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 2)

This will be my last post, so I wanted to again thank you all for following Tyler's journey. Many thanked me for the blog, but I'm just glad that Tyler's story was out there and he became an inspiration to so many. Mostly, though, I'm thankful for all you prayer warriors that helped us get through this last year. We'll still be relying on you to pray for us as we mourn.

Please do not forget those that suffer so much with this loss, namely his mom, grandma Didi and Papa. They were closest to Tyler and are mourning deeply. Of course, that is not to take away from the pain his aunts/uncles, dad, cousins, friends and others are feeling as well. Please continue to pray for them and if you know them personally, reach out to them and let them know they are in your thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to make a donation directly to Michelle, the online fund is still active here: http://www.gofundme.com/1drbvk

Another opportunity to bless someone else, in Tyler's memory, would be to donate to the Ronald McDonald house in Ann Arbor. I know you can't read this from the picture, but his Aunt Tammy wrote his story for them and it is on their fundraising letter this winter. Our family stayed there over 315 days, which cost them over $23,000 in operating costs. But their cost to us was $0.00!!! Here is their website so you can see all of the ways you could help them: www.rmh-annarbor.org.

To finish the blog, I thought it most appropriate to share with you the heart felt words that were shared at his funeral service. 

Tyler's aunt Patty wrote a letter that her cousin Dee Marie read so nicely. I don't have the exact words, but she always called Tyler her storm trooper. So, she told Tyler how he would always be her storm trooper. And although it was his dream to join the army and fight a war, God had a different battle for him. A battle where he could rest in his mom's arms, and strength, through the whole thing. She ended it with saying that now he's one of God's soldiers and we will miss him so much. 

For the very few times that Tyler was on facebook, he recently posted this picture of a storm trooper that came to his room at UofM, with a caption that said: "This is for my aunt Patty".  

His aunt Tammy read her letter that shared some character traits she thought about Tyler, before his illness. Things like shy, quiet, kind...and how those words instantly changed to things like warrior and fighter. But the most important trait his journey brought, was that he became a unifier. He brought our family together and so much closer than we could have ever imagined. His journey taught all of us so much. She went on to say the ways that she will miss him. How he was always willing to play with her kids and would "put up" with all of their annoying questions. She said she'll always cherish the memories of the "North House" where he was always around to take the kids for a golf cart ride or remove a fish from their hook. She laughed about how she wouldn't have anyone to water her plants anymore, because secretly he was her best water-er...and she appreciated how he cared for the things she cared for the most. She told a funny story of when Tyler caught her secretly crying while the National Anthem was playing while watching football. She said she'll never forget the face he made at her. She also mentioned how proud Rob was to be his uncle and how much they will miss their football talks and hanging out to watch the games. She ended by thanking him for how his journey taught her children courage and perseverance, something that as parents they could not have showed them, in such a powerful way. 

I love Tammy's word "unifier" because that is one of the many things people mentioned at the viewing. That the strength and commitment our family had for each other was astounding. Dr. Murphy even told me that our family is "not normal". I laughed and said that we had been told that before. He said he meant it in a nice way...that in all his years, he had never seen a family come together like we did for Tyler.  

Tyler's Aunt Cheri had her best friend/cousin Mary read a letter about what an honor it was to be his Godmother. And how she too will miss how kind he was and all of their football game nights and times at the north house. What stood out to me most in her letter, though, is how reassuring she was to Tyler that she would take care of his mom for him. This is something Tyler was worried about, even on his last day. She told him that she would protect her and make sure she was okay. She also told him that she knew he would be watching over his momma, up in heaven.

Since I have mine typed out, I'll end the blog by posting it here. 


I’m Jettie and I was honored to have Tyler call me Aunt, even though I was technically his mom's cousin. If you’ve been following his blog, you’ve probably noticed a few things by now…I’m rarely at a loss for words, I cry quite a bit and I want to bring glory to God. Today will be no exception.

There was so much that I wanted to tell you, like how he was the first little boy to steal my heart (with his chubby cheeks, squeezable thighs, bald head and little passies in his mouth all the time). Or how Michelle and I took him to his first concert and he didn’t like it because of the crowd. Or how he was always quiet and kind and never got in trouble. Or how when he played football as a kid, the coach would try to get him to be aggressive and mean out there on the field, but our sweet boy just didn’t have it in him.  

All of those things are really fond memories, but I wanted to get to the meat of what this life is all about. There’s this Christian rap song that has a line in it that says, “When life and death go to battle, aint no telling what will happen.” I always think of Tyler when I hear that line.

Life and death went to battle over this boy this past year and as we sit here in this room mourning Tyler, it may look to you like death won, but I tell you, I believe life won this round. You see, it wasn’t just a physical battle that Tyler endured, but also a spiritual battle.

On Oct 4th of last year, I received a devastating call that Tyler had been taken to the ICU and they weren’t sure what was happening. Shortly after I arrived, he was rushed into emergency surgery, and our lives would never be the same. Many of you started following his story after this post on the blog, I’m sure. This is the night we were told that Tyler was “minute to minute” and probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I can tell you that I’ve never pleaded with God more in my Christian walk than on that night. Not just because I physically wanted Tyler here with us, but from the Spiritual aspect, I had no idea if Tyler knew Jesus and I was broken. I begged God to let him live so that we could share with him the path to salvation. I was so upset with myself for taking this life for granted and not taking every opportunity with my loved ones, to tell them about eternal life.

Thankfully, God answered that prayer. And not only did Tyler live, much to everyone’s surprise, but he became a fighter, a warrior, even. Throughout the last year, I took as many opportunities as I could to tell Tyler about what Jesus had done for Him on the cross, taking his punishment for his sin, so that He could be reconciled to the Father and have eternal life. I know others did too. I’m so thankful that God is gracious enough to give us time because He wants that none should perish but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life.

A few weeks ago, when Tyler knew he was nearing the end, he admitted to his mom and grandma that he thought he was losing this battle and that he was scared. He asked for the doctors to talk him through what was going to happen to his body and he asked if my pastor would come up again and talk to him about what happens spiritually, when you die. Pastor Joe blessed us by coming and talking to him the very next day and spent a lot of time with him, telling him what it means to have faith in Jesus. Tyler had made a profession of faith, in believing in what God did for him through Jesus, and it is for this reason alone, 
that I believe he is at peace and free from all of his suffering.

This is the reason we’re here! If you’re in Christ, I urge you to tell others about the gift of eternal life. Don’t just show it, tell it. You don’t want to feel the anguish I felt that night of knowing you had never told the one you loved about the most precious gift we have. And if you’re not in Christ, I urge you to repent and be reconciled to God. Not everyone gets to know that they are dying. Not everyone gets phone calls like that, followed by time to understand and reconcile. Don’t wait!

Because of Tyler’s profession of faith, I believe he’s in heaven and that’s why I say, death didn’t win this battle, life did!

Rest in peace, Tyler.
Finally, I can't finish this blog without one more mention of Michelle and her incredible strength. You're a shining example of a mother's lover. My heart hurts for you, my dear big sister. I love you!

For those of us that are left mourning, I encourage you to listen to this beautiful song.

"So here I am. What's left of me.
Where glory meets my sufferings....
Jesus come and break my fear.
Wake my heart and take my tears.
Find Your glory even here"...

With an abundance of gratitude and love for you all, God bless,
Team Tyler


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