Beach Lover, pizza, family
Tyler was extremely loving and kind. He loved animals and enjoyed doing things to help his family. As a child Tyler, his parents, and his older brother Travis all had fun times together. After baseball games, their dad, George, would pile them in the back of his pickup truck and take them for ice cream. In summers, they went to amusement parks, Atlanta Braves games, and to a lot of church-sponsored activities. The extended family gathered for birthdays and holidays, and the boys never passed up an opportunity to go to their grandparents’ house. Tyler’s mom, Peggy, said, “I must remind myself that as difficult as it was at times, my kids had a good upbringing and a good life. They had two parents at home who loved them, and wonderful grandparents, friends, cousins, and church members. It makes you wonder why things go bad.”
Peggy remembers Tyler’s involvement in several summer theatre productions. One summer, Tyler played the young prince in Snow White and came on stage on an actual live horse. Holidays with extended family were fun. Tyler’s grandfather always made Christmas special. A highlight was allowing all the grandkids to put their hand in the large old pickle jar of coins grandpa saved. They could each grab as many coins as they could hold and pull out, sometimes netting 10 to 20 dollars.
When Travis was 13, he developed kidney disease. At 15, he had a transplant with his mother donating her kidney to him. At 16, Travis was using drugs. He would disappear for a few days at a time, which was distressing because he needed his transplant meds to survive. “I don’t think Tyler would agree with this, but I feel like maybe he got left to himself a bit too much when Travis was so ill,” his mother said. “Just trying to make it through each day and go to work was difficult.” Travis died when he was 20 because of a head injury sustained during an altercation with someone who threw him to the concrete. Tyler was 17 at the time his brother died. Shortly after that, his addiction started.
Though Tyler’s anxiety made him reclusive and kept him from having close friends, he was still able to earn his bachelor’s degree in Business. Tyler was very intelligent and competent and wanted so much to get sober and be a successful businessperson with a good-paying job, a place of his own, and friends. “I wanted so much more for him,” his mother stated. “He could have done anything he wanted to, but always struggled with anxiety . . . He never worked through the trauma of losing his brother.”
Peggy misses Tyler saying “head up, eyes open, focus and pay attention,” which was his way of telling his mom to be careful when she went out. They had a good and loving relationship. They liked grocery shopping together, cooking, and sitting on the deck having deep conversations about world events, politics, and the crazy questions we ponder about the universe. “I just miss his company,” Peggy explained. While walking the beach near their home, she recalls memories they shared. “That was his place to be quiet and just be. I think about him a lot when I am there.”
Tyler’s mother, Peggy Abbitt, provided the information for this narrative.
July 3, 1984-December 31, 2021
Age 37-Lived with the disease of addiction 20 years.