It was two years ago today, at 6:13 pm. This was the last time Ryan and I communicated.
We were excited about all getting together for Thanksgiving. It use to be my favorite holiday because it was all about family (and food). Before our feast, we always gave thanks for our health and close family. To me, it was just another run-of-the-mill text message. Now, I look at it every so often.
He missed me too!
Since that time, each day makes me miss him more. Yes, I miss him badly.
So, instead of the Saturday Evening Post version of Thanksgiving, we did the best we could. Sue’s employer delivered Thanksgiving dinner and we ate it at Shepard Center (Atlanta) between Ryan’s “brain storming” episodes. I specifically remember I refused to give thanks. It just didn’t feel right. No, more than it… it felt completely wrong.
Last year was closer to our traditional meal. Sue spent the morning making a feast, and it was delicious. I remember sitting at the table, with the family in their same places, faking my way through it. I was sad. Pure and simple. I refused to let my emotions ruin an otherwise wonderful family event.
The meal ended and we cleaned up. Figuring I was in the clear from my emotions, I walked into the foyer. Ryan’s graduation picture, hanging by the door, grabbed my attention and I looked at it for a minute or two. I recalled this would always be the time Ryan would grab a football and take me outside to play catch, eventually having the whole family in the front lawn joining in. Then, like a volcano the tears literally erupted from my eyes. It caught me completely off guard. This was my version of Pompeii.
I quickly ran for cover to hide my grief from Sue and Kari.
I didn’t just cry. No, I did it up right. It was more like wailing, with my body heaving and my lungs struggling to pull in oxygen between gasps. It didn’t help having my face buried in a pillow to drown out the sobs while screaming “No! Please, no!” directly into it.
The pillow offered no comfort.
Ken, I am sitting here thinking outside of the box again. Sometimes it’s productive and sometimes that box collapses on me. I am going to throw a thought your way, and again, you are free to do what you want with it. Question: Is it possible that Ryan’s routine has become so “routine” that it doesn’t stimulate him as much as it could? You know how people do the same thing over and over so much that they comment something like “I could do this with my eyes closed”? People tend to become complacent if not challenged. I realize that there is so much that has to be kept on schedule with Ryan’s care, but could it be changed slightly to try and involve him more where possible? I’m thinking of things like instead of just brushing his teeth for him, maybe tell him it’s time to brush his teeth, then hold the toothbrush in his hand and make the motions of him brushing at the beginning before you take over? Or something to do with his passive exercise machines. Is it possible for it to start with you manually moving his arms/legs before the machine takes over, while encouraging him to pedal? Also, I know you’ve tried different things with him in the past and not gotten a response. Maybe try some of those things over and over again now. My train of thought here is that we all learn by repetition, and Ryan might need more time to take in each step and build from there. Or, interact with the dogs by holding a toy in Ryan’s hand and have the dog bark to get it. Then move his hand and release the toy to the dog. I’m also wondering if Ryan or Kari played a band instrument in school that could be played to him now? Has Ryan heard your distinctive laugh that he would recognize or something like that? Also, while growing up, siblings always have a way to torment each other, be it a sound, saying, name, etc. There are so many things that could be “keys” for you. Some may sound weird, but you’ll never know if they aren’t tried. As said before, Ryan is in uncharted territory and anything’s possible.
Came back here for re-runs tonight. More posts to “Like,” expecially this one. And please sing to Ryan. Even if it’s Rub-a-Dub-Dub when he is in the shower. Music could hold the key. Love
Ken, I went to Morgantown for the day on Thursday. The few times I was on Willey St. I thought of Ryan especially when we drove by the Dairy Mart. We know this is a hard weekend bringing you into the two year mark of your lives forever changing. Know that we are all thinking of you and praying for Ryan. I am also praying that this weekend and week The Holy Spirit can lift some of your burden away and allow you to grieve, and release tension and anger.
Ken, We don’t know each other — I came to your story early on through my friend Sam Durham. Ryan remains on the prayer lists at Mount Merici School and St. Mark’s Church in Waterville, Maine. When I read your posts my heart breaks for you and Ryan and your family every time. Sometimes I just cannot get my mind around the immense courage and strength and love and devotion you have — I mean how can anyone do that. You are an inspiration to me and I am sure many others who deal with so much less on a daily basis. As the anniversary approaches, extra prayers coming your way.
The Colangelis says
I cannot imagine the pain each time you visit the text message, the pictures, and the memories. We are all praying for Ryan, and many posters are also praying for you. I can see some of God’s work with Ryan. Do you think that many fathers could do what you accomplish every day? Think about all the challenges that come at you. You handle all of them. Whether it is all the hard work involved, the drive to self-educate yourself in the medical arena, the passion to do whatever it takes to help your son…..you do it! And you continue to each day! Ryan is blessed that you do whatever it takes because you love him so much. In this regard, one of God’s blessings to Ryan is having you being his father, and He will continue to help him, and you, through the thoughts and prayers of so many who visit this site each day.
Ken………the love remains……forever!!!
Always here, in the darkest night and the brightest morning, and every hour in between.
Love & prayers,
I read your posts almost everyday, sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh but I always think the same thing – you should take all these posts, comments and anything else you or your family wants to add and make a book out of it. This is real life, real love, real commitment and I can’t think of anything that would be more worthwhile to publish.
Becky Christesen London says
Hello Mr. Diviney, you don’t know me but I am always brought to tears by your posts. Thank God Ryan has you and the rest of your family – and in your strength, all things are possible. I hope you feel all the comfort and prayers that are being said to lift you up in these awful times. We will always be here to rally for Ryan, even those who didn’t know him. I am a childhood friend of Carla Liberty and she is a true angel on earth.
Again, please find some comfort in those of us out here thinking and praying for your entire family. Much love to you all!
Ann H Tearle says
just tears. i can’t begin to even imagine the devastation you all feel……….you keep showing up, the 4 of you, the rest of us will keep the prayers going. Love to your fam, Annie xoxox to Ryan
I havent met you or your family, although I follow Ryans progress every day. I live in Ashburn and began to follow the blog when the schools had the white out game to honor Ryan. My sister just had a baby a month ago and she named him Ryan. I hope that he can be as wonderful and inspiring a person that your Ryan is. There are so many people praying for your family.
Pittsburgh Here says
You know? Every night, I pray for Ryan – without fail. However, I realized today (after reading your post) that I have been missing the boat on so many levels.
So, tonight, and for every night after, I will pray for Ryan, you, Sue, and Kari…saying ALL of your names. It’s the least I can do, but please know I wish I could do more.
I feel so helpless…….
Carla Liberty says
To say that my desk at work is wet from tears would be an understatement. I literally just soaked some poor lady’s auto insurance policy. How I ache for you, Sue, Kari and Ryan. But I know too, that God has surrounded you with many blessings, Ken. He has given you a family that is incredibly strong. He has given you a support system that has not left your side. He has shown that Ryan is making great progress by overcoming 108+ degree temps, storming, countless operations/procedures, and more. This is a kid who is rallying and fighting so hard to get back to you. He isn’t giving up. God is healing him and perfecting His plan for Ryan with every passing day. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct Thy paths.” ~~Proverbs 3:5
Sending love and hugs your way. <3 carla
Nancy Solomon says
Ken, I am So profoundly struck by all your posts, you touch my Heart so Much with the Love and compassion, and caring that you Are as a man, Father, husband,and friend! I wish I Lived next door to you and your family, cause I think we would be good friends, I Have a big Heart Like you, and give it my all everyday to everyone. I Have learned thru my 50 yrs. on earth that I have to Place My Worries & struggles with Jesus, cause there way to much for me to handle, Trust him! he will get you & your Beautiful Family through this all.I Have the Upmost respect for you! Your Family is in My thoughts & prayers everyday! blessings & hugs from pa. Love, Nancy Solomon
Very well said, Carla! Much love sent from here, too, Ken and hugs a-plenty!
Gail Doyle says
Ken, Thinking and praying very soon you will have a lot to be thankful for when Ryan wakes up completely Till then he does feel and hear you all and knows the love there. Nothing can be said to ease your pain ,but we are all here for you and family ….. Love from Gail
I have been reading your posts for so long now, when you don’t write, I worry that something is happening that we don’t know about. That is what I mean by saying that your posts make my day. When you grieve, we grieve along with you; when you are happy, we laugh at your jokes; and when Ryan has something going on with his health more than usual, the prayers are prayed without end. I could sit here and write inspirational Bible verses and quotes all day, but I am just sitting here having a good cry. When the tears want out, let them out, Ken. Tears are good and a needed outlet sometimes. There are many of us who share your grief. We won’t let you down, and we count on you to keep us informed about Ryan’s health and yours as well.
jane martellino says
Holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. I so wish there was more we could do or say to ease your grief. A heart that loves as much as yours breaks equally as hard. May our continuing love and steadfast support give you a little bit of hope.
Two years ago Ryan was storming, and now he is calm and progressing to that day he wakes up. It is all due to your nurturing, and that is something to be thankful for this year. He may not be able to verbally respond to you yet, but I’m betting he feels your touch and hears your words every single day. Yesterday someone mentioned finding the right thing to help him over the stumbling block that’s holding him back. One day soon, you will find that key, and you will be thankful that you’ve put in so much effort to help him.
Ms. Blasé says
Amazingly well said, Scott. I couldn’t agree more.
Ken, I am so deeply, deeply sorry. The next several days I’m certain will be agonizing for all of you. The pain must be so intense at times. While we stand by feeling so helpless, it hurts but by no comparison the pain you are trying to deal with. Please know that you, Ryan, Sue and Kari never leave our thoughts and our prayers for you to see this through are with you many times throughout our day. Your strength is what is keeping Ryan together and healthy. And I just feel so very, very strongly that he hears you, he feels your loving presence, and that he is trying with all the power within himself to break from what is holding him back from being able to be present with you in every way and to tell you how much he loves you. Please know that special prayers are being offered up for all of you right now and through the rough journey ahead of you during the next several days. But more importantly, prayers for Ryan’s special miracle are continuing relentlessly….count on that… and we will never give up!
Love always, Peggie
Your emtions are so raw this morning and I wish I could say something witty to make you strong. I can say you are an amazing man,father, husband and someone I would love to call friend!!! Still hear and still praying!!!