I walked through the Ruby Memorial ICU waiting room, making a beeline to the bathroom. The hospital has an amazing view of the football stadium (in fact, you see it often during telecasts). This side of the building is really nothing but full-length windows.
The sites outside caught my attention. The parking lots were overflowing with excited people wearing WVU colors and decked-out cars, all tailgating under blue and gold canopies. The scoreboard was lit with amazing highlights from seasons past. I could hear the faint buzz of excitement from below.
I looked over my shoulder. Behind me were people in utter despair with loved ones in serious peril. They were wearing what they had on when their life took a sudden turn. This window was all that separated the joyful from the downtrodden. The knowledge that I was on the “wrong” side of the window occurred to me. Had that 1/4″ of tempered glass not been there, who knows which direction my next step would have went.
Can you believe it, I was actually angry at those people outside. How dare they not have a care in the world… other than the outcome of the game. Can’t they see the huge hospital casting its shadow? Do they know, or even care, what complete hell is going on just a stone’s throw away? Those inconsiderate bastards!
Throughout the past two years, this same feeling has revisited me on occasion. It’s not so much anger any more, but jealousy. I resent the freedom that my son had stolen.
Kathryn Beggs Howlett says
Please give Ryan a big hug and tell him there are so many people who love him. Thoughts and prayers for all of you have occupied my mind and heart all day long…..
It would be a great idea if someday you or someone close to the situation could go to the high schools and colleges and be a speaker to tell your story to young people (especially boys) about fighting and the terrible outcome. I would say many kids that fight have no intention of killing or severely harming another but at the time they are not thinking about that. Maybe if your story was told in that type of forum it may save another child and also teach young people to think before getting into verbal confrontations that lead to fighting.
John Maletta says
Ken, this particular blog entry really hits home at how alike you and I tend to think. Two and half years ago, thanks to the power of social networking, you and I rekindled our old college friendship. Six months later, this senseless act of violence happened to Ryan, changing everything. I remember driving to Morgantown to visit with you and Sue six days after the attack. It was my first time to that part of Morgantown and I remember stopping at those huge windows for a few seconds and looking at the football stadium. I remember feeling anxious and frightened for you and Sue. As I looked out of the window to the stadium, I thought the EXACT same thing that you talked about in your blog today. I envisioned the party atmosphere of a gameday parking lot at WVU and then I thought about the anguish, the pain, the hell that people were experiencing on the hospital side of the huge glass wall. It was so freakishly quiet inside the hospital that day. It took me a second to get past the situational irony of what that beautiful glass wall represented to me. It represented an effect exactly opposite from what was intended and needed a few seconds to clear my head before I went to the waiting area to visit with you for the first time in 20 years. Four hours later when I left the building, I refused to look out that window. Two years later, the glass wall remains the only thing about the Ruby Memorial building that I remember from that afternoon.
Ken, I feel jealous and resentful about it too.
But, I’m happy to be in Ryan’s corner, where there is courage, strength and love. I am so proud of him.
It is a tremendous blessing just to know your family, and to be able to stand with you through this. The sacrifices you have made in order to help your son answer the age old question: what is the purpose of life? As you demonstrate every day, we’re not here just to live for ourselves. The most complete satisfaction we can find in this life comes from taking care of each other.
Ken, Sue, Kari and Ryan: Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives.
Debbie Shifflette says
So often I think of your family. Our son was a freshman at WVU when this tragedy occured. In a dorm that overlooked the scene. We were one of those happy groups tailgating at the game, never knowing how close we were to your heartbreak. I pray for you always and constantly remind my son and his friends of what happened.
Ms. Blasé says
Around 11pm last night, as I was sitting in bed, my heart became heavy because I knew that this day was fast approaching. Within a matter of minutes, a day that shattered the lives of an entire family was about to arrive. To be honest, Ken, I didn’t know what to pray or how to pray. I just sat there in silence for a long time because asking God to bring you “comfort” and “peace” seemed grossly insufficient. I couldn’t comprehend or even begin to wrap my brain around what it must be like to witness on a daily basis the aftermath of savage brutality. The intense rage that is beyond words, the exhausting sorrow that depletes the body of all its energy, and the ongoing flood of emotions that threatens to drown again and again. Eventually, all I could think to ask God for was healing… for all of you. When the attack was made on one, all of you suffered and so I prayed for the recovery of the entire Diviney family, that you all are made whole and may experience joy together once again.
Pittsburgh Here says
Ann H Tearle says
I could not have said it better….SH SP NGA.
That pain you attempted to encapsulate defies words, Ken. Those moments you wish you had back. If just that one day could be redone, maybe Ryan could have been in a different place, or gone to the Mini Mart an hour before or after. Something, anything, for this to have never happened.
I too, have envied others. People who walk beside their elderly dad while mine went prematurely to Heaven because cancer claimed his body. Those moms who pushed their babies in strollers while three of mine went up Heaven, unnoticed by the world. I’ve experienced the harrowing pain of teenagers wanting to get so far away from me (and they moved out) while all I wanted to do was hold them close.
It’s dizzying at best, and you wonder if the pain will stop. The aftermath is like an atomic bombing as Paula has said. And you just keep on going. You cope, you adjust, but you are never the same.
God has brought restoration in my life and I continue to pray for the same thing for you. But this day needs to be your day to express whatever comes. And any other day for that matter.
Gail Doyle says
And I pray for the day Ken ,when you are on the other side of window Always here Love gail
I think about this all the time. What happened to Ryan is a constant reminder of the freedoms in life that are often taken for granted that were viciously stolen from him. Rarely is there a time where I am really enjoying myself doing something normal like, watching football, belting out Carrie Underwood while driving down the road, or reading a good book where I don’t stop for at least a moment and think “Ryan should be able to do this.” While Carrie Underwood may not have been his artist of choice, you know what I mean 😉
Please know that he is on so many of our minds as we go through our day to day lives.
I keep the hope that he will someday, even just for a moment, have his only worry be the outcome of the game.