Every Cell in My Body is Crying
It’s 3:12AM. The house is still and unlit. I can’t sleep. It’s just too much for me to bear. I hurt so badly. It’s EXACTLY twenty-four hours from the time Ryan was maliciously attacked four long years ago. This day, and tomorrow, will bring me to my knees in an agony that I just can’t describe. It comes from deep inside me.
I swear, every cell in my body is crying.
Minutes before writing that earlier paragraph I stood at the foot of my son’s bed. I looked at him resting peaceful in the darkened room. One would never know just how badly he is injured, if they didn’t know the truth. I even took a minute to pretend he was just sleeping. That I could give him a gentle shake and he would open his deep-brown, puppy dog eyes and smile at me. Oh, how I miss that smile that once touched my heart. It was a smile that he actually practiced before a mirror so that his sincerity would be obvious and inviting.
No, he won’t smile. Not today, anyhow. He won’t open his eyes because they are sewn shut to prevent them from “melting” away. He won’t open his loving arms and give his dad a hug. Sure, I can wrap his arms around me and make-believe… and I do just that sometimes. But, it’s not the same as it use to be. It’s not real. It’s not him. My boy can not hug me…
No, not today…
The 11-7 Train is Arriving at the Station
… And not the past four years either. A span of time that has beaten me down… day-after-day… night-after-night. An emotional (and physical) ass-kicking that never relents. It shows no mercy. In the world of the living, it is hell personified. There is so very little hope of escape. The light at the end of the tunnel is not a good omen. It’s the 11-7 train — as I come to characterize the date of November 7th — that is blinding me. It means to (continue to) do me harm.
How will I make it through today? How in the hell will I, knowing I must face tomorrow? I only know that I will. I have no choice. It will happen because I promised Ryan that I would never forsake him. He has my undying loyalty. I vowed that I will never give-up on him as long as he didn’t, but he must make that choice.
More than a few times I held my breath waiting to hear the life-confirming beep [from the vital-sign monitor] again. I cradled his sunken head against mine. I felt his warm breath against my face and treasured each one. Then, I told him he must decide if he wants to lay his burden aside. I assured him I, and everyone else, would understand. I kissed his forehead and waited. [End of My Rope, 2/3/2012, Ken Diviney]
Every morning when I get Ryan up for the day I remind him of that promise that I will never leave him — that I will never give-up — as long we both can draw a breath. I tell him of all those people, known as Team Diviney, who joined the journey and surrounded him (and my family) with love, compassion, and generosity. I promise him, on your behalf, that you will not give-up either.
I am going to ask tomorrow (if I even able to write, that is… no promises) what I’m about to ask you today. Will you help remind all you come in contact with that Ryan Diviney remains an inspiration? An easy way involves only a simple gesture, really. Just copy this picture (right) and use it as your social media profile picture (e.g., Facebook) from tomorrow through the weekend. Then share it.
For Ryan’s sake, don’t let people forget!
Keep Ryan relevant!
His life has touched so many in a profound way. It has even changed some… all for the better. He continues to speak loudly even when his voice no longer forms words. He, and we, are bigger than the circumstances that brought a great man down. We lost the man, but his greatness remains.
Yes, his voice is silenced… but the message remains loud-and-clear. It’s good versus evil. It’s hope against all odds. It’s a reminder that none are immune from a call at four in the morning telling us our life is … what? … maybe not what we had planned. That it might be tested beyond all imagination. That there are things worse than death. That if we can sustain in the worst of circumstances then others can as well.
…That life is so much more than a beating heart.
By Damned, I’m Gonna Do It
I have thought long and hard (ha, ha… long and hard) about this. I even floated the idea some weeks ago on this website to get your take on it. Namely, asking people to make a financial gift to Ryan’s Special Needs Trust Fund tomorrow; on the anniversary of his brutal attack (by Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May, of Newark, Delaware). It’s not like I can count of these two ruffians to step-up and accept accountability. They seem to like lurking in the shadows of a dumpster, even to this day.
So, I’m going to do it.
Yes, I worry that it might come across as a low-down opportunity to use tragedy for gain. But, here’s the thing… it’s solely for Ryan’s gain. As for me, who am I really kidding? I will do almost anything (or, maybe, anything… who knows?) to improve his situation. I don’t want to miss the chance even given the risk of seeming like a conniving scoundrel. I’m not one… and anyone who might think this way wouldn’t be a suitable candidate for Team Diviney anyhow. If nothing else, I’m always open and honest (‘real and raw) and I hope I have the reputation to carry me through what some might perceive as opportunistic. Eh, I guess I actual am just that… opportunistic. But for the right reasons.
Okay, so I guess I just want people to know I am doing this for Ryan and nothing more. I’ll try to come across that way.
…On to Year 5
If the year-four anniversary hurts this much, I can not even imagine what the fifth will feel like. Those landmark years are flat-out, plain-hard. No way around it. So, perhaps I’ll turn it around and gloat in the fact that so many people told me I’d be dead by then if I stayed at this pace. Hell, most said I wouldn’t last even three years (including my bride). Ha! I did! Looks like I’m here to stay for a while longer. No, more than that… I picked-up the pace and yet, here I am.
Can you give me a woo-hoo?
It would be bragging if there were a reason to take some pride in it, but I always knew I would be. I have everything to live for. Ryan needs me. My wife, Sue, needs me. Kari, my daughter, needs me. Those three are my everything. The loves of my life. The meaning of my life. I dedicated my life to them and today is part of that commitment. For them, today I’ll lower my shoulder, lean in, and plow through the day. I’ll live in the moment, as painful as it will be, with blinders shielding me from the added hurt of the past and future. I’ll do it for the love of family. A family that Sue and I built around (mostly her) core values, beliefs, and desires. It’s a day worth living, even when the despair is unbearable. Even when there’s every reason to not want to be a part of this world any longer.
Then I’ll do it for you. I don’t want to let you down after all you have given.
Oh, and as for me not being able to sustain at this rate, well, there are at least a couple of “issues” that need tending to; specifically, to impose certain and irreversible finality in upholding my family’s values. No person, institution, or entity can prevent this from happening. Ryan will not be denied because I will not be denied. When? Well, some day for sure. It might be a year, or two, or decades, but…
No, not today.
Today is all about making it through… to face tomorrow. To face it with the same determination and resilience… that this will not bring me down where I can no longer get back up. I must be stronger than the circumstances. In other words, today is like every other day in my life since November 7, 2009.