Skylor James Barksdale was a Hero. He was a Hero to everyone who was blessed to have ever cross paths with his.
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On January 15, 2003, Skylor was born in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. It may have been a cold
and blustery day outside, but inside, it was a warm and loving time as he was welcomed into this world by his parents, Aaron and Jessica Barksdale.
Skylor had Muscular Dystrophy which would end up weakening his muscles to the point where they would become progressively useless to him. But, Muscular Dystrophy never really had Skylor!
Like so many of these young Heroes, Skylor never let the ravages of his disorder define him. While he could, he loved doing boy stuff, all sorts of boy stuff, the kind that we smile about today in reflection but frowned disapprovingly at the time when he did some of that stuff. And when the disorder progressed to the point where he had to basically live in his fancy dancy, jazzed up, motorized wheelchair, even then, he was never afraid to move into uncharted territory, no matter how deep his chair got stuck in the mud!
He loved learning about everything, from science to history to even politics. Math, not so much! And he learned to levels not usually obtained by other young people of his age.
Like so many people today, he loved his video games. They would give him some escape from the reality of his world and he flourished playing them alone and with others via his computer. He even had a YouTube channel where he passed on his skills to others. When given some video game that he wanted but did not have, you would have thought that he had just been given the keys to Fort Knox.
He appreciated everything he was given by others, deeply and truly no matter the gift. In return, he gave of himself what he could to anyone who needed him. To say that Skylor was just a good young man would be an understatement. In many ways, he was an example to all of us.
He loved his family. He knew what impact his disorder had upon every member of his family and seemed to care more about that than the impact upon his own body. He loved his Mom and Dad so very much. He knew the what it took to be his caregivers and what their sacrifices were. He tried to never complain but when he did, you knew something was dreadfully wrong. He somehow managed to endure, what to many of us would seem to be, the unendurable and did so with grace and dignity. And unlike most little sisters of teenage brothers, Skylor loved and appreciated his little sister, Aubrie, every moment of their relationship. Their interactions were touching to watch.
He loved his church. He studied his Bible. He was a true believer. He was baptized June 28, 2011, after accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He said it was the most wonderful day of his life.
He loved his friends. One of them was really special to him to the point that his Dad asked him one day why he thought so highly of him. Skylor replied, “Because he sees me, not my wheelchair.”
He loved to laugh. Oh my goodness, how that young man could laugh! You could not have one unhappy bone in your body when Skylor told one of his jokes and laughed at it himself. And his retorts were always so funny and so perfectly timed that he and his family made more than one scene in a public place with their laughter. With him, laughter was a mandatory companion to life.
He loved to play games with his family. And when he won, there was always that sly smile of accomplishment on his lips and that slightly evil twinkle in his eyes that just touched you and made you laugh out loud. And he loved movies. He had seen almost every movie ever made of which his parents approved.
He enjoyed the camps provided by the MDA and youth camps, and all his friends and counselors from all camps.
He was a fun-loving, funny, and wickedly smart young man who will be dearly missed by all who had the honor and pleasure to know him. He was an old soul and good person. He was our Hero. And he will always be our Hero.
On July 29th, 2019, Skylor left his chair for the very last time and ran into the arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That had to be a wondrous sight!
He was preceded in death by his Grandmother Diane Jones and his Great Grandparents Ena Belle Scott, Aaron and Esther Barksdale, Louis and Martha Cretin, and Leonard Lowe, and Jan and Pieper Niolon. He is survived by his parents Aaron and Jessica, his sister Aubrie, Grandparents Darryll and Marcia Barksdale, Paul Shaidnagle and Sherry Lowe, and Freddie Jones, Great Aunt Patti Grider. Great Grandparents Robbie and Minnie Taylor, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins, and countless friends. Skylor never met a stranger, they were just people who were about to become friends.
Skylor requested a Celebration of Life and not a funeral. His celebration will be August 24, 2019, at 5 pm, at his church, Woodhaven Baptist Church, 3111 Government Ave., Ocean springs, MS 39564.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of Skylor to one of the three groups that helped him: Shriners Childrens Hospitals, Make-a-Wish Foundation, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.