Our son Tyler was one of the most amazing men we have ever had the privilege of loving. Like most of us, he had his personal demons; his was an opioid addiction. Unfortunately, Tyler lost his battle with addiction when he passed away from two debilitating strokes that left him brain dead. The underlying cause of the strokes was a result of his heroin and meth use.
Tyler was a son, grandson, father, brother, nephew, uncle, and partner and was so kind hearted, so gentle, so loving. He would do anything he could to help you if you needed it. He was the preverbal "gentle giant" standing at 6'10" tall. He loved deep all those in his heart; sometimes to his own detriment. He was described as a cheeseball by most of his "real" friends because he could be himself around them.
Tyler was hopeful he could beat his addiction. He worked rehab two times and then left the only home he knew to get away from the people, places, and habits that would pull him back in. That was when he met and started a long distance relationship with a special young lady who God put in his life to show him a reason to want and work for what he deserved in life. After months of old fashion "courting" long distance, Tyler and Stacie met face to face, fell in love, and made plans for their future. Stacie gave him hope and I've never seen him happier.
Tyler was a father who loved his son, Devon, deeply. He knew he had more to give Devon, but his capacity to do so given his demons was limited. However, when he spent time with him, he was all in! Many of those memories will remain with Devon and we won't ever let him forget his daddy!
Tyler was our only child and we loved him unconditionally. There is a quote that states, "We hurt those we love the most" and I think I know what that quote means first hand...it means that Tyler knew that no matter what he would do, even if we didn't agree or condone it, we would always love him, and we did! We loved him so much that it did and does literally hurt!
I mentioned earlier that Tyler would do anything to help someone, and that is exactly what he did even in his last moments on this earth. He chose earlier in life to be an organ donor and we honored his wishes to do so. There are 5 families who have hope that their family member has a chance at life that they didn't have before Tyler's gifts. This is the legacy he leaves to all who loved him, especially Devon!
In loving memory to my baby, our amazing son, the father of our grandson, and his loving spirit to all, we want those who may not understand or have not been impacted by the disease of addiction to remember the "addict" you see on the evening news, on the streets, or in the morgue was someone's son/daughter, brother/sister, father/mother, etc., but most of all a human being who is/was imperfect and flawed, but dearly loved by their loved ones and God himself.
Tyler is free now and no longer hurting. We will miss you my dear son and will never forget you. Here is our final thought that gives us peace as you move on:
The next place I go will be peaceful with an untroubled mind. I will know that I belong there and will feel much more alive than I have ever felt before.
I'll simply be, just simply me. I won't be short or tall, in fact the body I once lived in won't be part of me at all. I will finally be perfect. I will be without a flaw. I will never make one more mistake, or break the smallest of law.
I won't need to take anything with me, except the cherished love of those who loved me and the warmth of those who cared, the happiness and memories and the magic that we shared. They will make my spirit glow, and that light will shine forever in the next place that I go.
--Excerpts from "THE NEXT PLACE" by Warren Hanson