Remembering Dylan:Twenty Years
(Written by my sister, Linda)
“Twenty years: from birth, from before birth treasured and loved, Dylan. Held now in God’s hands, held always in God’s hands but oh how I wish him back.
In 1991, Beth called to share the news that she was pregnant. Beth had some health issues so there were trips to the hospital to protect her health and his, but finally, I got the call that he was born. I remember the first time I held him, how precious and small. I sat on the floor with him in my arms.
Sometimes I have random memories of Dylan. Dylan was a baby with colic who was soothed when my husband held him. Dylan first learned to “game” at age two by standing in front or the TV while his cousins played (or at least tried to play) Mario. Dylan loved his Legos. He had a wonderful imagination as well as a real skill for building the complicated sets. We are still finding Legos in the couch where he played. He was on vacations with us, at family dinners and celebrations. We had a Halloween party at our house. We loved him and treasured him. He was the youngest grandchild and the “baby” cousin.
As he got older there were signs of the depression, signs that got worse as he began to use drugs. By the time he first was hospitalized for depression and addiction, we could no longer pretend his pain was not real.
I really wanted him to get well. I am a recovering alcoholic myself who suffered horrible bouts of depression in adolescence and early adulthood. Dylan came to live with us in 2012 after he had overdosed and cut himself. For a couple weeks, there were good times again: Dylan was clean of drugs, Dylan was taking his antidepressant, Dylan was coming to dinner and talking and being with us. But the turn downward, the spiral came, and he withdrew again. I will be forever blessed with those few weeks of time we had, and forever second guessing, “Was there something else I could have done?”
But our house was no miracle, no cure. There was not enough love to conquer his depression. After yet another overdose, he went to a center that treated depression.
And there is hope again. As long as he was alive, no matter how ugly the attempts, no matter how deep his depression, we all kept hoping. I saw so much of myself in Dylan. I wanted to protect him and hold him the way we did when he was an infant, to keep him safe.
But his need to escape his pain seemed to grow not diminish.
On June 25th, 2012, I woke and took the phone downstairs with me. When it rang in the middle of the night, the hollow sound of my sister Beth’s voice, “Linda, Dylan’s dead.” changed my world. Those words that devastate, echo, haunt. Rocking and crying and howling, wanting to make it not real. The pain is deeper than any pain I have ever felt.
My life will be divided into those two parts, when Dylan was alive and after Dylan died. It has become my calendar. I know in my head that Dylan’s pain was real, I know his depression was fatal, that suicide was the only answer he saw, but in my heart where I carry him, I don’t want him gone.
I want Dylan on the bench at family dinners, on the roller coasters at Cedar Point, joking and texting his friends. I want his quirky sense of humor, his laugh that I can still hear.
I don’t want to learn to live without Dylan because what I really want is to have Dylan back.
Twenty years: too short. Loved and treasured from birth to grave and beyond, a gift from God, too soon returned: Dylan.”
by Linda Brown Taylor
“Remembering Dylan: Twenty Years” appears in “Faces of Suicide: Volume 2” (available as a paperback for $10)
I wrote about Dylan in “Faces of Suicide: Volume 1,” also available from Amazon as a paperback ($10) or an e-book for Kindle ($3)
These books are filled with the stories, reflections, and memories by Parents of Suicides (PoS), an online closed support group for parents who have lost a child to suicide, and by Friends and Family of Suicides (FFOS), also an online closed support group for friends and family members who have lost loved ones to suicide. I have found deep, deep healing, support, and understanding through these online groups. Both groups were started by Karyl Chastain Beal who lost her daughter Arlyn to suicide.