It should have come as no surprise that Taylor-Douglas, 32, was hurriedly headed to be with her children and take them trick-or-treating when she was killed in a traffic accident at an intersection by a crossing vehicle on Halloween. Taylor-Douglas had just finished dropping off a co-worker who needed a ride home.
It should also come as no surprise that Taylor-Douglas' five children, ages 13 to seven – all of whom are described as excellent students – are struggling to cope with the loss of their loving mother.
"It has been hard on them all, but probably hardest on the youngest," said Antonette Taylor, Taylor-Douglas' sister. "Just the other day he broke down at school. You know, anything can trigger their emotions. They have their good days and bad days."
According to Taylor, each child is dealing with the loss uniquely.
"The oldest (Ty'neijah Williams, 13) feels she has to be strong for the others. We (Taylor and her other sisters who are now caring for the children) tell her, 'you can be a kid. We're here to support you,'" said Taylor.
Ty'neijah Williams' motherly role was evident when while talking to the group, the youngest sibling, Tyvion Williams, 7, clung to his eldest sister, resting his head on her leg for much of the conversation.
Taylor-Douglas' other children are equally as affected by their mother's sudden passing.
"She prayed with us every night," said 11-year-old Teajhae Williams, who is a 6th grader at Park Brook Elementary School in Brooklyn Park. Teajhae Williams said her mother would always play with each of the kids and recalls fondly when they would play practical jokes on their mom. "She would laugh and say she was going to get us in our sleep."
According to Taylor, staff at the children's schools have been extremely supportive of the kids.
"They've brought in counselors and social workers for the kids," said Taylor. "The entire staff showed up to support the kids at the funeral."
Though the schools are providing counseling for Taylor-Douglas' children, Taylor said she and her two sisters, Nyesha Taylor and Kawanna Taylor, plan to get the children additional counseling with a child grief counselor. Nyesha Taylor has temporary custody of the five children and is in the process of getting permanent custody. The three sisters plan to jointly care for the five siblings.
"We don't want to uproot them. We want (the transition) to be as normal as possible," said Antonette Taylor.
Evidence of the children's grief became clear when 7-year-old Tyvion Williams sadly – and suddenly – stated his mom promised to take him to a Vikings football game. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, Tyvion Williams said, "I want to work at Wendy's like my mom did." Taylor-Douglas was a manager at an area Wendy's restaurant.
Antonette Taylor said the eldest daughter, Ty'neijah Williams – who is an honor roll student at Osseo Junior High School ALC and plans on becoming a doctor – said she doesn't ever want to celebrate Halloween again because she associates the holiday with her mother's death.
Nine-year-old twins, Terrence and Terranaye Williams said they do so well in school because their mother was always involved in their schoolwork. Terrence Williams, whose favorite subject is math, said he wants to be a professional basketball player. Terranaye Williams said her favorite subject is reading. She wants to be a dancer and choreographer when she grows up.
Education was not just something Taylor-Douglas preached to her kids. She was also practicing it as well. Taylor-Douglas was a student at North Hennepin Community College, studying business. "She would take us to school with her," said Tyvion Williams.
A fund has been set up to assist the family with its many needs. The Tyan Taylor Benefit Fund has been established at TCF Bank. The fund will assist in helping the family with food, clothing, school supplies and counseling.
"She (Taylor-Douglas) loved her kids – her world revolved around her kids," said Antonette Taylor. "She would do anything for them. She spoiled them."
"She spoiled us all," said Ty'neijah Williams, as her youngest brother clutched her with his arms around her waist.
To give to the Tyan Taylor Benefit Fund, visit any local TCF branch bank.