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Tyler’s Love for UNC Basketball & a National Championship

Tyler and I share something very special in common. We both love Carolina basketball and Carolina was the National Champion each of our college senior years. I had a very strong belief that for Josie’s senior year in 2016 that once Carolina made it to the final game with Villanova, that Josie would join our little club. Well we all know how close the Heels came but it just didn’t quite turn out like I thought it was meant to be.

When Carolina made the Final Four again this year I began to see the pieces of the puzzle falling into place. In my heart I truly believe Tyler was working her magic to put UNC back in position to win another championship. Perhaps they fell short in 2016 so she could put me and Josie there in 2017?

Everything fell so magically into place starting with us qualifying for tickets through the Rams Club, then on to the airfare and lastly the lodging. Both of the Heels games were nail biters and there were moments when I think Josie lost faith. I can honestly say I never did. I wasn’t worried. We were put there for a reason and it was to experience the excitement and the joy of winning a national championship.

We both felt her spirit and her presence there with us. Thank you Tyler.

PS: And we all know Carolina didn’t have a chance of winning it Blair’s senior year. She and her Grandfather Poppie were working hard to put their Wolfpack demon devil spells on the Heels.



Tyler’s love for “The Beatles”

When the kids were little they didn’t want to listen to any of my music. Hard as we may have tried at the time to introduce them to our “great” music, they just didn’t like it. So around the house and on family trips the car CD was playing Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys or Hanson. Ok we got it. I didn’t like it either when my dad played Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett.

But then somewhere along the way Tyler became obsessed and developed a deep appreciation and love for the Beatles. When one of the “Fab Four’s” songs would come on she was always trying to figure out who was singing lead vocals.   She would quiz me “Is it John, Paul, George or Ringo? It wasn’t long before Tyler knew all the songs and which Beatle was singing lead vocals. She got it right every time. One of her favorite songs, mine too, was “I Am The Walrus”. The lyrics are pretty far out there but Tyler knew every word.

At Christmas one year, Tyler gave me “The Anthology”. She then took it from me and studied up on it. Later on she collected other memorabilia which are here in photos. I am blessed to have these with me now brought home from Wyoming.

I’m currently reading “Conversations with McCartney” and the other day in the gym on a cardio workout I chose to listen to a Beatles playlist on my device at the same time.  As I was reading a chapter where the writer tells  about John’s rough draft of the famous song on Sgt. Pepper “A Day In The Life” at the precise moment I was reading this part, the song “A Day In The Life” came up on the playlist on my headphones. A short time later there was a section about how as a young boy in Liverpool, Paul had to walk a long distance to catch the bus to school otherwise it would be full if he waited outside his “flat” to catch it. Paul described it as “The Magical Bus” and just as I was reading these words the hit “Magical Mystery Tour” came on my playlist.

Thank you Tyler. I know you were blessing me and touching me and I thank you and God for doing so. Me, your mom and your sisters need this from you. So, Tyler please say hello to John and George up there and when you find the answer, let us all know which Beatle was the Walrus.


One year ago today

It was a year ago today the Good Lord decided it was time for our sweet Tyler to come and sit beside him in heaven.  Quite often I think that it isn’t real, that it’s just a bad dream that we are all going to wake up from.  God we miss her terribly and she is in our thoughts and prayers constantly. Please be close to our hearts and souls and  strengthen Beth, Blair,  Josie and Milly and through your love and support guide them to do the things for themselves and others that may please you.  God bless them all on this day . And God bless Tyler.


Tyler’s Last Visit to the Outer Banks

It was about this time last year that Tyler traveled from Jackson WY to NC and the Outer Banks.   It was a very special and memorable time for her, her loved ones and so many others. Seems like it was just last weekend.

On her last night here after a great dinner with family and friends, we ventured out to a karaoke bar and one of the songs performed was Paul Simon’s “50 ways to leave your lover”.   On Tyler’s return to Jackson she climbed a middle Teton and at 11,000 feet she chose to sing this song.   Wow!   The video can be seen below.

After a big night of being “over served” Tyler was incapable of driving herself to Raleigh Durham for the return flight so arrangements were made for duel drivers to get her there just in time. Sometime along the way Tyler instagrammed Blair the photo and comments posted below.   It pulls at me everytime I look at it.

For some strange reason, a couple of Tylerisms came to memory today.

There was the time she was driving home alone from the outer banks to Rocky Mount and after crossing the Alligator River bridge onto the deserted stretch on east lake, there was a car broken down on the side of the road with two women and a man standing alongside.   Tyler, being the Good Samaritan and without fear of endangering herself to 3 complete strangers, pulled over to see what was the matter. They were out of gas and out of money. Tyler loads them in her car and drives them back to the service station at the river, pays for the gas and as they were about to leave, the man says to Tyler “I sure am thirsty, could you spare me a little?”. Without a second thought, Tyler hands him her last 5 dollar bill. A few minutes later he returns from the store with a Miller High Life Tall Boy!

Another time Tyler was on her way home from work at the Outer Banks YMCA when she sees a huge turtle in the road on the bypass attempting to cross 5 lanes of heavy traffic. Once again, she pulls over and without regard for her own safety she dodges cars from both north and south, grabs up the turtle and deposits it safely in a canal alongside the road.

Such a big heart in so many ways.

Today at 1PM it was 48 weeks ago that Tyler went to be with our Lord and Savior.   Saturdays are tough. Her family and friends miss her, but we all find a way to get through it knowing she is in a better place.   God Bless her.Instagram

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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]”


Tylers Solo Trip to “Moab” The Little Grand Canyon/Utah



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.

13Ty: Long way down Milly.

14Ty: Looks like I do have some cell service. Storm is rolling in unfortunately.

15Ty: 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.19Ty: 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!20Ty: 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!!!22.jpgTy: 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.

25.jpgTy: 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.

29Ty: You can kinda barely see the town of moab in the last pic. That’s how far up we hiked.30.jpgTy: “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.40.jpgTy: 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.

45.jpgTy: 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.

46.jpgTy: I need shower