Losing a parent is an immeasurable blow, no matter how old you are or how much you’ve prepared for the eventuality.
As children, we believe our parents will always be around, be that to help us, love us unconditionally, or just be there to answer the phone when we’re in desperate need of someone to talk to.
The day upon which we have to say goodbye for the final time is always a bleak one, and moving on with life in the aftermath is one of the hardest things many of us will ever have to do.
The Gray brothers, Jaylan, 22, and Julian, 12, of Katy, Texas know exactly what that feels like. They recently lost both their parents, leaving Jaylan to raise his younger sibling by himself.
Needless to say, the enormity of the task was staggering, not at all helped by the fact that their home had been seriously damaged by Hurricane Harvey and the 2021 freeze.
Before his mother passed, Jaylan had promised her that he would look after Julian and see to it that he was raised right.
“[I] try my best to keep him in check, make sure he doesn’t get in trouble, and make sure he’s loved,” said Jaylan, as per Click2Houston.
Of course, becoming a stand-in parent at 22 comes with many trials and tribulations, and the situation with the brothers’ house complicated matters in a big way.
“At one point, I was just done with the house,” Jaylan explained. “I was ready to sell it at one point. It was too much weight on my shoulders. I couldn’t do it.”
Fortunately, help was on hand. Disaster rebuild organization, Katy Responds, caught wind of Jaylan and Julian’s story, and decided they had to do all they could to improve matters.
They were joined by countless volunteers in short order, and the wheels began to turn with respects to gifting the orphaned siblings a home they could live in.
Katy Responds Executive Director Ron Peters said of the old home: “There’s just no way they could’ve lived in it and probably would’ve never fixed it.”
The organization was able to entirely remodel Jaylan and Julian’s home in just three months, while the local Lakewood Church furnished it for them.
“I want you to have a safe place to live. I want you to be able to not worry about your home, for a few years,” Peters told the boys. “This is what we do. It’s hard work. It’s non-profit work, but it’s why we do it is for those guys.”
Last week, the brothers got a tour of their newly renovated home.
“I love it,” said Jaylan. “I’m speechless, way more than we asked for. Completely grateful.”
12-year-old Julian added that the effort had given he and his brother renewed hope.
“It makes me so happy to see that there’s good people. I just like the way we’ve been treated. I didn’t think anything good would happen,” Julian said.
The boys are now ready to begin a new chapter in their lives. It won’t be easy, but they have each other, as well as a new home to make cherished memories and plan for their futures.
What a fantastic gesture! I’m so happy Jaylan and Julian have been given a ray of hope in such a difficult period in their lives.