We spent Saturday afternoon at the cemetery decorating Tyler’s headstone for Christmas. As I sat by my Superman I thought about the road we have traveled over what is nearly four years now and how much our world has changed. I think about that first day. I remember how scared Tyler was (how scared we all were) when we told him about the tumor in his head. I remember sliding the reclining chair/bed next to his hospital bed for those five nights following his diagnosis. I would turn off the lights, lie next to him and reach my hand over the rails of his bed and hold his hand. We would watch movies, talk in the dark, or listen to his favorite songs. I think he felt he needed me close, but I needed it more.
Over the next seventeen months there would be many more dark nights in the hospital and at home. I always wanted to sleep where he slept. In his bedroom, I kept a blanket and pillow under his twin bed. I slept on the floor next to him. Just like those nights in the hospital I would reach up and hold his hand. We would watch movies, talk, and listen to his favorite songs. Again, I needed it more.
As cancer continued to slowly take him from us he was confined to a hospital bed in our home. The bed wouldn’t fit through the door to his room and as parents we needed to him close to both of us. At night, we would slide his bed next to my wife’s side where she would read to him, and he would laugh at her as she tried to pronounce the names of the characters in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He would eventually tell her he was tired and she would turn off the light. She would lie next to him and hold his hand. It was during one of these intimate moments that he said when he died he needed her to go with him. He was scared. She wouldn’t be there to hold his hand. She comforted him and he said when he dies time will pass quickly and he will see us “in a flash.”
During his last 48 hours, we each took turns lying next to him – me, my wife, my daughters, and my son. We each held his hand and we listened to his favorite music. He was unconscious but I know he knew we were there. He needed us close, but we needed it more. I have learned there are no guarantees. When man plans – God laughs. Don’t wait for tomorrow to reach over the bed rails and hold their hand. Slide your bed next to theirs - watch movies, talk in the dark, and listen to their favorite music
Cherish every moment.
Tyler's Dad Whatever It Takes