We arrived home from California 10 days ago and in all that time I have been trying my best to get up the strength to get over here and write a little something. Only, a “little” something could never do justice to ALL the things my brother was in this life. So I knew it had to be big, I knew it had to be meaningful. I’m still not sure that I have enough of my wits about me to accomplish what it is I am setting out for but I am going to give it my best shot. This will, no doubt, be my most personal of posts. I intend to bear my heart as that is the only way I know right now to honor my brother’s life. I promised him I would. So, this is about honoring Tyler but I think it’s also my way of letting him know how much he meant to so many of us, and more personally it is me sharing with the world how much he means to me, a chance that so many of us wish we had, a chance to tell him all the things we want him to know if he were still here with us.
And because there is so much I wish to share, and I know there will be many times in this process that I will think of something additional I want to share . . . . I think I am going to break this post up into several small posts . But everyone of them will be in . . .
“Memory of You”
my baby brother (always my baby brother)
Tyler Charles Ehrecke . . .
And so because these are things I wish to share with my brother, there will be times it as if I am speaking directly to him.
I will start off with the memorial, the celebration of your life, Tyler.
It would be such the typical thing to say that your memorial was the most moving and beautiful of services I have been to. But it was and not just for all the obvious reasons. Not just because it was yours. There were so many little things that I thought were so “you”; so many little touches I knew you must have been so pleased with. Everyone involved tried so much to make sure that who you were in the details. I was so grateful to your friends who had the courage to get up and share their memories of you, some of the stories, familiar but others brand new to me. It was so refreshing to see and feel what your friends felt for you.
For those not there, I share this, my experience:
Sitting up front my head focused forward glued to the images that flashed across the screen, waiting in expectation to see those photos of the two of us from so long ago, those memories confirmation of the special relationship we shared and the impact he had on my life.
Sitting in wait searching for the strength, mustering the courage for when it was my time to get up on that stage and share, I suddenly remembered that the poem I was going to read was still laying upon the table in the front foyer.
Bolting to the foyer in a panic I was confronted by a massive crowd of people. There must have been upwards of 200 people there that evening. There was a realization of just how much my brother was loved and by how many people. I can’t honestly say that I was surprised, knowing who my brother was and what sort of life he strived to lead, but I can say that I was very proud of him in that moment and was also very touched.
My dad’s words read on his behalf by a dear family friend painted such a perfect picture of who Tyler really was. I am so grateful for his courage to share them with us all and I couldn’t have expressed it any better for all those people. But I will try in my own way with this post because I want the world to know the wonderful person we all did.
Tyler was a dear friend, a “give his shirt off his back” kind of guy, opened his home for many a person in need. He was the best listener and was that shoulder to cry on for so many. He was a caring, considerate and sensitive boyfriend. He cared enough to pay attention to all the details, the little things that made you happy and he delivered on those with thoughtful words and gifts. He was incredibly sentimental, and proudly displayed treasured little pieces of his past throughout his surroundings. He was someone who wholeheartedly and passionately embraced everything he did; whether it be surfing, snowboarding, hockey, music, good food, beer (a short stint as a wine connoisseur) and his fave irish whiskey. And he was brilliant at everything he tried; a natural for so many things! He was someone who understood the value of having a good time, letting loose and being silly (many friends can attest to his crazy dancing antics). But he was also hard working, put his all into his jobs, his customers, responsible and loyal. Tyler always gave everything his all! He was someone who didn’t take his time here for granted, someone who really lived!
Tyler was outgoing and he was social but there was a deeper private side to him I was privileged to know. He was intensely spiritual, the epitome of the term “old soul”. His bookshelves lined with books intended for the deep thinkers of our world. As a child some would say he had feelings just too deep and big for his little body. As an adult he shared those feelings with me and when we talked about the truly meaningful things in life, I was always so blown away by his perspective, so proud to be his big sister. He inspired me in countless ways but when he was troubled by something I am so grateful to know that I was able to return the favor, to be his advisor in even some of his biggest decisions. He was always my biggest supporter and though I know he loved me, I also now feel that he was so proud of me, just as I always was of him. And that’s big! Tyler was so easy to love and loved by so many. It’s a given that I would be proud to be his big sister but to discover how important I was to him in his life means the world to me!
Tyler, I need you to know that I am so grateful that when I needed it, when my mind, in my grieving desperation doubted it, you sent your friends my way to assure me of that.
Twenty six years ago, when we found out you were on your way, I was so excited. I remember the day your mom came home with that big balloon with the blue bunny dangling from the end of the ribbon; a proclamation that we were to expect a little boy. I was so thrilled and in expectation of you to just already be here. Maybe it was my age, maybe it was because I had never been the patient sort or maybe there was just something I already knew in my heart. I had been 13 years without a sibling when you were born.
I remember the sound of your first cry and I knew the moment I held your fragile little body in my arms and looked into your big beautiful root beer colored eyes that this was going to be something really special.
It was why I was compelled even way back then to write this poem for you . . .
I gave him a copy of this poem to my brother for his birthday a few years back, thought he’d get a kick outta the perspective of 13 year old me. He did. But more so, he loved it. Cherished it, really. Kept it in his view in his room up until the day he died. For awhile, it actually hung on his wall and then had a spell of sitting on his desk across from his bed where he told me he placed it so that he could both see it first thing upon waking and for a glance while he was working on his computer. What popular charming twenty-something guy does that? Tyler!
I always thought it was so simple, so unassuming, nothing spectacular from a literary perspective, that’s for sure. But reading the words now that I chose way back then, I see the import of them. I see, that there is a substantial weight to them and despite their simplicity are so meaningful to me now.
It seems I knew even back then, our relationship was something special, “different from all the rest”, something that would last “for eternity”, something that could transcend even death. “Brother and Sister, we will always be. Through the worst of times and through the best”.
We miss you so much Tyler!
But our memories sustain us.
And through this blog, in my posts I will share those memories with the world, I will keep your memory alive. You will always be a part of us, always be with us.