Saturday, April 17, 2010

In Memory of Taylor Nicole

This year my daughter Taylor would have been sweet sixteen had things been different. But she was born with a defective heart. Despite heroic efforts on the part of the medical team at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and a successful heart operation, her lungs would not adjust to the corrected blood flow.

My wife and I were changed by her short life. There was beauty, and there was horror. We were enriched, and we were broken.

This year during a Spring cleaning, I found a poem that I wrote on May 10, 1994, within a month of Taylor's death. It is raw, and speaks of the separate struggles that my wife and I had to endure. People cope and mourn in altogether different and sometimes seemingly incompatible ways. That we grew to understand this was the reason, I believe, that we survived the loss as a couple, when many under similar circumstances do not.

Until this poem was found, nobody - not even my wife, had read it. The last line of the poem seems to point towards where we are today: we find much to appreciate and enjoy about our lives. I was tempted to extend the line length, and change a few words here and there, but it is probably better to present it as it was written.

So let this poem be a tribute to Taylor's memory, and a testament to all who lose a loved one and especially a child, that you can and will make it beyond the loss, with time.

In memory of Taylor Nicole Kent
(March 11, 1994 to April 18, 1994)

Sweet angel,
The family trembles.

Rocks crumble
Beneath your short existence,
In aftershock.

The mother's dream
Slips through
Trembling hands.
The father drops to his knees
To recover what he can.

Time falls heavenward.

Lifelong companions
Amidst merciless rapids,
Unable to grasp one another,

The mother drowns in
Your assaulted purity:
In you, the candle,
The innocent flame,
To pieces;
In you, the baby's breath,
By her own traitorous

The Father is dragged
Downward; his kicks,
His struggling arms,
Amount to nothing;
He breathes alone.
He buries himself in
All things living,
The pain of your absence
From them.

He enfolds himself
As a cocoon
Around your brother, and
He touches your mother
As a precious jewel.
Light, deflected
From the prismatic well,
Is dim,
But an occasional flicker
Or spark, makes him dare
To Hope.


  1. This is poignant indeed, Dan. Thank you for sharing such a touching and deeply intimate moment in your life. Though I know it is more than a moment, you have been touched by her passing through your life, for ever.

    You are so right that we deal with grief in vastly different and often non-compatible ways. I am glad that you survived this pain as a couple, and that today you can still celebrate the life of your daughter.

    She may have visited Earth for only a short time, but her life remains eternal.

  2. I am sorry for you and your wife's loss Dan. I am sure somewhere somehow she would be smiling because she knows how much you love her and that she's always in your heart. It's a sad and deep poem, it makes me speechless. The sketch is beautiful, it's means so much words can't describe.

  3. This breaks my heart Dan. I sit here, up and down all night and up for good at 2:15 a.m., worrying where my grown youngest daughter is as she exhibits yet another fierce round of immaturity. I worry that if something happens to her I will never see my granddaughters again. I wonder and I worry and I wait and I worry. I am so very sorry and so very saddened by your little girl's passing. Your poem is heartwrenching and I can only imagine your's and your wife's pain.

  4. I'm so glad you were able to share this - every parent's worse nightmare. Your poem really expresses so much - and by your tribute you are honoring her place in your lives. Our nephew's son was born with a single chamber heart, is now 3 1/2 years old and precious. He is the light of his parents and older siblings lives! Everyone is dreading the anticipated surgery.

  5. Oh, Dan, I'm so very sorry to learn this part of your history. How excruciatingly painful - and your poem says it all. I will think of your lovely daughter all day, on what would have been her sixteenth, to honor the memory of such a bright star and her legacy. Hugs to you and yours.

  6. Dan, your tribute to your beloved daughter, accompanied by your sensitive drawing have really touched my heart. I am in awe of your ability to deal with such a devastating loss, one which haunts the nightmares of most of us, and I'm grateful to you for sharing this with us. May your tender memories of Taylor continue to comfort you.

  7. Dan this is beautiful and a wonderful tribute to your daughter. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. For posting this most beautiful poem for Taylor... you will certainly always be there in my memories for me to draw strength from when it is called upon me to be more than I think I ever could be---thank you so much..

  9. There is sadness and strength in your poem, a fitting tribute to your little girl. My thoughts are with you.

  10. Dan - I may not know you or your family, but this poem brought tears to my eyes. We all deal with loss in different ways, like you say.

  11. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem and sketch. I can see that your daughter has enriched your life tremendously despite, or maybe partially because of, her brief time with you.

  12. What a beautiful poem Dan. I can't begin to imagine what you and your wife must have gone through. It is lovely that you feel you can share such a personal poem with all of us, I am sure it will resonate with many people for many reasons. Thank you so much x

  13. This is absolutely beautiful, just amazing. I wish I could be more articulate in expressing how moving I find it and how strong. Thank you for sharing this with the EDM group.

  14. Tears. You constantly remind us of the beauty of life.

  15. So sad Dan. I lost a brother at one month and a nephew at one week. It hurts and I wasn't the closest family member. I can only guess at the pain that still remains for you all. Beautiful poem.

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  17. Dan your poignantly beautiful poem brought both memories and tears. I will carry your darling Taylor Nicole in my heart through this day. Thank you so for sharing. God Bless.

  18. Very touching, Dan. I am so sorry that your daughter had to go through all that, and you and your family, too. Time helps, some, and so does the creative process. My son was killed by a train back in 1975 just 5 days before he was to be 12. People tell me, when they have tragedies, that they saw what I went through, and that I made it, so they could too. I was very surprised.
    Thanks for sharing and keeping memories of our loved ones alive.

  19. Your beautiful poem brought tears to my eyes and memories of our youngest son. He was 2 weeks old before the doctors were sure he was out of the woods and would live. We were very lucky. Your generosity in sharing your deep feelings with us fills my heart. Bless you and your family. nancy

  20. Your creativity flowed even then, in the most difficult of times. Indeed, reading the poem brought tears to my eyes. I could feel the pain and the searching for comfort in your words. I'm sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing. Today I celebrate the brief life of your daughter with you.

  21. Again, speechless. But this time with tears filling my eyes. My heart breaks for your family. Sweet baby girl. She will never know the ripple effect her short life has far her story has traveled. How many hearts have been touched. We remember your birthday Taylor.

    We know how much you are treasured.

  22. I am rendered speechless - a touching and poignant tribute to one so special and dear. I cannot comprehend your loss - life is so precious - thanks for that reminder. We take much for granted...

  23. Dan, this is so moving... I can feel your anguish, your frustration. My son almost died at 6 weeks old - had to have blood transfusion because he was bleeding internally and turned purple (thanks to my own bleeding disorder). How heartbreaking for you and your family to go through this.

  24. Usually, your blogs make us smile.

    This tribute to your daughter's short life has made us aware that nothing can be taken for granted; we should appreciate every small thing every single day.

    Thank you.

  25. Thank you all. You have made this a truly memorable anniversary not only for me, but for my wife as well. We are so deeply touched. I am continuously reminded in this online and some say "virtual" world, what beautiful souls there are in the real world.

    Pippa, it is fitting that you were the first to respond, as you are always so inspirational. Thank you.

    Autumn Leaves, I feel for you and your grandchildren and hope that your daughter finds her way, both for herself, and for their sake.

    Shirley, I know something of what you and your family is going through and will soon be enduring - I hope and pray for all of you, and that he will ultimately be well. Medical knowledge regarding the heart improves vastly each year, and is much better now than it was 16 years ago. There is some hope in that, I think. If ever you need someone to speak to, feel free to e-mail me.

    freebird, I am so sorry that you too had to experience this; I hope this post had special meaning for you. As for us, I can assure you that we are far better now, so many years later, but this period in each year has special meaning for us.

    Cecilia, what can I say? I cannot begin to imagine the pain of the loss of a son at age 11. Thank you for feeling that you can share your experience. I am pleased to know that time has helped you as well. I am so very sorry for your son, and for your loss and that of your family.

    Alex, Kathy, mycreativeheart, MaryO, travelingsue, Winna, Cathy, Sketch Gurl, Janene, Leslie, Melinda, Sandra, Andrea, seasue, Nancy, raena, Kim, Ellen, Deborah - I am overwhelmed by your kind responses. You are all the reason I felt I could do this post.

    Thank you all so much.

  26. Thank you as well, Krista and Hallie. You commented while I was doing my long response. I usually do not respond to everyone individually, but to me your responses are so special on this day. Krista - how hard that must have been - I am glad he turned out fine. What we parents must go through. And Hallie, I think your thought is truly the message. Life is precious, and each of us is so lucky to experience it - each and every moment. Thank you.

  27. Dan, that is a lovely drawing and a beautifully honest poem. I very much like that you have shared this with your blog/friends. It is such a nice tribute. I like the internet for things like this. Taylor Nicole is here with us all and we are all connected.

  28. It's amazing what life brings us in moments that we think will absolutely destroy us. And I admire you for sharing something so precious and personal for you and your wife. And obviously, from the comments, you've encouraged so many from sharing your grief. A few lines from my favorite writer, Anne Lamott, "Make it as good as you can. It is one of the greatest feelings known to humans, the feeling of being the host, of hosting people, of being the person to whom they come for food and drink and company. This is what a writer has to offer."

    Thanks for being the host...and thank you, Taylor, for your story and your sweet life.

  29. Beautiful and so touching.

    Thank you for sharing your angel with us.

  30. What a beautiful expression and affirmation of life and love.

  31. On April 9th my son would have been 30. He died in a motorcycle crash at 22. The pain has eased a bit, but I think of him on a daily basis, as I'm sure you think about Taylor. I do believe that he is up there somewhere with Taylor, watching and playing and enjoying God's universe in a totally different way than we can down here. My heart aches for you and your wife, but try to take comfort in the knowledge that she is always with you, and is in a place where there is no pain, only joy. That has helped me get through each day...

  32. Very touching. Thankyou for sharing.
    Thankful for this moment

  33. Dan...What sorrow. And what beautiful words coming out of it. Love the last stanza especially...

    Krista - I'm so glad your boy is alright...My son is 8 months. He has hemophilia and I catch myself once in a while thinking of horrible "what if"s.

  34. Thank you for sharing this touching poem and a little bit of your precious daughter, Taylor Nicole, with us. When our daughter was born we had several hours of not knowing whether or not she would live. Then weeks of intensive care. She came through fine but I was forever changed by that experience. Your writing and art is such a great gift, thank you for the reminder that each moment is so very valuable.

  35. Dan, let me echo the previous comments and thank you for sharing such a personal experience, through this beautiful poem. I hope you and your family are well.

  36. Dan,I am in admiration of how you embrace life. Your post and your poem are so touching, it makes me remember that every moment is precious.
    Thank you and take care.

  37. You remind us of many important things.
    I love the simple sketch you did, too.

  38. Thank you all so much. I am overwhelmed. You have truly made this a fitting tribute to my daughter's memory, and I appreciate it more than you could know.

    Revelle, I so feel for you..I have a 20-year- old, and I cannot imagine.

    Yevegna, I can relate to what you say as well. I have an autistic son and have reviewed many horrible "what if's" in my mind, but it is not worthwhile, and I try to avoid this.

    And Celeste, Melinda, Raodchick, Barbara, Lyn, Ann, Wil, Benedicte, and Knitting Painter Woman, thank you for your elequent words. I am pleased that this post meant something to each of you.

    So many trials in this small group and so much feeling - a wonderful reminder that none of us is ever alone, no matter how great the loss. All of us have pain, challenges, sorrow. Our experiences are shared, and we need never feel alone.

  39. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your precious memories with us.

  40. Beautifully written and drawn. These things never leave us, though the years stretch out in between. May you, your wife, and family continue to be wrapped in the Hope you have found to be true. Thank you for sharing this!

  41. Thats such a beautiful poem and drawing of your daughter, a really beautiful tibute to her and the life that she shared with you and you with her. We lost our first son 19 years ago, I never got to hold him or see him, but in my heart I see him and feel him. They will always be with us.

  42. I read it backwards, I was not brave enough to read from the beginning. It's beautiful. The ending takes my breath away. My thoughts go to you and your loved ones.

  43. Dan, this is a wonderful tribute to your daughter and to your family who endures. My heart aches for your loss so eloquently recorded. God Bless.


  44. Dan- You and your wife have been in my thoughts. I can't even begin to imagine the heart ache. By your sharing- it seems you've been through much healing- even if the scars never disappear.