This one is my final post before I leave on my mission (again), and it is specifically for my parents, but can also be for anyone who has lost someone close to them. Just substitute Tyler’s name for the name of the person you lost. I want to try to write some last comforting words before I go, in case they need them at some point that I can’t give it to them right when they need it.
Mom & Dad:
I know that you already know all of this, but I’m writing it so you don’t forget. I’m hoping it can help you on those days where it’s just too much to handle, when the pain is too great. Always remember how much I love you, how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you, how much our friends and family love you, and how much Tyler loves you. Remember that God is merciful and that all the trials we are given are only for us to be strengthened, to be brought closer to Him and to learn more about life and the Gospel.
First: The Atonement is real. Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for you. He suffered for me and He suffered for every person who has ever lived on this earth. What does that mean? It means that our sins can be forgiven us if we go to Heavenly Father and truly repent of what we’ve done wrong. It means that we can be made clean again and that eventually, we can live with Him again if we obey His commandments. More importantly for right now: It means that Jesus knows our pain. He didn’t just suffer for our sins. He suffered for every type of physical, emotional and spiritual pain there ever is. We don’t have to bear our own crosses. Ever. He knows exactly what we’re going through and He is here to lift us up and carry us through our trials. All you have to do is have faith in Him and ask for His help. He is there and He WANTS to help us. Both He and Heavenly Father don’t like to see us be in pain, though it is necessary for us to learn and be strengthened. I have a testimony of the Atonement. I have felt His help throughout my life when I have asked for it. I have learned to have faith in Him and let Him carry me when I need it.
This is from a talk given by James E Faust in the October 2001 General Conference:
“President Hinckley quoted Isaiah:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. …
No man knows the full weight of what our Savior bore, but by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know something of the supernal gift He gave us. In the words of our sacrament hymn:
He suffered so much pain, “indescribable anguish,” and “overpowering torture” for our sake. His profound suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He took upon Himself all the sins of all other mortals, caused Him “to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit.” “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly,” saying, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and denied by Peter. He was mocked by the chief priests and officers; He was stripped, smitten, spat upon, and scourged in the judgment hall.
He was led to Golgotha, where nails were driven into His hands and feet. He hung in agony for hours on a wooden cross bearing the title written by Pilate: “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Darkness came, and “about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” No one could help Him; He was treading the winepress alone. Then “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”
How much love He must have had for us if He WILLINGLY did this so that we wouldn’t have to. Take comfort in this knowledge and in the fact of how much love that is. We can’t even begin to comprehend it all.
Second: Take comfort in the fact that Tyler is home. He is HOME! He no longer has to live on this awful earth that has become so horrid and corrupt. Life is HARD and yet, he managed to learn all that he was sent here to learn in just 22 years. Most of us take at least 75 or 80 years to learn it all. I don’t know how Tyler is feeling, maybe a little sad that he couldn’t say good-bye to us or spend more time with us and enjoy all the exciting things yet to come, but I know he is happy and he wants us to be happy, just like Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. It will be hard at times, and I am not looking forward to those days when memories of Tyler come flooding back or something small triggers the tears, but I take joy in the fact that I know the things I know, and one of those things is that Tyler is home. He is teaching others about Christ and helping to bring them back home, too. He is making jokes and laughing, he is making music and conducting the angel’s choir.
This music video from the Piano Guys is called “Home” and I find it to be quite heavenly. This song has been on replay for a while for me and it has really brought me some peace, as music usually does. I absolutely love it. It’s majestic and beautiful, and I can imagine Tyler making the journey through life and back, finally being received by singing choirs of angels and being welcomed home by our brother, Jesus Christ, who takes his hand then brings him into a big warm hug full of love and peace. 🙂
So, when those moments of sadness do come, take the time to remember. Stop what you’re doing, cry a little. But always remember to pray and thank God for the memories you do have. Thank Him for your lives and all that you have learned. Thank Him for this trial of faith because that’s what we were sent to earth to do – go through trials to learn and become more like Heavenly Father. Finally, remember to ask Him to take away your pain, if only for a little while, and lift you up so that you can keep going and endure to the end. Ask Him to carry you through it and to bring you comfort and peace, because it will come. If you have just a little faith, His love, comfort and peace WILL come. I know it, because I have felt it.
Finally: Please know how much love and faith I have in the Lord and this Gospel. You both have raised me to always strive to be a better person than I am and you have shown me how to love my Father in Heaven. I have great faith in Him and all that He can do. I know He is there and that He loves us, each and every one of us. He knows our wants and our needs. He knows our joys and our pains. He is watching over us and is there to comfort us every step of the way if we need it.
I have chosen to serve Him for 18 months of my life, all day every day. Why? Because I love Him. I WANT to serve Him. I want to do all that I can to bring others to Him and show them how great life can be and how wonderful it is when you live the Gospel and choose to live the way Heavenly Father wants us to. I want to bring joy and happiness to the people all around me and I want to show them how to get through the hard times. I want to show them how to love and serve others. I want them to know Christ. I know all of those things, and those are Christ-like attributes that have made my life better.
I know that Tyler chose to serve for 2 years for some of those reasons and more. He touched many lives by just being a good example and being himself. He was and still is amazing and it’s because he had developed many Christ-like attributes. I plan to follow in my brother’s footsteps by exceeding expectations, loving everyone and serving those in need.
Mom and Dad: I love you so much. You both have been wonderful examples to me as I’ve grown. I hope that what I’ve said today has helped you both in some small way, and I hope that the days of sorrow and pain will be short and few. Life is short, though sometimes it may seem like eternity, but I know we’ll be a family together again soon.
All my love,
Your missionary daughter,
Today is Father’s Day – a day that we celebrate every man who has the privilege of having children in their lives. Mostly, we focus on those that have their own children, but I also believe it’s a special day for those father-figures, uncles, brothers, cousins, and friends who may not be fathers quite yet. All men have the potential to teach the children they come in contact with to be the best they can be in all they do during their lives, and all men should be living their lives in Christ-like ways and treating everyone with love and kindness. You never know who you’ll come in contact with, who’s watching you to see the way you treat those around you. Honestly, the most attractive thing is seeing a guy who can be the silliest, craziest, weirdest, selfless person around children and also treating the women in their lives with love and respect. It really is. My favorite thing to see is a father playing with his children, or the look on his face when he holds his newborn child. It is one of the most precious things anyone could ever see, in my opinion.
Now, my dad is a great dad. He makes a point to try to make it to every activity we invite him to, or every performance we have. He is fun and loving and kind. He’s not perfect (who is?), but I’ve learned a TON from him. He taught me to try as hard as I could in everything I do. He taught me that it takes 10,000 hours of practice before you become great at something. He taught me to go after my dreams. He taught me to never give up. He taught me that it’s okay to fail, but to always get back up and try again. He taught me how to laugh at myself and enjoy life. He taught me the important things in life. 🙂 I treasure every moment I have with him, and I cherish the memories of daddy-daughter dates and the way he has comforted me when things get tough. He is strong and he has faith that the Lord will guide him through life.
It is a little sad that we lost Tyler so close to Father’s Day, but at the same time, I think it shines more light on the fact that my dad helped raise Tyler in such a way that he truly was a disciple of Christ. He is an amazing dad to me and my brother and sister. I’m so glad that he knows the gift of fatherhood, and that I am part of that gift.
Daddy, I love you! You’ll always be a great example to me, I’ll always be your little girl, and I’m proud to call you Dad. 🙂
This past week has been crazy and quite exhausting, but it has been made a little easier by everyone’s support, love and prayers and I thank you all for that. The hardest thing really has been just watching my family struggle through this trial. It’s been hard for me, but losing a brother isn’t anything like losing a son. My parents have been amazing through all of this and it’s so hard for me to watch them be in pain. Most of the time I have no clue how to comfort them. I don’t want to use the word easy, because it hasn’t been easy, but it seems like it’s been a lot easier (for me) than I would have thought. I would have imagined myself crying for days and days and never wanting to come outside, not wanting to laugh again or smile or tell jokes or talk about Tyler. However, those things haven’t happened. Sometimes I catch myself when I want to say something about what he was like in certain situations, but it’s mostly because I feel like it might make it awkward for the person I’m talking to rather than difficult for me. It has really helped to be around people constantly, though sometimes I do wish I could be by myself (the one drawback of being a set-apart missionary at home in the middle of something like this). Although, it has been kind of fun to see the look on people’s faces when I explain why I’m a missionary and my companion is someone who isn’t (particularly at the temple this week). It will be hard to leave my family next week in the midst of all that’s happened, but they’re strong and I hope that they know how important a mission is and what blessings come from dedicating so much of my time to serving the Lord. I am so excited to serve Him 24/7 for 18 months and the excitement keeps growing! I love my family so much and I know they’ll be alright without having me here and only hearing from me once a week. 🙂
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot (and apparently my mom thought about it, too), is that the Lord doesn’t give us anything we won’t be able to handle. Trials are given to us so that we can draw closer to Heavenly Father and be strengthened. I truly have been strengthened by the trial of losing my brother, someone who I looked up to my entire life and was always striving to be like. I started piano lessons because of him. I took German because of him. I’m always trying to be funny because I admired the way he could make jokes without even pausing to think (I can’t do it very well at all). I’m not sure I can explain exactly how I feel, but let me just say, it feels like Tyler and I seriously could have been twins if not for the 2 1/2 year difference in our ages. He doesn’t want us to be sad, but to be happy! And I honestly feel like celebrating and stop all the crying and somber faces. Everyone has to grieve in their own way and in their own time, and those of us (like me) who just want to go on with life and have a party and celebrate the fact that Tyler is back with Heavenly Father need to learn patience, compassion and empathy for those who take a little longer to accept the tragedies of life. We are told to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that are in need of comfort. I have tried to do that, and I don’t know how well I’ve done, but hopefully I have been able to comfort at least one person.
When all the articles about Tyler were being posted, I saw and heard a lot of comments about how he shouldn’t have been alone or that he should have told someone where he was going. While those things are true, they were said in a way that was a little hurtful to us who knew Tyler. At first, I was mad at those people, who seemed to just be ignorant and unsympathetic. Tyler was an experienced hiker and he knew that mountain like the back of his hand. He often went alone, and it was often because he would wake up and decide to go for a hike. He would ask people if they were available to go with him, but he was one of those people who would go no matter if anyone could go with him or not. Tyler was an Eagle Scout and he always went prepared. He wasn’t stupid and would never do anything to purposely hurt himself or others. I had a New Testament professor who said “I believe that everyone has a death date. You can always make your life shorter than God planned, but you can never make it longer.” Tyler’s death was an accident. He wasn’t trying to die or anything like that, so I truly believe that it was his time to go home to Heavenly Father, though he was young. So even if he had someone with him, the only difference it would have made was getting the news of his death to us sooner. When Heavenly Father needs someone, he’s going to take them. As sad as it might be for those that are left behind, it is such a happy moment for Heavenly Father to bring one of His children back Home.
My testimony of Eternal Families and the Plan of Salvation has strengthened immensely during these last couple of weeks. Even though my family is not sealed, I still believe that we will be together again someday. Tyler will be there, waiting to welcome us Home. I can’t wait to see his smiling face again and wrap my arms around him. In the meantime, I will serve my mission faithfully and do all that I can to bring others unto Christ because that is my purpose as a missionary. I will, eventually, establish my own eternal family and I will teach my children the principles of the Gospel and how to be Christ-like, the way Tyler was. I will tell them stories of their uncle and make sure they know that they’ll be able to meet him someday. I will strengthen my divine qualities. I will be a disciple of Christ at all times, in all things and in all places. I will shine His light every way that I can and praise His name every day of my life. I know that He loves me no matter what, but I will strive to be the best I can be and reach my divine potential that I know I have. God is good, God is great. God is my Father in Heaven – I am the daughter of a King!
Hey all. For those who don’t know, I have been granted a leave of absence from my mission for a couple weeks (Elder Holland is the one who signed the papers for it. Which I thought was pretty fantastic). My brother passed away this last weekend while hiking and trying to get down a cliff. He slipped and fell about 60 feet. He was listed as missing for five days before they found him. I had decided to continue on with my mission as planned and I had entered the MTC about seven hours before they found him. My family came to the MTC to give me the news and we cried hard for a little while.
The first thing I said when that was done was “I know I need to be with you guys right now, but I don’t want to wait any more than I need to to continue my mission.” We worked it out with the mission president and the General Authorities that I would be allowed to wait for two weeks before coming back. I’m still set apart as a missionary, so I get to wear my nametag while I’m home and I get to keep my sister or mom busy while they follow me around as my temporary companions. 🙂
My brother was awesome and I looked up to him for almost everything. We had grown closer in the last year since he returned from his own mission in Frankfurt Germany, and I loved being able to talk to him about a lot of things. He was funny and loved everyone and he truly was an example of who Christ was. Heavenly Father just decided that Tyler needed to be back with him to do more missionary work on the other side, so the way I see it: Tyler will
be my constant companion as I serve my mission in New Hampshire. We’ll serve together and spread the Gospel to as many people as we can.
Last night we had a remembrance gathering for him. His friends from college and from the mission came up and shared their memories and stories of him. We laughed so much and remembered Tyler well. It was perfect – exactly what Tyler would want. The closing hymn was absolutely 100% perfect. It was hymn number 293 – Each Life That Touches Ours for Good.
Verse 1: Each life that touches ours for good
Hey all! This will be my final post before I go to the MTC! My mom will be updating the blog with my emails and pictures (hopefully she can stay on top of it!). I’ll be set apart tonight, leave for Provo tomorrow and enter the MTC on Wednesday! I am so SO excited to finally be a full-time missionary! It is going to be a wonderful experience! 🙂
As the time for me to serve has come closer and closer, I get more and more excited (duh!). But it’s something that, even though I know it’s happening, I can’t even begin to imagine it. People tell me what missions are like and their own experiences while serving, but honestly, it doesn’t really help too much. Every mission is different. Every missionary’s experience is different simply because none of us are the same person. We all have different opinions on so many different things – for example, people continue to try to convince me how cold it’s going to be up there in the winter time, but I have no idea what they mean by cold. They could think 40 degrees is cold, but that is really just a little warm, maybe sorta chilly to me. Yes, I know it gets to be in the negative temperatures and that there will be a lot of snow. I just used it for an example. 😛 (I’m super excited for the winters, by the way). So while I know a little bit about what to expect, I won’t know anything, really, until I experience it for myself. All I really know is that it will be amazing, it will be the best experience of my life, it won’t be easy and I’m going to learn a ton! As long as I’ve got the Lord by my side, my scriptures and my testimony in hand, and continue to have faith in everything I do, my mission will be wonderful. 🙂
I never imagined I would be serving a mission until a couple years ago when my brother was serving his. I never really thought about it until then. It had always been a ‘I’ll probably be married before I can serve’ sort of thing. Once I really started to think I could really serve a mission, I kept going back and forth between focusing on marriage and focusing on a mission. When President Monson announced the age change, I knew that a mission was what I was going to do. And it wasn’t just me. A lot of people (mostly girls) had been waiting for this to happen, too, though they didn’t ever think it would. And what a wonderful thing it is! There are now about 65,000 missionaries out and by July, they estimate there will be about 80,000! EIGHTY THOUSAND MISSIONARIES!!! God’s work is going forth and I am a part of it. How wonderful that is!
Well, it’s time to finish packing and do a few more little things before I go. I hope to hear from people while I’m gone (my addresses are on the right!). I wish all of you future missionaries the best (you’ll be fantastic) and I’ll see you in 18 months! God speed and God bless! 🙂