Thu | Nov 21, 2019

Stellar Grads | ‘They would want to see me achieve,’ says NCU grad - 28-y-o loses eight family members and mentors in university

Published:Friday | November 1, 2019 | 12:13 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Darriane Taylor

Darriane Taylor’s bareknuckled battle with depression has left him with scars that he now wears with pride as a badge of honour, and he believes that his life story will inspire others to be survivors.

The Seventh-day Adventist recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion with a minor in family life education at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester.

But the omens of the past had predicted a different fate.

Taylor lost his father at age six and went through various stages of depression until he was about 17.

“To control my depression at age eight, I turned to alcohol. At age nine, I started to smoke marijuana. I was going downhill and nobody understood me,” he told The Gleaner.

Taylor left his mother’s home at seven to reside with his grandmother and did not return until he was 15.

Taylor recommitted his life to God in 2008 after his first surrender at the tender age of six.

“I turned from depression. I didn’t have any ambition. When I was in grade 7, I turned to my teacher and said, ‘My career in life is to become a licensed murderer.’ I saw myself as a murderer because of how depression impacted me,” he said.

He said his faith in God and his love for prayer accounted for the change he has experienced in his life. Taylor also credited his grandmother’s rigid structure for his life as a contributor to the change – he was only allowed to go to school and church.

“I came to Northern Caribbean University with nothing. I didn’t have any funds,” he said.

The 28-year-old worked with the university’s special events team and in custodial services as a janitor. As a submanager in special events, his tasks included ironing, managing the warehouse, and event planning.

He would be remunerated for his services with direct payments to his student account and was also the recipient of various scholarships from individual donors.

Many losses

“NCU was not the easiest,” said Taylor, who spent eight years there, immediately after completing secondary education at Bog Walk High, now Enid Bennett High School.

The part-time student was hit with several blows.

“[In] 2013, I lost my [younger] brother. It started in 2012. I lost my mentor from Bog Walk SDA. In 2014, I lost my [paternal] grandfather, and my cousin also died in 2014,” he told The Gleaner.

He would lose his grandmother a year later to a heart attack and a mentor he considered as his father.

It was death after death for Taylor, but somehow he coped. His aunt was buried in July 2016 after losing her battle with lupus, and just a month later, he would say his final goodbye to his mother.

The death of Taylor’s mother was a shocker for him.

“I was just starting my third year of university and it kinda affected me because when you don’t have the funds – ... . My mom, up to her death, didn’t know how my school fee was being paid, but she was a praying mother. She was my prayer warrior,” he said.

“I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about my mother and my grandmother – they would want to see me achieve. It wasn’t easy for me in 2016, but I had some persons around me who sympathised with me, comforted me, and ensured that I stuck to the task,” Taylor said.

He added: “If I didn’t have faith in God, I couldn’t go through. I told myself that I didn’t want to relapse. I used the pain that I had gone through with my father’s death to motivate me to go towards my dream. I answered the call to become a minister of the gospel, and so I just pushed,” said Taylor, a lay evangelist who hopes to one day pastor a church.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com