Some of you may read the title of this post and think, “what a horrible thing to say.” But please, here me out.

Today my brother is coming home from being at school. For that, I am happy. But he isn’t coming home to see us. He isn’t coming home for a birthday. He isn’t coming home for a holiday. No. He is coming home because he has lost one of his closest friends.

My brother is coming home to be with those he loves for the most unfortunate of reasons. He shouldn’t be coming home right now, but he is.

Tyler was one of my brother’s closest friends. They loved each other enough to torment the other. They had a relationship of picking on each other and aggravating each other but Tyler was one of the only people who “got” TJ. Anyone who knows TJ, knows he is a special breed. There are so many times we say things like, “well he’s TJ,” or “that is totally a TJ thing.” Not many people can understand my brothers determined, one zone, black and white way of thinking while also seeing his huge heart that is usually shown through abrasive behavior. But Tyler did. Tyler was able to see through to who TJ truly was and become friends with him. Not just friends, but brothers.

Tyler was taken away from us much too soon and will leave memories behind with all who knew him. The LaFaver’s will always see him as family. He has attended our family vacation for many years and will be truly missed. I loved Tyler for many reasons. First off, he was a GOOD kid. He was polite, he was funny, and most everyone genuinely liked him. In addition to that, he loved on my kids. If you treat my kids good, I like you. He was so sweet playing with Xandrie and so interested in Gracyn. With him knowing sign, he had fun signing with Gracyn (and attempting to show me signs that I just couldn’t pick up). But most of all, I loved Tyler because he loved my brother. There is something about seeing someone truly care about someone you love. It makes you love them that much more. It just isn’t fair that he had to leave us as soon as he did. But there is one thing I know for certain. Tyler knew Jesus and that makes my heart happy in an unhappy situation. I also know that in this horrible situation, God can bring peace. He can lift those up who are most affected and bring comfort in a way that no one else can. He is good, even when the situation is not.

So here I am, waiting for my brother to get here so I can squeeze him real tight. And don’t get me wrong, I’ll love hugging on him. But in the same moment, I wish he wasn’t coming home. No one should have to come home for this.

Written by Stacia Tiller