Losing a Son

 

It is with the deepest, inexpressible pain that Robin and I mourn the death of our son Tyler who ended his life a week ago. For over two decades Tyler battled the voices of paranoid schizophrenia. His whole family participated fully in his life with every available resource for body, mind, and soul. Tyler’s legacy is a love for family, farming, poetry, and letter writing. His gentle kindness was felt by any and all who had the benefit of his presence. His encouragement was a ballast, giving of himself to others. His dogs and cats experienced a love they could never have found elsewhere.

Tyler and I had constant conversations about all of life, he and I were resources for each other in our reading and writing. We spent hours and hours talking about great authors and the impact of their works on us. I was constantly learning from him. His editorial skills were second to none. He was an auditory editor, asking me to read aloud. And he would stop me when he heard a word out of place or he would offer a new approach to a sentence. He pushed me to be better in my teaching and writing in the best of ways. His poetry plumbed the depths of spirit I only saw at a distance. He saw and felt in ways that opened new vistas of expression for me.

I would always end my conversations with my son by saying, “You’re my hero.” He was a monument of perseverance and relentless courage in the face of a darkness I will never know. He fought and fought until he could fight no more.

We would often revel in our friendship. We both knew that being friends as son and father was a treasure to be cherished. And we enjoyed each other’s company with an ease and a presence I will miss terribly.

There is a need now to grieve, wail, moan, and cry; to silently scream and loudly lament. It is a time of woe. And there is no sense trying to say something that will mask the agony of losing a son. I will miss him the rest of my days and look forward with great anticipation to being reunited with him on the Other Side.

Hold each other close. Give as much as you can to others in need. Care for everyone in your spheres of influence. Be bold in your love.

Schizophrenia robs a person of who they are. Tyler battled his illness but never lost his care for others. In honor of Tyler and our family, some of my former students organized a fundraiser for IJM.org Please consider giving for those who cannot defend themselves to honor Tyler’s care for others: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Tylermicaheckelfund

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  1. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    We will grieve with you for the death of your beloved, darling boy. You knew him from the moment you held him and treasured every day after. I am so sorry for this heartbreak. 

    • #1
  2. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    EODmom (View Comment):

    We will grieve with you for the death of your beloved, darling boy. You knew him from the moment you held him and treasured every day after. I am so sorry for this heartbreak.

    With tear-stained cheeks, I am grateful for your kind words.

    • #2
  3. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I am so sorry to hear. The hurt is great because the love is great. May he Rest In Peace and you and your family receive solace. God give you strength. 

    • #3
  4. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    Bless you and your family, each of us have trials and battles that few others see or can understand but all share the love and hope of a loving God. 

    • #4
  5. Foghorn Coolidge
    Foghorn
    @Dave Rogers

    Mark Eckel:There is a need now to grieve, wail, moan, and cry; to silently scream and loudly lament. It is a time of woe. And there is no sense trying to say something that will mask the agony of losing a son. I will miss him the rest of my days and look forward with great anticipation to being reunited with him on the Other Side.

    My post was a few hours before but it took me 12 weeks to write it because the pain is still so fresh. I feel yours and share the need to “grieve, wail, moan and cry.”I’m not an intellectual heavyweight and can never express it as well as you have so I will simply echo your advice. 

    Hold each other close. Give as much as you can to others in need. Care for everyone in your spheres of influence. Be bold in your love.

    Let us hold on to the knowledge that there are others who understand and share the grief.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    May God give you and your family His grace and peace.

    • #6
  7. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Praying now. Tears in my eyes. Words fail, but I ask The Lord give you comfort.

    • #7
  8. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I know in the past week you have experienced every strong emotion God wired into us. Just know that we all love you and we will pray for you.  

    • #8
  9. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    May God give you and your family is Wisdom, Grace and Peace.

    • #9
  10. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I read this and Foghorn’s post with tears in my eyes. Praying for you both and your families.

    And now my son has a weird look on his face trying to figure out why I just walked over and hugged him.

    • #10
  11. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I’m so sorry to hear about this.  One of my close friends lost his son in an accident, so I know how painful it can be . . .

    • #11
  12. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Praying.  And crying.  They say I’m a stoic, and I suppose it’s true.  But losing my son or daughter – I can hardly fathom it.  Praying for your family, and our children.

    • #12
  13. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Manny (View Comment):

    I am so sorry to hear. The hurt is great because the love is great. May he Rest In Peace and you and your family receive solace. God give you strength.

    Bless you for your generosity of spirit.

    • #13
  14. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    Bless you and your family, each of us have trials and battles that few others see or can understand but all share the love and hope of a loving God.

    Thank you for your kind words and remembrance of The Hope.

    • #14
  15. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Foghorn (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel:There is a need now to grieve, wail, moan, and cry; to silently scream and loudly lament. It is a time of woe. And there is no sense trying to say something that will mask the agony of losing a son. I will miss him the rest of my days and look forward with great anticipation to being reunited with him on the Other Side.

    My post was a few hours before but it took me 12 weeks to write it because the pain is still so fresh. I feel yours and share the need to “grieve, wail, moan and cry.”I’m not an intellectual heavyweight and can never express it as well as you have so I will simply echo your advice.

    Hold each other close. Give as much as you can to others in need. Care for everyone in your spheres of influence. Be bold in your love.

    Let us hold on to the knowledge that there are others who understand and share the grief.

    If nothing else, we walk the road together. And that is no small thing. We will join each other in grief and tears. Your words, my words, will “echo” down the corridors of our days; and perhaps, just perhaps, another door will open in that hallway of pain, another will step out, and we will link arms with them in true empathy. 

    • #15
  16. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Percival (View Comment):

    May God give you and your family His grace and peace.

    Gratitude for your solace.

    • #16
  17. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    Praying now. Tears in my eyes. Words fail, but I ask The Lord give you comfort.

    Prayers, tears, and comfort. A great prescription. Thank you.

    • #17
  18. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I know in the past week you have experienced every strong emotion God wired into us. Just know that we all love you and we will pray for you.

    Bless you @MarciN

    • #18
  19. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    May God give you and your family is Wisdom, Grace and Peace.

    Amen. May it be so.

    • #19
  20. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    I read this and Foghorn’s post with tears in my eyes. Praying for you both and your families.

    And now my son has a weird look on his face trying to figure out why I just walked over and hugged him.

    The best response a father could give. Good for you. And thank you for sharing that experience.

    • #20
  21. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    No words.  I can’t imagine your pain.

     

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I am so sorry to hear this. I worked with many people schizophrenia and it does affect the entire family. Holding you in prayer.

    • #22
  23. Foghorn Coolidge
    Foghorn
    @Dave Rogers

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Foghorn (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel:There is a need now to grieve, wail, moan, and cry; to silently scream and loudly lament. It is a time of woe. And there is no sense trying to say something that will mask the agony of losing a son. I will miss him the rest of my days and look forward with great anticipation to being reunited with him on the Other Side.

    My post was a few hours before but it took me 12 weeks to write it because the pain is still so fresh. I feel yours and share the need to “grieve, wail, moan and cry.”I’m not an intellectual heavyweight and can never express it as well as you have so I will simply echo your advice.

    Hold each other close. Give as much as you can to others in need. Care for everyone in your spheres of influence. Be bold in your love.

    Let us hold on to the knowledge that there are others who understand and share the grief.

    If nothing else, we walk the road together. And that is no small thing. We will join each other in grief and tears. Your words, my words, will “echo” down the corridors of our days; and perhaps, just perhaps, another door will open in that hallway of pain, another will step out, and we will link arms with them in true empathy.

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    I read this and Foghorn’s post with tears in my eyes. Praying for you both and your families.

    And now my son has a weird look on his face trying to figure out why I just walked over and hugged him.

    The best response a father could give. Good for you. And thank you for sharing that experience.

    I think for both of us our son’s made us better fathers and generally better people. My son taught me so much and now all I can do is strive to live up to what he deserved. Let your son have that weird look, it’s worth the love. Cherish it.

    • #23
  24. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Thank you for introducing us to your son. Condolences and prayers for your son, your family, and all those who loved Tyler.

    “I will not say do not weep; for not all tears are an evil”-JRR Tolkien

    • #24
  25. danys Thatcher
    danys
    @danys

    My heart breaks for you and your family for the loss of your beloved son. All of you are in my prayers. 

    • #25
  26. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Percival (View Comment):

    May God give you and your family His grace and peace.

    What Percy said. Thank you for posting this. 

    • #26
  27. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    What terrible awful news. My heart breaks for both you and @foghorn and your families  

    You are now part of a blessed small group – those who have buried a child. I watched my parents navigate that path for decades. Their perseverance and attention to their remaining kids, and mostly their own marriage, was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever witnessed. 

    Prayers. Xoxox 

    • #27
  28. She Member
    She
    @She

    Foghorn (View Comment):
    Let us hold on to the knowledge that there are others who understand and share the grief.

    There are.  My thoughts and prayers are with the Eckel family at this difficult time.

    • #28
  29. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    May God’s peace and the Grace of His Holy Spirit give you and your family comfort in this terrible trial.

    • #29
  30. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    Between you and Foghorn today, I have had a peek into every parent’s worst fear. May Jesus comfort both of you with his strength, May out blessed Mother take you in her arms, and May the final joy we all strive for see  you reunited with your sons.

    • #30
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