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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/TylermicaheckelfundPublished in