A tribute to our son who died too young

Lucas James Taylor 1981-1997

trees in park
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Ron and I are panning a memory trip to RSD (Rochester School for the Deaf) to view the tree they planted when we were invited to the memorial service they did for our son Lucas after he had tragically been killed by a drunk driver, while riding his bike at 16.

We are hoping to reunite with his best friend who lives and works in Rochester and any teachers who are still working there.

We are coming up on another anniversary of the day we buried him, November 15th, and this time of year is always a bit tough due to him no longer being with us.

Memories do not replace loved ones, nor do they ease the pain of the missing and the longing to be with our son once again.

I am glad we have pictures, movies, cards, and all the memories that we can hold on to, but not being able to hold him, see him, watch him mature into a young man, or see his children, is indeed a loss that never goes away.

The losses when a child dies are way too many. The career he would have had, the contributions to society he would have made and the ongoing benefit of knowing a young boy who gave his support, encouragement and advise to all his friends, helping them in this path called life.

A young boy who after each church service, would stand behind the pulpit preaching in Sign Language. A young boy who always sought to teach his hearing friends Sign language and finger spelling.

A young boy who in the uphill battle he had in also having a muscle condition causing weakness, never let him stop in his achieving his American Red Cross Badge, playing basketball, lifting weights, playing in the neighborhood, and engaging with others in his youth group, or adventuring on his own for the long bus ride beginning at 8 years of age to Rochester, a 4 hour trip back then.

Lucas chose to go to RSD and it was one of the best choices we made for him as the school offered deaf role models, an all inclusive environment where everyone used ASL.

They offered an excellent education, theatre, sports, outside enrichments in the community, and a supportive collaborative team of wonderful educators, administrators, phycologists on staff.  What was most endearing, is they offered him a family away from home.  They offered him sanctity in a world where he was safe, loved, cherished and where he could grow and mature as a boy gifted with a heart that was larger than ever.

The Resident Dorm directors were all Deaf themselves so they were fluent in being able to communicate and offered a safe, enhanced, rich living environment for our son and the many children whose parents also made the choice to let go of them at such young ages were all part of our family.

Our son Lucas always sought to help those in wheelchairs, those who had issues with confidence and those who struggled for acceptance. Lucas was a voice of courage in the face of adversity for those who lived in a hearing world, but could not hear, nor speak.

Our son who won an award for Sportsmanship that RSD celebrates on an annual basis for Lucas’s character in giving of himself and the efforts to build bridges of peace between the members of his team and his ability to help others get along for the good of the team was admirable.

Lucas left a legacy behind him in the lives of those he invested in with his compassion, care and love and his willingness to reach outside himself to help others.

Not long ago, his friend Sarah (a hearing woman) ran into Ron and she said she has never met anyone who left such an impression on her life such as Lucas did. She said he influenced her in positive ways that have lasted into her 30’s and she holds fond memories of their times as teenagers.

It is always good to hear stories of how Lucas impacted and affected people in the short time he lived on this earth and for the better.

Lucas’ influence reached into the lives of both hearing and deaf persons, teachers, administrators and educators who saw him as an inspiration and a young boy who braved the forces of what was dealt to him with dignity and integrity.

His teachers said each time he would arrive at RSD, they could not stop him from going around to every classroom, greeting the teachers and students, making sure they were all well after the weekend away. This after getting on a bus at 3 AM Monday mornings and making the long trip to Rochester in the heat, in the freezing cold and in inclement weather.

The bus often broke down on his way home on Friday evenings (and with no phone call to us) where we sometimes did not see him until close to midnight were unacceptable, inhumane and indecent.

I gathered all the other parents together (their is power in numbers) and took on the transportation company, the Board at BOCES and the state to fight for safer more adequate, decent and humane transportation and won. What some take for granted, others have to battle and struggle to obtain.

The atrocities that happen to those who have vulnerabilities and conditions making it harder to make it in this world are many, but being his advocate and one for many deaf and hard of hearing children was done with enthusiasm, determination and joy in wanting them to have the same opportunities, the same advantages, and the same access to safety that all our children deserve.

The end results in achieving a safer, appropriate and more adequate transportation was worth battling all the forces that only sought to create obstacles instead of access to what makes common sense and is of decency to provide for any child.

So today I am remembering Lucas and all he contributed to society to others in the short 16 years he lived on this earth.  Today I am remembering that I no longer have my son to hold, to speak with, to love, and to cherish being alive.

Life is not a given nor is tomorrow promised. Cherish and hold close the ones you love, for we never know when they will be taken from us as we are not in control of life and death.

It is God who gives and it is God who takes away and it is He who holds us in His hands, sustaining the breathe we breath and our life is a precious gift.

There is no greater pain then the loss of a child, so I empathize and understand any parent who has had to endure such agony, as there are no words to express what it is like, just an unimaginable anguish.

There is a heartache that is hidden inside when others rejoice in birthdays, marriages, holidays and celebrations.

There are tears that silently flow in a crushed chest of the missing as I see others gather around the table with their children, talk of their joys, their happiness and the grandchildren arriving.

Their is a pain that eases, returns unexpectedly, dissipates, comes again with anguish, at the least known memory in desiring to hold Lucas once again.

It does not help to ‘know where he is’ as many want to say to comfort. Why would one think that would comfort? It is not having Lucas present where the pain and grief becomes real. It is no longer having him alive to spend time with where the agony becomes a reality.  It is knowing our son is dead where grief goes on and on, where ‘knowing where he is’ is of no comfort or solace.

I am thankful for the many years, the gatherings, the shared experiences we were able to have with Lucas, but I grieve for the loss, the missing and the not having him to know in his young adult years.

Living Intentionally

Lorraine

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