Ty: From the time I was little, I’ve always felt like a bit of a Momma’s boy.
And I’m completely okay with that.
God has given me so many wonderful blessings in this life, but none greater than the two loving parents that have been with me since before I took my first breath. I’ve always had a special connection with my Mom since I was little. As an only child, I was fortunate to have all of her love and attention. I’m thankful that even though I’m growing older, I’ve never stopped receiving that.
From the time I was little and would run up to her or lay my head on her lap, I always knew my Mom was special. I don’t think I realized just how special she was, however, until my Dad passed away.
My Mom loved my Dad dearly and deeply, and just as he relied on her, she also relied on him. In the aftermath of my Dad’s death, I remember worrying about what Mom’s life would look like now that Dad was no longer around. I was worried about everything. How would she afford to keep the house? Would she even want to live in the house anymore? How would she pull herself out of bed every morning, knowing Dad wasn’t there?
You know how God tells us about a million times in the Bible not to worry? I understand that now.
Because my Mom is ridiculously strong.
All of the fears and doubts that I had in the initial aftermath of Dad’s death have dissipated as I’ve watched her navigate the complexities of her new life with grace, compassion, and a determination to never give up.
Don’t get me wrong—this hasn’t been easy on her. No wife should ever have to go through what my Mom has experienced. No wife should ever get the call that my Mom got on that fateful July day. No wife should ever have to wake up at the age of [NO, I’M NOT GOING TO MENTION HER AGE] and have her life partner stolen from her so unexpectedly and unnecessarily.
But my Mom has dealt with the scary moments, and in the same way she’s never quit being a Mom to me. There have been nights where I can’t sleep and where I’m racked with nightmares about losing Dad, and I know that I can still call her. There have been moments where life has felt too overwhelming, and I always knew that I could share my anxieties with her and be reassured and strengthened again. Just as I ran to her as a young boy, I’m still running to her now that I’m grown (and significantly taller than she is). On this Mother’s Day weekend, I’ve invited my Mom to share her memories of my Dad. Although our experiences have been so different, I’m so thankful that we’ve had each other throughout this heartache. We suffer differently, but thank God we are suffering together.
Becky: As Mother’s Day approaches, I started thinking back about all the Mother’s Days that I have had—especially my very first Mother’s Day as a mother myself. Scott and I were so excited, as we would be spending my first Mother’s Day with our new two-week-old son, Tyler. We went to church together that morning, and then we went and bought flowers to plant in our yard. As I look back I realize how special that Mother’s Day of 1987 was. Scott and I spent many more Mother’s Days together, but lots of other times together making memories throughout each year.
When you lose someone you love you try to hang on to every memory you made together, and I wanted to share a few of those special memories we had as a family.
From the time Tyler was a little boy, we tried to do fun things with him. Trips to Fantasy Farm (for those of you who are old enough to remember this place), picnics, movies, making crafts, zoo trips and much more. Birthdays and holidays were also special times at the Bradshaw house. Scott and I always wanted to make Tyler’s birthdays special. Every year we would plan a big birthday party for him, and Scott was always excited and would always try to plan something different each year.
Scott was also willing to step into my mom role when I couldn’t be available. I remember one particular field trip that he went on. Tyler was in the 3rd grade and they were going to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I guess the laughing and jokes started as they loaded the bus because of Scott’s hair…or, I should say, the lack thereof.
On the same trip Scott was in charge of a group of students. That was probably the first mistake because he truly was a kid at heart. I remember Tyler telling me how they got yelled at by employees for going in areas of the museum they weren’t supposed to and for touching items they weren’t supposed to. I don’t recall him going on any more field trips after that.
There are just so many great times we spent together playing with our dogs, building our addition to our family home, spending time at our pool, fun at Hamilton Joes’ games, beach vacations, hanging out with family and friends. I really think I could write a book about all these memories.
On June 30, 1984 Scott and I started building our lives together and I honestly knew we would play with our grandchildren and grow old together, but on July 24, 2013 all that changed.
The next days and weeks were a blur and I just could not imagine him not with me. I would hear him calling my name and wait for him to come home from work. As painful as that day was, I try to focus on all of the memories. Scott, I cannot wait to see you again some day and we can reminisce about old times.
Thank you for the memories I will always have in my heart, even though my life has forever changed.
I love you always and forever and until we meet again!
Ty: A day or so after my Dad’s death, I remember sitting on the back patio of our family home on a park bench with my Mom, each of us starting endlessly across the lawn of our backyard. That patio and that lawn and had been home to so many wonderful memories. We stared at the fire pit where my Dad had spent so many summer nights—burning brush, running out of brush, and cutting things down so he could have more brush to burn. We saw the pool where we had played and splashed and floated on rafts in the warm sun. Everything was still there, but it felt like everything was gone.
I remember feeling so very scared in that moment. I had no idea how we were going to keep up with everything. The house, the pool, the yard, the flowerbeds—there was so much work to do, and the man who had helped us keep our family home perfect wasn’t there any more.
“I don’t know how we are going to do this, Mom,” I said to her in a moment of desperation.
She looked at me, with tear-filled eyes, and gave me an honest and loving response.
“I don’t know either, Ty,” she said.
And my heart completely broke.
I realized, in that exact moment, that neither one of us had the answers to help us navigate this new and unfamiliar territory. And I also realized that just as I was suffering, she was too. It wasn’t a contest—we were both hurting, in different ways and for different reasons.
For that reason, we would need each other. I would need Mom to help bolster my spirit when I missed my Dad, and she would need me to bolster hers when she missed her husband.
We can’t help each other with everything, because the reality is that there are certain voids that only my Dad could have filled. Life is just emptier without him, and that will never change. And I’m glad that’s the case. My Dad’s death left a huge void in our hearts because he occupied so much of our hearts to begin with. We feel so empty because my Dad was such a wonderful presence in our lives.
Mom and I didn’t have the answers to how we would get through life on that day, and I don’t know that we’ve always had them ever since—but we’ve found ways to cope with this terrible tragedy by relying on one another. We sat together, just the two of us, on that bench for quite some time that day. We didn’t have to say anything, but if we felt the need to, we did.
But at some point, we got up. My Mom held onto my arm, and we walked across the yard to my house where our friends and family were waiting to help us grieve.
We got up from that bench. And we walked together. And although we haven’t done it perfectly, we’ve been doing it ever since.
On this Mother’s Day, I’m thankful to have not just any Mom, but my Mom. A woman who has stared Satan in the face and said “You might think you’ve got me beat, but I can assure you that you’re wrong.” This is a woman who, while grieving, has shown unbelievable peace and calm as the storm rages around her. I never envisioned that instead of going on long walks with our family dog, Mom would be spending time at her husband’s gravesite. I never envisioned my Mom without my Dad at family picnics and get-togethers. I never saw my Mom cooking dinner for one or having to manage the landscaping. But she’s defied every expectation of her that I’ve ever had—not just since my Dad died, but since the day I was born.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks for being there—to love me, to grieve with me, and to walk with me throughout this life.
I am always proud of you, and know this:
Dad is too.
Dad, I always pictured you growing old with Mom. I knew you would make a tremendous Grandpa, but just as importantly I know that Mom will be an amazing Grandma someday. I hate that you didn’t get to enjoy this chapter of life here on this Earth with her. But I know that you are so unbelievably proud of her as you watch how she’s handled the troubles of this life without you. I know that you are watching over her each and every day. She is lucky to have such an amazing guardian angel. It doesn’t change the fact that we would rather have you here with us, but it does make life easier to handle knowing that, someday, we will all be reunited—a family again. Although we don’t have you here with us, we will always cherish and hold near to our hearts the memories that you gave us. You gave us so many. Thank you for always doing that. Thank you for being a wonderful Father, and thank you for choosing the best Mother any kid could ever hope for. Until we get to relive those wonderful memories together again, seeya Bub.
“Listen, my son, to your Father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9 (NIV)
Becky is Ty’s Mom. She works at Envision Partnerships in Butler County, Ohio, specifically working with substance abuse and driver intervention programs that keep our communities safe. She is involved at her church, and loves spending time with her dog, Sadie.