Tyler's last Christmas
Tyler was a quiet, but very caring individual. Friends and family were important to him. As he grew older participation in family gatherings changed from something that was expected to something that became increasingly important to him. He had looked forward to growing old enough to participate in the poker games, which is a family tradition on special occasions. Even as he was near death he had asked his Grandmother what the family was going to do for Thanksgiving.
Tyler was very selective regarding his choice of friends. This does not mean that he didn't have a lot of friends, but that friends were so special to him and that he was not willing to have friends with which he could not have a close relationship. He valued his friends and would do anything for them whether it was giving them a ride or something as simple as listening to their problems. He was so close to his friends it was not uncommon for them to trade shoes. The night before his surgery our house was full of his friends supporting him. This was not a planned event. His closest friend who shaved his head as a sign of support best demonstrated the depth of their caring.
The Sunday before his surgery we had the pastor come over for prayers. This session was intended only for prayers, but Tyler went beyond that and made a profession of faith at that time. He lived by that faith throughout his illness. Rather than complain he often said that God would take care of him. He took everything in stride. In fact his last words before he went into surgery were to ask his mom to look out for his dad who was delayed due to car problems. His mother and I both admired his courage through all this.
Tyler’s last breath came in the morning of November 9, 1997. We expected that he would succumb to a coma days before the end, but he remained lucid to his very last breath. Even through the trauma of his last moments Tyler was able to tell his mother that he loved her. Tyler’s Mother (Linda) and sister(Rose) were at his bedside as his life was coming to an end. While comforting him they heard Tyler ask, “Who’s there?” Since he spoke softly Linda couldn't hear and asked him to repeat what he had said. He repeated “Who’s there?” Linda said, “There is no one there, honey” referring to the end of his bed. He then stated that they said to him that "you" have to go now. Thinking he meant Linda she replied that she would not be leaving and told him she loved him. Shortly after that, he took his last breath. We don’t know what he saw at the foot of his bed, but we would like to believe it was angels taking him home.