Letter to Tyler

My Dearest Son,

Tyler, it has been a long, long time since we talked and we are over due for a good conversation.

You would have turned forty this year. I think of you often and on occasion I feel your presence. You live on in my memory and in the memory of your brother, Robert and your sister Mary Beth. Your Mother came to be with you some years ago. I pray that you and she find peace in each others arms.

Let me confess that I often wondered what was the purpose of your life. You were so cruelly disabled and lived on death’s doorstep every day of your seventeen years. It wasn’t until you died that I found your purpose and as I look back now, over twenty years later and as an old man, I realize it was you who spoke to me that day revealing your purpose.

Do you remember? You showed me a beautiful tapestry, the tapestry of life. I don’t know how I found it beautiful because you showed me only the backside. It was an indecipherable tangle of threads and colors. And, as you directed me to look in the vicinity of your life I saw something. I saw a vessel. I saw a vessel that other people poured love into. Your family, your caregivers and your teachers all poured love into your vessel and as a result their lives were made better forever and with each act of love the front of the tapestry of life became a little bit more beautiful forever.

There can be no love unless there is a place to put it. That my son was your gift to the world. That my son was the purpose you revealed to me that day. And, it brought me great comfort.

If I would but listen, you continue to speak to me, to teach me. It’s the winter of my life and once again you are bringing me comfort. This time you are telling me a story. The story of your transcendence that day and what I can expect on the day of my transcendence.

The day you died you sat with God to go over your life. It’s what many call judgement but it isn’t judgement at all is it? You’re telling me that God holds in his memory every moment of my life, every thought, word, action, feeling. He remembers every sadness and every joy. He remembers my accomplishments and my failures. He remembers the times I was generous and the times I was selfish. He recalls all my relationships and friendships. He knows who I called an enemy and why. He recollects my acts of courage and those times I was a coward.

Then, you say, He’ll sit with me and He and I will watch the movie of my life. Year by year, day by day moment by moment in high definition we will replay my entire life. And, when we come to a part (many parts) where I cringe with shame because I disappointed Him, He will take his eraser and remove it from both his memory and from mine. His forgiveness will mean it never happened.

Unlike your father, Tyler my beautiful son, as God reviewed your life those many years ago there was nothing to erase; no selfishness, no cowardliness, not a single ill word spoken, no pride only humility. With the few years left to me you are telling me to draw inspiration from your life. You are calling me to hold dear your special needs brothers and sisters for they are the perfect ones. And with each act of love that I show them, the tapestry of life becomes a little bit more beautiful forever.