Hello Mr. Taylor,
This letter comes to you at a very odd time for my family, and as I am writing this tears are already beginning to flow down my face. As you know, Jimmy was diagnosed with bone cancer and did not have much time remaining when you had met him on that very fateful halloween night. Our greatest fear was that Jimmy would live the remaining days of his life in such great suffering pain and having only been on this earth for 9 short years, we did not want any of his last remaining days to be in pain. When you met our son, he was in a bad state of mind. He was in pain, he was scared of what would happen to him in the end, he really had no one to talk to that he could start "fresh" with. He had minor interests in life but had found himself in a rut. He had talked to us quite often about all the things he wanted to do, like run on the sand at a beautiful beach, to go ta a basketball game, to go to a baseball game, to run free of pain, to be able to play a videogame and not be in pain. The list was endless....he missed school, he missed his friends. People stopped visiting him lately because of his deteriorating body and painful demeanor. He was at such a down point of his life that his father and I were so concerned that he would rather just move on than continue in that state. It seemed as though the pain would never go away, not just the physical pain, but the mental anguish he would feel daily.
Then this GIANT Angelic man walked into our room! This beautiful, handome gorgeous man with a BIG OL' PUMPKIN bucket full of candy! When my son looked at you, his eyes opened wide, like you were an ANGEL! When you introduced yourself as "the ugly candy fairy", my son laughed! We had not heard him laugh in months. When you asked us if you could sit down, we wondered if you were another Dr. with bad news but you were so tall, so vivacious, so happy, we knew that could not be true. Jimmy looked so bewildered, as were we. You then noticed that he had a basketball game on television and asked him if he liked basketball and that opened the floodgates. He opened up to you like we had never seen before. He was so excited to actually talk to a "real" basketball man. When you two started talking basketball, my husband and I were so flabergasted that we simply could not breathe. Our son was talking basketball with this complete stranger, when he would not talk to anyone. Not us, not the nurses, not his family. He seemed to have given up until that very moment. When you remained for longer than any of us expected, my husband and I decided to leave you two alone because we could see that our son wanted to be alone with you. We sat outside in astonishment, wondering when you would leave, hoping beyond hope that you wouldn't. It wasn't 2 minutes before we could actually hear our son laugh, from the lobby! When my husband heard that, he cried like I had never seen him cry before and he wispered in my ear, "Thank GOD." We held each other and the nurses came by to join in, we actually had our nurses, nurses that would marry you tomorrow if you asked, nurses that absolutely fell in love with you that night, in tears! You were a miracle.......we looked at our watch and you were still in the room, 40 minutes later! Then we saw you walk out, we were so sad that you were leaving us, as we walked over to you, the shock we felt when you asked Mary if it would be ok to have some of the other boys join you and our son to watch some games, was felt it in our toes!! To see you wheeling other kids into Jimmy's room, was a sight to be seen! These boys had never even met each other before and here you were, with all these boys and girls in a room, all laughing, all watching tv, all hanging on your every word and eating candy when they would not eat anything for weeks! We wondered aloud, what was happening?? You stayed for hours, and for that we all, parents, family, nursing staff, could not thank you enough.
When you left us for the evening, providing us with your phone number and business card, that card you gave my son, black and silver, weighed more than a ton of gold to my son. It never left his side. The fact that you would stay in contact with him, when you are as busy as you are, was such an amazing thing for us. He talked about you 24/7. He said you two talked about everything, from life to death. About sports, about your girls, about your teams, about your life and his. I do not know what you said to my son regarding the afterlife, because that is between you and my son, but whatever it was, you put my son at peace. He was at peace for the first time in his life. You made him feel peace. He would call you at all times of the night and you always answered, when you called him, we would leave. So that our son could have his moment. You, simply put, made him happy.
Recently Jimmy had a conversation with us, we knew life was coming to an end and he had such a mature conversation with us, he was so strong. He told us he would be watching over us, he told us he would be busy playing basketball at the beach like his "coach". He told us he was excited to meet a boy named Bart and to meet your mom! He said so much to us. He mentioned that he wasn't scared. He said he would do all the things he wished he could have done on earth. When he was done, we asked him why he was saying all this? He said because he felt he wanted us as his parents to live life, to be happy and not sad. That "coach" said I would be happy and able to watch over everyone to make sure they are happy. He said he could not wait to watch you coach......he knew that he would not be able to do this until his time on this earth was done and although he wasn't hoping to pass on, he wasn't afraid because he was going to be able to watch over you. He told us the question you asked him, and we started crying. He told us what you had said to him about your life and we cried so hard as he told us it was going to be alright. We could not believe this was our son!
My husband and I remember when you left, you were such a strong man. You then said to us something that absolutely touched us, you said, "I wish it would be me in there, instead of your son". You then cried and hugged us as you walked away. A miracle in our life, walking out slowly.....fading into the distance was what we considered a GODSEND. All we could talk about was what an amazing experience it must be to have someone like you in our life. To be a player for you, a student for you, must be the greatest thing in a person's life. I could not imagine a greater gift for a young adult. I know we have talked about your frustration with your calling, but I would hope that those kids of yours would see what our son saw. Life is so precious, to be valued. To not be wasted. Life is short enough, to put one's own life in danger via dangerous activities seems insulting to me and everyone who has experienced what we have experienced. I wish my son could have attended high school, I wish my son could have played sports, especially for a man as great as you, I wish my son could have experienced the joy of competition, the thrills of college, the exhileration of a win! The results of working hard for something. All my son wanted in life was to be able to play, to be able to go to school, to be able to be "normal". I hope you understand that for the time our son knew you, he experienced these things. His life was changed because of you. Having said all of this, I hope this does not come out wrong, but we do not wish you would have been in that room instead of our son. You are one of GOD's special people, you affect so many. If you have affected others the way you have affected us, then you are one of the most valuable people on this earth, you are needed!
Jimmy passed away late last night.....with his last breaths he told us to smile, he thanked us, he then wanted us to tell you he is coming. He is coming to all your games! I am sorry coach but I am crying so hard right now, because these tears for the first time are tears of contention. They are tears that represent my son and his happiness. You are an ANGEL to all of us. We speak of you as if you are mythical. You must know this and I hope this does not make you feel uncomfortable, but we all speak of you often and we are trying to have another child and his name will be David Taylor. You allowed us to be happy, to be at peace. As my sister said, "Mr. Taylor is the most handsome, powerful, strong man I have ever come into contact with!" We could not have said it better. You are an amazing amazing amazing man because you know how to live, you affect lives.
Thank you so much Coach. Words can't say enough. We are of modest means as you know. Mary gave us the envelope you had left for us when Jimmy passed and we choked up so much when we read your letter and saw the check for his funeral expenses that we can't speak. I pray for only one thing, that you will speak at our son's funeral. I know this is a lot to ask, but I also know that there will be a lot of people in attendance and they could benefit from your wisdom. It will be on Sunday the 22nd. I sincerely hope you understand the massive magnitude of impact you have had on our lives!
Thank you so much David Taylor, you are forever our angel. I am sure Jimmy is looking down on us right now drinking a soda and saying "lets play". Continue doing GOD's work, continue changing the lives of the people smart enough to listen, continue being happy and continue breaking hearts. You are the most beautiful man we have ever met. We all love you so much, you are part of our family.
With the most love one person can give to another, I give that to you. Thank you!