This has been a challenging thing to write…I cannot exactly put into words what Tyler means to me, it is definitely more of a feeling …..an inexpressible feeling. Tyler means so much to me and because of that I need to share as best I can what that means.
Tyler was killed with Madi on 6/30/2016 by Marilee Gardner who will be sentenced next week on 10/25/2017 for the 1st of two attempted murder charges that are included in her plea agreement. I had never met Tyler in this realm, but I honestly love him so much. I am sure other family members from both Madi’s and Tyler’s families understand what I mean, but this is a very strange thing… Marnie and I have talked about this phenomenon and it really is like we knew each others kids even though we did not, I guess we know them now would be a better way of explaining it.
I just have to say again that this is hard, and this is the first time I have written about that night and it is not easy.
That day 6/29/2016, or I guess technically the day before they were killed was a very odd day, it had actually been a very odd week and a half, it was like I knew something was going to happen, and I even have witnesses to that.
I had gone to the cemetery 3 times during that week and a half, I would go visit my Grandma Rhea’s grave and I don’t know what I was expecting from her, but I sincerely thought that was where I needed to be, I would sob for hours and had no idea why.
The Monday prior to this I cried all day at work, a coworker actually went and bought doughnuts in an attempt to cheer me up. That same night I went to my friend Gena’s and again could not quit crying. She asked me what was wrong and my answer was ” I feel like something bad is coming, something worse than what I have ever been through” I said “I feel like it is something that I am not going to be able to get through and I am going to be alone”. I am getting off subject here and I apologize for that but prior to Madi being killed I had lost a sister-in-law, she had been killed by my ex brother-in-law on 6/09/2014 and it had shaken me bad, I was still struggling with what had happened when Madi was killed.
Madi worked A LOT anyone who knew her could attest to that, but that day she had off. This may not seem very meaningful, but thankfully she had seen almost all of us that day. Around 9:00 pm I had heard my front door open and close, Madi and I were the only ones home at the time. She was not one to leave without saying where she was going, she would run to the gas station or store to get a drink and come right back , but nothing longer than that without saying anything. When she was going out for the night she would always come and tell me she was leaving and who she was going to be with, so when I heard that door I didn’t think much of it.
At 9:30 PM my other daughter came home, I heard the door and thought it was Madi getting back, but it was Zoey and she said “Mom where is Madi?” I told her I didn’t know, and then she said “well her car is here but she’s gone”, that was so odd and unlike her so I called her and again I look back and I am so extremely happy for this last conversation…. She answered and I could hear the wind rustling like when you are driving with the windows down, and she sounded happy. I asked her where she was and she answered West Haven, I said who are you with? She replied “a friend” I said jokingly does this friend have a name? “She said “I don’t know” and giggled, I told her to be careful and have fun with her friend with no name and she said “ok” and giggled again and that was that. I am not sure how, when or why the switch out of cars occurred, but at some point they came back and got Madi’s car.
At this point I can’t bring myself to write about the rest of that night, I will one day, but it’s hard to put those words down even though they are probably my most repeated thoughts.
Needless to say after the crash we were told there had been a boy with her, we were not given a name right away, but we had been told that he was still alive.
When something like this happens you are 100% running on an instinct/ adrenaline combo so those who know me keep that in mind, and those of you who do not I would just like to say that I am not really the praying type. For some instictual reason I prayed, and I mean I prayed my a** off . I just kept saying please, please, please let him be ok and in that honest space I needed him to be ok. This boy whose name I didn’t know, I needed him to be ok.
It was probably an hour later when we found out that Tyler hadn’t made it and as bipolar as this sounds it was like someone snapped their fingers and I switched brains or something…I was suddenly thankful and relieved that Madi was not alone, Like I said previously it is all instinct during times like that and maybe you just find comfort in whatever you can.
The day after this which was July 1st there was a balloon release for our two kids and right away while meeting each others families it was apparent that Madi and Tyler both came from similar families, they both had extremely close relationships with grandparents, they both had half brothers/sisters, they were both the oldest in their families. There were other similarities, but you get my drift.
I met Marnie that day and also learned that Tyler had three moms, Mom3 had messaged me on the first day that this had happened, I learned that Tyler was her sons best friend and that they had grown up together.
I didn’t actually get to meet Mom3 face to face until months later, I believe it was April. Meeting her was an emotional comfort. I had told her my story of that night and we talked about our own beliefs spiritually speaking and when each of us had thought that they had went . She let me know that she felt they went together. It’s a hard thing to talk about because it is such a personal thing and something people really believe in, but I agreed and I had honestly felt like that was how it happened, I think they went together.
I am so peaceful when I think of that, no matter what and no matter how riled up I get, when I think about how these two left this world together it brings me peace knowing they were not alone. Mom3 told me that she just knows that Tyler grabbed Madi and hugged her tight, she said so tight that she knew that she was ok because that was how he was.
I wish I could explain more, but I don’t think anyone would be able to make sense out of my words. I will however say this…. How could I not have an extraordinary amount of love for Tyler when he was with Madi during a time so monumental for the both of them? I really want to be able to explain more, because it is much much much more than this. I think the reason it is difficult to verbalize is that it is a spiritual connection, I feel it’s ok to not to be able to explain spiritual things, they are bigger than us and even when the words do come out they still won’t explain what it really means, I guess there are no words. So Tyler I want to say there are no words to explain the love that I have for you..
Madi and Tyler neither of you had it easy, you were not spoiled or privileged in the slightest, you were good hard-working kids who are very loved and missed by many.
This is just somethting cool that I wanted to share.
When we first started putting together the Madi’s and Tyler’s 1st Annual Bark in the Park event I had been racking my brain trying to think of what to put on the shirts. One morning I had remembered how when I had seen Tyler’s obituary I had noticed that they were both Gemini’s. Gemini is the sign of the twins, the symbol for Gemini is the Roman numeral two (picture the light bulb above my head) Marnie added the idea of the infinity sign and a friend and debate teammate of Madi’s from high school reminded me of one of Madi’s tattoo’s” Je Me Souviens (I remember in French).