In a week we’ll be on the verge of another full year that Ryan has missed. It’ll be his fourth. From last month and here on out, everything is measured in fives. Until next year, that is. He missed his fifth Thanksgiving. In two days he’ll miss his fifth Christmas. In a week the new year will be brought in, with him missing it again. Over 20% of his young life has been missed.
Long ago I stopped praying for Christmas miracles… or any miracles, for that matter. I lost faith, but not after believing in God and His “bigger plan”, followed by a period where I was flat-out mad at God.
Now, I just don’t like Christmas. Heck, I don’t even like the entire season. A few years ago I accepted the fact that the religious basis for celebration was gone for me. I tried to embrace the commercialism of it all, but the magic was lost. Now, it’s just an annoyance.
Putting up a Christmas tree just seems like a huge waste of time. With every passing day it makes it seem even more so. It is just a day-and-a-half away and our house is still void of one. Sure, I don’t want the bother, but when will I find the time anyhow?Seriously, I might be the biggest Christmas villain ever! I’m like Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch combined… and magnified. There is no Christmas Ghost or Who down in Whoville that would be wise to mess with me.
Okay, that is a bit extreme. Just to be clear, I’m not anti-Christmas. Not any more than I’m anti-Quanza or anti-Hanukkah. I respect people’s beliefs and their freedom to express them. I guess what I saying is I won’t be embracing Christmas — be it the religious or commercial version — any more than you’ll see me lighting a menorah or the partaking of the Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup).
Still, I do want to wish most everyone a wonderful “Holiday” season. I hope the new year brings health and happiness to you and everyone important in your life. This time of year is special because it brings out the best of the human condition.
So, maybe I’m not the worst villain ever? No, I seriously doubt that. I’d never turn my back on Tiny Tim or steal the Who’s Roast Beast. If a tree brings happiness to my wife and daughter then I’ll make the time to get it up. Hmm…maybe a trace of the Season still lives on in me.
But you’ll have to excuse me if you see me bitch-slapping the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Sasha Shamshiry via Facebook says
I understand why you’d feel this way.. It’s heartbreaking, but realistic. I think a lot of people don’t realize that in a way- This is almost worse than death, because there’s no closure and a constant reminder of the loss- and a desire for hope even when it seems you should have given up long ago. I admire you for your strength and commitment to your son. I just want you to know that there’s so many people who do realize the sacrifices you make every day to care for him.. Even when you’re home alone and no ones watching… The physical, financial and emotional burdens you carry every day are more than most people could handle. If there is a such thing as Christmas magic.. I wish some of it would come your way. God bless you and Ryan.
Dennis allen says
I don’t blame your feelings one bit. I would feel the same way if my son was snatched away from me like yours was.
Hi Ken, lots of eloquent writers posting on your blog today. Ryan has attracted an army of angels who care deeply about him. They’re watching as Ryan heals. I can see him healing. He doesn’t look at all like the pictures of when he first came home. The changes have been happening subtly. But they are definitely there.
Well, the holidays will come and go, and someday we’ll be looking back on this one — the one where you bitch slapped the ghost of Christmas past and then put up the Christmas tree in spite of it all…the one where you held on to a trace of the season, and your son, wife and daughter experienced joy and hope because of it.
That’s the kind of magic that transforms the cliché of the Christmas experience into the wonder of it. You may not be embracing Christmas, but you’re holding onto the essence of it — relishing the time with your family and cherishing the love. Further proof that you’re more like the Grinch after his heart grew three sizes, and more like Scrooge after he got scared straight by the spirits of his past. ” it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.” (Scrooge) “This time of year is special because it brings out the best in the human condition.” (Ken Diviney)
And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling:
“How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
He puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before:
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store–
Maybe Christmas–perhaps–means a little bit more.”
Wishing you, Sue, Ryan and Kari a Merry Christmas with Love
Best comment ever, Paula! I hope ever reader will return and read this very special one! Merry Christmas!
I pray for you and your family each day. I believe in God, and I also believe that evil exists in our world. No one can say they understand the level of pain you and your family endure each day. All anyone can do is read this blog to try to understand, and then offer support where they can. I do hope this Christmas you are able to pause a few minutes and able to appreciate some good things you have in your life…most important, obviously is the strong family Ryan is blessed with. I also hope someday you regain your faith in God because I’ve found my days are better with Him being part of it. I also agree with earlier posters that God did not will Ryan’s tragedy to happen, it happened due to human beings having a free will, and some people do evil things with their lives that hurt innocent people.
I continue praying for Ryan and have not given up hope for his continued recovery. God Bless you and enjoy your Family this Christmas holiday.
Will Nier says
I think you have a lot to be grateful for. Ryan is still with you and hasn’t missed out on anything. Your are just looking at it in the wrong way.
Paula Dundas Hamrick via Facebook says
I understand your anger but God really had nothing to do with this one. Pure evil in human form did this. They should have gotten life in prison. Our justice system is crazy right now!!
does the “via email” go directly to you?
Rhonda Morin says
Yes it does. Depending on the work load he has going on he sometimes can’t always answer right away.
Ryan's Rally LLC says
Yes. It does.
You are so right Ken : ) You are not the worst villain ever, not even close. You are not Ebenezer Scrooge and The Grinch combined, and magnified – not even close. As you know, you are the most loving father – one who loves his son more than anything on earth. And after what happened, that love has but no choice but to manifest into these sorts of things, especially at the holidays. It makes absolute perfect sense, every day of the week.
I first heard your story when I signed the petition through Change.org. Our stories run similar lines. Our then 2 year old daughter was crossing the street with my mom and step-dad when two were struck by a car. Our daughter, Aviana, flew from my step-dad’s arms and landed on her head. She was severely brain injured, unable to walk, talk, or move.
As the seconds turned to minutes, and those minutes to months, and months compounded into years – it all becomes just too much. The heart can only take so much. And doesn’t so much seem too much right off the bat? Sheesh! As the primary caregiver, the day in/day out had a way of working my mind. It seemed I was in a a constant conflict. The push/pull of love/pain would battle on incessantly. A constant war would rage on. The holidays became the perfect recipe for complete and total sadness. We would do our best always to make the best, but still….there was underlying sadness always for what was. Where once she was the apple of everyone’s eye in public and beyond, she was now mostly the invisible child. And while I understood logically – the pain was there emotionally, nonetheless. I had to combat that sadness by starting Aviana’s Elves. Giving back to people in greater need was my only way to get through the holidays – to concentrate on something outside of our own situation. It became, and still is, my focus.
You have an element I do not. Something I cannot fathom – the way in which Ryan was hurt. I am so very sorry Ken. So very…
I am here to tell you, I’m with you Ken. I am with all of you, Sue and Kari too….in love and spirit. The difficulty which comes with the life of severe brain injury is extreme – every moment of the day, for sure. I do know the blessings are many too. Even though we recently made the very difficult/not so difficult decision to let our daughter choose to end her life, we wouldn’t trade the 4.5 years we had and all we learned and will continue to learn from her for anything.
This week and beyond, I am wishing your family as much peace as possible.
My love to you,
Please give Ryan a hug for me, and your best joke, but most importantly – let him know I wish I could’ve done it all myself : )
Rhonda Morin says
WOW Jen! May the Universe bless you as I hope it does the Diviney family. I am so humbled by my own grumbling. At least I have my beloved, his children, my mom and my furry babies. I may not have much else but I am thankful for them.
Rhonda Morin says
And I thought I was the Grinch. Actually I am just depressed, this too will be our 5th Christmas we have not done anything for the holiday. I am anxious for it just to be over. 4 Christmases ago we ate at McDonalds because that was the only thing open. This year we will do the same.
Your anger and hatred of this thing we call God is justified. Where would a God be okay with what is happening and what happened to your family? I say I pray for you but who do I pray to? No one. In exchange I send my heartfelt hope for you and your family to the Universe and hope that whatever power might be out there will touch you in some way.
I can’t even wish you a Merry Christmas because I know that means nothing. So wishing you a happy Dec. 24th and 25th. 🙂
Peggie Fairer says
Peace to you Ken and to your wonderful family. You have endured much. This was not God’s plan. It is a combination of evil and free will. The free will chose evil over good. Ryan didn’t go down that path…never did, never would, because he is made of the right stuff. And that is due to the fine parenting he received. All that you and Sue taught him, by your examaple, shaped Ryan into the fine young man that touched so many lives in an extraordinary way. And that just continues…what a fine example you have been to all of us in the face of this evil. How you and Sue take such loving and impeccable care of your son is utterly amazing. Ryan would not have received such great and loving care anywhere else. And Ryan feels Kari’s presence for sure…best kid sister ever he would say to anyone who would listen! With absolute certainty, we know that Ryan is grateful for his family and he would give the same loving care to each of you if roles were reversed, and you know it…because that is Ryan. You taught him well and you continue to do so. Ryan could have never imagined this happening to him, but he feels your loving presence every minute of every day and he knows that it is you doing everything you possibly can for him every step of the way. If he could form the words, you know they would be “Thanks Dad”. Then it would be “I love you with all of my heart. You have been my strength and I am lucky to have the best Mom, Dad and sister ever”!
Always praying…may God bless each of you with continued strength each and every day. Love, Peggie
John Maletta says
Hi buddy. As you know, I’ll never attempt to lecture to you on religion and what you should or shouldn’t believe. As close as I am to you and your situation, I still could not ever fully grasp your agony and anger. You have every reason to feel the way you do. As an outsider, I view the actions of Mays, Vantrease & Company as evil. I’ve also witnessed to goodness of our God’s love in the beautiful ways that both your friends and total strangers have come together to help Ryan (and your family) in ways that we could never imagine. You don’t need a Christmas tree and a bunch of overpriced crap from Macy’s to celebrate Christmas. Splurge on a nice bottle of wine, crank up the fireplace, and tell Ryan, Kari, and your awesome wife once again just how much you love them. No gift from any shopping mall will ever beat that, my friend! All my love to you and your family. Peace.
gail doyle says
The best advice and I hope you get to do it!
Evelyn Boxley says
I concur with Dana, and I am an eternal optimist, I believe in miracles AND I will not give up praying for one for you!!! It is amazing that you have such an extraordinary family, and you all have taught us so much. Not that that takes away your pain, I will be thinking of Ryan the first thing when I wake up on Christmas morning like I have done the past 4 years, I am sure I will shed a tear and again wonder if there is a Christmas Miracle that has occurred. XXXOOO Divineys!
Dana Heckart via Facebook says
The lives of many are touched by Ryan’s story. I don’t know Gods plan for you, Ryan or your family or for anyone but I have to believe that through your pain good will come out. I’m just sad it may not be in the way we hope for. It’s easy for me to profess the faith when not faced with the realities you are but I will continue to uplift Ryan and your family in prayers. Because maybe, just maybe you’ll get your miracle!
Deborah Jordan via Facebook says
I like the decorations on the front of your house.
Tim Ernandes says
Anger at God is not unusual, as the above post says. However, I believe it to be misplaced. God is not the only player. Evil is alive and well. I know from my own personal tragedy that God did not want this for Ryan, or for you. His problem is that He gives us all a free will. We are free to choose how we will act, and the young men who perpetrated this terrible act upon Ryan were not sent to do so by God. If God had stepped in and stopped it, He would have to violate His own laws to do so. There are many of us who have heard the voice of God and He is asking us to bring you peace. It is possible to have peace in spite of great pain, and that is my Christmas wish for you, my friend. I continue to pray for you and your beautiful family, and I ask God to bless you.
Jo Hobbs via Facebook says
Sending cookies when I feel better, ’cause, clearly, you have not had nearly enough (and neither have I :/ )!
PK Miller says
Ken, my brother, you are entitled to your anger. you have suffered as devastating loss as Ryan. Many years ago, when I was Music Director of an area church, we taped Table of the Lord, Roman Mass at an area TCV station. they then had interviews to fill out the hour. The guest that day was a clinical psychologist, the priest then the Director of the Diocesan Counseling Center. He talked about this very thing. It’s OK to be angry with God! God can handle it. God understands your anger. God can handle it.
I don’t know why such terrible things happen. why do such good people suffer so much and, it seems, the evil ones rewarded? I see it again and again. There must be some purpose to all this earthly suffering. I don’t know what it is any more than you do or anyone else.
You are all in my prayers this Christmas and always. god be with you–and again it’s ok to be angry with God. He can handle it!