A group of us went to the opening night of one of the Twilight movies in Idaho Falls and got a room for the night. We were going to go shopping the next day and live it up as much as you can at craft fairs. On the way home, our discussions got kind of deep about losing loved ones. I had been feeling for the months following receiving my endowments in the Rexburg Temple that maybe I was preparing myself for something big. I had worried endlessly about planning a funeral. Whose... I wasn't sure. I couldn't differentiate between true preparations and my fearful mind, but this time I wasn't panicky, just matter of fact. I went through the different scenarios and tried to get a few things in order, just in case. We talked about this and I remember saying, "If something happens to one of our kids, I know that our marriage won't survive. It just won't."
I went home and didn't sleep.
We did every day normal things. James went to work, kids went to school, I cleaned the house. We put up a Christmas tree and everyone abandoned me when they lost interest because the lights took too long. We did homework, argued, made our lists to Santa. We went to a birthday party for my niece, Hailey. That night, I laughed and told Tyler that he was getting piano lessons for Christmas. It was a joke referencing a time that I had him on a waiting list for lessons and the day the teacher had an opening, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'm not all that interested anymore." He was 14 and there was no way I could force a teenage boy to start piano lessons and actually do it, so I passed the lesson on to Aaron since I had worked so hard for a spot. He would always joke with me about how he could have been a great piano player if only...
So I told him it had caused a good amount of contention and that's what he was getting this year. He looked a little panicky and told me he forgave me, but he wouldn't if I actually gave that to him as a gift at almost age 20. He grabbed me and hugged me tight and told me that he loved me. I rolled my eyes (because my kids always told me they loved me right before they wanted something!), but I hugged him back and told him I loved him so much I wanted him to be an accomplished pianist. We both laughed. He went to his home and we left for ours. He called me later that night to ask me about a recipe, I talked to him about Christmas Eve and told him how the kids were so excited for their tradition of all sleeping together and having him stay with us. He warned me that I'd better have enough huckleberries for Christmas morning, and had given me a gift to put under the tree for one of his brothers that he got early.
He was always such a thoughtful gift giver. He was endlessly broke, but he always planned ahead when it came time for something special. He had given me a gift certificate the year before for a massage and he even asked me 2 days after Christmas if I had used it yet. I told him I hadn't, so he said he would watch the kids without any complaints but I had to do it now.
He took Aaron to a Brian Reagan performance as his Christmas gift one year. Aaron was in HEAVEN! He loved speeding down the road with his cool big brother, going to dinner and laughing over someone Aaron thought was hilarious.
I'm a little embarrassed as I write this to say how in tune he was with my moods. He could tell when a bad day was a little more than bad, and he would do what he could to make it better. One pretty September day in 2009, apparently Aaron had called Ty that morning telling him I'd "lost it." Haha. It's funny how differently kids see things. Tyler tried calling all morning, but I really was having a bad day and I wasn't in the mood to talk to anybody, so I let the phone ring. Finally, I answered and he said he wanted to take me to lunch. I accepted his invitation, and the two of us spent his lunch hour eating Mexican food outside, and just talking. I cried, describing my bad day and my bad attitude, and he just listened. He opened up to me about similar frustrations and decisions he was trying to make. We ended up having a really great lunch and he told me that he was glad I was his mom. For all the times I felt like such a screw up at this parenting thing, I knew he was sincere, and that made it easier to go home to the other ones instead of running away like I had debated.
December 5, 2009. Of course, I was going crazy thinking of the things that were worrying me as I tried to sleep. I had gone to bed with a knot in my stomach, and I couldn't figure out what it could be about. I prayed a small prayer in my mind that would know what it was about and I would be able to deal with it. I wracked my brain all night thinking about what it could be. I finally drifted to sleep early in the morning hours and took the kids to church. December 6, 2009. I came home during one of the classes because things felt "off" between James and I and it bothered me. He said things were fine, so I went back to church. My brother in law and his family came over after church for dinner and planning for an upcoming craft fair. We were getting excited with planning Christmas goodies for the kids to make, a booth we were going to do, and I was preparing crafts of all sorts to sell.
We sat at the computer looking at recipes and Maddie came downstairs at just 5 years old asking why the police officers were at our house. At the same time, my brother in law came down to tell us I was needed upstairs.
I remember the different feelings and senses at the time. I was honestly confused. I walked upstairs to something so surreal.
There were two officers standing in my kitchen, my husband was covering his face, yelling "No," Maddie was whiny, asking what were they saying. Aaron was releasing his rage on a window that we hadn't replaced yet. I looked to everybody, trying to figure out who I go to first.
I'm sure everyone imagines how they would react to receiving the news we did. A scenario I had feared for years was here, and all I could do was stand there, useless. I truly didn't comprehend, and I was scared more than anything. So, I sprang into action. I tried to gather my kids. I tried to console James. I asked the officers questions and thanked them for coming. I called my Bishop, my best friend & my mom. My own words came back to me, and I sobbed at the thought not just that Tyler was gone, but my whole family wouldn't probably survive this.
I spent the whole week, action oriented. There was stuff to do. My kids needed their mom. I couldn't fall apart yet. I knew if I did, I might never recover, so I pushed my natural feelings aside and stayed stoic. I checked things off my list, but my head was so foggy. I wasn't just planning a funeral, I was trying to find ways that I could keep our family together, against the odds.
The first time I had to say it out loud, my voice broke and I didn't know how I would ever get used to saying it. Tyler died of a self inflicted gun shot wound.
I took ambien last night to help me shut off my mind, but that didn't work. I stayed up until far too late in the night, thinking. I don't know if subconsciously I'm anticipating something, so my anxiety kicks in or what, but I'd sure like to get some sleep.
Today, I was at the gym and I put my playlist on shuffle. Now I do believe in coincidences, and I had 3 songs that came up close to each other ... each one of them was a song that reminds me of him. If you have time, listen away! Be warned that one may have an explicit lyric, but it is what it is.
"Call Me" by Shinedown He had this on his playlist and it makes me a little sad each time.
"Warmness on the Soul" by Avenged Sevenfold This makes me feel good during a dark time. Also on his playlist.
"Hate Me" by Blue October One he introduced me to. I can't help but wonder if he felt this way.
"Release Me" by Pearl Jam James chose this to be played on his video. Good choice, I think.
Linkin Park was one of his favorites to listen to, so all of them remind me of him.
|Aaron and Tyler heading to Banny's|
|Tyler and Jordan after fishing|
|Tyler and Aidan busy at work!|
|Tyler with Madelyn. Stinky bear!|
|Amber, James, Tyler and Aaron after Ty's baptism|
|Ty's baptism with his Mom, Kim and her parents, Melba & Vern Damico|