60 minutes, Epilepsy, and Jaye Allen Folkins

Recently, my wife and I caught a 60 Minutes Program on the Axelrod family. Katie Couric interviewed David and his family about their daughter Lauren, who struggles with epilepsy. Her struggle is so severe, that is has caused her permanent brain damage.

There are a lot of things in the interview that brought out an emotional response from me. But one of the main quotes is the following.

“It’s been hard to explain to her,” David Axelrod replied. “She doesn’t understand why. She asks all the time, ‘Why does Barak Obama need so much help.’”

He recently surprised her with an unplanned visit. While the Axelrods are grateful for how far their daughter has come, they are committed to helping other families intervene sooner than they could for Lauren.

“Do you ever look at her and kind of think, ‘Gee, what if? What would she be doing now?‘” Couric asked.

“Too often,” Susan Axelrod said. “And this is what happens. It’s painful.”

God knows what she could’ve been. But that’s a treacherous place to go. You know, there was a time when we have given our right arm for just a week of good days. And now, she has them consistently. So, you know, that’s a big victory,” David Axelrod added

This made me think of a thought I have had almost every day of my life since my brother died because of his epilepsy.

What could have been?
What would Jaye look like now?
What songs would he have written or what Girl would he love?

And David Axelrod is right, that is a dangerous place to dwell.

Then the other night, my seven week old daughter was quite fussy. So I started singing to her. I then ran out of songs, and for some reason I began telling her stories about her uncle Jaye. Who is her name sake (Gracie Jaye Folkins). Now I know she won’t remember the stories right now, but just talking to her about her uncle was nice.

That conversation (though one sided unless you count coo-ing) along with the 60 minutes segment, inspired me to put up my brother’s memorial video online. It is pretty long (1:15:00 minutes), and you will cry if you make it to the end, but it allows me a way to keep on remembering him. And hopefully it will remind others of how dear their loved ones are.

Don’t waste a moment.

UPDATE: I have moved Jaye’s video to his page. Here is the link.