Tyler was a quiet, but very caring individual. Friends and family were important to him. Family gatherings changed from something that he did when he was young to something that was very special, as he grew older. He had looked forward to growing old enough to participate in the family poker games, which has been a long time tradition for 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. He had a lot of friends who were all special to him. He was so close to his friends it was not uncommon for them to trade shoes. He would do anything for his friends whether it was giving them a ride or something as simple as listening to their problems. The night before his surgery our house was filled with friends there to support 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.
We had our pastor come over for prayers the Sunday before Tyler's surgery. We were pleased that in addition to the prayers Tyler accepted Christ 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 were at his bedside as his life was coming to an end. While comforting him they heard Tyler ask, "Who's there?" Not hearing well Linda asked him to repeat what he had said. He repeated "Who's there?" Linda said, "There is no one there, honey." He then said, "you have to go" to his mother." She replied that she would not be leaving. He, then, said, "You don't understand they are going to make you go now." Shortly after that, he took his last breath. We don't know what he saw, but we would like to think it was angels taking him home.