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.
Amber Autumn Equerme via Facebook says
Happy birthday, Ryan! My heart is with you and your friends and family today and every day! I have 2 children age 10 and 8, both boys. I shared your story with them in hopes that awareness and compassion can prevent future and current generations from continuing such random and senseless acts of life-altering violence. God bless you all for your love, strength, and HOPE.
Tammy Lindsay via Facebook says
Birthday wishes for Ryan!!! Spreading the word to keep Ryan’s story “relevant”!!!
Happy Birthday Ryan! We think about you often and pray for you daily. God Bless you and yor family.
Singing to Ryan in American Sign Language:
Happy Birthday Ryan!!!!
Please do know that I do think of Ryan every single day and wonder how he is doing. You, Ryan and the rest of your family has taught me so much.
Here’s hoping that Ryan will return to you and your family, soon!
The joy I feel that Ryan is with us to celebrate another birthday is surely tempered by heartache, but my gratefulness to our almighty God is what I am feeling most today. So let us thank Him for His continual healing of our beloved Ryan. I pray that every one of us can let the tears fall and allow our heartache to vaporize as we fully realize that our gracious God and Lord Over All is in control. And, Friends, I am here as a witness to tell you, He answers prayers and miracles happen.
I hope your celebration of Ryan’s birth is a wonderful time for all — wish we could join in! It is a beautiful day for a birthday with the cooler air and Autumn moving in tinging the leaves with just a bit of color. A beautiful day, indeed!
Always here with thanksgiving, faith, love, and prayers. Always there in thought and spirit.
Kathryn Beggs Howlett via Facebook says
Thinking of Ryan today, as every day. Sending strength and prayers.
First and foremost, Happy birthday Ryan.
While reading this post I felt a fraction of your pain. I have to say. I live in Texas. Most likely will die here never getting to your part of the world. Ryan would probably never had made it to mine. And here are my wishes. I wish I had never heard of Ryan. I wish you never would have made this page. I wish all these people weren’t making comments about loving Ryan, praying for Ryan, donating money or supplies to Ryan. I wish I had never heard Ryan’s name. I wish I had never heard your name or sues name. I would be blissful in my life never knowing you, your son, your daughter or what the inside of your house looks like, or even what your dog looks like.
If I didn’t know these things that would mean Ryan would be okay and you never would have had to make this page for him. You would most likely have a normal “Kens quotes” Facebook page. You wouldn’t have had to build a page that extended your family to people you would probably never meet. I know that must make you angry and hurt sometimes. Not because of the new family you have, but the way you acquired us in your life.
But I also have to say, if this is the way it has to be, I’m glad to know you, Sue, Ryan, and Kari. You’re family has made me a better person. Your family has made me appreciate and love my children that much more. Thank you for that wonderful gift.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful blessed loving day.
Will Nier says
Ryan, Happy Birthday. Did you ever imagine that your life would touch so many people and make us better for knowing you. God Bless and God Bless you family.
Gail Doyle says
Ken, Ryan does know this day is special for him ,because of all the love care and devotion given by you Sue and Kari.Please tell Ryan we wish we could be there to sing to him and to try to help you all get through the day.WE’re ALWAYS there in spirit and thoughts and will ALWAYS keep Ryan relevant in any way possible
Jane H says
Ken, as we work on the “Declutter for the Divineys” sale, we have seen countless ways that Ryan is relevant. So many times I have heard “Ryan’s story touched my heart. I brought everything I could find.” The boys from Broad Run who are helping us unload the cars and pickup heavy donations came to me to volunteer, I didn’t even have to ask. The exact quote from a senior in high school: “I said I’d do it as soon as I heard about it. I want to help Ryan.” I’m sitting right now in the middle of all of the donations we’ve collected so far knowing, without a doubt, that Ryan is relevant. I hope you can really know that today, too, on his birthday. Happy Birthday, Ryan!
Happy Birthday to Ryan! Ken, I just know your son can feel the love from you and your entire family. He is blessed to have all of you as you are blessed to have him.
Happy birthday Ryan! I’ll I’ve a special lets go Mountaineers just for you this weekend when I head down to the game.
Ken, I was sitting at work and my mom forwarded me and article from the Dominion Post. Another man has been assaulted in Morgantown and now has brain injuries. Something needs to be done so that this wont happen to anyone else.
Lori Langpaul Beebe via Facebook says
Thinking of Ryan everyday and especially today on his 23rd birthday. Beautiful weather for you all today Ken. I hope you and Ryan can get outside and enjoy it a bit. Happy Birthday – we love you.
Sheila Hawkins via Facebook says
Natalie Liberty via Facebook says
Thinking of you, Kari, Mrs. Diviney and especially Ryan today and every day. <3
Jenny Regalia says
Sending Birthday XOXOXOXOXOXO to you all, on this day that we Celebrate the Life of Ryan!!!!!
Helen Causin says
Happy Birthday Ryan!!
My Birthday Wish for you Ryan is relaxing time outside in the sun today listening to the birds and some quiet music.
It is a beautiful day! To Ken, Sue and Kari, after your Happy Birthday song to Ryan blow out the candle and have a family cry and melt down. You deserve and need it. God bless you Divineys on this incredibly hard day. Always, always thinking of you.
Ginger Henry via Facebook says
Happy Birthday to Ryan……I just feel so sorry for Ryan…..God BLess
Hello Ken, your words convey a sadness that reverberates throughout our souls. I wish I was there to give you, Ryan and Sue big hugs. With everything in your being, you and Sue are giving Ryan all the love and strength he needs to heal. Your love is very powerful, and I fully believe Ryan feels it and receives comfort from it. I can only imagine how difficult this day must be for you — contemplating all the memories of days gone by. It is so very hard. It’s a deep wound that you put a bandaid on every day just to keep going. But the wound doesn’t heal and the bandaid hardly covers it. We are all here to keep you and your family surrounded with love, support, encouragement and prayers. We are hurting too, but like you, Sue, Kari and Ryan, we are not giving up.
I will keep my faith alive for Ryan’s healing, believe in the hope of a miracle and in the promises of God’s mercy and grace for your beautiful family. Along with you, Sue and Kari I will continue to search for ways to keep your precious son relevant. And I will fight on his behalf to nuture and protect him.
To Ryan, you are an important part of our lives, prominent in our thoughts, and loved in our hearts.
Happy Birthday to you, dear one. What eyes cannot see, the spirit can feel; our divine destiny, no one can steal.
The world is a better place because you are here.
Love & prayers, hugs, still believing
We celebrate and honor your precious son with you today — his life, created by the God who still loves him beyond measure, and the incredible young man of impeccable character and integrity whom you and Sue raised him to be and continue to care for so lovingly. I believe with all my heart that Ryan is still fully aware of that love, and will someday be able to thank you in some way for keeping him so healthy and relevant. I pray that this is Ryan’s year for ever greater strides in his recovery, and also that you and Sue will experience some special blessings to renew your hope, strength and faith today. We love you all and send Ryan lots of germ-free birthday hugs and kisses today.
Mary Galitz Stancik via Facebook says
Happy Birthday Ryan!!
Karen T. says
Happy birthday, Ryan – I miss you young man
Cheryl O. says
Thinking of you all today and everyday. Sending lots of love from across the way…
Stephanie Davis says
Happy Birthday Ryan…Sue and Ken, 23 years ago you brought a beautiful boy into the world. From what I have learned about Ryan and your family, I am certain that he has touched many lives and hearts, as you both have by sharing Ryan’s story with the world. I join you in celebrating Ryan’s birth for the impact he had on his family, friends and community before the beating…and although we all wish and wish and pray that we could go back to that night, change his plans and make the future different, please know that your sweet Ryan is relevant…that his being here and by you and Sue sharing your hearts, your souls and Ryan’s story that you ARE making a difference in many people’s lives through Ryan’s experience…I know that Ryan knows you are there, every second of every day…and especially today, I know that he knows you are celebrating the day he joined your family, a blessing unknown to you and Sue until he was born…I won’t even try to say I can imagine the pain this causes you and your family, because I can’t…but I know that there is so, so, so much love in that house that there is no way that Ryan isn’t feeling it, enveloped in it and I believe is healing from it. I celebrate Ryan’s birthday…I know he is a remarkable young man because he has two incredible people as his parents.
Ann H Tearle says
Ah, beautifully put, Stephanie. Happy 23rd Birthday, Ryan. God bless you and the Family, today and always. SHSP NGA NEVER GIVE UP. Love to you all, Annie
Terry Mathess Nicholson via Facebook says
Wishing you a Happy Birthday Ryan
Cassia Kerns-Scott via Facebook says
What a blessing, Happy Birthday Ryan!!!!!!
Heidi Ritsch Ryan via Facebook says
Happy Birthday Ryan!!
Kelly Berry says
Happy Birthday sweet Ryan. God Bless you Ken — you are amazing. I read your blog everyday. Even though I don’t know you I feel like I do. My kids go to WVU.
Thinking of you today…
Julie Bragg via Facebook says
Happy Birthday Ryan!!!! Thinking of you on your special day!!!
Sandy Martin says
Happy Birthday Ryan..SHSP
Mary Condy Mitchell via Facebook says
Ryan, feel the love, especially today! Happy 23 Birthday! And I know you’ll fulfill your Dad’s wish!
Sarah LaPointe Salisbury via Facebook says
Happy birthday Ryan
A wonderful job. Super helpful inrafmotion.
Chrystal Chrissy Keplinger via Facebook says
Happy Birthday Ryan
Jane Martellino says
Ken and Sue,
You wrote: “Meanwhile, inside I will wish for him to one day to return to full happiness. To one day return to us.”
We join you in your birthday wish for Ryan.
Jane and YGR Group
Happy Birthdy Ryan! I am singing to you, good thing you cant hear me, It is not good. Love Becky and Courtney
Thinking of your family not just today but everyday!
Jaimi Dean Franus via Facebook says
Love and constant blessings to Ryan, you and Sue today<3