Live Loud ... Live Wild

Once we had the heart to start planning our son's service, I had it set in my mind that I wanted to write and deliver his eulogy. I didn't write it until the night before...and I just focused on Ryan as he was when he left us. It turned out just fine, and his service went beautifully. We had hundreds of red balloons that filled the church, lots of bubbles and ring pops. A giant stuffed Mickey Mouse held onto Ryan's ashes and large photos of our beautiful son smiled at everyone who came. 
Ryan loved balloons, bubbles and candy...he especially loved looking at himself whether it was in a mirror or photographs. While people started filing in and sitting down, I turned to my husband Dan and said "Ryan is loving this!".



Thank you to everyone who came. We couldn't believe how many people squished into the church to celebrate Ryan. It was heart warming and my husband and I felt every one's love and support. We feel so overwhelmingly grateful for the incredible people we have standing by our side and all of those who are thinking of us and praying. 

I wanted to share a glimpse of Ryan's funeral service and below is his eulogy & program. 


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We have a three and half year old son. His name is Ryan Cruz.


Ryan came into our lives at the tail end of the hottest summer we’ve ever known. They told us he would come out September 12…though the three of us couldn’t wait to be a family of 3 any longer. So, our baby boy was born on September 5th. Ryan greeted us with no cries, just lots and lots of fiery red hair. In fact, Ryan stayed pretty quiet until we got home…once we got home he made sure to make plenty of noise. Each day he showed us that even though he looked a lot like his daddy, he was extremely loud like his mother.


Ryan was never just a normal child. His personality lit up every room. He loved to be the center of attention and he loved to make his cousins laugh. If he wasn’t running full speed or playing sports he was playing board games or watching Disney movies. While watching Disney movies he would run and grab all his toys so he could re-enact the scenes. Ryan had toys for every movie, his current favorite was The Incredibles and his all time favorite was Cars. Ryan had every toy imaginable…and lots of shoes too. It was no secret that Dan and I loved to spoil our son. 


On a typical day Ryan would wake up before Dan and I. He would creep into our room to make sure we were sleeping and then grab his little iPad. He stayed quiet for a few minutes then he would crawl into our bed and yell “Its get up time!”. Dan would get up and I would take forever to get out of bed. As soon as I was in the kitchen making coffee, Ryan would come in and start grabbing things from the fridge to make his morning smoothie. He loved eating the frozen fruit and his favorite was picking out a colored straw. “I’m gonna have a geen one today mom.” he would tell me. Getting Ryan dressed for the day was my favorite and we would take photos of his outfits everyday. Dan always picked him up from school, and Ryan loved riding in “Daddy’s race car”. Those typical daily moments are what we will miss most.


Aside from Disney and running around, what Ryan loved most was his family. Ryan was very because, he was the only kid around with 3 sets of grand-parents, great-grandparents and more aunts, uncles and cousins than anyone. The best part was that Ryan had a special bond with each and every one you, and you all have your inside jokes and games with each other. Ryan has been known to play hard and he love hard. He loved giving giant hugs and big wet kisses. What we pray for is that you all never loose sight of the bond you had with our son. And may you always think about him with a smile. 


On Ryan’s last day we woke up early, stopped by Starbucks for a Chai latte and hot chocolate as usual, and then went to Disneyland. We had so much fun and he was able to ride the Cars ride for the first time. We ate churros and sent daddy lots of pictures and videos. It really was the best day. On our tram ride back to our car, I sent Dan a picture of Ryan just sitting there and a text that said “We really do have the coolest kid ever!”. Dan and I are so proud of Ryan, we will forever be proud of our son. 


Ryan left us entirely too soon. Although we don’t know the answer as to why he is gone, we can be happy that we were given three and half years with him. Our lives have been forever changed for the better because he came into our life. Let us take Ryan’s enthusiasm and spread his love. 




Together Dan and I stand here still a family of three. We have a three and half year old son. His name is Ryan Cruz. And we ask you to please, please continue to remember how incredible our child is. Promise that you will Live loud, live wild…Live like our Ryan Cruz. 


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Here are the programs, made by our extremely talented friend Heather of River and Bridge.






We also were able to wear the 'Sunshine Daydreams' t-shirt Ryan last wore. Thank you to my amazingly talented friend Sarah of Geo Fox Apparel for having these done for us. It meant the world to us. 



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207 comments

  1. The Good Life | Healthy Living says…
    05/19/2014

    Sending hugs and prayers to your family. A beautiful service to celebrate a beautiful and special little boy.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Harry's mom says…
    05/19/2014

    Ryan's mom, you just may be the strongest woman I've ever known. While we don't know each other, I want you to know that you and your son have a place in my heart. If I could take your pain away I would. Please find even the smallest bit of comfort in knowing that Ryan will be remembered all the way over here in Rhode Island. Keep blogging, we'll keep reading. Love, Harry's mom.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Melisa says…
    05/19/2014

    This is beautiful and Ryan is beautiful. We will forever remember him and his beautiful red hair. I'm sorry he was taken so soon. I am lost for words writing this. I wish you and your husband nothing but happiness from here on out. Ryan lives on forever.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Sarah Feldhaus says…
    05/19/2014

    I've been checking your site daily to see if you post and today you did. I am so sorry for your loss. He really did look like a very cool kid. My heart hurts for you two. Beautiful what you wrote.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Kaylee114 says…
    05/19/2014

    To the Cruz family: So sorry for your devastating loss. My heart breaks for you because I know how this feels. . I hope you decide to have another child one day. It really helped me when I was in the same situation a few years back. Of course, no one else can ever replace your precious Ryan, but you clearly still have so much love to give another child. Give yourself time to grieve. Please know many are praying for you. Hang in there. It does get better.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. ...jeanster... says…
    05/19/2014

    Your strength through all this has been such an inspiration. Your story has truly touched many, not just by those who can relate to your pain, but to those who admire your strength and the love you have for your child. You are truly blessed in many ways. Ryan is also blessed to have such great parents. God Bless your family. Ryan will forever live on through you both and through the hearts he has touched.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Bethany Lee says…
    05/19/2014

    Such a beautiful tribute to your son! You have been on my heart since I heard your story, and every time I think of you and the loss you have had to endure, I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I don't even know what to say because nothing I could say could ease your hurt. Just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. <3

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Jessica says…
    05/19/2014

    Thank so much for sharing these beautiful words. your son sounds like an amazing little boy. still continuing to pray for your family.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Salomé Cornély says…
    05/19/2014

    Such a beautiful and touching eulogy, thank you for sharing it with us Jacqui!! Be sure your amazing baby boy will ALWAYS be remembered! Ryan Cruz Saldana, the coolest kid ever <3 Sending much love and support to you and your family - Salomé from Paris

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. mali says…
    05/19/2014

    I have been thinking of you since I read Nienies blog a couple of weeks ago. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us. My prayers and thoughts are with you. What an amazing mother you are! HUGS from Florida. :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. MarcieLynnPhoto says…
    05/19/2014

    So sorry for your loss. Your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Beth @ Through the Eyes of the Mrs. says…
    05/19/2014

    What and amazing eulogy for sweet Ryan. He has touched so many lives. I will continue to pray for him and your family but I want to tell you how incredibly remarkable you are. What a blessed little boy to have you as his Mommy.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. connie says…
    05/19/2014

    I'm sorry for your loss. I had not heard about your blog or family until after the fact, but I can clearly see that a beautiful sweet angel had graced this earth, spreading love, joy and happiness with his bright red hair. I wish you and your family lots of love and light during this time--life is precious, especially that special boy who loved balloons.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Janna Foland says…
    05/19/2014

    I am blessed to have known about your family and see your perfect love. I swear to embrace the message of your sons life and to keep him alive in my mind and heart. The three of you hold a special place in my heart and at the root of that is love. You all are in my prayers...I send you love.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. carly gomez says…
    05/19/2014

    Wow…you are truly amazing, inspiring, brave, honest, and so many other wonderful adjectives! I have been looking forward to your next blog, hanging onto every iG post, and praying for sweet signs from our Savior telling me and hopefully you and your hubby that Ryan’s spirit is still very much alive and with us all. My husband and I have been speaking often of your tragic story and being a man and woman of what we have always said “strong faith,” we both admitted that if put in your shoes our faith would definitely be shaken. Questions like “what can beauty can come from this?” “What is our story or the plan for us going to be?” We can only imagine what glorious plan God has in store for you two and how we look forward to discovering his plan right alongside you both…well from a far OC to be exact. I know for us (my husband and I) your story has taught us what I think the most important lesson that I believe we will ever learn…allow your children to be little, adventurous, free, loud, and most of all be there by their side and enjoy it along with them. Although I do not know you personally it is so obvious through your blog and IG that your boy was loved to the moon and back…and more! His smile showed it all. My husband and I took our 2 boys (Gavin 3 and Owen 1) to Disneyland last night and I told my husband that it would have been so lovely to run into your sweet family of 3 while in line for Buzz. My Gavin surely would have gotten a kick out of Ryan and I am certain we would have joined into conversation as most mothers do. Your little man’s story has rocked every piece of momma heart, body, and soul! I am so sorry that it took the sacrifice of your little boy to wake me up and challenge me to be an even better mom than I was. I hope that the coming years you are able to meet and hear from people all over this world that have been so incredibly touched by your story and bravery through it all. I think of you, your boy, and husband often actually hourly to tell you the truth and you are in my prayers during my morning and afternoon commute. I hope you believe in your heart that the love and prayers will continue even as the days, weeks, and month pass by. Your boys’ legacy will live in the hearts of so many forever. My husband and I vow to be your prayer warriors for the rest of our lives. Great job momma from one mom to another I am so incredibly proud of you. Cheers to the plans God has planned for you guys! Hoping one day I do run into you in line at Disneyland and I get to tell you in person how truly lovely you really are. – Carly Gomez (ig name carlygomez321).

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Kristi Estrella says…
    05/19/2014

    Beautiful words... Ryan is definitely the coolest little angel shining down from up above!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Tara @ Beautiful Blendings says…
    05/19/2014

    You are the strongest most amazing parents I've ever seen. Ryan is always here and always making us smile. I hope you and I get the chance to chat again someday. I really did enjoy my time with you (and Ryan), sipping Starbucks and walking around looking at fun cooking & crafting supplies. It was a great morning and I'd love to do it again sometime. xo. Tara

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Shelby says…
    05/19/2014

    I came across a pic of your family on IG and was drawn to the Reds since I have some too :) When I read why a friend had posted your picture, I broke into tears! As I scrolled through your blog and IG in the following days I wondered why God would allow this to happen to a family whose love is felt in every image. Ryan’s program beautifully sums it up.I saw a comment that said it isn't about the amount of years lived but the amount of life lived in those years. It brought a smile to my heart because Ryan was blessed with two loving parents who have given him the best life. I have never been as broken hearted by a story of someone I do not know, as I do by Ryan. I know I am not alone in this feeling. I keep thinking what a wonderful soul he has to touch so many people. I continue to pray for your strength and I will not forget your son. I hug my boys a little tighter for Ryan and will let them live a little louder! What more do we wish for as moms than to be sure our babies are happy? There is so much proof you have done that for your smiling son.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Kaara A says…
    05/19/2014

    Praying for you and your family. You have such touching words. What a beautiful boy! Why things happen the way they do, we sometimes just don't understand God's meaning. I hope and pray the best for you!xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Sarah says…
    05/19/2014

    may the smiles soon outweigh your tears.you are forever a mama. forever ryans.so many hugs to you and dan.xxo

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. katie snead says…
    05/19/2014

    Your strength is amazing!!!!! These beautiful words are so true and honest and loving! Thinking of you all!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Angie says…
    05/19/2014

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful baby boy with us. This has really hit home with me as I have a little boy the same age as Ryan and I can not even fathom what you and your family are going through. I am so sorry for your loss but know we are all praying for you!!! Sending lots of love from Seattle Washington!!! XXXXX

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. bakingbetty says…
    05/19/2014

    I am in awe of your strength and grace and ability to be so very open with complete strangers. To allow us to share a small piece of your beautiful sons life and death. Thank you. Thank you for, without intention, reminding me to be thankful for each and every moment, for each and every breath. Even the hard moments, the bad days, the scariest situations; I am thankful. I am so very sorry for the pain you feel. I cannot begin to understand, but I hope you can take some solace in knowing how many lives you and your son have touched, how many perfect strangers have celebrated his life this past week. I see Ryan's picture every time I log into Instagram...and I smile because his smile is contagious and I feel like I knew him. Thank you for sharing him with all of us.

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  24. bakingbetty says…
    05/19/2014

    I am in awe of your strength and grace and ability to be so very open with complete strangers. To allow us to share a small piece of your beautiful sons life and death. Thank you. Thank you for, without intention, reminding me to be thankful for each and every moment, for each and every breath. Even the hard moments, the bad days, the scariest situations; I am thankful. I am so very sorry for the pain you feel. I cannot begin to understand, but I hope you can take some solace in knowing how many lives you and your son have touched, how many perfect strangers have celebrated his life this past week. I see Ryan's picture every time I log into Instagram...and I smile because his smile is contagious and I feel like I knew him. Thank you for sharing him with all of us.

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  25. Toby Palma says…
    05/19/2014

    Jacqui, from the bottom of my heart- thank you so much for sharing your baby boy with us. You wrote such beautiful words for Ryan. His spirit is awe inspiring and has touched people's lives from around the world, including mine :) Those of us who are strangers to your family still find ourselves loving your son- and we only got to know him through pictures and stories- a truly incredible little boy. Love spreads like wildfire- the kind of fire that exuded from Ryan. I promise to live loud and live wild in honor of your son. He has touched my heart and soul, and is here to stay. Mama, we love you. Keep loving fearlessly, keep remembering, keep smiling, and keep it RAD. You are an inspiration to us all! <3 Sending only good vibes everyday, and lots of electronic ((hugs)) from Arizona. XOXO

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