A perpetual ache

December 7, 2021

Losing Ryan

When I write about the loss of Ryan, I share stories for both myself and to offer a glimpse inside the life of the bereaved. I will never know Ryan beyond the age of 5, yet today I will honor his 34th birthday with acts of kindness. 

Grief does not magically disappear with the passage of time. The loss of our son carries a constant vacancy we are left to imagine. I was only twenty-eight years old when Ryan died, 28 years ago. And, even though I have discovered ways to cope, there are days when the truth of his death can topple me. 

His shortened life brings a perpetual ache to all that we have lost. The challenges and triumphs, he will never know. Each milestone of life highlights another missed opportunity, an endless catalog of wonder. Especially during the holidays, I know many families not broken by tragedy and understand they will never comprehend this ache and hope my words are enough for change.

Loss illuminates the value of time, encouraging me with this distorted view to reflect on the good. Tragedy presents a clear understanding to the finite days of our lives. Grief filters the world, and through this haze I recognize the choices in who I can be. Grief and sadness are a part of life just like love and joy. And even as the fibers of sadness slowly unravel my life, a thread of joy is there to stitch up the tattered pieces again and again.


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