Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Review: Taylor's Gift

Once you become a parent, your life is forever altered and connected to another life.  Moreover, once you become a parent, you open yourself up to empathy for every other parent's worst nightmare.  I could not read this without putting myself in the shoes of these two parents, who tell of their own personal tragedy when the life of their bubbly, vibrant 13 year old daughter, Taylor, was snuffed out in a skiing accident. If you have a child, you can't help but feel even a sliver of the pain this family experienced through this loss.

But the great thing about this story, is that the pain comes with God's redemptive power.  I love to watch God redeem brokenness and pain.  It makes me want to shout, "Go God!" (something my brother used to say when he'd see an especially stunning sunset or something of great beauty).  God took this tragic story, these horrific circumstances, this family's deepest pain, and turned it into something hopeful and beautiful.  He gave Taylor a legacy that lives on despite her absence in this world.  Through her organ donation, Taylor went on to save or greatly improve the lives of five individuals.  When Todd and Tara Storch decided to donate Taylor's organs, they opened themselves up to a whole new world.  Todd left his stable job to become the founding creator of Taylor's Gift, an organization devoted to increasing the organ donation registries across the nation.

I loved the vulnerability both parents expressed in the telling of this tale.  They were willing to share their own personal weaknesses, like the desire to run away from the pain and the tendency to sometimes snap when others didn't respond in ways they wanted (I, too, would have snapped if I saw someone heading to launder my deceased child's clothes - I would want to bury my head in the items and continuously sniff up the lingering scent).  Despite being overcome with grief, Tara Storch bravely shared her lows and came around to finding a renewed sense of joy in life.  I think this story is also important because it shows others the reality that two individuals often grieve in different ways. Tara was overcome and barely able to function, while her husband channeled his grief into action and seeking a purpose in the pain.  The key to maintaining strong relationships in the face of the loss of a child is in allowing for different grieving styles.

If you are looking for an authentic, courageous story, which weaves the pain of one of life's worst challenges with the hope of life's greatest potential, you can't go wrong with this book.  It will bring you to tears and move you to make a commitment, yourself, to allow others the gift of life by registering to be an organ donor.  This was such an inspiring read and I'm sure both God and Taylor are looking down with big smiles of approval.

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