By Tyler's mother, Nova
Tyler came into this world on January 27, 1992, fighting for his life; he was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck three times. He survived by the Grace of God.
Tyler was a natural fighter, independent and won the hearts of everyone he met. He excelled in all sports but was most passionate about baseball until ninth grade when he suddenly lost interest and quit playing.
I later learned that he had started experimenting with marijuana and alcohol and as a result, he started getting into trouble at school. As a single mother, I found myself at odds with a strong-willed boy who told me he just wanted “to have fun and not be tied down by responsibilities, those will come soon enough." By the time he graduated in 2010, he was using marijuana and alcohol almost daily and experimented with K2, bath salts and Xanax.
In October of 2010, I moved to Oklahoma to be closer to family and Tyler chose to stay in Texas with his friends. I was hesitant about his plans, but his independent nature and claim to being 18 years old and a man left my hands tied. I gave him his freedom and let him stay, reminding him that I was just a phone call away. A few short months later he called and asked me to come and get him. He said that he needed help and wanted to come stay with me to get his head straight. Of course, I went to get him. For a while, he seemed to be doing well in Oklahoma but soon enough, he grew bored of small town life and went looking for more.
Tyler had dreams of becoming a Texas Ranger, but he had gone too far into his head and couldn’t see a way out. He had gotten in trouble with the law for underage drinking and possession of marijuana on several occasions.
He finally got his head clear for a while and started working on the road to pay off his fines. Everything seemed to be falling into place, but his love for fun and adventure kept him searching for the next good time.
On many occasions he woke up still wasted, wondering where his money went. In May 2015 he came to me once again and said he was tired of the life he was living. He asked me for help. He longed to have a straight mind and clean life but he just couldn't seem to shake the addiction. Despite his desire to clean up, he refused to go to an inpatient facility. As a nurse I set an alternative plan of care in motion and he stayed clean and sober for 29 days, until one day he left and I didn't hear from him for weeks. When I put out a missing person alert he surfaced just to let me know he was OK; I knew he was using again.
We talked off and on for a month while he was staying with a woman known in town to be a meth user. When she was arrested in August 2015 he came asking for a place to stay. I let him stay under the conditions that he would get a job and stay drug-free. He did for a while but quickly reverted back to his partying lifestyle. I struggled with him and the choices he was making. I didn't know how to handle it.
One of Tyler's friends was found dead in a field from an overdose of meth, and Tyler was questioned in his death. Tyler's innocence was later proven, but that didn't curb the harassment he took from people that still believed he was guilty. That event shook Tyler and I thought he was on his way to being clean and sober. He seemed ready to conquer the world.
On February 6, 2016, Tyler went out with some people he thought he could trust. They drank and smoked pot and when Tyler passed out one of them shot him in the spine with a lethal dose of methamphetamines. They thought it would kill him instantly but he convulsed until one of them called 911.
Tyler was rushed into the hospital at 3:00AM on February 7, 2016, with a core temperature of 108 degrees. The doctors didn’t expect him to make it past the hour, but Tyler lived for 24 days in critical condition with severe multi-system organ failure. He was never able to speak a word again but he communicated with eye and hand movement. Drugs took his life away and I believe he realized that on March 2, 2016, when he tried to climb out of the hospital bed--it was as if he was saying, I am out of here momma, I'm going home.
Tyler lived a short 24 years. He had so much more life to live. As I said before, Tyler was a fighter and very independent, he wasn't going to be taken care of for the rest of his life. He thought he had control over his addiction and that he wasn't hurting anyone but himself. But there are so many of us hurting because his life ended on March 3, 2016, when he stopped fighting and was set free from the pain. I hope and pray that sharing his story will help someone else who is struggling. I have to believe that his life was not cut short for nothing, that good things will rise out of this tragedy. Rest, my sweet Tyler, and save a place for me. I'll be home soon. Until then I will share your story with whoever will listen!
This is a picture is Tyler and myself in New Orleans one of his favorite places. Tyler loved life and his family. He loved to make people laugh and was always the center of attention. His presence is missed so very much. We will never forget you Tyler.
Tyler loved his family! I felt so protected between my two boys!
He loved being an Uncle and was thankful to have his niece and nephews in his life.
So many prayers for Tyler!! We will continue to PUSH (pray until something happens) for Tyler and all the ones out there struggling with addictions.
It always does this momma heart good to look at my sweet boy before his struggle started!