“Even though my bones break easily, my spirit is unbreakable.” — Tyler Monson
By Kristie Monson
No truer words were ever spoken. Tyler was born on December 5, 1997, coming into the world on his on timetable, almost four weeks early. What we did not know until the time of his birth was that Tyler was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (“OI” otherwise known as brittle bone disease), a genetic bone disorder that causes bones to break easily.
In Tyler’s 19 years of life, he broke well over 300+ bones (we stopped counting), had multiple surgeries (rods, screws, wires), and for the last seven years of his life, he was in a wheelchair. Tyler had the most infectious grin, deep dimples and a head full of curly hair just like his grandmother.
He also liked to debate, argue a point to death and thought he was smarter than everyone else. He was very selective of his friends, so if you were “chosen” to be his friend, you knew you had a friend for life. His older brother, Johnny, was his best friend, even though they fought all the time and couldn’t be more different. Johnny was his protector and their bond was so special.
On December 27, 2010, Tyler fell in a parking lot of a restaurant in Houston, Texas, breaking multiple bones, both feet, ankles, wrist, femur and shattered his kneecap. We spent two weeks in Texas Children’s Hospital while he was recovering from rodding surgery and partial removal of his patella.
We went home in a wheelchair and after a year, he started therapy to learn to walk again. In that first therapy session on April 15, 2012, Tyler fell, suffering catastrophic breaks to both ankles and legs, also shattering his right arm. After a month long stay at Women’s & Children, we learned that Tyler would probably never walk again because his bones couldn’t support his body. Tyler mourned the loss of being able to walk again and then he told us “I don’t have to walk; people live their life in a chair all the time and become productive.”
Even during so many health challenges, he went on to graduate high school, was studying to get his driver’s license, had a girlfriend and even enrolled in college classes to study criminal psychology. Tyler was truly my hero—he taught me so many things. How to persevere when things were difficult, how not to give up even when I wanted to. He is still teaching me that.
After 19 years of slaying his nemesis “OI,” Tyler decided he was finally due for a little nap. On Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 9:03 a.m., Tyler breathed his last, passing away from bacterial pneumonia.
Two years later, it’s still so painful acknowledging that Tyler is no longer here with us. Our family looks so different than we ever thought it would, when my husband and I started on this journey almost 26 years ago. It is a “club” that no parent wants to be a part of. It’s a painful journey where you cling onto hope to even take your next breath.
The one thing I know is that we are not alone on this journey. Jesus is walking alongside us, even when I don’t see or feel Him sometimes, and even when I don’t understand. I have a hope that one day I will see my sweet boy’s face again, and that he is whole, no longer in pain, walking/running and oh, what a sweet reunion that will be! Tyler is still teaching us to live our lives unbreakable.