medication that for whatever reason did not serve him well. Tere was unaware that his Gramma took him to get a Rx for antidepressants...I don't know all the details and the coroner/toxicology reports are not in but it sounds like he was one of those rare cases where the medication works the opposite of how it is supposed to (spurring hallucinations, psychosis, suicidal behavior)...and I do not know where Taylor got a gun either but before it was all over there was a police stand off, shots fired at cars outside his house and a 20 year old kid dead by his own hand inside the house. He was clearly not himself.
Needless to say Tere is on autopilot. She drives places and doesn't remember driving there. He was her only child...she spent 20 years giving all of herself to him to ensure he was ok and did well and made the best of his abilities and she did a fantastic job. He really was a lovely kid and this sort of loss is impossible to get over or wrap your head around. It is completely fucking rotten and I am really worried about her...
It has taken her 3 weeks to start telling people who are not immediate family or in their vicinity...when she runs into ppl in the neighborhood who knew them she tells them he was in a car accident b/c she cannot bare to explain it all...she started driving her dog to a dog park far away so she would stop seeing familiar faces...can't say I blame her...she is in counseling thankfully...and is being encouraged to tell the truth...
Most every one's gone home now...and she is alone more often...now she is making the calls to the far away friends who knew Taylor letting them know he is gone...her heart is broken, she is a mess...all the meaning in her life is gone...and I do not know what to say to her b/c I do not know how the hell I would go on either.
I am home today - I couldn't face work looking like a puffer fish and being so raw...this brings up a lot of stuff about my brother of course - it will be 11 yrs he's been gone next Monday...it never goes away...the ugliness of grief...and losses like Taylor only magnify it and make it all the more crippling in your head and heart. It surrounds us...Wendy losing her son Jesse just 4 mths ago....that poor kid in Ontario this week at 15 who killed himself b/c he said he could not take another 3 yrs of high school nonacceptance and bullying...just b/c he was the only openly gay kid in school...seriously....fuck.
RIP Taylor...my favorite ginger boy...send some good vibes to Tere please...she is going to need them...xo