As a parent, Helen Taylor did what we all do for our kids – serve as chauffeurs for them. Her oldest son, Cedrick, would pitch for the school team, eat and change in the car, then play a second game for the club team.
He loved it and it made her feel good to provide for her son. Life was great and Cedrick’s future looked bright as his interests grew to include music and fishing. As a kid he always took care of his younger brother AJ and sister Jackie. Jackie and Ceddy looked exactly alike. Both had same face and green eyes.
After 9/11, Cedrick joined the Army and was part of Desert Storm. When Sgt.Taylor came home, PTSD came with him. Helen was gutted. As a mom and a nurse, she tried but failed to ease his torment. PTSD took Cedrick’s own family, his spirit and finally, his life. Helen blames herself. PTSD claimed her son and now it has its hooks in her. We can’t stand that. His sister can’t stand to look in the mirror anymore as her eyes only remind her of Cedrick.
The emotional scar of Veteran suicide will never fully heal, but what the VA provides – a grave, a plot, a service – only adds a financial scar. Funeral home bills piled up for Helen. The suicide quickly became the least of her problems. She took on a second job. Four years later, she’s still working to pay for her Veteran’s funeral. That’s not right.
Helen’s was the first family we had the honor to meet and to help financially in 2018. We stay in touch. Her courage and gratitude inspires me and her heartfelt emails will make your day.
As Once A Soldier continues to fill the financial void left by the VA, your awareness of Cedrick and those like him is all Helen asks. Us too. One day, Helen may find the peace she deserves for her sacrifice to us all. Until then, we remain her faithful servant.