Our daughter arrived in Morgantown from Blacksburg on the morning of November 7, 2009. She went to Ruby Memorial, all of the friends did. Everyone was in shock. It was inconceivable; how, in an instant, could this have happened? She told us that she was so incredibly sad for the Divineys. She also said that if anyone could come through this it would be “Diviney” – prophetic words.
The operation to remove a piece of Ryan’s skull was complete. They got to see Ryan, he still looked like himself. He still had the softness in his face . . . it was before the constant [neurological] “storming” would take its toll. The swelling of his brain was so great that they couldn’t even see that a huge chunk of his skull was missing.
Now it was wait and see. Would he regain consciousness? Our daughter and her boyfriend travelled from Blacksburg to Morgantown one more time to see Ryan and the Divineys. In the meantime the Divineys began the arduous process of deciding next steps for Ryan; they decided that Ryan would transfer to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
Once Ryan was transferred our family knew that we needed to go there, and so we did. We packed up and drove to Atlanta with our daughter and her boyfriend. I had tried to prepare myself by asking our daughter how Ryan had looked when she had seen him at Ruby Memorial. I also psyched myself up to not cry when I got there; I told myself that if Ryan could understand anything that the last thing he would need was to have someone scare him even more by crying. I also wanted to be strong for the Divineys; their focus needed to be on Ryan and not some blithering friend.
Nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to see. As we entered the room our focus was immediately drawn toward Ryan. And there he was, with a huge chunk missing from his skull. It was sunken in to the point that I liken it to when a melon has been cut, except that there was skin was covering the area. His eyes seemed closed and sunken, his arms and legs outstretched and tight – tighter than you can imagine – tight enough to break bone if therapy were not already underway.
I have cried for Ryan so many times since. Quite honestly, so have my husband and our daughters. One simply cannot meet Ryan without wanting to cry. Even if you resist, at least upon first meeting Ryan, I can’t imagine the person that doesn’t cry the second you get to a private place, whether you are a woman or a man. His state is incredibly unimaginable. Profoundly injured does not even begin to describe the horror that is.
It takes your breath away . . .
It seems unreal that parents can send off someone so promising to college . . . and get him back in a state where the simple act of wiggling a finger or squeezing a hand when asked is cause for celebration. But they continue to believe, they continue to encourage, as long as Ryan does not give up fighting then neither will they. They will not forsake Ryan. That is it in a nutshell. Nothing more, nothing less, all in, “we got this.”
. . . and boy do they. The Diviney’s are relentless in their pursuit of what is best for Ryan. Ken has set a new standard of care for those with TBI. Ryan is impeccably well cared for – Ken does not miss a trick and is unwavering in his commitment to his family and Ryan.
Ryan, Ken, Sue and Kari are the core of Team Diviney, but it is difficult to express how truly and deeply in my heart how much I desperately wish that there was no need for Team Diviney.
I would love to have back the regular old Diviney’s of yesteryear. The nice family down the street, the Dad that stopped to load my daughter’s “too big” project into his van, the daughter that played on my husband’s softball team, the Mom that always smiled and waved as she drove by our house and that I sometimes commuted with on a bus and the metro over the years. Just normal folks, just like us . . .
. . . and that is why it is so unbelievable when something like this happens to someone who you know. This is the type of thing that happens to other people, you know, people who you don’t know. But, wait a minute, if it can happen to one of our neighborhood boys then maybe it can happen to us .
. . and so goes the randomness of life.
There but by the grace of God go us. Count your blessings and pray for Ryan. I have found through praying for Ryan that I really never fathomed how almost all of us do not appreciate what we have. Ryan has taught me that the blessing of normalcy is a blessing indeed.
And, speaking of God, how could this happen. Ken has shared how he cannot believe in God now. That is something to ponder on another day.
In the meantime, I truly believe that God has sent numerous people to the side of the Divineys. I sincerely hope that our family has done all that God has called us to do.