Love Forever sweet Tyler.
Love Forever sweet Tyler.
I recently read Laura Lynne Jackson’s books, “The Light Between Us” and “Signs, The Secret Language of the Universe”. Laura is a certified Psychic Medium. I found her books, her life, the stories and cases she writes about interesting and some of it down right fascinating.
A couple of weeks ago I was on the elliptical in the Rocky Mount Harrison Family YMCA reading a section in the second book about the different types of signs those who have crossed to the other side use to send us messages to let us know they’re close by, that they are with us. Of course, animals are a very common sign and deer are at the top of the list.
I finish the workout and 30 minutes later take Milly to one of her favorite spots just down the road from the Y and my office: Battle Park. Battle Park runs along the north side of the Tar River. There is an asphalt trail for walking, running and biking that runs along the river east and west. Milly likes to dip in the river and run through the woods. The park is sort of landlocked with Highway 64 to the north, the river to the south and Benvenue Road and Peachtree Street to the west.
We walk the usual half mile or so east and turn around to head back. Milly is romping through the woods, every now and then coming out to make sure I’m around. I turn a corner heading to the straightest section of the path and ahead is a deer standing absolutely still staring right at me. Only her head and neck were visible. I stopped still and we stared at one another about 15 seconds. As I grabbed my phone for a photo, she turned and headed back into the brush. I walked on in that direction and heard some thing or things running around in the woods. I couldn’t see anything because of the thickness of the brush. A moment later Milly came out from the woods. Was this a sign? It felt like it.
Fast forward to today on the 4-year anniversary of Tyler’s accident. As I was leaving the office an hour ago, I go to my truck and there perched on the window is a praying mantis, which just so happens to be another of the signs Laura writes about. Now I have seen praying mantis in my 59 years maybe 10 times. The last time I saw one? I couldn’t say but not in a long, long time.
Another sign? Thank you, Tyler, I need reassurance that you are close by from time to time. Especially today.
In honor and memory of our sweet Tyler, she wishes for all of us a sandpiper on the 4th anniversary of her crossing to the other side.
She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sandcastle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.
“Hello,” she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child. “I’m building,” she said.. “I see that. What is it?” I asked, not really caring. “Oh, I don’t know, I just like the feel of sand.” That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.
“That’s a joy,” the child said. “It’s a what?” “It’s a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy…” The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance. “What’s your name?” She wouldn’t give up. “Robert,” I answered. “I’m Robert Peterson.” “Mine’s Wendy… I’m six.” “Hi, Wendy.” She giggled. “You’re funny,” she said. In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me. “Come again, Mr. P,” she called. “We’ll have another happy day.”
The days and weeks that followed belonged to others: Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.
“Hello, Mr. P,” she said. “Do you want to play?” “What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance. “I don’t know, you say.” “How about charades?” I asked sarcastically. “Then let’s just walk.” Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. “Where do you live?” I asked. “Over there.” She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter. “Where do you go to school?” “I don’t go to school. Mommy says we’re on vacation.” She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.
Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home. “Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, “I’d rather be alone today.” She seemed unusually pale and out of breath. “Why?” she asked. I turned to her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child? “Oh,” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.” “Yes,” I said, “and yesterday and the day before and — oh, go away!” “Did it hurt?” she inquired. “Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself. “When she died?” “Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.
A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door. “Hello,” I said, “I’m Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.” “Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies.” “Not at all — she’s a delightful child.” I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.
“Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn’t tell you.” Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath. “She loved this beach so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly . . .” Her voice faltered, “She left something for you . . . if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?” I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with “MR. P” printed in bold childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues — a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:
A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.
Tears welled up in my eyes and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy’s mother in my arms. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” I muttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words — one for each year of her life — that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand — who taught me the gift of love.
We are delighted and blessed to welcome James Tyler “Ty” Tomlinson into the world born in Charlotte NC to Blair and Buch Tomlinson on April 22 2019. Ty is the Tomlinson’s second son with older brother Jack celebrating his 1st birthday just a short time ago on March 28th. To be called “Ty” is a wonderful tribute to the legacy and memory of his aunt Tyler. Family & friends all look forward to the years ahead as “Ty” will no doubt create his own legacy.
In remembrance of the life Tyler lived and on the 3rd anniversary of her ascension to heaven, this song is meant to honor her memory. God bless you Tyler. Never, ever forget how loved you were and will be forever. We miss you terribly and you are forever in our hearts.