Tyler’s Story has a new home . . .

Welcome to Tyler’s new home.  I can’t promise I will be here as often as I’d like to be but I couldn’t bear saying goodbye completely to “The Story of Tyler”.  Since my brother left the material plane, this entire process of grieving, processing and narrating of our story has been ever evolving; my thoughts, my beliefs, the very process itself has changed, altered and then changed back again so many times.  I have moments where I wonder if maybe the time to share has come to a close or if perhaps I never should’ve started.  It will be just another part of the process to determine if I should keep this going and how often I will be back here to share.  Because there are also moments when I feel I can’t hold back.  Times when I lose sight of why it is I ever started this blog and times when I ache for the comradery and warmth that fills my being when I reflect with you, the reader, on all of the beautiful moments that make up our story; both before and now. I vascillate.   I confer with Tyler and I await the signs.  In the meantime,  I carry on. I can’t bring myself not to.  I suppose that becomes part of our story too.

Is this what you want Ty? Is this our part, our role in the bigger picture, the important stuff that we as humans need to build our faith in what we cannot fully comprehend? What’s in store for me? For us?  I guess we’ll see. 

*PLESE NOTE- All of the posts that follow are dated for today, the day I am transferring them over however you will find the actual date they were composed in the beginning of each actual post.

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In Dreams You Come to Me

On the eve of March 9th 2016 . . .

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Have you ever woken up with the feeling that you’re awakening from a trip you’ve taken in the middle of the night? As if you’re opening your eyes in a familiar place but wondering “how did I get back here?”

This morning was like that for me. So I know I must’ve gone somewhere in my dreams but can’t quite remember where. I woke with a pressure in my chest and the emotion that something was missing. And as I woke further into consciousness, in my thoughts, was Tyler.

And in my mind’s eye, this 18 year old version of you.

I miss him being here. I grieve for the loss of our adventures together of old and surely of all the ones that had yet to come. There are so many days I just wish he was still here. But I am eternally grateful he is with me in my dreams. Even if I can’t remember every detail and even if I wake feeling the loss, I wake up knowing I’ve been with him and that is very special to me. I long for the day that it is enough.

I Celebrate You

~January 18th 2016

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“Your Big Sis sure does love ya!”

Yesterday would’ve been your 28th birthday.

I celebrated you in the best way I know how.

I spent the day in the company of a close friend and I shared you with her.

Yesterday, like every day, provided me with the blessed opportunity to live my day to the fullest, each moment, a regenerative path healing to my broken parts and instrumental in finding “my” happiness.  A vow I made to you, to honor your memory by celebrating my life.  I have more work to do and more road to tread, but I am filled with more hope and my heart more at peace every day.

Yesterday I celebrate you.  Today I celebrate you.  Today I celebrate me.

~Happy Birthday Tyler ~

 

A Celebration (Both In Your Absence and In Your Presence)

~January 18th 2016

 

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We made a trip out to California this past month to celebrate the holidays with family.  It was the first time back since that Christmas just after Tyler left us.  I hardly realized that it had been two years.  Those years were so full and just seemed to have passed so quickly.  It was refreshing to be back, to reconnect with our loved ones and for the most part, we all agreed that it was one of best visits back we had ever had.  But there was indeed something missing.

It was such a normal integral part of our visit out west, to be with you; a highlight of our trip always was our time with you. I didn’t forget you were gone, I knew I wouldn’t see you.  I was aware but even when I wasn’t consciously thinking about it, my soul spoke to me.  Standing on the platform awaiting the bus at the airport, a simple glance across the street at the palm trees swaying in the wind, I was swept back to that day in February, three years ago (nearly four now).  Back to that day, I waited in that same spot, gazed upon those same palm trees, awaiting the bus that would take me to you.  I remember texting you to let you know I had arrived.  You seemed so excited and were so attentive to my every need.  I felt special.  Standing now, in that same spot again, even before those memories filled my mind, without warning I was overcome and the tears flowed.  My heart spoke to me before my mind could even catch up with what was happening.  That’s the way it is so often for me. I honored those tears, as I always do.  And then I knew.

I knew that even in your absence, this trip, I had to find a way to be with you.  At your beach was the only way I knew how. 

Our trip was full and wonderful. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my Pea (my cousin Melanie) and her wonderful family whom we love so much. Good food and the best of company. Much love and laughter, as always.  Dinner with my Dad; TWICE!  A family photo shoot dream come true with my dear friend.  And lots of fun time with our extended family too!

And the day before we were set to leave, just as it was before, on that day that was to become our last day together,  (I hardly even realized that either until now) we ventured to County Line beach for the day.

I never could’ve imagined nor was I prepared for how exactly this day mirrored that day I came to your beach to say goodbye to you two years ago.  But you saw to it.  It’s so clear to me now (if only I allow myself to believe) that you guided us there, through it all you were with us. 

First, I think it’s important to note that we weren’t even sure we would be able to go that day.  El Nino 2016 was threatening the valley with its presence, predicted thunderstorms and record rainfall, and most importantly “high tide”; not exactly the perfect conditions for a trip to the beach.  But the sun was shining in our favor and we decided it just meant too much to us not to risk it.  And wouldn’t ya know, perfect weather, the entire day.  So beautiful, couldn’t have asked for more. We definitely had heaven’s blessing.

Second, was the incident of our gps quitting on us just when we thought we were nearly there.  It kicked in, just in time, to re-route us back through an all too familiar route.  Driving through the area, admiring the beauty of our surroundings and then that left turn onto a highway we recognized to be the exact same highway we took last time, past the same sights: the rocky beach we pulled off the road to on our last trip there, the same rocks I sat upon and had that incredible, magical experience with the wind and the birds.

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I was overcome, it was so clear, this was your doing. I don’t know how! But even when my mind protested, my heart knew it was you! And as I spoke silently to you in my head, Rodel, directed my attention to these words flowing from the stereo:

Give me a word
Give me a sign
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Lay me on the ground
Fly me in the sky
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Oh, heaven let your light shine down
Love is in the water
Love is in the air
Show me where to look
Tell me will love be there
Teach me how to speak
Teach me how to share
Teach me where to go
Tell me will love be there
Oh, heaven let your light shine down
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Pulling up to County Line Beach, the only parking available, so very close to the same spot we pulled up to back then.

And once we were on the beach . . . so many, many meaningful moments.

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the surfers

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the tide rolling in around my feet. I swear I could feel you beside me. Remembering what it was like to hold your little hands, lifting your little body up into the air as the water came in, you squirming and laughing with delight.

We discovered a part of the beach we had never noticed and it was teeming with such life.

We discovered a part of the beach we had never noticed and it was teeming with such life.

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Beautiful intricate little creatures. Such beauty to be found once our eyes were opened.

And then, there was this. A solitary, extraordinairy flawless, pure white rock sitting amidst a mountain of ordinary stones. Magical like you.

And then, there was this. A solitary, extraordinary flawless, pure white rock sitting amidst a mountain of ordinary stones. Magical, perfect like you. I swooped it up and put it in my pocket.  A gift. 

We ended that day with a stop for lunch at Neptune’s Net (the very last place my eyes would ever look upon you) and the magic continued there and on the way home.

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More circumstances, “coincidences” to many, too meaningful to be simply that.  More confirmation, affirmation that those we love are never far from us and should we choose to see there’s is so much magic and beauty all around us.  So much of it to be savoured, life to be enjoyed; a celebration.

A celebration of you, my brother!

Our day on the beach with you was nothing short of what I knew it would be, nothing short of what it always was and always will be with you: special and perfect. 

Magic

~December 15th 2015

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You are not gone.

You are here with me.

In the shimmering beauty of the sun’s rays.

In the scamper of the playful chipmunk that crosses my path.

In the soothing rustle of the trees,

the gentle flutter of the falling leaves,

the comforting swirl of Autumn air that embraces me.

You are not gone.  You are here with me.

You are everywhere.

You are around me.

You are within me.

You are magic.

In Your Name

~September 8th 2015

The post that follows was one of the first posts I ever composed.  Yet, it has remained in my drafts folder all these many months.  I wasn’t sure I was ready to share this part of our story just yet.  It’s pretty powerful, one of the most important things to come in the wake of my brother’s death.  It may even be the single most influential event to finally convince me that you are indeed with me if not all of the time, then with me quite often and whenever I am in need of your presence.

I will get to the original post, but for you, the readers of this blog, first a little insight into why I am choosing to share this portion of our story NOW . . .

Something happened to me recently. Something that convinced me that now was the time to share.

On a solitary drive to an appointment, as I do whenever I am alone in the car, I talked to my brother.  Sure, as if he was sitting right beside me.  Told Tyler how much I was missing him. Expressed gratitude for how wonderful my new living situation is.  But then as it always seems to, in the stream of what rightfully could be just a one sided conversation, I found myself back in that place; a shake of  my head to clear it and wonder if I just might be crazy, a place I was so familiar with for so many years, in a world where souls don’t live on, (that’s crazy!) where it’s impossible and idealistic and too fantastic to believe that my baby brother could still be with me, just in another form.  And so I asked him to forgive me. And told him that if he was listening, I needed a sign, a sure way to recognize his presence, to remind me that it’s okay to believe.  I told him I needed something unmistakably “Tyler”.  All this I said aloud.  And then, in the quiet of my head (because that ole familiar shame came back, the voices of my childhood) I added this: “and if it’s fair to ask, I need something today, before the end of the day. Please.”

Hours later, in the car with the rest of the family, on our way to dinner at our favorite Thai place (You would’ve loved this place, Ty), we stopped at a red light. In my view, on the car in front of us, was stamped “Bob Tyler Auto “.  Your name! I smiled to myself and made note of it.

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After dinner, I remembered we needed something from the grocery store and we made a quick stop on the way home.  I got into the checkout line and loaded my few items onto the belt. When I went to put down the divider bar, I noticed it.

Clear as day amongst the items on the belt in front of me. The guy in front of me was purchasing one single, solitary item; a bottle of Coca Cola with the name Tyler printed on the side.


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Once is one thing but twice is too much to dismiss.  I asked you to show me your name like you did in the beginning.  I told you I needed it that day, by the end of the day. And so, in perfect humorous, mischievous little brother style, you squeezed it in at the last minute, but you gave me what I asked for. You proved to me once again that you were listening.  You proved to me once again that I am worthy, that I am loved. I thank you for that.  

~And so, now as further proof to both myself and the world, here’s  that original post written in May 2014 . . .

One of the ways I am reminded of you, one of the ways I dare to believe you are still with me, is the amount of times (and most when I need it, just like those times you’d text me) I see your name. So much so, I started to actually keep count and began to document it with pictures.  Though at first it was just for my own personal reasons, after so many times, I began to wonder (as I have before, as I felt compelled to start this blog) if I might have a reason to share.

And so with you, World, I share this particular “Story of Tyler”

On a flight home from North Carolina this past spring, thinking about this new chapter in our lives, beginning a new adventure in a new place, how it would’ve been such second nature to share it all with my brother, reflecting on all that has happened since he left here. How much I miss him. How much I long to feel his presence and some sort of proof he is still with us, . . .

In that solitary moment, something suddenly and very clearly occurred to me.  That proof I was seeking had been there all along.

The story of Tyler’s name goes back to that very day I spent on the beach just days following his departure.  That day on the beach, when I went back to that spot in Malibu, to connect with Tyler, to bare my heart in the hopes of some sign from him that he is still here with us, I told him I didn’t know what I believed, that I was afraid to believe and be let down, that I needed some clear sign from him, maybe something physical, like an object on the beach that I would be drawn to or something. I walked up and down that beach with my head down surveying the sand, I raised my eyes to the horizon, watched the waves, for something, I didn’t yet know what.  I had heard about experiences of loved ones who passed on leaving objects in our path; feathers, rocks, coins, etc.  I guess I was hoping to spot something that I would know in my heart he left just for me.  After many times back and forth, I walked away from the shore and back up the beach, collapsed down defeated and cried. I felt confused and disappointed. I didn’t know whether there was nothing to see or whether I was just too blind to see it.  And I told him so. I also very clearly thought to myself (and I believe now, with him listening) “I wish it was as easy and as obvious as you just writing your name here in the sand beside me”.

And I picked up a twig and wrote it for him. His name.

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And unbeknownst to me, just a way’s down the beach, Alivia had written this message in the sand.  A message to leave behind.  There it was, his name, written big as life in the sand.

(I would realize later, in the very spot we had spent our last moments together that beautiful August day in 2013.)

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That was the beginning.  And there was more. But I didn’t really fully grasp the meaning and importance.

With him in my thoughts, this past weekend in Asheville, I experienced something. Just as we turned into the parking garage, I spotted a building on the corner, a sort of art gallery place.

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On the front of the building, towering just above me, the word, the name Tyler. My heart leapt a bit but I did as I always do and tried not to attach too much importance to it. Then quietly asked him for a further sign. After lunch (an Indian buffet that made me think of his first experience with Indian food with me, hehe) the first stop we made, at an Urban Outfitters (it’s signifigance you’ll see in a bit) we made a beeline for the records section. First stack I was drawn to, I separated and pulled an album out.

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This was the album I randomly drew. I knew then it had to mean something but it only really came together for me on the flight home yesterday morning. All this time, I have been hoping wishing searching for a way, just a special way he uses with me, to let me know he’s still here with us. Blind to what that is. Until now. Tyler lets me know he is here, still with me, by “writing his name in the sand for me”. I asked him for that and he has given that to me.

It’s ever more obvious when I think back to what happened that same day, after we left the beach. It was and is to date the loudest and clearest message he has ever sent to me. His first answer to my tearful and beaten down request that day.

We took Livy for one last stop before we were to leave California and return home to New York the following day.  Her favorite store, Urban Outfitters. I believe now that it’s no coincidence that it was the same store 5 months later he would show me his name again.  Maybe to jog my memory? , It was there that I received the biggest of my signs from Ty. As I turned from the register to leave the store, there it was.

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His name big as life written for me on the nail polish table. And there were sightings after.  And not just with me.

My cousin Melanie, while on a special trip to New Mexico just last month, a trip I was supposed to take with her, sent me a photo. A display of bracelets atop a table, each bearing a name. There it was, right smack in the middle.

“Tyler”

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I was still grieving pretty intensely and I was so heartbroken at not having been able to go with her. When I needed it most, there it was.  Your name. 

You are always with me, reminding me in so many ways and even when I default into my old pattern, you manage to step up and reassure me. Time and time again!

Thanks little bro . . . your big sister sure does love you!

UPDATE: Tonight as I prepare to publish this post, just one day later from having written it, Tyler is at it again.  Watching a movie tonight with my family, the main character stops at an intersection.  The street name: Tyler ❤

A Boy and His Board

~June 26th 2015

 

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It’s with hesitance that I start this post because sometimes I can be a little hard on myself. As you know, this week has been one of those weeks. I’ve been missing you a lot lately. I know you are there, always with me. In my heart, I know this. But my head, my sabotaging thoughts get in the way. In those moments I know I must stop, breathe and just let go.  That’s exactly what you would advise me to do.  And in that quiet the same things always happens; my mind drifts to you.  I wonder where you are, what it’s like where you are, what you are doing . . . I think of you out on the ocean, sitting on your board, your shoulders slumped in relaxation, your legs dangling and bobbing, in full resignation to the movement of the waves beneath you, your eyes and mind lost to the view of the sun rising above the hills in the distance.  I wonder what worries and thoughts filled your head on those early morning beach runs and whether I could have helped you with them. I marvel at your courage to face them head-on and your wisdom to see it through.  I think of how therapeutic that must have been.  The ocean, the sky, the beach were your medicine.  Surfing was such a big part of your life, it was your connection to the whole, the bigger picture, the consciousness that we are all one.

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I sat on that beach the week after your passing and I told you that I would find a way to honor your memory. I do believe in the depths of my heart there is a higher purpose to be found in losing you but what I failed to see then and I’m kind of starting to grasp now, is that rather than there being just one big thing I can do, there are ways to honor your memory in so many small things; this blog, for one.  And more recently, this:

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I don’t have many material possessions to remember you by but the few I have are pretty special (a heart pendant, two of your guitar picks and your poncho).  I am grateful for what I have in my posession.  The memories we made together while you were here sustain me, and I do recognize that your unconditional love and unfailing support even now is the most important of all the things I have but I’d be lying to say that I didn’t wish I had a few more totems of those things that were such a part of your life, such a part of you.  Your surfboards and your guitars, most of all.

And so, I had this idea.  To take an antique wooden ironing board and create my own surfboard.  Your Rip Curl, I think might’ve been your favorite but this one particular board of yours, I felt more of a connection to.  It sat in the corner of your bedroom and it made an impression on me.  Can’t say why.  Given all I have learned in these past two years, and the belief I now hold that there are no coincidences, I am convinced there is a reason.  After a bit of research, I see why.

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One of my dreams I shared with you and included you, was my dream to move to Maui one day.  Our love for the beach, our connection to the ocean was such a shared love between us.  It was the one thing I missed most about living in California.  So it was no surprise to me to discover that board, the one I chose as my project to replicate, is a Hawaiian Island Creations board, made in Hawaii (perhaps even Maui).  It will sit in the corner of a room in my new house (the house you so lovingly led me to) as a reminder not only of you but of my dream, the dream you supported me in, the dream you told me not to give up on.  I love you so much for that, Tyler! I won’t give up.  You will continue to spur me onward, just as you did when you were here with me.

And so to go back to the beginning, my hesitance in sharing this is that I fear those who read this will think me silly for taking a ratty old rusty ironing board and attempting to make it look like a surfboard and I’m hesitant because I know the execution is not perfect.  But I also know the thought behind it is what matters.  I would hope that in sharing this the world (but mostly your friends and our family) will see that I’m just a girl who happens to be a hopeless dreamer and I had a brother (a soul-mate) who believed in me, supported me and was my biggest fan in so many ways.  You are such a part of my life still and as I promised I will never give up finding ways to honor your memory.

In those moments of uncertainty and disconnection and right now in my lapse of confidence, I will think of you.  You, dauntless, a small speck upon the surface of the mighty ocean, bathed in the light of the glorious sun.  A boy and his board. Lost in the beauty and magnificence of this great big world.  This is one of my favorite memories.