outside her comfort is her zone

1 Comment

Dedication of Memorial @ RM Dog Park

On Saturday morning at 10AM, the dedication for the Elizabeth Tyler Strandberg (and faithful companion Milly) memorial took place at the fabulous Rocky Mount Dog Park. Needless to say in early April you never know what the weather may do and we had a little bit of everything: light spotty rain, wind gusts upwards of 25-30MPH, cloudy skies and cool temperatures in the low 50’s which felt quite a bit lower.   I have to believe Tyler was at work giving us a taste of life in Jackson WY in April.  But wouldn’t you know just as our Mayor, the honorable David Combs, got things underway, the clouds cleared, the sun popped out and the temperature rose along with the appreciation of so many friends and family who came out to share and celebrate this wonderful event.  Beth took the stage with other dignitaries and shared some special, truly heartfelt words with the crowd.   A good time for all and a memorial that will live on and bless others in this great dog park well beyond all of our years.  For those unable to attend, here are some photos and Beth’s comments.  God Bless all those who worked so hard to make this happen, and God Bless Tyler.

BETH: “7 ½ months ago on this very day, a tragic mountain climbing accident in Jackson, Wyoming took the lives of two vibrant and beautiful young women. One of those beautiful women was Tyler Strandberg, our beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend and faithful companion to her sweet and precious Milly.  My family and I will forever be grateful for the outpouring of love, support and prayers we have received during this most difficult time.

I want to thank the city of Rocky Mount for all their hard work to make this dedication possible but most importantly, I want to thank my incredible parents, Jim and Marie Gardner who really made this happen. They had an amazing bond with their first grandchild and I can’t think a better way to honor Tyler and Milly but right here in Tyler’s hometown in this wonderful dog park.

I hope that everytime you and your pet come here and sit on this bench, you will remember the way Tyler lived her life. She had this uncanny zest for life and adventure and she lived each day to the fullest as if it were her last.  Tyler defined perservance, courage and compassion and she felt passionately that this is the only life that we have so go out and make a difference.

In closing, I would like to share with you a quote that was the very last entry Tyler had made in her journal. [Go now and live.  Experience, dream and risk.  Close your eyes and jump.  Enjoy the freefall.  Chose exhilaration over comfort.  Choose magic over predictability.  Choose potential over safety.  Wake up to the magic of everyday life.  Make friends with your intuition.  Trust your gut.   Discover the beauty of uncertainly.  Know yourself fully before you make promises to another.  Make millions of mistakes so that you will know how to choose what you really need.  Know when to hold on and when to let go.  Love hard and often and without reservation.  Seek knowledge.  Open yourself to possibility.  Keep your heart open, your head high and your spirit free.  Embrace your darkness along with your light.  Be wrong everyday once in a while and don’t be afraid to admit it.  Awaken to the brilliance in ordinary moments.  Tell the truth about yourself no matter what the cost.  Own your reality without apology.  See goodness in the world.  Be bold. Be fierce. Be grateful.  Be wild, crazy and gloriously free.  Be you. GO NOW AND LIVE]”


Keep Trekking Forward


I think about my sister Tyler every single day. She is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about when I go to sleep at night. I think about her smile, her laugh, and all of the amazing memories that we had together. My last memory that I have with Tyler was her jumping on my bed at 7 in the morning in Nags Head to tell me goodbye before she hopped on her flight back to Jackson Hole. She hugged me tight, kissed me on the check, and said “I love you so much Jo”. I miss her more and more everyday. Even though she is not physically with me, I feel her with me every single day.

I always knew how special Tyler was but I never truly realized how many peoples lives Tyler touched. After visiting Jackson Hole this past October, seeing C Bar V Ranch for the first time, and spending time with all of Tyler’s closest friends, I actually was able to see first hand how many people were so connected with Tyler and the affect the she had on their lives. It not only made me feel happy but made me feel so proud to be able to call her my sister.

Every day my Mom, Dad, Blair and I talk about the different signs that we get from our Tyler and how we know she is always with us. Last night is just another example of Tyler reaching out to us to tell us that she is right here. As my mom and I were sitting around last night, we were starting to discuss our families plans to travel back out to Jackson Hole for Labor Day Weekend. We were talking about flights, travel dates, and where we would stay in town. Just as I pulled out my phone to look up flight possibilities and options for where we could stay, my phone lit up with an unfamiliar message.

Back in September, some of Tyler’s closet friends in Jackson sent us photos from the peak of the Teewinot mountain, where someone had left a memorial in Tyler’s and Catherine’s honor. There was a plaque with Tyler and Cath’s names along with photos from the Outer Banks and Raleigh, a container of sand from Nags Head, and a North Carolina flag nailed into the rocks of the peak. They were all stunned, just as we were, as to who left the memorial. We truly had no idea who had left this amazing memorial and had no idea if we would ever find out. As my phone rang last night, I opened up my Instagram to find a personal message with these exact same pictures of the memorial that we got back in September, as well as pictures with maps of Rocky Mount and North Carolina in front of the mountain range.



After my mom and I fought through the tears of reading this post, we were both at a loss of words with the timing of getting this message and the mysterious ways that God works. We didn’t quite know what to say or how to believe that we had just actually come in contact with the person who had made this incredible memorial for Tyler and Cath. We exchanged numbers with Dylan and talked on the phone with him about the memorial and his connections with Nags Head and Rocky Mount. The insane amount of generosity and thoughtfulness for someone that he and his brother had not ever even met was so overwhelmingly powerful to me that it was almost hard for me to process and take in. After talking to Dylan we realized that he has an amazing love for the outdoors and nature just like Tyler did, which is what led him up to the peak of his favorite mountain of Teewinot with his brother a week after Tyler and Cath’s accident. The crazy amount of unexplainable circumstances that led to our connection with Dylan is a direct gift and sign from God and from Tyler that she is still, right here with us every day. Tyler has once again found a way to connect me with so many different people that I may have never had the opportunity of meeting, all because of the way she lived her life and the way she touched other people.

On August 30, 2015 Dylan posted: “I’m climbing Teewinot this week and I can assure her family back home that a memorial with North Carolina flags will be placed on top of Teewinot, I’ll make it happen. #keeptrekkingforward #neverstopexploring”.

These are all pictures that Dylan took from the Summit of Teewinot and the summit of the Grand Teton



Flowers that someone else had already placed at the peak before Dylan and Tyler got to the top


Summit of the Grand Teton


Dylan at the peak of TeewinotDSC_0984DSC_0997IMG_6558


Thank you so much Dylan and Tyler Melander, we cannot thank you enough.