On July 22

Tuesday was my brother’s birthday. Tyler would’ve been 22 Tuesday. Both of those sentences contain the same information, but one is more complete than the other. When you lose someone in a tragic way you learn how to parcel out the facts in sentences like those, eliding things that feel awkward if you’re talking to a stranger or don’t want to repeat the story yet again.

That’s not what I intended to blog about right now, but I’ll respect the impulse. To introduce him briefly: Tyler was a sweet, funny, mischievous kid who loved summer camp and had excellent musical taste. He was my drummer, my tennis partner, and one of my best friends. He was diagnosed with a clival chordoma at age 14, and after four years of desperation and turmoil and bravery, he was gone at 18.

The loss will always be with my family, but four years later I can see how much things have changed. In the past we’ve marked his birthday with parties at camp and jam sessions, and a year ago we held the first official fundraiser for our music therapy charity. I’d like to think that creating a charity in Tyler’s name made things a little easier for us. It keeps his name alive and we’re working toward great things. So this year his birthday was quiet. He loved Monty Python, so we watched Python’s live reunion/farewell show. It was funny and it was a goodbye, so somehow it struck the right note for us.


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