It has been some time now, since I last posted on this blog. It is intimidating at times because I wasn’t nearly as close and didn’t know Tyler the way many of you do. However, that is not to say she didn’t have such a large impact on me as an individual. During the time I got to know her, we often talked about why we ran so much and what it meant to us. Now Tyler, being as outgoing and adventurous as she was would go on about how sometimes she ran to clear her mind, sometimes to get in better shape, and most of the time just to explore and spend time with Milly (as if she ever left her side anyway). As for me, running is an outlet. I use it as a tool to take a deep breath and clear my mind from the sometimes unbearable stress that comes with everyday struggles in life, struggles coping with loss of loved ones, or any other bump in the road. I had a saying which is on the shoes shown above that says “RUN TO ESCAPE” Tyler knew all about this message, as I told her how long I had considered getting a tattoo of it and how important it is to me. She admired what that message stood for to me, and continuously encouraged me to push myself to run farther and faster (but not too fast bc she wouldn’t want me to be able to beat her). My point to explaining all this, is because that message for me carries more meaning than ever. Today is Pete Sowells 26th birthday. For those of you who don’t know Pete, he was a great friend of mine who passed nearly two years ago from Type 1 Diabetes. Tyler listened to me carry on about how hard it was to cope with his death. She was always willing to listen and I think that is yet another quality which most people lack today, but one we cherished about her. When I run now, I mostly think of Pete and Tyler. They are my greatest inspirations and I have Tyler to thank for pushing my running to the next level.
One thing that I will leave the readers of this post with is a quote I strongly believe in. “The greatest things in life are not seen, they are not heard, but they are felt” Tyler may not be here physically for us to see or hear, but she is everywhere around us in spirit and can be felt everyday. She rests in our hearts and continues to lift us up while watching over. Cheers to you Tyler, and may we live our lives in celebration for the time we had with you here physically and continue to enjoy life knowing you will always be with us spiritually.
As Blair said in her eulogy at Tyler’s funeral:
“If you knew Tyler, you knew she was fearless. Who goes snorkeling with a torn ACL? Tyler. Who goes hiking on crutches? Tyler. Who dives off a moving boat because she saw dolphins and wanted to swim with them? Tyler. Who spends an hour hiking up a mountain with her dog Milly, just for the thrill of a 30 second ski ride down? Tyler. I swear sometimes I wonder if one of us was adopted.”
“She lived her life like a wild adventure, often reminding me of the book and movie “Wild.” But she would be so mad if she heard me compare her to that “gaper movie” because I watched it with her and she was muttering under her breath the whole time about how Reese Witherspoon didn’t have her pack on right or wasn’t pitching the tent the right way. But the fact that Tyler spent 3 days in the Moab desert of Utah camping and hiking with only her dog Milly, is put quite simply, Wild.”
It was this time in March of last year that Tyler and her faithful companion ventured to Moab. I am thankful we have the pictures, videos and comments to share in her memory. This was a very happy time in her life.
Ty: Here we go.
Ty: We crossed Mormon state line.
Ty: Old roomies reunited and walkers already driving Milly crazy.
Ty: 5 hour drive but Jeep is holding up well considering I just got it serviced and bought 4 new tires it is chugging along. I do want to trade it for a Subaru tho.
Mom: Tyler you camping tonight?
Ty: Yep and I think I just found my spot.
Dad: Watch out for mountain lions!
Ty: I know.
Dad: Ty where exactly are you?
Ty: Hour outside moab. San Rafael swell “little Grand Canyon”. Tom night will spend in moab and won’t have service. There’s no people. We’re all alone so crazy.
Dad: Glad you have Milly the protector.
Ty: Long way down Milly.
Ty: Looks like I do have some cell service. Storm is rolling in unfortunately.
Ty: You don’t even want to see what I look like.
Dad: Thinking about you Ty and just hoping you are okay.
Ty: We just went exploring and stumbled upon this amazing unmarked trail run that had pretty high elevation gain with the best views!!
Mom: Are u still there? You would be proud of me. Just finished yoga.
Ty: Go mom go! We just got back, Suns gonna go down in bout 30. Bout to cook some brats and asparagus thanks to Betsy and carters nice camping stove.
Ty: Millys already in the tent sleeping hahahah.
Mom: My positive thought for tonight’s class was courage…in your honor. Hope to have as much as you one day.Ty: Now she’s gonna watch the sunset with me. The one thing I need right now is a freakin beer!
Mom: Day is done! Sweet dreams!Ty: Starting to miss people.
Ty: Phone died. We are on the way to a pretty crazy hike/slot canyons 11 miler and there will be no service. Not sure where we’re camping yet.
Ty: Still alive and ready for the next adventure!!!Ty: Just hate it here, haha.
Mom: Tyler, haven’t heard from you all day?
Ty: I am back and freaking exhausted. Crazy stories to share if interested. Heading straight to only brewery in moab right now.
Mom: Are you gonna be showered?
Ty: Um no. 4 days since. Very Tempted to check into a hotel.
Ty: Kinda cool.
Mom: Who died?
Ty: I guess a little girl, sad she was only 7. But the grave is so old is why I thought it was cool. And it was way high up in the middle of nowhere.
Ty: You can kinda barely see the town of moab in the last pic. That’s how far up we hiked.Ty: “Mom I can’t get up there” hahah she was crying.
Ty: Watched 2 guys climb the highest tower. Fisher tower next time I come back I will have rope.
Ty: We found a great trail run with a creek beside it! Prob the only one in Moab.Ty: Her age is starting to show this isn’t like her. Choosing not to hang out in the tent, but in my spare tire instead.
Ty: After this 10 mile trail run this am sadly it is time to part from this amazing place (gotta get back for bball) so I’ll be heading to spend the night with Betsy in salt lake tonight.
Ty: I need shower
Today is the anniversary date of one of the best days of Tyler’s life: the day she met her faithful companion Milly. Today is the adoption anniversary date. I’m so thankful this sweet dog is part of our lives now, especially mine. God bless her and God bless Tyler.
Saturdays are always tough since that was the day we lost our beloved Tyler. All the family members still have issues coming to grips with the reality of this tremendous loss of someone so special and so loved.
I recently finished a book written by a father who lost his daughter Sally in a tragic car accident at age 18 in 2004 at the hands of an impaired driver traveling at a speed in excess of 90-mph. After ten years of dealing with the loss and the grieving, he… was encouraged by friends and family to write a book, which he completed last year. Many things in the book have helped me but one thing in particular that resonated: “They say time heals all wounds. The loss of a child is such a bad and deep wound that time does not heal it. Time does however cover the wound with scar tissue which does ease the pain”. We’re all still waiting for some more scar tissue.
Milly and I visit the fabulous Rocky Mount dog park often. The city donated a brick/plaque and Mr. and Mrs. Gardner, through the Elizabeth Tyler Strandberg foundation, have donated a bench and pavilion style cover and plaque in her remembrance. All very special and also very emotional for us when we visit. Photos attached.
Thanks again to everyone for their notes, texts, emails and kind words. It helps and is greatly appreciated. And God bless Tyler. We all sure do miss her.