Shout your name into the wind
And sometimes I will think of you
Shout your name into the wind
And if you ever think of me
Kneel down and kiss the earth
And show me what this thought is worth
This song reminds me of Clay. The fact that it’s sung by Phish. The fact that it’s a simple thought but deep at the same time.
And I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
And I dreamed I was flying
Simon and Garfunkel. This song doesn’t remind me of Clay as a person, but helps me when I think of his last moments. That he was okay and that after it was all done, he was smiling and happy and free. I suppose that could be seen as being morbid and weird to always be thinking of that with this song, but it’s oddly not. It’s comforting to me.
There are a dozen more songs that remind me of Clay. A dozen more quotes and sayings and photos and places and poems and television shows and books and drawings.
I do 2 posts like this a year: 1 on May 25th (the date of Clay’s death) and one on October 31st (the date of Clay’s birth). Twice a year I say the same things in different ways. But that’s okay because there are 10,000 ways to talk about Clay. How he’s still affecting our family in really positive ways. There are 10,000 really great things to say about him. So I’m going to do it again.
Clay Taylor. The blonde haired boy with the most generous heart. The kid who could whip out a song on his guitar at the drop of a hat. He’s that friend who always had 10+ people at his house, whether it was a Monday evening or a Friday night. He’s one of the very few people I didn’t mind giving a hug to. Seeing him in the halls in school, he’d stop for a hug. Say hi. Give me a picture he drew. I spent countless hours in his basement watching him play video games, watch Seinfeld or The Simpsons with him, or watch him draw.
He was friends with everyone. That ‘weird’ kid who wore the same clothes every day and smelled off? Yep, he was his best friend. The super smart girl in pre-calc with the super strict parents? Best friends with her, too. The music teacher, football coach and art teacher? Weird…best friends with them, too. Everyone loved Clay and that’s not some weird coincidence. Clay’s heart was one of the most genuine hearts I’ve ever known. There was no judgement in him. He didn’t care what you wore, where you lived or how much money you spent. He cared how fun you were. How nice and how thoughtful. He cared how you treated your friends and he helped make me a better person because of that.
He loved his family. As a 17 year old, he wasn’t embarrassed or too cool to hang out with his mom and dad. He loved being with them and everyone knew it. He loved his brother and thought there was no one better. Kids aren’t always like that.
Clay loved my family. When he lived in the valley, he’d stop by all the time. On his way home from classes. On his way home from work. After meetings. I’d get phone calls from him randomly. He’d ask about Maria and Jamie and told us all the time how great he thought they were. And today, our kids feel like they know Clay and that’s important to me.
He was thankful for our friendship and he wasn’t shy about letting us know it. I have a memory of him that I’m keeping for myself, but it’s one of my favorites because it’s a perfect picture of who Clay was and how deeply he felt. How important his relationships were to him.
I love that kid. I hate everything he had to go through.
And I feel more than lucky that he checks in on me so often. Believe it or don’t believe it, it doesn’t matter to me, but I know that he’s with me. When I’m having a particularly rough day, one of 2 songs will come on the radio once or twice throughout the day. They aren’t popular songs. I don’t hear them all the time…only when I need to. I will smell him every once in a while. I know he’s here. Not here, somewhere better. He’s waiting for all of us to join him, but until then, he’s taking care of us.
xoxo Connie and Paul and John and Debbie and Jordan and Fran and baby Ellie. I hope you all know how much we love Clay and love you guys, too. Not a day goes by (truly, honestly) that I don’t think of Clay in the best, happiest and most beautiful ways.
So, on this 29th anniversary of a beautiful soul entering the world, I’m a little more thankful for everything in life, especially everything that reminds me of Clay.