JANUARY 25, 2007 – JOINING IN MEMORY OF JIM – DINAH TAYLOR:? Dinah and her husband, Dr. James Taylor, president of the University of Cumberlands, Williamsburg Kentucky, lost their only child, Young Jim, in May of 1991 in an automobile accident.? After Jim’s death, Dinah honored him by contacting and supporting other parents who had lost children.? Dinah has a strong desire that the community remembered the deceased children of Williamsburg.? For ten years following Jim’s death, Dinah and her husband sponsored a bereavement conference at the University.? The conference was called J.I.M.’s picnic (Joining In Memory).? Join us on this show to hear about Jim and the many ways that we may honor our children’s memories.?
Dinah Taylor:? One of the parents that I write to is doing a study in Kentucky on how pastors and hospitals treat people whose child had died, and so that’s going to be an interesting study.? But what got me started with contacting other parents was, we live in a town of about 4,500 people, and our college, about 1,400 students and professors and everything come to about 1,700 people, and after Young Jim’s death, no one came around.? No one.? Even our pastor.? My pastor didn’t come for six weeks so I sent for him.? I said I would like to know why you haven’t been to see me because we’ve lost our only child and our pastor should be the one that’s trying to comfort us.? He said, well, I kept thinking it could have been my child, and I said, but it wasn’t your child.? And then I was really cruel and said, your job is to comfort your parishioners.? You haven’t done it.? We had to tell them what we need and how to do it.
Dinah Taylor:? One lady was there that had lost a child 20 years before and nobody in the whole group knew it.? And I said I can’t believe you didn’t call me when Jim was killed.? She said for six months, she would drive all the way around town so she wouldn’t have to go by my house.? She said I can’t believe I have tried not to grieve.? It’s easier to grieve than try not to grieve.
Dinah Taylor:? You know the story.? You go to the grocery store and everybody runs from you.? Anywhere I would go, they would run from you, and I tried to talk to them but I couldn’t.? So I started listening to the radio and reading the paper and anytime I heard of a parent that lost a child, I would call them and write and say okay, I’m here.? I don’t know if anybody else has contacted you, but we have something in common.? And I would tell how my fears were.? My anger.? What my anger was.? And so it gave them permission to be able to express their anger or their fears.?
Dinah Taylor:? But don’t think that you don’t need to call em because you don’t know what to say.? They will talk to you.? They will tell you.? All you have to do is say I have lost a child, too.
Dinah Taylor:? I guess my biggest fear was that he would be forgotten.? I thought nobody’s going to remember him and it’s up to me.? That’s the reason I’m still on this earth because I didn’t think I’d live through it.? And I certainly will never smile again.? I will never laugh.? But I thought now this is my job.? I have to keep his memory alive and so that’s what I’ve done.
Dinah Taylor:? What he said in his speech, and this is to his fellow graduates, that any kind of problem or trouble will not leave you where it’s found you.? It will either make you bigger or bitter.? A strong person or a weak person.? And we chose to be strong because it was up to us to keep our son’s memory alive and by us being – I hate to say strong – oh, gee, nobody cried more than I did and still do.
Dinah Taylor:? My husband does grieve differently.? He can’t talk about his grief as much as he talks about Young Jim.? And he talks about Young Jim every day.? He’s so willing to share to anybody about him.
Dinah Taylor:? What’s so interesting about this speech is that he’s talking to people about how we all face adversity in life.? How we can either live constructive or destructive lives, and how we need to get through the hardest, darkest times and then his son dies 24 hours after he gives his speech.
Dinah Taylor:? And those are the friends that have become my true friends because the longer it’s been, you know, the more the people think get over it, and that’s not going to happen until you die.? That’s when you get over it.? Dinah Taylor:
Dinah Taylor:? I found out that I grieved a positive grief when I was contacting others.? If I sat home and grieved by myself and did nothing, it was so negative that it just ate me up.
Dinah Taylor:? My husband said about a year after Jim’s death that Young Jim may do more in his death than he ever would have done in his life.
Dinah Taylor:? Just be sure you’re in touch with other people.? Other parents that understand.? And if you can’t find anybody, you get on my website and I can find you some people.? It’s so important, and I think it’s vital that you write your child’s story.? It’s vital for you.? It’s vital for the people that know your child so their memory will live on when you’re gone.