My little brother, Gregory Toler, is always by my side. He shared his love for Justin (his tallest nephew) and took my breath away with this poem he just wrote today. Love you, Greg!!! Justin loved you too!!
Happy Birthday Justin
As I glance at the artwork on my office wall I think of the young man who keeps inspiring us all
World Peace is what he asked and wished for at the age of four
Not a toy or a game from the store
He waltzed through life with effortless joy
As he grew to be a giant in many ways from such a little baby boy
The detail of his work is truly evident with each and every stroke of his brush
And he did it all with without making a hush
Unmatched talent was displayed in everything he did
And we are so fortunate it has been shared and not hid
What an immense impact he has had from the start
And we can always see him through his immeasurable art
Happy Birthday Justin as we celebrate your excellence and your special day
And your wish will come true for that we all pray
Love Uncle Greg
At least every other week, my sister Jeni braces herself before she tells me yet another JJ and Juju story. JJ is her 5-1/2 year-old son.
(Juju is the name that Justin’s little cousin Mia gave him because she could not say Justin, and it stuck.) JJ was only 2.5 years old when Justin died, but boy was he aware and in touch with him beyond anything I have ever seen from a young child.
He was so glad that he was the elder amongst the little cousins-for a change. I wrote a blog three years ago: “Juju Dancing.” It was about a true event that occurred a mere 2 months after Justin died. The synopsis goes something like this: Jeni and JJ were coming to surprise me for my birthday a few short months after Justin died. Jeni walked in my house with an astonished look on her face. The first thing she said before she could even say the slighted sounding “surprise” was “Throughout the flight, JJ kept laughing and looking out of the window smiling and saying, “Juju is dancing, he is saying bye-bye…
This afternoon, decided I had to write just a few words. It’s been awhile. I was reflecting on my most recent conversation that I had with Jeni just a few days ago. She said JJ overheard her speaking with me the other night when we were talking on the phone. When she hung up he said: “When is Juju coming back from heaven? I sure want him to get to know me now.” I don’t know how she responded or better yet if she could…
I think we all have pondered this very same question every once in awhile over the past few years. It is that lingering question that no person who lives on this earth can really answer. We all will hold a precious memory of Justin with us in our hearts and minds. I honestly think it will be forever— as we bravely grace this Earth. As most of you know, I tuck Justin with me everywhere I go. He is the oxygen that keeps me breathing.
My sisters often say that JJ acts just like Justin! He rolls his eyes at them when they say things he does not agree with, he moves furniture out of the way so that he could have enough room to do his cartwheels and he loves to dance and move his body to the current sounds of the day- and oh yes; JJ also has that infamous smile—just like is cousin Juju.
I have transformed. My friend Valerie writes it all the time. “If nothing ever changed there would be no such thing as a butterfly, no such thing as Justin, the sacred spirit. Life is beautiful (and cruel) because there is change. The thing we can’t change has this very peculiar way of changing us.” The music changes. It does. And so must the dance.” So, when (I know there will be a time) JJ asks me “ Is Juju home now? I will tell him with a bit of joy in my heart: JJ just close your eyes and you can feel Juju as you visualize all the butterflies and stars dancing in the clouds and swimming to the moon.
I guess I always think of how much Justin loved dancing. I loved dancing with him. This week, my breath was taken away again, when I opened up an old flash drive I found. On it was this PowerPoint presentation called ChaChaslide. It was layered in-between my many files from when I worked on the Universal Studios Jurassic Park Project. I guess that Justin saved his project on it a few years ago. He was teaching people how to do the Charlie Brown dance… So, in my heart– Juju my Justin will always be dancing…
Early last year I got a phone call from a representative of the AM 830 KLAA Radio Community Care show.
She stated that she had recently watched the CBS2 News “Justin’s Story”. Subsequently, they wanted to do a radio interview with us so that we could once again tell Justin’s Story and his hopes for World peace.
A few days later, we went to the station and met with Tammy Trujillo – who is a Greater Los Angeles Area – Award-Winning Broadcaster, Voice-Over Artist, College Media Professor, Animal Behavorist. Before we started, I shared with Tammy the audio recording that I found on Justin’s cell phone- of him casually singing the National Anthem.
Darrell then showed her images of Justin’s art. As she began the interview, Tammy could barely keep her composure as she fought back her tears. Everyone in the room was silent.
After she received her award tonight, Tammy said that she knew that Justin’s story and message would touch the ears, souls and minds of anyone who listened- just as it had done to her. She also said that although her extensive career has afforded her the opportunity to receive many coveted awards, hands down, this one really hits home and means something to her and she said she won it for us.
So when you’re down something just bring’s you up!! Tonight Tammy Trujillo won a Radio Television and News Associaiton (RTNA) 65th Annual Golden Mike Award for Justin Carr World-Peace Story! As noted on the RTNA ” The Golden Mike Awards® are Southern California’s most prestigious, and most coveted, broadcast journalism prize Unlike most awards contests in which winners are determined by selecting which entry is the “best” among all those submitted in each category, winners of the Golden Mike Awards®” must also meet the “Standard of Excellence”.
We smiled tonight a bit as the story of Justin continues to be shared. An Emmy for TV And now a Golden Mike for Radio. I wore the outfit and scarf Justin got for me and I felt him close to my heart. Thank you Justin… Thank you Tammy Trujillo for giving us a voice..
The ripples continue. In a few weeks Jensen McRae- one of Justin’s talented friends- has spearheaded an upcoming concert in honor of Justin. It will be held on February 22, 2015. See following link for details: