June has been a tough month for us. We spent a lot of time thinking, hurting, and getting through the daily tasks. We got word at the end of May our friend, Tyler, was coming home on hospice. TY has battled cancer for the last nine years. Cullen and Tyler had been friends since elementary school. I met Tyler through my friend Roxie one summer in college. One of the best parts of loving Cullen is getting to know and love his friends. They are a tight knit group and have been for years. I have six close friends from high school that stay pretty close, but these boys make us look like passers by. They have never wavered, grown apart, or moved on. Their friendship is what I pray for Jett to have some day.
Reading the text that Tyler sent the boys and knowing we would go visit him one last time weighed heavy on both of us. We made a flying trip to Huntsville the Sunday following his return from MD Anderson. We arrived and were met with hugs and smiles from his family. We gathered in their bedroom with several of his State friends and their wives and just made small talk. Tyler met us with his big blue eyes and gorgeous smile, but it was stretched over his frail frame. He made us feel welcome with hugs and while he spoke you just hung on every word and kinda forgot for a few seconds that he was attached to a pain pump. In true Tyler style he had ESPN on, and he managed to talk everyone in the room in to trying LeBron's mix, his latest favorite flavor on his all liquid diet.
We moved from room to room as new people would come in, we would chat with one friend then the next and then his mom, then dad. We traded duties of watching kids and holding babies. We made small talk, we talked about memories and times well spent, and then we stopped to cry at the realization of why we were all gathered together.
Just as we could tell he was worn out from the conversations Cullen and I made our way to give hugs before we left him. We talked of returning the coming weekend, and Tyler told us, if we didn't to know he loved us. With the four of us together, Mollie, Tyler, Cullen and Me, he talked to us very seriously. He apologized for not getting to be at the fun times he knew we would have, the big moments, and the family vacation plans we had made. We cried. And as we cried and were at a loss for words he filled the silence with reassurance for us. He said, "Guys, it isn't that I don't have something to live for here, but I'm so ready to see Jesus." He went on to tell us as we wiped tears that he was so excited to see Heaven and how in the blink of an eye to him we would all be there. He told us he actually felt really bad for us and for the eternity it would feel like to us before we got there, but he was ready. He gave us hugs and loved on us and made us feel better as we stood in disbelief this great 32 year old guy was in his final days. As we left their house and began to drive home, we ugly cried. We rode in silence a long while, and we cried some more.
June 4th, Tyler left this world. Leaving his wife, unborn baby girl, and two and half year old son to miss him. My heart was heavy and hurting and now we watch as life goes on without that big smile and those bright eyes.
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