A year ago, the world lost a wonderful man, our brother, Tyler. I wanted to write a dedication to such a special person. We miss him every single day that goes by. In thinking through what I wanted to say, I knew there was already the perfect dedication written in my husband's handwriting, in his top dresser drawer. Who better than Benjamin to tell Tyler's story... I have changed a bit, to adapt it from a speech to a written piece of work, but the words are his...about his brother.
Growing up, I always knew that Ty looked up to me. I was quick to try and pass on my current taste in music, fashion, and movies (the important stuff). I wanted to make sure my little brother was cool. In high school, I would look forward to coming home, grabbing Tyler, and taking a cruise in the Jeep. Although we were four grades apart, we shared a special bond that very few siblings have the opportunity to experience. When leaving home for college, one of my biggest inner struggles was leaving Ty behind. This proved not to be a big deal at all. He and his buddies were a mainstay at our place at Western. They became part of "the guys". It was hard for me to think of him as just my brother, but more of a best friend. When I remind myself of my college days, Ty is there. In 2002, Ty was graduating high school and I was getting married. He was the best man in my wedding... Yet, I had no idea the amazing life journey he was about to begin.
The things that Tyler did between the ages of 18 and 27 were things that most of us will have on our "bucket list". Personally, I always have made "safe" decisions, choosing the route that I was pretty sure of the outcome. The comfortable way. I never got the chance to tell him this during his time here, but he knows now... It was during this period of his life, that I started to look up to him.
Follow me on just a few of his stops.
- At 19, he packed a backpack and enrolled at NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). There, he set out on a four month trek through the Rockies, the desert, and down the Rio Grande. He was sleeping under the stars and learning to live off the land.
- After a short stint back home, he loaded up his Toyota (backpack, flip-flops, guitar, and music) and hit Route 66, on his way to Southern California to live with our Uncle Jeff.
- When Ty was ready to go back to school, he enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It was there he met his soulmate, best friend, and future wife, Becky. Together, they shared with us their gift of life in Koa (their son).
- When their journey in Hawaii was complete, they made a home in McKinleyville, California. There they started Kindersports, a grass-roots program teaching and coaching youth sports programs.
- He had just recently completed post-graduate work to receive his teaching certificate in California. He was about to begin a career working with Autistic children.
Who does these things? Tyler did. And...he had only just begun. To hear him talk about his future plans was adventure enough for a guy like me. I know he is in our hearts, our souls.
We are not here all that long. I know that Ty had no regrets. Take a lesson or two from Tyler and make sure you are living your life to its fullest.
Gone from this Earth, but not from our lives.
Tyler, we love you, brother.
In Loving Memory of Tyler Patrick Bruinekool
A wonderful son, husband, father, brother, and friend
February 14, 1984~ June 17, 2011