Beloved, gifted, humble, witty, tragic
We lost a most beautiful soul.
Taylor never met a stranger and was a kindred soul to all. He loved creating art, lifting anyone who was feeling down, swimming, music, and playing the drums. He also liked skate and longboarding, cars, motorsports, animals and was good with children. And he gave the best hugs ever.
Taylor worked as an artist, cook, and lifeguard. His mother said, “I always thought he would make a brilliant teacher or social worker.” His plans included getting married, being a father, going to college, and becoming a success story in recovery to help others who struggle with substance use disorders. He was a great son, a loving brother to his two younger brothers, Alex and Sean Michael, and dearly loved his best friend, Olivia.
Taylor’s addiction to heroin started after taking prescription pain meds for a broken toe, “it all changed after that,” his mother stated. “He became someone I didn’t know, he didn’t smile as much, there were no jokes, and he developed a neurological twitch that never completely went away. He was still my son, and I loved him with all my heart. I was always ready to take him back to recovery if he wanted to go.” He overdosed 5 times in 15 months of heroin addiction, with the fifth being the last.
Sober for 7 months after being arrested and in the HARP program at the County Jail, Taylor’s picture was on the front page of the paper with the headline “ADDICTION IS A DISEASE.” Many family members were embarrassed but “I was so proud,” his mom said.
Taylor continued to give of himself, even after death when his family honored his request to be an organ donor. His mom stated, “Many strangers reached out to me after he died and said they were going into recovery because of Taylor’s death. Many others shared memories of how he was always there for them in their time of need.”
“I no longer hide or live in the shadows, I felt very alone and isolated in my grief, that is why I started GRAPLE a grief support group specifically for people who have lost someone from the disease of addiction.” Working to reduce stigma around substance use disorders, Tracy speaks at events and tells Taylor’s story. “Connecting with other people who have experienced the same loss has truly saved my life,” she said. ‘We show up anywhere we can to support recovery and to heal together in our grief.’
Taylor’s mother, Tracy Grow, provided the information for this narrative.
July 3, 1992-October 21, 2016
Age 24-Lived with the disease of addiction 2.5-3 years.