Bereaved Mother’s Day.

Today I found myself sitting at the cemetery for no reason other than wanting to feel closer to my baby. As I sat and chatted with him, read a little of my book, and scanned through Facebook, it was brought to my attention that today is bereaved Mother’s Day.

Let that sink in, bereaved Mother’s Day. I’m in shock and awe that such a thing even exists. It tugs at my heart to know there are countless other women who walk in my shoes daily. We get up and keep going in the wake of such darkness. We continue living and still celebrate the milestones. We yearn to hold, speak to, or simply see our children again with each moment that passes. We’re told regularly that we are strong, when in reality it’s all we can do to just keep ourselves together.

These last few weeks I’ve circled around that ugly cycle of grief for the umpteenth time over the last year. I find that I constantly get stuck between guilt and utter disbelief, that’s almost always followed up by a total breakdown before getting back up, plastering a smile on my face, and forcing myself to enjoy the time I’m given as much as possible.

I am humbled by the kindness of strangers. Sometimes a brief smile or a kind gesture just to show compassion for the rest of the human race goes such a long way. Patience is truly a virtue that I wish more people possessed. We’re all in a hurry for no apparent reason; to get to places that aren’t going anywhere fast. I wish we could all remember to slow down sometimes, take in the people around us, create memories that’ll last a life time, and love like we’re not promised tomorrow.

I’m often asked why I don’t write more often. I’m praised for the voice I’ve been given and the ability to occasionally get it out on paper. The truth of it is, I love to write. I find it therapeutic in a sense. However, I want it to matter. I need to know that my thoughts and feelings being poured out into the world make a difference in at least one persons life. Opening up and sharing such raw emotions can be a difficult task. I know many bereaved mothers who feel they must defend their journey through grief as others sit by and wonder why and how they’re “still hurting”.

My friends, this hurt will never cease, it’s woven into every fiber of our being. With this pain comes the deepest love known to man, the love of a parent and a child. One of the best quotes I’ve ever read stated:

“I’m sorry if my grief temporarily makes you uncomfortable, for myself it lasts a lifetime”.

I often feel like I was extremely guilty of living life in fast forward before we held Tyler in our arms. My eyes were not open to the world of hurt that strangers can bury deep down inside and hide from the rest of the world. I was naive in thinking when I had children they’d be perfect and healthy in every way, that nothing ‘bad’ would ever happen to us. I thought that my health would never fail, and I’d live to be old and just as in-love with my husband when I’m 80, as I was when I was 18.

Life twists, and it turns. Sometimes not in the easiest of ways. My one wish for you all today, on bereaved Mother’s Day, is to soak it all in. Kiss your children more and show them the love you feel in your heart. TRY and never let those precious moments pass you by. Let others know it’s ok to be human, after all, none of us are perfect. Take the hardships that come with life in stride. Hold your head high and don’t let this world ever bring you down. Just because others may not understand your current situation doesn’t mean your any less justified in your feelings.

You are always tougher than you know. Believe in you, and make the most out of today.

For all of my hurting mommas: I see you, I hear your cries, and I feel your pain. You are never alone! Myself and your sweet child, or possibly children, are always by your side and more importantly, within your heart. They walk along side us day by day and patiently wait for the tears to stop falling and a smile to appear at the thought of their lives here with us. Happy Mother’s Day!


One day closer.

IMG_1256.JPGThere are moments I sit here in total silence and wonder where the time has gone since you left us. How has it been one year, one month, one week, and one day since I last held you. The memories from that day are burned into my mind, I can replay them on a loop as if they happened just moments ago.

Ive notcied my life changing in so many ways. I no longer cry like I used to, it’s as if a numbness has taken over and forces me to keep going. Or maybe what I’m mistaking for numbness is really you, giving me the strength I need to live out the rest of my days here in this life. I speak your name now more than ever, and I’m not afraid to tell strangers about you and the great love you shared with us for such a brief time. One thing hasn’t changed, I miss you more and more with each passing day, each memory that’s made without you here, and every stepping stone we conquer without you in our lives to share it with us.

I have a lot of bitterness in my heart. I have people who claim to understand when in reality, they have no idea. None of us do. Even from one grieving parent to the next. We can all relate to the loss, but the matter in which it happens varies from person to person. I do my best to keep my head up, and show you my smile as often as possible, but lately I’ve felt defeated.

Life is funny and it’s full of unexpected twists and turns. Just a few weeks ago another little angel was buried directly across from where we laid you to rest, a little girl. Her parents met her and said their goodbyes all in the same day. I know you must have welcomed her into heavens gates with open arms as she fearlessly left her mother and father behind to dwell in happiness for the rest of eternity.

I question why we’re given this task of carrying such a heavy burden. Why are we the chosen ones who seem to be strong enough to keep pushing, and keep living day to day without a piece of our hearts. We’re expected to function like any other individual in society and still carry on a normal and healthy social life, a good job, and perform the tasks of caregiver to friends and family during their times of need.

I have so many questions that will never be answered in this life. I just hope and pray that wherever you are, you can see the effect you left on my life. You can feel the overwhelming love I have for you in my broken heart, and you know that I’ll do everything in my power to return to you one day.

Watch over us, little one. You can see our struggles, and you know when we need a small reminder that we’re made for so much more. You are the greatest gift we’ve ever been given, Tyler Matthew. Today is one more day closer to you.

One year.

How can it be that exactly one year ago you were looking into my soul with your big blue eyes telling me that all would be ok – just to breathe, momma.

How can it be that exactly one year ago we were anxiously awaiting the Texas Children’s Team to arrive at Darnell hospital so they could whisk you off to Houston for better care.

HOW can it be that on that exact same day, exactly one year ago, you left this world and took my heart with you. 365 days since I’ve heard that sweet cry, touched your face, rubbed your back, kissed your head, and held you in my arms.

Not a day goes by that I don’t tell you I love you, that I miss you, or that you are so deeply missed. Most days I’m honestly unsure how I’ve survived up until now. It’s in these deep moments of doubt and darkness that I’m reminded of the light you once were, and still are. You, Tyler, are the reason I’m still here. You, are the reason I keep going. You, are my main purpose in this life. It is because of you I can ‘thank my lucky stars’ and ‘count my blessings’. God had a plan and a purpose for your life, and the best part of it all is that it included me and your Father. You opened our eyes to an entirely new world. Without you son, we’d still be wandering this Earth more lost than we’ve ever been.

This last year has molded and shaped us into people we hope that you’d want us to be. We’ve hit many bumps along the way but always seem to find a way back to you, together. Without you I don’t feel as if we could have done it.

As I sit and stare at a patch of grass I can’t help but wonder why I was deprived of looking at your angelic face. Watching you crawl, walk, and talk. What’s the overall lesson we are to take away from your life, and oh so unfortunate death?

My heart hurts a little deeper today thinking back to where we were in this exact moment one year ago. My sweet Tyler, if we had known, things would have been so incredibly different. We would have said no to all of the needles, the tests, and just loved you unconditionally without end.

Many don’t understand what it’s like to be the parent of a child who is no longer walking among us. Just because they aren’t in our arms, or by our sides, the love and parenting doesn’t stop. I will fight until my dying day to spread my little boys legacy just as he deserves. I will continue to allow him to work in the lives of others through myself and Billy’s actions.

At the end of the day, I know that nothing will bring you back. I just hope and pray that you know one day, we will return to you. February 4, 2016 will forever be burned into my mind, and not a moment will pass that I won’t wish we couldn’t freeze frame time in those hours, days, and weeks before you left us. We love you Tyler, with every ounce of our being.

XO – until we meet again, my love.




A New Year.

I met a woman today who made me feel so good about my life choices in the most unusual way.

She told me to stop apologizing. She explained that my moral compass and my heart will tell me how to feel, think and act how I deem necessary. That by no means does this mean I’ll never have to apologize again in my life, but that if I feel I’ve done the right thing in my heart, not to dwell on it.

Next, she told me to learn to say no. She explained that nothing and no one are more important than my health and my happiness.
That by saying no it’s not saying I don’t want to spend time with you, or this/that is more important. It’s simply an “I can’t today, how about another time” or “I’m sorry, I’m tired and need a ‘Lisa’ day”.

She made me realize that I need to begin taking time for myself and the things I want to do. After all, life is about being happy, not creating happiness built for others that pulls you down.

That being said. My New Year Resolution is to take things slow, enjoy each day for what it is – a blessing. I’m going to remind myself that it’s totally and completely ok to say no to plans, ideas or suggestions of any kind if it’s not truly what I want/need. More importantly for me, I’m going to stop apologizing for the sake of apologizing. I’m so quick to say I’m sorry for any little miscommunication or difference in opinion from those around me. I let other people’s unhappiness or uncomfortableness with themselves or my grief tear me down; and I’m done.

This is me. Take it or leave it. I know struggles will always come and go, I know that this year life has thrown me and all of my loved ones curve ball, after curve ball and that’s ok. Through all of the hardships I’ve learned a lot, I held a beautiful baby boy and loved him unconditionally, I fell in love with my husband all over again, and I was reminded of the guardian angels who sit around me day in and day out in the form of some of the best friends I’ll ever know in my life.

Grief can be ugly and nasty. It can take a seemingly normal life and make it a living hell. Losing a child is gut wrenching in every way, BUT has so much beauty wrapped into it. Somewhere along the way, I began to lose myself, and today, Ms. V reminded me of who I am and what my son wants me to stand for. I am Tyler’s mother. I am strong. I am weak. I am broken-hearted, yet I am loved.


I would live this life 1000x over just to hold you again. It is because of you that I know the true meaning of love.



Recently I’ve come to realize that for the rest of my life, I’ll always be searching for something that isn’t there. That 3am feeding, the colicky cry that accompanies an upset belly, the giggles when something is amusing and we can’t quite figure out why. These small things that build up to a lifetime full of memories has been taken away from us. I have lost the single most important thing in my life, my baby.

I hear “you’ll have another one eventually” and “you shouldn’t grieve forever” on a pretty regular basis. My question is this, how do you stop the grief?

How do you not long to hold them in your arms again?

More importantly, why do people seem to think that having another child will some how replace the one that we’ve lost?

This world will never have another Tyler. He was special, he was innocent and so pure, he was nothing short of a miracle. I am so incredibly blessed to have the title of his momma. I smile and often times cry at the bittersweet memories we have of him.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I can feel myself becoming bitter. My heart hurts and everyone around me seems to be so happy. I can feel myself breaking minute, by minute, and I’m so lost on how to pick myself up and keep going. The sad truth of it is, I’ve lost friends and I’ve lost family throughout the journey of losing my son. I am so blessed to have a handful of good people who I know I can turn to in my times of complete and utter despair. It’s sad that something so heartbreaking, ultimately shows you who these individuals are. Those who think of you without being asked to, the ones who aren’t seeking special recognition for a kind gesture. Those who genuinely hurt with you on your bad days, and smile alongside you on your good ones. Those friends that will remember Tyler not only on ‘special’ days but, always.

The world expects so much now days, but gives so very little to those who need it. This holiday season, I ask that you remember those who are hurting. Those who can’t afford to feed their families, or buy gifts for their children. Remember the families who have lost loved ones, young or old. In the back of your mind, always remember there are battles people face daily that you may never see from the outside looking in. Soften your heart to others and let love in. Keep a kind heart and remember the reason for this season. Cherish those special memories and create new ones with your loved ones. Surround yourself with the people who matter in your life and do something good for society.

Wishing all of our friends and family a very Happy Thanksgiving.



The Dance.

My world stops turning on a daily basis. I wake up each morning to be reminded of the fact that my precious son is no longer here with us. Today is different. Today my world didn’t continue on after I came to terms with the hell that we’ve endured this year. Today is simply just, one of those days. My body aches in the absence of Tyler. I wonder what he’d be doing at this point in his new, little life. I feel mentally defeated when I think about the things Billy and I will never get to experience with him.

October has always been my favorite time of the year. The weather’s starting to cool off; the leaves are changing colors and filling the sidewalks with such natural beauty. This year October will hold a harsh new meaning with the reminder that my family and many others are mourning the children they were never given the opportunity to know, to watch grow, or to raise in our arms. I’m trying to prepare myself for the events of the coming months as best I know how. October is known as ‘Infant and Pregnancy Loss’ awareness month. This is a time when bereaved families ask that you remember and honor the children that have left us all too soon, alongside us in our daily struggle with grief.

With November brings another ‘first’ we’ll again miss out on with our Bubba. From birth to the 12 month mark seems to be a constant struggle. On top of the absence of baby T, Billy and I will be apart for the first time in 5 years. It’ll be my first year as a pre-diabetic, where I have to watch every little thing that I put in my mouth. It’s going to be our first Thanksgiving without a huge piece of our world.

December. Oh, December. Christmas will be hard. There’s no other way to put it. Last year we picked out an outfit for Tyler to wear on Christmas Eve. We were already so excited about our first year as ‘Santa’. We couldn’t wait to show him off to family, and move him back home to Texas where we would raise him around all of his loved ones.

After the holidays it seems as though this vicious cycle will only start again. Beginning with what would be Tyler’s 1st birthday. Unlike many families, three short weeks after his celebration we’ll be faced with the year anniversary of his death.

Where do I go? What do I do? Is there anything that makes this pain just a little more bearable? Grief is a funny thing. I went from clinically depressed, to feeling strong and worthy of love. At this point I feel like I’m slowly circling back around to the rut I found myself in just six months ago. Grief is ALL consuming, there’s no doubt about that.

I listened to a song the other day that I had always wanted played at my funeral, ironically. As I sat and took in each and every word, I cried. I realized that the lyrics struck home to me more than I would ever have realized all those years ago. I realized just what I’m experiencing with my grief. It’s a dance. Our lives are truly a dance.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, none of us ever do. I do know that by going through this God awful loss we’ve experienced, we’re going to become better parents, spouses, siblings, friends and overall people because of it. We will always love deeper and appreciate all that we’ve been given.

In the midst of my sadness, I ask for your continued patience with us. I don’t know when this struggle will stop, or if it ever will. I do know that I have some special individuals who tell me just what I need to hear on days when I don’t know how to pull myself together. They remind me of the love that Tyler spread all around this world, even to those who never knew us, or him. They remind me that he will always be loved by those who really and truly love us.

I miss my baby with each and every ounce of my being. I love him so deeply, always and forever, without any doubt. Billy and I are some of the luckiest people on this Earth to have felt the presence of such a little angel. All that we do is for you, Bubba. XO.

October 15th is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss remembrance day.

“When a child loses his parent, they are called and orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” – Ronald Reagan

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Listen to “The Dance”.




I’m at a point in my life where I feel as though I have nowhere left to turn, except for home. I feel as though my life has come crashing down on me for not the first, but the second time in a year. I hurt with every ounce of my being, my faith has been tested to no end and my sadness occasionally consumes me.

We always wonder why things happen or question how we got to where we are in life. I can honestly say I’m beyond perplexed at this next step fate has pushed me into. As I walk blindly in my faith yet again, I’m reminded of just how fragile life can be. I cry for my son, I cry for myself and I cry for my husband and our family. I cry for what was, for right now and for what is yet to come.

After leaving my home of the last four years, the place where my little one was born and the shell of a home he was in for such a short, but sweet time. The place where we made friends we’ll be bonded to for a life time, where the community picked us up each time we fell – I feel like I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Leaving Fort Irwin has felt like a weight that’s been lifted off my shoulders.

With that relief still comes a sense of sadness, as well as the pressures of a new area. An area full of people asking questions they really don’t need the answers to. It’s as if society as a whole just wants to write your life out for you and make your “story” much more interesting than it really is. I promise there is no hidden agenda as to why I’m here, I just needed a break. I needed to come to grips with myself again.


Tomorrow is my 28th birthday. All I can think about is how I don’t want the day to come. I’m not prepared to spend my first ‘milestone’ or family gathering without Tyler. I would give anything to have him here. To hear his little cry when he’s hungry or feel the rise and fall of his breathing against my chest. My life has drastically changed so many times within the last year. From a normal married couple, to soon to be parents, to BEING those parents and now as bereaved parents. I hate that. I hate to think of myself as a bereaved parent. I didn’t get the chance to parent. I didn’t get the chance to watch my child grow into the beautiful person I know in my heart he would have been. I didn’t get to watch him play little league football or dig in the dirt like most other little boys. Every ounce of my being yearns for him.

I’ve been doing better lately, if that’s even possible. I don’t cry 24/7 anymore, I don’t constantly mope around – I’ve stepped back into the human race in a sense. Its amazing what a smile can hide. How strangers on the street have no idea of the hurt inside your heart and only see you as another person that’s just simply passing by.

That being said, tomorrow is going to be hard. VERY hard. If you think of me, please think of Tyler. He’s the best gift I’ve ever been given and I just pray people always remember him and think of his sweet little soul when they think of our family. No matter where we all may be at any given time.



Do you ever have moments in your life where you sit back and reflect on the things that are happening around you? Wondering how you got to where you are, in that very moment. I was traveling recently and watched out of my window as the pilot warned us of possible turbulence. I could see this storm brewing within the clouds next to me, watching the lightning crash down onto the ground with each strike from this monstrous storm cell. All the while, I sat there and held my son’s teddy bear with odd looks from strangers as we coasted by seamlessly in the sunshine. How can you be right over a storm and not feel the same effect its having on others around you? Tears fell down my face as I thought about Tyler and how different my life would be if he were still here. I thought about how these people around me only saw an adult grasping onto a teddy bear and not the pain that’s right under the surface.

People have mastered the art of silence; and I want to break it. I want to speak out and remind the world that I will forever be a mother, that I have a beautiful son who will live forever in my heart, that CHD’s effect on average 40,000 babies a year, and that I am 1 in 100! Life can twist and turn so abruptly at a moments notice, it’s better to reach out and hold onto someone or something before letting the darkness consume you.

Over the last week I’ve learned so much about myself. I learned that even though I smile, it doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten my son; and that even though I cry, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t grateful for the time I was given. Each day is a constant struggle. Each day has the potential to bring me to my knees.


I’ve met many bereaved parents over the course of the last six months. So many of them illuminate strength and courage when they speak of their lost little ones. I hope and pray that one day I’m able to reach that point. I’m ready for this storm to break and let a little light shine through, so I can grow from this experience and mold myself into the person I know that I’m now meant to be. I’m ready to get up, smile at my little boys picture, get dressed and bring more kindness into the world!

We were made to love, and I plan to do just that. Tyler has taught me that the greatest gift in life is that unconditional, real, true love is unlike anything else you’ll ever experience. It was because of such a deep love from our Father, that I was able to feel my love for him. I am beyond blessed and forever grateful to be Tyler’s Momma. No one will ever know the absolute joy that he has brought into our lives. Billy and I, as his parents, will always treasure the time we had with such a perfect little angel.

Open your heart to the world and let your love flow. Release your bitterness, and let those around you see your light! We all fall, we all fight, but it’s how we pick ourselves back up from those moments of weakness and despair that make us who we are. Choose to be a better person tomorrow than you were today and let that true love guide you.








I have a pain that haunts me daily. It’s a pain that cannot be healed in any way. A pain that is so deep I would wish it upon no one. These last couple of weeks have shown me what life will forever be like without Tyler. We were in the midst of what should be an exciting time in our lives, yet my husband and I both felt numb and disconnected.

Looking through model homes and potential builds was a fun and exciting experience until the realization that when we transfer into this new ‘home’, we’ll be alone. Just the two of us. No responsibility for anyone other than ourselves and our two dogs. What a concept. One of our biggest fears before starting a family was letting go of the selfishness of living only for what we wanted, and what new adventure we could seek out each day. Now, we’d give anything to have the responsibility of a child back. Not just any child, but our child, Tyler Matthew. Our precious gift from God.

I’ve come to realize that even though my world came to a screeching halt, life around me hasn’t stopped moving. People have picked back up with their everyday lives and fallen back into daily routines. I’m not quite sure just where I’m at in this journey yet. I have finally accepted that I’ll never hold our son again, until my time here is done, yet I can’t push past the excruciating agony of it all some days. I have moments where I look at pictures of Tyler and smile, watch the little videos we have of him taking us in as we spoke to him, and I can feel my heart overflow with love and appreciation for the time we were given. Yet some days it’s the total opposite, those same sweet mementos of his life send me into a dark place that feels nearly impossible to escape.

While we were home in Texas over these last couple of weeks we were able to sit and visit with him almost daily. Through the humidity, heat, mosquitoes and lack of any cloud cover – we enjoyed every moment we sat there and spoke to him. We told him about how much we love him and about how we cherish those three weeks of pure bliss with him in our lives, we explained how much we all miss him and think about him with each moment that passes. It’s an odd concept to talk to someone who isn’t there. Someone once told me that the burial process really isn’t to honor the dead, it’s a way for the living to cope with their loss. I truly believe that. I feel so much closer to Tyler when we sit at his resting place. I feel a deeper connection than I do when laying in bed at night speaking to his picture that sits next to my side of the bed. I suppose that’s the reason for the sudden shift in my mood since returning to California. I feel like by leaving Texas and leaving the cemetery behind we have in a way, left him.

My emotions have been on overdrive lately thinking about all of the change that’s to come. I return to work this week part-time in the office as opposed to being at home, I fly to Virginia the following week to face my co-workers who have never met me – yet know my story, in four short months we begin our big move back to Texas, the day after our anniversary we sign on our very first house, Billy begins one of his final rotations at Fort Irwin in the coming weeks and he deploys overseas sometime next year. It’s overwhelming to take it all in. I look at our life from an outsiders point of view and wonder how we manage to keep ourselves together at times. I wonder how we will do financially and as a couple when our lives are uprooted and moved back to the state we grew up in.

Through all of these things, my mind still focuses on Tyler. I find myself thinking about the new house and what room he would have been in, about how when we move – his things will be packed away and likely not come back out. How we’re leaving Fort Irwin and the place he was born and lived with us for his short time. I’ve found myself back in the land of constant questions. The why’s, how’s, and when’s are killing me inside. I want to feel in control of my life when I know that honestly, I never will be. I need to learn to let go of that urge and just put my faith where it belongs, in the Lord himself. I want to be able to hold onto my memories of Tyler and reminisce with my  husband over the good times we shared with him as opposed to live in this constant fog of anger and confusion. I want to prove to the world that I can and someday, I will, begin to seek the positive things in life through the darkness. I know that my heart will never heal and that I will miss him everyday for the rest of my life; however I want to overcome this constant anxiety and fear and always remember live each day for my baby boy.



So many things are beginning to change in our tiny little world. Billy is preparing for the next chapter in his career, I’m beginning to step back into work and our little man is up in the clouds watching it all. My grief is unforgiving and torturous at times but I feel it slowly getting better day, by day. I’ll catch myself staring at pictures of Tyler while I work from home at my desk, smiling, day dreaming about the adventures he’s on in the sky. I have always viewed his life as a complete blessing but I’ve begun to appreciate the time we were given more so now, than ever. I know that I was the lucky one to have had such a miraculous three weeks with the most precious child I have ever laid my eyes on. The hurt hasn’t gone away, nor will it ever. However, I have learned to deal with it a little better. I’ve managed to speak with a complete stranger and say, “YES! I do have a child. He’s not in my arms, but he’s all around me.” I’ve done and said these things without shedding a single tear, and have even gone on to share some stories about his brief time here with a smile on my face. It’s taken a lot of energy, time and mental anguish to see what my husband has been telling me all along, I need to live for Tyler. I need to appreciate each breath I’m given, each step I take and live my life in a way that honors my lost child.

I’ve always been ‘the nice  guy’ and I have no intention of ever being anyone different. I take pride in my genuine concern for others, and I can empathize in ways that I would have never imagined possible. No one ever expects their life to go wrong, we all just walk around and assume that things will eventually fall into place or that problems will work themselves out. I’m here to say, that still holds true. My husband and I have experienced something that no parent should ever have to endure. We’ve lost the love of our lives and the little being that we created out of pure love for one another. We buried our child and pre-planned our own funerals to accommodate being next to him in the afterlife. We didn’t expect it, we had no warning, and yet here we are, falling back into place. Perhaps this is the problem we were destined to “fall into” so that we could learn to live and love on a much deeper level. Maybe we were given this heartache because God knew we could turn it into something great. We could appreciate the gift that Tyler was and always will be and share that with the people surrounding us.

I have received some of the most off the wall gifts since we lost our son. They come in the form of friendships that I will treasure for the rest of my life, hardships that teach me to be a stronger person and allow me to say no – when enough, is enough. Jewlery to memorialize our angel, clothing to help keep the butterflies near, prayers, inspirational quotes … the list could go on and on. What I’m trying to say is, thank you. If you’re reading this and you’ve been by my side through this journey, thank you. Thank you for thinking of me, for praying for us, for just reaching out and letting us know that you care. It does not go unseen or unnoticed. I hold each of you so close to my heart and pray that one day I may give you the same feeling you’ve given me through any route necessary.

I encourage you all to step out of your comfort zone and say hello to a stranger this week, buy coffee for the individual behind you in line, take food to a homeless person or commit to any other random act of kindness. Open your heart to unfamiliar territory and allow yourself to feel appreciated and to know that you caused someone else to smile. I promise you, it’ll be a rush. Don’t let the negativity of this world, the hurt and the anger bring you down. Shove other’s opinions aside and just be YOU. Be the you that you want your child, your parent, your sibling or your spouse to be proud of.

I know that I plan on being the one who Tyler can be proud of, and in my eyes, that’s the best “me” that I can be. I will be one of Tyler’s Warriors.