One final, but quite important, item before I shift my focus away from last week’s parole hearing. Thank you! The letters you wrote, on behalf of Ryan, made a huge impression on the Parole Board. My heart swelled at the sight of these, as the Board Member held the stack above his head. It practically exploded when I hear this is the probably the most ever received from the community. It was such an unselfish act of kindness from so many. A cry for justice. Good standing up to evil. A heartfelt action.
It meant everything.
Nothing I can say will ever come close to expressing how deeply touched I am. Nothing! It’s humbling to know I will always fall miserably short in matching your kindness and generosity. There is no reciprocation for that which is priceless. I can never repay you. I almost feel silly trying, but I must let you know how much it means to me.
Whatever Ryan has needed, you have provided. This all started the very first day. Beginning on that tragic morning when we needed you, but didn’t even realize it. You refused to listen to me early on, when I thought I could handle this on my own. Thank you for doubting me. Thank you for giving space, not leaving, and coming to the rescue. You allowed me time to figure it out. You were so, so right… I needed you to help take care of my son. I need you today. I need you for every tomorrow.
You give comfort to Ryan and my family. Every night when he lays his precious head down I know his life is better because of you. He might not know this, but he can feel it in the comfort. When I kiss his forehead each night before we quiet the house, it is you I’m kissing Ryan for… and I wonder if you are thinking of him too.
This is sappy, I know, but it’s worth the risk in telling you how I feel.
How many nights have I sat with my head in my hands, in complete grief and deep despair, and leaned on your kindness? Every night? Yes, every night that I can remember. It never goes away. I rely on the wisdom and compassion in your comments; you should know how much they mean to me. At night I often look up, with the room barely lit, and see the silhouettes of so many belongings that were given and know people care. They continue to care. What would we have done without you?
My boy remains relevant.
Sometimes I fool myself into thinking you are here because of me. I have a big ego at times, but not nearly as it use to be. Truth is, you are here because of Ryan and I am here because of you. You take the time to listen to me, even when I’m at my worst. Especially on those days when my heart is filled with hate, anger, grief, and despair. These are the days it would be justifiable to give-up or even do or say something regretful, but you pull me from my own emotional wreckage.
Some Many days I wonder why you put up with me (the same is true for Sue)? Like Ryan, I am better because of you.
I open myself up to you, and you (mostly) accept me. More than this, you embrace me. For my part to you, I write from my heart. I do my best to keep you informed on everything I can. I take you into this hell that was forced upon us, expecting to one day look up and see no one around, but you refuse to leave our side. Hell be damned! Oh yes, some have left along this journey but I can do without the weak. Thank you very much. They are replaced, many times over, by the strong and determined.
You know, I told my children so many times, to surround themselves with the right people. My fatherly advice to them was, “if you want to know what kind of person you are, then just look at your social group. ” (I use to say “…look at your friends”, but with the advent of Facebook and the like, “look at your social group” seemed more right). Hey, a parent needs to keep up with the times, right? True dat, Dawg!
It seems my advice applies to myself. It happened without me even knowing it. Yet, instead of me seeking you out, you circled around me. You are the right people! You attract more of the right people. The support continues growing.
Don’t doubt me on this either, the proof is in the letters to the Parole Board. We might call ourselves “Team Diviney” but it means more than just a name. We are a force to reckoned with. Woe is the person who incites our ire or outrage. Empowered is the person who earns our respect, compassion, or sympathy.
It’s humbling. I intended to write today to give my thanks and end up with more reasons why I will never come close to it, no matter how hard I try. Team Diviney is the best, because it’s made up of the best. You.
Sue F. says
It’s you who deserves the thanks and praise for what you do every day for Ryan and your family. And thank you for sharing your story – the good, bad, and ugly – with all of us. You’re a tower of strength and inspiration.
Ann H Tearle says
Ken! YOU, my dear, ARE AWESOME. We are yours for however long it takes….as written above, ‘as long as there is life in my body.’
Love U Ryan, Ken, Sue and Kari xoxo
Carla Liberty says
Beautiful post, Ken. And Karen, you hit the nail on the head my friend. SHSP, NGA! RKD YGT!!!!
It is a pleasure to tie into this site and learn the latest developments with Ryan. Because of the quality reporting and opinions shared by others, it has become routine for me. I appreciate you making the time to operate this site which has to be challenging with all that you have to do each day. God Bless you and we are praying for your family.
Its easy to send love and prayers to your family. What is hard is not knowing what to say, and not being able to ease your pain and sorrow. For people I have never met, you are family. And I may not write every day, but I check in every day and send love and hope and prayers. shsp
As long as I have life in my body your Ryan will have relevance to me.
Will Nier says
I echo everyone’s statements. I also first heard of Ryan while I was watching the Today Show. I thought to myself: what an awesome family.
My prayer’s started then and will continue.
Ken, for whatever it’s worth — you’re teaching some of us how to fight for our loved ones. So many people are afraid to do that — they don’t want to rock the boat or challenge the system. They don’t want to get involved — as long as everything is okay in their world, they see no need to bother. As long as their family is good, then life is good, and why get involved with someone else who needs help.
Thank God for people like you who are fearless when it comes to standing up for family and friends. I am honored to know you.
Love, hugs & prayers always
As long as we’re having a love fest, I’m going to share one of the most beautiful things I ever saw: it was Sue, standing with Ryan, out in the sunshine on a beautiful summer day. He was in his wheelchair, and she was slightly bent over, holding him closed to her. I thought she was shading him from the sun, so I made a comment about it, and next thing I knew, they’d moved into the shade of the house. That’s when I realized that the way she’d been holding him — like a mother duck, folding her ducking protectively under her wing — had nothing to do with the sun; it was simply a physical representation of her boundless and beautiful love.
You manifest the same thing in your writing, Ken. Which is a big part of why I, like everyone else here, is not going anywhere.
Ann H Tearle says
Karen T — So beautifully and poignantly written — i’m still in tears and awe over ken’s post. Crying as a way of life! Who knew…A
Karen T. says
Early on, when this first happened, so many rallied to your side. I have deep respect for your coworkers at the Sports Pavillion and for Katie, who got many of the intial balls rolling, even when she, her young self, was dealing with a parent battling cancer.
Some have gone by the wayside but many came on strong. You have said that you have lost your faith in God, but we are believing for you. You see, it is God who has sent those that have helped you along the way and those that continue to surround you. It is God who called good people to be a blessing to you and your family, whether that be a single moment or a mission focus in their lives. God even called those that have fallen off, he may have just called them for a shorter time period or they may yet circle back around to play some vital role in the future.
Sometimes God calls people for a brief interlude, and He calls others for the long haul. I think of a friend of Ryan’s that was so sad to move away as a high school sophomore from Ashburn to where else, but Morgantown. She and her family were familiar faces able to assist while at Ruby Memorial; God placed them there in advance for a reason. They put up posters across Morgantown and stopped in on your family at Ruby. Then Sue’s work friends in Atlanta that could assist during those exceedingly difficult Shepherd Center times. Letter writers, extended family, Ryan’s friends from WVU and high school, your own friends from college and high school, friends and neighbors in Ashburn that pet sat and watched your home, people in the community and business leaders that have helped with fundraising, people that visited, doctors that have provided medical care, athletes that have taken notice, local businesses that have provided financial and construction assistance, former strangers that heard of Ryan’s story and stepped up to the plate to become vital to your post-TBI lives, long term friends that will not forsake you, and the list goes on and on – all sent by God.
Even though Ryan, you, Sue and Kari continue to endure the unimaginable, please know that Ryan remains relevant to so many good people. We are still here and still praying, and we always will. Give Ryan a peck on the forehead from me and tell him that my entire family loves and misses him.
Amen, Karen. And I certainly didn’t mean to minimize the role which God has called anyone to play in supporting Ryan’s family. His story was more than just a tragic news story to all of Team Diviney, and that’s what sets all of us apart, no matter where we fit into God’s big picture.
Natalie Polzin says
We love you guys, more than we can say.
Yes, it is truly an honor and a blessing for us to love your family. Thank YOU for allowing us to join you on this most difficult yet awe-inspiring journey. And yes, we are always thinking of Ryan. God placed him on our hearts, and no one could ever take him away from there. I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to me to love my neighbor — your family has taught me what that love really looks and feels like. We draw our strength from you as much as you do from us. Woe to those who have fallen away from Team Diviney — great is their loss!
I wish I could blame spell check… but thank you for setting me straight on the “Whoa vs. woe” blunder.
Speaking of Ryan’s remaining relevant, I saw another Team Diviney jersey out and about the other day. It was an honor and a joy to write that letter.
Gail Doyle says
Ken, Thank you for thinking we’re awesome ,but there’s only one amazing and awesome person here,no two,no three You ,Sue Ryan and yes Kari too You all do the physical caring for Ryan, we do the easy part,thinking and praying for you all. You are helping us to see what truly matters in life and I also am thanking you for letting me get to know you and your family and meeting other wonderful people through you. Always here NGA love gail
John Maletta via Facebook says
It’s tough staying humble when you are awesome like us!
Carole Schroeder via Facebook says
I think of Ryan and your family every single day. You are the epitome of amazing. And P.S….you are a gifted writer, Ken.
Jo Hobbs via Facebook says
~ Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ ~ Galatians 6:2
God is good! He is love, and He has instructed us to love one another. There is no measure of the love we have for Ryan and his family and the thankful hearts we have for you and your writings to us. You are so good to keep us as informed as we are. So, we owe you! How does this feel? We owe you, Kenneth! There could be no greater friend, other than God Himself, who could be as great a friend as you are to us. We can never repay you, but we keep on keeping on here, and we are with you all the way. God is blessing you and us! He is good! I know you feel the love. 🙂
Always here with faith, hope, love and prayer.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of your family and especially dear sweet Ryan. You do this because you’re a Dad, Sue does it because she’s a Mom. Those values you instilled in your children are a testament to the kind of people you are. Who knows what anyone of us would do if put in your situation. Would we be able to garner the support you have. I first heard your story on the Today show almost 2 years ago, your tragedy immediately became mine. It was the humble way you asked for support, a family desperate at the hands of some………..well, we won’t go there. I’ve never met you or your family, but I love you all more than you know. I’m here because as a parent, I can’t imagine the pain you feel everyday. I cry and laugh with you everyday and every time I can, I try to make your burden less. Keep on keeping on and we’ll do the same. Hope Ryan is doing ok today!
Amazing!! That’s what you are!