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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Taylor's Gift: A Courageous Story of Giving Life and Renewing Hope

1. In the book’s foreword, author Max Lucado writes: “It is a story that causes every parent to grimace, every person to wince.” What was your emotional reaction to this book?
2. In chapter 1, the reader experiences the shock of a family vacation devastated by Taylor’s terrible ski accident. The following day Todd and Tara were asked if they would be willing to donate Taylor’s organs. If you were in their shoes, how might you have responded to this request?
3. In the middle of chapter 2 (p. 22), “Snapshots of Taylor,” the Storches share an incident in which Taylor befriended a loner at school. A couple pages later, Taylor’s push to move special education students into the main school area is successful. What do these incidents reveal about Taylor? What might make a thirteen-year-old respond in this way?
4. The Storches felt that in their family “they had a five-piece puzzle and everything fit perfectly.” Have you ever experienced a time of contentment like this, when everything in your life seemed to just fit perfectly? What did that feel like, and what did it feel like when/if that time ended? What does the Storches’ story teach us about appreciating what we have now, not knowing where our journey may lead?
5. In chapters 3–6, the book jumps to the stories of four organ recipients who would eventually benefit from Taylor’s death. These include the Cowboy (kidney/pancreas recipient), the Nurse (heart recipient), the Bike Rider (kidney recipient) and the Teenager (cornea recipient). Which of these stories is most memorable to you --- and why?
6. In chapter 5, the Bike Rider asks a priest if he should prolong his life through dialysis or let himself die. The priest offers him comfort and the assurance of God’s love in either decision, but says he personally hopes the twenty-two-year-old will choose dialysis. In these life and death situations, what is it that makes a person choose to live?
7. Imagine a neurosurgeon telling you before your daughter’s surgery: “In the twenty-two years I’ve done this surgery, I’ve never seen anyone survive it” (ch. 7). Would you be more likely to respond like Tara (screaming and flailing) or like Todd (calm and seemingly in control)? Where would you turn for strength?
8. At different points in the journey of letting Taylor go, Todd and Tara think about “ending” the pain by leaving the country or by overdosing on sleeping pills. What role did their faith play in helping them move past these desperate thoughts?
9. Todd says he feels God gave him the gift of “busyness” to get through the intensity of the waves of grief that threatened to pull him under. How was Todd’s busyness a help? How may it have hindered him from grieving?
10. When faced with debilitating grief, Tara becomes angry at those who choose to move on or move past it. Did Tara have a right to be angry at God after seeing her friend’s Facebook post about her son’s life being saved? What do you believe was happening when Tara began to think This is all for [God’s] glory?
11. At one point in the story, a casual friend of Tara’s begins to pull her out of her grief by giving her “10 points for planting a tomato” or “10 points for getting a massage.” How did this friend’s creativity push Tara to move past her grief? Would you be bold enough to do something creative like that if one of your friends lost a loved one?
12. How did Todd wait on God in the process of birthing Taylor’s Gift Foundation? Do you believe the many doors that opened to build the foundation and remind the Storches of Taylor’s imprint on their lives were coincidences --- or what the Storches call “Of course!” reminders of God’s love and presence?
13. What kind of resolution did meeting the organ recipients bring to Todd and Tara? If you were them, would you want to maintain a close personal tie to an organ recipient? Why or why not?
14. Todd and Tara had many friends who actively cared for them during their grief. Do you have friends like that? How can you cultivate community like that around you and your family?
15. What was the most significant or surprising thing you took away from reading this story?

Taylor's Gift: A Courageous Story of Giving Life and Renewing Hope
by Todd and Tara Storch, with Jennifer Schuchmann

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2014
  • Genres: Christian, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell
  • ISBN-10: 0800722876
  • ISBN-13: 9780800722876