On this day, exactly 23 years ago, my son joined this world. I remember it like it were yesterday.
On November 7, 2009, his life likely ended… yet he continues to be alive. All anyone knows for certain is he is trapped in his own body, perhaps without even a thought. Nothingness.
That — life versus alive — is the key. So, today we’ll “celebrate” the time that has passed since his birth. He is breathing and blood runs through his veins, but I’m here to tell you (again), life is so much more than a beating heart.
You should know, this is a tough day on me. It is so hard to write when all emotions are at full-tilt and pulling me in different directions.
For Ryan, his birthday is getting out of bed before the sun clips the horizon. There’s no sleeping in. Instead of breakfast in bed, medications and formula will be pushed through a tube that punctures his stomach. He will not stand tall against the door jamb to get measured to see if he has grown. Rather, he will be hoisted up in a sling and carted around from one piece of equipment to another. Instead of spending the day relaxing or doing as he wishes, he must run through all his therapies. He has no say-so on what he wants the day to become. There’s no going out in the evening with friends, just his family singing “Happy Birthday” behind a lighted candle that he can neither blow-out nor make a wish upon. The cake will go uneaten.
His birthday, like each in our family, was filled with tradition. Now we go through the motions, holding back the tears as best we can and hoping we can just make it through the day.
But not his to have.
It just feels so empty to wish him a happy one, but I will. I will say it over-and-over to him throughout the day. I will again tell him the story of the night he was born, just like I wrote about last year. Meanwhile, inside I will wish for him to one day to return to full happiness. To one day return to us.
I have just one request today. Think of it as a dad’s wish for his son. It’s to read my post from yesterday, Keeping Ryan Relevant: So Many Ways. There are eight things you can do to make sure my son’s memory is kept alive. Do as many as you can, but please do it a least one.