Submitted by his mother, Kim Pratt
Tyler was an adventurer
As a child, he loved pirates and frequently dressed as one! As he got older, he loved to be in the woods playing in the swamp with nets, buckets, friends, and usually a dog or cat following. He built forts and snowboard ramps all through our woods, many of which are still there today. During the warmer seasons, he loved to fish.
When Tyler was older, he was obsessed with “Game of Thrones.” He would watch the TV show and make you watch it with him. If he saw you falling asleep, he would wake you up so you could keep watching. Before he died, we had a conversation about “Game of Thrones” and the deep meaning of it all.
I received a letter from a childhood friend of Tyler’s after he passed. They had lost touch throughout high school. He wrote that he had never heard Tyler say a disparaging remark about anyone. He really did see the good in everyone. That’s what really captures who Tyler was.
His proudest accomplishment
I think he was most proud of the time he spent living in California. His best friend found him a long-term rehab facility in California, and he had insurance, so he was able to leave his job temporarily. He went to rehab and then decided to stay, meeting many good friends and having some really great experiences. He was at a recovery house for six months before he moved into an apartment with his girlfriend at the time. He was really proud of the progress he made.
I think that Tyler would most want to be remembered for the goodness that was his true nature.
How drugs became part of Tyler’s life
The drugs started early in high school, when he was around 15 or 16. Pills were being taken out of parents’ medicine cabinets and passed around without any idea of the consequences. Tyler started getting sick frequently because of withdrawals, which opened my eyes to what was happening and how bad the epidemic was. He was prescribed suboxone soon after. After that, it would be another 10 years of agony. He did go to a number of rehabs in Vermont, but they were too short of a stay. He needed long-term.
How our relationship changed while Tyler was struggling with opioid-use disorder
I feel like years were stolen from us. Through his teenage years into his twenties, we only got glimpses of the Tyler we knew and loved. At first I smothered him, and towards the end I had to step back.
A vivid memory of Tyler
It was around October of 2016. I went to my mom’s house, where Tyler was staying. Only Tyler was home, and we weren’t speaking because we were upset about something. He was watching his sister’s dogs. I was about to leave, but I could just tell that Tyler was doing all right. I could tell he was sober. So I stayed around, and we had a nice day together. I took him out to lunch, and we went to the grocery store. We got some of his favorites: a turkey dinner, apple cider and a watermelon, his favorite fruit. I found out later that he ate the whole watermelon that night and had a stomachache the next day. It was just a really good day for us.
If I could say one thing to Tyler now, it would be
I miss you, I love you, and I am so sorry you had to endure this disease. And I am so sorry for the grief I put on you and the stigma you had to endure through it all. You are the bravest person I have ever met, Tyler Carter.