She and her new husband have traveled together extensively – something Larry rarely would do because of his preoccupation with work. They toured Europe for three weeks (and actually camped out a couple of nights) and traveled to China, Iceland, Africa, and various U.S. destinations.
Gail and Kim are building — or renovating — a new home. They bought an entire floor of the new Promontory Condos high rise in downtown Salt Lake City, just down the road from the tiny Capitol Hill home where Gail was raised. They are in the process of tearing out walls and converting what was supposed to be three condos into one (Greg has bought another floor). Once construction is complete, the couple will put the Miller home up for sale and move downtown.
“Gail is very happy,” says Howells. “We’ve been friends almost 34 years, and I really have never seen her better. And he’s wonderful to her. He makes her laugh. He’s a very wonderful example of softness and caring and bringing her peace in her life that she didn’t have with Larry. You don’t build an empire without stress and trauma and difficult life choices, and Larry brought that mix. The pressures are gone. The building is over with. Greg is making that happen in a much calmer way.”
Brady concurs, saying, “She’s happier than ever. She even played a joke on me. She had never done that. I burst out laughing because it caught me so off guard. People are always commenting on how great she looks and how happy she is. Kim has been great for her. He pays attention to her.”
When Gail is asked about all this, she says, “It’s surprising to me that so many people do comment on that. But there was a lot of stress from (Larry’s) personality and from the illness. People don’t realize how hard diabetes is to deal with. People who live with them are deeply affected. There’s the care-giving. There’s the worry. You’re constantly wondering, is he OK? It just goes out to everybody around you. You don’t realize what it does to your life till he’s gone. His health was bad for a long time.”
The word acquaintances often use to describe Gail is “tough.” It crops up frequently in discussions about her. She grew up in a family where money was so tight they had only one light bulb that they moved around the house as needed. She made her own clothing and began working as a teenager, dropping out of college after one semester to work at the telephone company as the family’s primary provider.
She continued to weather many trials in her life with Larry and more have arrived at her door since her husband’s passing. In August, Gail’s second-oldest son, Roger, passed away, just short of his 44th birthday.
“He just had an untimely death,” she says. “An unfortunate accident. It’s not something I want to talk about.”
Two weeks later, a great-grandchild, Larry Aiden Taylor, also passed away.
After Larry died, Gail left much of his things as he left them — his notes and papers on the desk in his home office, for instance, and everything he had left that was unfinished: “I decided I’m going to move on to other things,” she says.
There was one exception: She got rid of the vast collection of Larry's trademark golf shirts — many of them emblazoned with Jazz — taking them to Deseret Industries simply because she needed the closet space.
“She’s done beautifully,” says Howells. “I believe she’s gone through the stages of mourning you have to go through beautifully. But she’s tough.”
Looking back five years later, Gail finds solace in the peace that her husband finally found in his final days, which followed decades of relentless drive.
“He had all those setbacks and each time he would come back,” recalls Gail, as she begins to cry. “It was just like him to fight back. Finally, it was as if Heavenly Father said you’re not supposed to, so he gave him that disease (calciphylaxis). His transition from this life to the reality that he wasn’t going to be here and he had to step into that realm of preparation for death was interesting because he left the cares behind. And he was ready. He made the decision to die.
"He could’ve gone on with dialysis for another year or 18 months, but he just said that’s enough. It’s interesting how it was almost like he orchestrated his whole life. Even when he died, the timing was good. He didn’t have to deal with the downturn (in the economy), and the values of the estate were low so he benefitted taxwise. Timing was everything for him. He used to talk about that.”
She pauses as she thinks about all this and the passage of time and already so much change: “It’s been a long five years and it’s been a short five years,” she says wistfully.
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