As I’m writing this, it’s been 28 days, 2 hours, and 22 minutes since the best friend I’ve ever had in my entire life left this world in the blink of an eye.
In that time, I’ve felt utter and complete despair, immobilizing numbness, frustration and anger, uplifting elation, and fortunately, a solid sense of closure.
Up until Tyler’s death, I had never lost anyone so close and dear to me before. I had experienced death before for certain, but it had never hit so close to home. I had never had such a significant portion of my life ripped out of my hands instantaneously, leaving an enormous hole in its absence. Up until very recently, it didn’t appear that that hole could ever be filled in.
What I’ve come to realize is that while yes, his premature departure from our lives left an enormous gap, it also enriched my life and changed my point of view in a way that I haven’t been able to adequately put into words until now.
I have never felt so worthy of living as I do now. Tyler taught me so much about life in our short time together. The biggest of which was to enjoy what was happening at this very instant and understand that you, just by existing and being present, are adding to this world in an immeasurable way. I see now that the things I’ve accomplished in my life have had a lasting impact on the world and the people I associate with. I’ll never stop learning, growing, and adding as much I can to everything I can.
It’s all about doing, not waiting. Tyler didn’t die sitting on his couch, or at his desk at work, or sitting in traffic. He died summiting one of the most beautiful and challenging mountains in his favorite region of Washington. Time is one of the most precious resources we have as humans. Why waste it doing something that doesn’t give you pleasure or helps you grow as a person? You want to learn that new programming language? Good, learn it. You want to run a marathon? Better put your running shoes on. You think that girl at the coffee shop is cute? She’s almost done with her latte, better act fast. I’ve definitely been hitting the snooze button one less time (ok maybe 2… or 3) in the morning… most of the time.
I have never been so thankful for the loved ones that I surround myself with. Seeing my best friend taken from me made me realize that I took many of the relationships in my life for granted. I never really looked at the big picture and realized that I am who I am because of my family, friends and the experiences I have with them. I am extremely proud to be molded and shaped by such a wonderful group of intelligent and loving people.
Everyone in the world deserves a chance to be your friend. There’s a reason 150 people showed up to the memorial we had for Ty. There’s a reason 850 pictures of him got uploaded to the site I put up for people to share memories of him. Tyler was instantly friends with everyone he met because he never turned down an opportunity to let someone enrich his life. We live in a time where everyone sits on the bus staring at their phone in silence, trying to avoid everyone around them. Take a second and say “Hi” to someone on the street every once in a while. You never know how that person will change your life.
Life is made of small moments like these.
Life isn’t a million dollar yacht. Life isn’t a 4 bedroom house with a 2 car garage in a nice suburban neighborhood. Life isn’t winning the lottery and buying your own island in the Caribbean.
Life is holding hands in the park. Life is spending way more than you should on last minute tickets to a show by your favorite artist with your best friends. Life is sharing coffee and a conversation in front of a fire. Life is riding a bike naked in the desert. Life is kissing someone you care about for the first time. Life is a smile, a laugh, a hug, an “I love you”. Don’t overlook those little bits of life happening to you all the time. Drink them in.
When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a wonderful treasure to always hold in your heart.
Thanks, Tyler. You really are a treasure.