Today would have been my sons 21st birthday. We lost Tyler Bushmiller several years ago to suicide. Here is his story:
Last week my only adopted son Tyler Bushmiller committed suicide. He was born February 5th, 1994 and took his life on December 18th, 2012. Right now my feelings are raw and I need to record what is going on in my head. I know there are several levels of grieving and this is where I am right now.
The morning of December 18th was the start of our lives beginning to calm down. Kim runs Gods411 an eBay site along with several other smaller Internet web sites. She had just finished working two 80 hour work weeks. I was struggling with my disease and trying to help her out around the house. We were both exhausted, but looking forward to the slowing down of the business and getting away for Christmas with our Son, daughter-in-law (Donica), and grandson (Tyson). Little did I know this would be the worse day of my life and just the beginning of the busiest week of my life.
You need to know a little history of Tyler before I tell of the events of December 18th. Tyler is a wonderful person, but he had the strongest will I have ever experienced. At the age of 16 he ran away from home. This was pure hell on Kim and I. Tyler wanted nothing to do with us. We did everything legally that we needed to do, while giving him the freedom to come back to us. If we pushed Tyler too far he would be gone forever. The day that Tyler moved out, he died to us. We did not know where he was, if he was alive or dead...nothing. Kim and I only through the grace of God made it. There is so much more to tell, but that is another blog, another time.
Finally in September 2011 Tyler made contact with us and wanted to start to repair the damage he had done. At this point we accepted Tyler for whatever he was or he could give us, we did not care. The most important thing was to have a relationship with our son. Tyler met Donica, she became pregnant, they got married, and had a beautiful son; Tyson. Towards the end of his life both Kim and I said to ourselves; "Tyler was a ticking time bomb." Tyler was 18 years old, living the life of a 30 year old. He was working a full time job pulling a lot of overtime. These were consequences for his choices, and he needed to own up to them. I knew at one point in his life he would regret his childhood; the prom he never went too, the high school he blew off... the fun of just being 18..... you remember being 18. We thought that Tyler would run again, I never thought that he would take his own life.
Donica texted Kim at 7:57 am and told her how excited she was to get away for Christmas. Kim texted Donica back and told her she was also very excited. At 8 am get got a phone call from Donica. I could see by the look on Kim's face this was not good news, but we were use to bad news with Tyler. At first Kim said "No, he did not", then Kim just kept on repeating "NO DONICA, NO DONICA!" I could tell this was pretty serious. I have seen this look on Kim's face before when Tyler ran away, it makes me sick to my stomach. No mom should have to deal with this tragedy. Kim handed me the phone and ran into house.
When I asked Donica what was going on, she told me that Tyler had shot himself. I did not know if Tyler was alive or dead, but it was not good. I could not understand Donica very well and told her to call 911 and that we were on the way. I went to find Kim in the house to try to make sense of what was going on. Kim was in bad shape. She was shaking uncontrollably and the only thing she wanted to do was to get to Aberdeen, WA to rescue Tyler. Being the man, I had to put away my feelings. I wanted to scream and cry out to God.... WHY? What are doing? Not again! We cannot take much more of this! But, I had to be there for Kim. Someone had to think straight. Kim was a mess. I told her to let me think for her, the police were on the way and Tyler was in good hands.
Before we left I made 3 phone calls. One to my Mom and Dad; I told them that Tyler shot himself and I need prayer (Mom is an awesome prayer warrior). Second was to Kim's parents; I told them that Kim is going to need you, come ASAP. The third one to my Pastor and mentor, Monty Wright. I wanted to cry and did not want to drive there. I wanted to go back to what I was doing and pretend this did not really happen.
We started the long drive to Aberdeen which is about 40 minutes. I do not remember the drive. I was on the phone with Donica, my parents, and Kim's parents giving them updates. In the car Kim was a zombie. She was shaking and rocking back and forth. She just kept on repeating "This is not true, this cannot be true, he cannot be dead." Seeing Kim broke my heart, I wanted to take her pain away. During the drive and in speaking to Donica I realized that Tyler was gone, and is not coming back. I looked at Kim and told her that Tyler is dead, he is gone, you need to prepare yourself for this. I also told her not to get out of the car and go in the garage. I told her that she did not want to see Tyler right now, she needed to remember Tyler for the good times.
We arrive in Aberdeen and the police were there to meet us. Kim stayed in the car while I talked to the detective. The house was marked for a crime scene until they were sure it was not a homicide. I spoke to the defective and found out Tyler took a shotgun pointed it to his head and pulled the trigger. I felt like I was going to throw up, but for Kim I kept it together. We went to Donica's sisters house where we gave Donica and Tyson a hug. Soon after Kim needed to escape. We went home to try and process what had just happened. We were numb. Little did I know this would be the busiest week of my life. I did know that I could not grieve, I had comfort all those around me. This was a terrible experience that I will share more in another blog. But right now I need to address how I am feeling.
Suicide is the most selfish thing a person could do. The wake of sadness and pain it causes are at levels almost unbearable. It is the worse week of your life, there is so much to do, there are so many people that need to see you. All you want to do is crawl under a rock and hide, but you cannot.
To Tyler: Right now I am so upset with you. The pain you caused your mom was unfair. The pain you caused your wife is not right. Your son is fatherless, he will never know you. He will struggle with the fact that Dad did not love him enough to hang around? Tyler, I need you. I had such cool plans for us. We were going to build a car together. Mom and I poured everything we were into you... all our blood, sweat, and tears..... wasted. I NEVER gave up on you, but you gave up on me. Remember the time I was dying from my disease? I had about a week to live, I had given up, the disease had won. Then one day my Kimmie kneeled down while I was in my chair and asked to me fight....to live. She told me that I needed to be there for you and her. From that day, I fought with everything that was within me. I never gave up on you, but you gave up on me. I love you, but I am very disappointed with you right now.
Tyler is with Jesus right now. He accepted Jesus as his savior when he was old enough to know what he was doing. During the end Tyler struggled with his relationship, but I feel that the struggle makes you stronger. Yes, he is committed suicide, but suicide is murder, even if it is on yourself, is still just murder. No sin is greater that others, all sin is equal. Jesus paid the price for your sins on the Cross; past, present, and future. Plus, Romans 8:38-39 says nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus....nothing.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:38-39
One thing that Holy Spirit revealed to me this week is that whatever you are going though, Jesus knows what it is. He is with you, and has a plan for your sufferings. Most of the time when we go through tough times we cry to Jesus, "Get me out of this" or "Make it go away." When Tyler ran away it was terrible, the pain was almost too much to bear. But, Jesus was preparing us for this event. He knew that Tyler was going to take his life, and that by him running away, prepared us for this terrible event. Why did God give us Tyler? I believe He knew that Kim and I were strong enough to make it through list, still trusting him, stronger, still deeply in love with each other.
I think that is enough for right now. I will miss you. You were my buddy. I was so excited and proud of how you were pulling your life together. The way I look at it.... you are on a mission trip in a far away country where you cannot use the phone. We will be together soon.