TOLEDO — At six days old, Coen Kenneth Bryan is in at least one respect like his late father, Tyler Bryan.
Cradled in his mother’s arms, Coen slept soundly — his mouth open and upturned in a faint smile, just like his dad used to sleep.
Tyler Bryan, 21, died Feb. 10 in a logging accident near Morton. A load of logs being hauled 1,500 feet up a slope began to sag and spin when one of the logs struck Bryan, who sustained multiple head and chest injuries.
The late logger’s mother, Heidi Bryan, said the family has had a tough time coping, but her grandson’s birth last week gives them a new hope.
“(Coen) has brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. We can actually smile,” she said Monday afternoon cooing over her grandson. “We haven’t been smiling the last couple of months.”
Coen was born after a 12-hour labor at 6:55 p.m. April 2 at Providence Centralia Hospital, six days before he was due. He is Bryan’s only child with his fiancee, Sadie Firth.
“He looks a lot like Tyler,” Firth, 21, said Monday. “He doesn’t cry, and he’s very content.”
The birth was bittersweet for the family, who observed Bryan’s birthday on March 30.
“There are so many firsts that he’ll miss and that we’ll miss,” Heidi Bryan said. “We’ll miss getting to see the look on his face (seeing Coen).”
Bryan worked a string of outdoor jobs before he found his niche working at Brindle Technical Logging, based in Mossyrock.
On Dec. 24, 2012, Bryan proposed to Firth, at a waterfall near Mount St. Helens, where the couple first met. They were going to be married Aug. 30, his parents’ anniversary. Two weeks before his death, the couple moved out of his parents’ Toledo home into their own apartment in Winlock.
Expecting Coen was the highlight of her son’s short life, Heidi Bryan said.
“Tyler was one of those people kids gravitate to. He loved children and spending time with them,” she said. When he first saw Coen in an ultrasound he “dropped to his knees. The look on his face — it was pride and excitement.”
Bryan’s unexpected death shattered the young family’s plans. Firth, who does not have a job, moved out of her apartment shortly after Bryan died and now splits her time living with her mother and the Bryans.
“I moved out. I couldn’t be there,” Firth said about the apartment, tearing up.
The family also is still dealing with legal work relating to Bryan’s workplace injury. And because Firth and Bryan weren’t married, Coen must have a paternity test to receive any settlement money.
“People don’t realize, especially when it’s a young person (who dies), you have to go through hoops,” Bryan’s mother said. “You have to relive (the accident).”
Firth said her family and the Bryans have supported each other and will help her raise Coen to know about his dad.
“I’m really thankful. There’s not much I could do without them,” she said. “Coen’s going to learn how great of a man Tyler was.”