Loving, compassionate, smart, athletic, loyal
“Tyler had a presence; it just felt good to be around him,” his mother Shelly said. He was athletic, caring, smart and competitive. He had a sense of justice and an interest in law. He stood up for his beliefs, was close to his parents and two sisters and his extended family. Tyler was loyal and had a good work ethic. He appeared confident, but had an underlying sensitivity and insecurity.
Tyler loved people unconditionally and befriended many people that others may not reach out to. He was encouraging and helpful and made efforts to bring people together. Tyler loved the ocean and fishing with his grandpa and anything active. He took part in board sports, baseball, wrestling, and football, and excelled in golf. By age 12, he spent every summer at the golf course from morning to night and had two holes in one by the age of 16. When he was older he loved working out and was the runner-up in his first bodybuilding competition.
Tyler’s substance use prevented him from going straight to college from high school, but two years later, while in recovery, he was awarded an academic and golf scholarship at Walsh University in Ohio. He was interested in studying business and finance and eventually in starting a family.
Shelly has fond memories of watching Tyler, his dad and grandpa doing things together, like golfing or watching sports. It was obvious that Tyler looked up to them. The bond he had with each of them was unique.
During his addiction, Ty became withdrawn from his family; he lied, stole and became angry. His passion for life disappeared, and he became unreliable. As Ty withdrew his parents felt helpless. His mother said: “Not being able to save your child is the hardest thing, you literally watch their life disintegrate in front of you.” “Tyler hated his disease,” his mom said, “He was strong willed and used to conquering anything; but he couldn’t beat addiction.”
Ty’s death challenged Shelly to become more educated and have compassion for the disease of addiction and how it affects families. She and her husband, Travis started a non-profit to help those with substance use issues and families affected by it. “I wish I had been better equipped to understand more while he was alive,” Shelly said, “As I look back, I know the Lord rescued him.”
Tyler’s mother, Shelly Bornstein, provided the information for this narrative.
December 23, 1990-September 28, 2014
Age 23- Lived with addiction 6 years