by Karen Tiplady.
Over 4 years ago, in February 2010, Ryan came home to Ashburn from the Shepherd Center. Ashburn was glad to have him back home. It took an air ambulance, a regular ambulance and some good neighbors that dug out the driveway for the Divineys. I don’t recall the exact date, but I can tell you that it was no more than two weeks after the region had been socked with back to back blizzards. The Mullee’s and other neighbors on their cul-de-sac had been pet sitting, taking care of mail, and watching out for the house. Good people, good to the core.
The Mesmer family had taken the lead on setting up the first home hospital room for Ryan – it had previously been the family’s study. The Mesmer family has been great to the Divineys. Katie and her Mom cleaned and decorated. Katie had run fundraisers and came up with the “Rally for Ryan” theme; she has run many more fundraisers since. Helping out those in need seems to be in her blood; she did this on a grand scale for the families of 9/11 victims when she was in just the 6th grade. Katie’s Uncle took the lead on building a handicapped ramp in the Diviney’s garage and my husband helped. After the ramp was built, Katie garnered the assistance of Kyle Boukedes and Chris Tambashi to paint it in WVU colors – gold and blue. The Mesmers had taken the lead in spite of their own troubles, Mr. Mesmer would pass away from terminal cancer within months, but that did not stop these good hearted people from helping the Divineys in their time of need. Good people, good to the core.
The ramp serves as a reminder that Ryan’s last normalcy was as a college sophomore at WVU. He was and will always be a Mountaineer. Kari has proudly followed in his footsteps as she became a Mountaineer too. I have a dear colleague who is a WVU alum to the core; she is the greatest sort, as is her husband, also a Mountaineer. The people of West Virginia take care of their own, and Ryan’s Mountaineer family has stood behind him. I have worked fundraisers where alumni chapter people come and hand over money; they never knew Ryan. West Virginians gave the Divineys their first handicapped van, that Ken lovingly referred to as “The Chick Magnet.” Another donated a shower wheelchair. They want to do what they can, and they do – that is what it is to be a Mountaineer. Good people, good to the core.
Doctors in the community come to the Diviney’s house to care for Ryan. They care for his eyes, his teeth and his body. One is the Dad of one of Ryan’s high school friends. Many parents of Ryan’s friends do what they can, sharing various gifts as God calls us to do. Good people, good to the core.
Business people in the community have come to the Diviney’s aid. Local realtors put together the Declutter for Diviney fundraiser. Koons donated a brand new state of the art handicapped van to the Divineys. Michael and Sons finished the basement off so that Ryan could have a better hospital room and a shower that he can fit into with a wheelchair. Blue Moon Construction built them a mini kitchen down there so that they can attend to Ryan; he can’t be left alone for even a minute. They also built them a deck and made a room in their basement. Another redid their landscaping, put in a patio, and installed a sidewalk. This provided a nice area for the Diviney’s to be outside together with Ryan as well as provided ease of access and safety. Paintworx painted their home on the outside. Another business arranged for beautiful outdoor Christmas lights to be put up and taken down. There are certainly many others that we don’t even know about. Good people, good to the core.
Strangers and neighbors have stepped up, people that never knew Ryan. The prayer warriors were founded by a dear woman in the community that learned of Ryan by reading about it in the paper. She felt that God called her to help, and boy have she and other prayer warriors done that. Paula is sweet and kind and so are all of the prayer warriors. Good people, good to the core.
Ryan’s friends stepped up, especially initially. Some posted flyers. Many visited. Some traveling hundreds of miles to do so. Good people, good to the core . . . but interestingly, many have faded away. It is too painful for some. Some may feel they have waited too long and don’t know how to show up now. Some may not feel like they are welcome. Some need to forgive. Some may feel that they don’t want to intrude. After all, the Divineys have lost so much privacy as it is, and the schedule that Ken has for Ryan’s therapies, treatments, hygiene, feeding, medications, and rest is demanding and must be maintained.
All of these good people, where did they come from? . . . and that is where God stepped in. God called them all. He drew them to lift up the Divineys. Many of these people never knew Ryan or the Divineys, but God calls us all to do something beyond ourselves, something to honor him. Some do not hear God, the still small voice, but others do, and for that I am grateful. Without those that God sent, this would be even more of a tragedy. God has not let them walk this path alone, rather, He has surrounded them with good people that do what is needed according to their own gifts, which He provided. The Divineys shared with us that they never knew how many truly good people there were in this world until this happened to Ryan. God knew all along. Good people, good to the core.
My husband said it best: “Ken may not believe in God, but God believes in Ken.” Ken would probably rather that God did not trust him so much, but, whether he believes or not, God has provided him with the gifts and tools to do what is needed for Ryan. Heck, He even gave Ken the best wife and daughter imaginable. Now that, Ken, is worthy of consideration . . . Good people, the Diviney’s, good to the core.
Now I ask you to consider where you might fit in . . . Are you being called?
My husband and I are personally asking everyone that we know to consider stepping up to the plate . . . especially those that knew Ryan in high school. Many of you graced us with much fun and pleasure by hanging out at our house over the years. Ryan was likely there . . . it was a time of great fun. We love people (young and old) and hope that we showed that to you over the years. We like to think that God gave us the gift of hospitality. You are special; you have a precious gift to share: you knew the Ryan that was. You can share stories that would bring his family great joy. You don’t have to tell the juicy ones; you can tell the G-rated ones, okay, maybe PG ones LOL.
You have moved on, graduated, started jobs or grad school, you may be living near or far – this is just as you should be at this time in your lives. Don’t hold back because it has been a while. Ken and Sue are parents, and they understand this. That is one thing that I have admired about how they conduct themselves: they never hesitate to ask us how our family and daughters are doing . . . even in the face of all that they have lost they still rejoice in the happiness of others and stand ready to support those who are suffering from their own trials.
Ryan, on the other hand, is stuck in time as a college sophomore. You have within you a treasure trove of memories that the Divineys would love to hear. They would also like for Ryan to hear those stories and your voices, could it cause him to react? . . . possibly comfort him that he has not been forgotten? Might you consider sending a video or recording? Holding a fundraiser? Buying something from Ryan’s wish list? Saying a prayer for Ryan and his family?
The Divineys are desperate to hear from Ryan, but that is not in the cards right now. Your memories can be a blessing beyond imagination to the Divineys. You can provide that link. I hope that you read this and feel called by God, or at least by Mr. T and me . . . and, yes, I know he is cooler than me, I married up. I like to think that Ryan would step up to the plate if the roles were reversed. You are good people, good to the core. I mean that with all of my heart.
Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) . . . Please consider whether you are being called. It is within your power to be a blessing, and I pray that you will.
My last post, What If?, seemed to connect with many people. It was one that I wrote as the thoughts came to me. I hardly edited it at all and decided not to over think what I was writing.