Tyler - 17 year old fighting cancer!

Tyler - 17 year old fighting cancer!
Ready for Battle!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In Loving Memory of Tyler Joe (part 1)

Matthew 5:4 - "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

I wanted to end the blog with some of the details of our final celebration of Tyler's life and a demonstration of the love that you all have poured out on Tyler and Michelle this past week.

So, sit back, grab a cup of tea and get a box of tissues ready...this is going to be a long, emotional post. In fact, I'll break it into 2 posts for you, since I have a lot to say.

As difficult as this week was, we were so blessed by many of you attending Tyler's services and offering your time, your hugs and your donations. Some of you even flew in from far away places to honor Tyler and be with your friends who were suffering, and we appreciate that more than you know.

Our family was so touched when Tyler's nurses and doctors came to pay their respects as well. This is more than a job to them, it is a calling, and they have touched our lives in ways we never thought possible. Even the therapy dogs that Tyler loved so much, came to the funeral home to say their goodbyes. It was heartbreaking and touching at the same time. These doctors touched Tyler's life so much, that Michelle decided to have Tyler buried in the LSU sweatshirt that Dr. Murphy had given him, to wear when he got better. Tyler never got the chance to put it on, but now he will wear it forever. We are more than grateful for UofM Mott's hospital, even though Tyler was still rooting for OSU in the big game. He was glad UofM got greedy and went for the 2 point conversion ;)
The message the nurses wrote for him the day he was passing away.

Some of you may not know, but Michelle's best friend Kelly, tragically lost her young daughter 7 years ago to an epileptic seizure. This is a bond that no 2 friends should have to share, but Kelly is 7 years ahead of Michelle on this painful journey and is by her side all the way. Tyler is buried next to Dakota now, so they can visit their children together. We can't say thank you enough for the love and support you've always shown Michelle, especially now, Kelly (and your family).

The funeral home was filled with hundreds of pictures of Tyler, much to our surprise. When we gathered on Saturday night to put them together, we weren't sure what we could even come up with, knowing that Tyler hated his picture taken. Once we all gathered, we were overwhelmed with what we had found. We even had to go out and purchase more poster boards to get them all out there. Thank you to all who contributed to the pictures and flowers that made the funeral home full of personal touches.

The funeral services on Wednesday were beautiful. Tammy helped to pick out some songs with Michelle and somehow they picked the most fitting songs. My friend Darla, opened the service with her beautiful voice, and amazing talent, singing "Blessings in Disguise" by Laura Story. The words cut deeply.

Then, Tyler's aunts and I shared some personal thoughts and memories of Tyler. Those I will share on the next post. 

Pastor Kohler gave a compassionate message about how God is still good and still loving, despite these circumstances. He explained that the god that most bookstores sell is one that wants to make you happy, wants to give you things...and that is all washed away when something tragic like this occurs. He talked about what God's love is from 1 John 4:9-11 "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." I'm paraphrasing here, but he talked about how we are sinners, God tells us not to lie, we lie. God tells us not to steal, we still. And disease and death is a result of that rebellion against God because he cursed the world for it. Yet, He made a way and He demonstrates His love for us in that even in our rebellion, He sent his only Son to be a substitution for us...to take the punishment and God's wrath, for our sin. If we repent and have faith in Christ, we can have Eternal life through His sacrifice and resurrection. 

Darla then finished the service with a beautiful and powerful version of Amazing Grace. The family then said our final farewells to Tyler and a huge procession followed us to the grave site. There, we had more prayers and were reminded of the promise from Revelations 21 that awaits those who have faith in Jesus:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

What a promise! I believe Tyler is in Heaven with Jesus now, free of pain and suffering. Praise God!

I know I talk a lot about the women who surround this boy, but the men in his life served as his pallbearers - Josh, BJ, Chris, Rob, Dennis, Aaron, Jason and David. And one more woman to mention, Kelly's mom, Madeline, led the way as the honorary pallbearer. It was beautiful!

Part 2

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