Bryan Taylor describes his wife, Kailen, as a “small segment of Heaven allowed to interact with us on Earth.” Bryan, a native of Matanzas, KY in Ohio County, met Kailen through the initiative of a mutual friend and soon began to spend time with her. He quickly realized that God had changed the course of his life. After dating for a short time, Kailen informed Bryan that God created her “to do hard things.” She also shared that so far her life had been painful and that if Bryan did not want to “do hard things,” she was sure their relationship wouldn’t last. Bryan, a University of Kentucky student at the time, answered that he wanted to “do hard things, as long as it was with her.” Within the year, he proposed to Kailen in the same spot in church where Kailen had once prayed for her future husband.
When Kailen was a senior in high school, a frightening health scare led to the diagnosis of May-Thurner Syndrome, a rare disorder that results in painful swelling and blood clots. At the time she was diagnosed, Kailen was in danger of a heart attack and a stroke due to her lungs being full of pulmonary embolisms (blood clots). But through one of many miracles Kailen experienced in her lifetime, neither of those potentially fatal events occurred.
Their marriage was not a typical one considering Kailen also suffered greatly from Crohn’s disease, an illness that would prove more than challenging, and would result in an outlandish number of trips to the doctor and hospitals, frequent changes in medications, and days without rest because of a constant need to go to the bathroom. I could use this article to tell you all the suffering, personal Hell, and frightening health scares Kailen experienced over the next couple of years, but that would be counteractive to the purpose for which I am writing. Because, despite enduring nightmare after nightmare, health scare after health scare and pain upon pain, Kailen always kept her faith in God and His plan for her life, which she often referred to as His “Grand Scheme.” She didn’t question why these awful crises were happening to her. She didn’t wonder why God allowed her to suffer. No! All the while, she remained steadfast in her belief in God, her trust in His will, and her faith in His “Grand Scheme.”
Then, less than two years into their marriage, came the most challenging battle Bryan and Kailen would ever have to face – after finding a lump in her breast, doctors diagnosed Kailen with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Once again, Kailen’s indomitable spirit and conviction did not fail her or Bryan. She faced this obstacle with the same joyous and hopeful attitude. “This has a purpose,” she told Bryan. “God is good, and He is my healer. He is going to turn this pain into something beautiful. So, I suppose, cancer can go ahead and bring it on!” Kailen kept this same fortitude until her death a little over five years after she first met Bryan.
To cope with his own grief and to help others through theirs, Bryan has written the book, Even if you don’t, chronicling his 2,083 days with Kailen, which he describes as their “brief version of forever.” The book, billed as a love story, not a cancer story, is currently the Amazon #1 best-seller in Love and Loss. Through writing that will make you laugh and cry, the book chronicles not only Kailen’s strength during her brutal trials, but also how Bryan supported, loved and nurtured Kailen, while also providing her with equanimity, which, as a surgeon once told him, would provide Kailen with the strength she would need to live.
Bryan says he hopes the book will provide laughter with the tears, and that it, along with the blog he maintains, will help others going through their own grief process. As he has travelled and spoken in public, Bryan has met dozens of people on whom the book has made an impact. One fan, who was currently taking chemotherapy, told Bryan that after reading the book, she believed she could choose hope and joy, just as Kailen had. Another reader, a young widow, said that until reading the book, she felt alone, because no one her age could understand what she was going through.
Kailen and Bryan’s story is both relatable and inspiring. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is facing a battle of any kind, whether it is a health crisis, a divorce, or death of a loved one. When we are fighting those wars is when we are most tempted to doubt God’s existence or may fail to see that He does have a “grand scheme” for our lives. Whether or not you are currently facing an obstacle in your life, Even if you don’t will serve to renew your spirit, revive your faith in God, and refresh your will to fight. This touching and inspirational work will show you that, through the valleys and peaks of our lives, we truly never endure anything alone.
Even if you don’t can be purchased through Amazon.com.
You can access Bryan’s blog at bryanctaylor.com/blog or connect with him on Facebook @bryanctaylorauthor or on Twitter & Instagram: bctaylorauthor.