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. Kristin Cogan says…
    05/20/2014

    Thank you for sharing your sweet boy with us. You can see how vibrant he is just by looking at him. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. MissySue says…
    05/20/2014

    This is beautiful :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. thelittleroomofrachell says…
    05/20/2014

    Hugs and love to you. So sorry for your huge loss.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Liz/ says…
    05/20/2014

    Love, Hugs and many Prayers sent your way! Remembering Ryan always and keeping you all close in my heart!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Jessica Quadra Photography says…
    05/20/2014

    Beautiful words you shared. I'm sending you love and prayers and strength.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Lhia says…
    05/20/2014

    i came across your story and it broke my heart to read that such a young and innocent life has gone to heaven so soon, i can`t imagine what is like, even thought i am a mother too, but the loss of a child is something only the affected parents can understand. I hope you can find a way to live on with this heartbreaking reality, knowing that you gave your son your all, happiness, love and attention, and he lived a happy life. All the best wishes for your family. I am deeply sorry for your loss. :(

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Tammy says…
    05/20/2014

    What strength you have to share your story of the gift of your son. Thinking of all of you tonight and remembering you in my prayers.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Tammy says…
    05/20/2014

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. This love is ours says…
    05/20/2014

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful words about your son. The way that you describe your daily routines is perfect. These memories are yours forever. There is definitely something very special about Ryan that captivates everyone who knows him. Although I have never met you, your family has been in my thoughts every day. I will continue to send positive vibes and strength for you and all of Ryan's family and friends old and young.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Chrissy Gaetan says…
    05/20/2014

    Jacqui, Reading the eulogy your wrote for you son, Ryan, brought tears to me eyes for your loss and had me awe struck by your courage and strength, what you wrote was truly incredible. You are incredible. I have never met Ryan but it is easy to see from his pictures the type of boy he was and the amount of love he was surrounded by, Ryan was a very lucky boy to have you as his Mom and your Husband as his Dad. I hope you and Dan give eachother strength throughout your healing and never forget the love that brought you together and the love that allowed you both to create your beautiful son. As you said, you will forever be a family of three. Reach out to eachother, hold eachother, remember together, laugh and cry and scream together...Don't ever lose that. Thinking of you both...Live Loud, Live Wild...from a fellow fiery redhead in Ontario, Chrissy.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Kay says…
    05/20/2014

    Your story touched me so deeply. Your eulogy is beautiful. Ryan was and still is a coolest kid ever. Thank you for sharing your awesome son with us. I will remember him forever.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Kim says…
    05/20/2014

    Sending love to you and your sweet Ryan from St. Louis, MO. I have two little ones, including one with wild, curly hair and a huge personality, and you have reminded me to slow down and cherish every moment. Thank you for having the courage and generosity to share. You are truly an amazing mom.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Maddydog says…
    05/20/2014

    God Bless you and your family, and your precious son.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Jude Ward says…
    05/21/2014

    Live Loud Live Wild forever! My thoughts and prayers go out to you and you're extended family at this unthinkable time. Sending love from London, England from one family of 3 to another. x

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Katie Gaffney says…
    05/21/2014

    Such a beautiful boy.. Sending you so many hugs from Ireland, Katiexxxxx

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. "AudRêve" en Scrap ! says…
    05/21/2014

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. "AudRêve" en Scrap ! says…
    05/21/2014

    Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still ......Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you for an interval. Somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. 'Death is nothing at all' by Canon Henry Scott-Holland.¨There's not enough time or enough words in a lifetime to tell to Ryan how we love him and we will never forget him. NEVER. He has changed our lives forever : every night since 2 weeks I fall asleep with my daughters in my arms and my heart thinking about Ryan. Rip little red angel.Fly, fly with you red balloon among the stars....Beautiful family of three forever. Jacqui and Dan, smile for him, he is happy ! Families are forever, families are eternalPromise you that we will Live loud, live wild…Live like wonderful Ryan Cruz. With all our love and prayers from FRANCE.Mom Audrey and Flavie, 3 years old, Nina baby 4 months and Dad Hervé.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. georgiesmummy.com says…
    05/21/2014

    Lots of love from Cyprus. You and your boy have touched my heart so deeply as I am a mother to a little three year old boy too. i dedicated a post to ryan on my blog because his story has made me realise how precious life is.You are an inspiration and I will continue to send you love.take care and be well.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. KaPaworld says…
    05/21/2014

    "The morning glory blooms but an hour and yet it differs not at heart from the giant pine that lives for a thoztsand years."Matsunaga TYou are amazing parents.Congratulations for the way of thinking and believing.You are so brave! Your little boy is a magical creature. Such a small but beautifull life! I am so sorry for your loss...You are in my heart and my mind all those difficult days! You and he...We sent you hugs from Greece.We have two Red ballons in our garden tree...Ryan's ballons...

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Andrea Carrera Melchior says…
    05/21/2014

    "Live loud, live wild" esa será mi frase de vida. Jacqui, Dan, no saben lo triste que estoy desde que leí sobre el viaje que ha hecho su Ryan. A mi me encataba ver sus fotos, ver el amor que le dabas a él y la manera cómo le diste ese carácter tan propio a él, no es solamente que era un niño particular, es también el hecho que tan chiquito, tuvo la capacidad de llenar el corazón (incluso de desconocidos) con tan solo una sonrisa, su mirada y la manera en cómo se notaba que amaba a su mami y a su papi. Gracias por compartir todo esto con nosotros, que somos desconocidos para ustedes. Yo no soy mamá todavía, espero un día serlo y espero tener un nene, es mi sueño! y espero que ese nene tenga esa ganas de vivir que Ryan nos ha dejado como recuerdo. Jacqui, miro tus fotos y no me puedo imaginar tu dolor. Quiero que sepas Jacqui que yo recuerdo a Ryan todos los días, antes me divertía tanto ver sus fotos aquí, ahora él es un angelito que me da mucha alegría y fuerza, lo tengo en mi corazón, los tengo a ustedes 3 en mi corazón. Gracias Jacqui. Eres la mejor!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Lisa says…
    05/21/2014

    I have no words. It's so beautiful. I will thinking of you, for always. I will never forget Ryan, I promise. With all my love

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Debbie Lloyd says…
    05/21/2014

    Beautiful Eulogy. It was a church filled with love for you and your family. You are a strong woman and delivered the eulogy so beautifully and from the heart. I could feel the love in that church. I will continue to think about your sweet Ryan and will live loud and live wild! Hugs to you all.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Michelle says…
    05/21/2014

    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing little boy. Your eulogy to him was beautiful. I'm so sorry that Ryan isn't here with you physically anymore. I do believe he is all around, embracing you in his love. Like you, I talked at my daughter's funeral. I knew her better than anyone else, and I needed everyone to know just how amazing she truly was. Violet was only 5 months old when she was taken from us, and we lost her in a very different way than you lost your Ryan. But, like Ryan she was taken suddenly and unexpectedly. I want you to know that you aren't alone in this journey. There are so many of us out there. Since I lost Violet I have stumbled upon an amazing community of grieving parents, all trying to figure out how to live the rest of our lives missing a chunk of our hearts and souls. I started writing a blog to process my overwhelming and all encompassing grief. It has helped me tremendously. If you are ever feeling like you can't go on, reach out. Reach out to us. We are all here to help you navigate this terrible wretched journey while you figure out how to piece together the fragments of your broken hearts. Sending so much love to you and Dan. Thinking about your precious Ryan, my Sweet Violet, and all the other beautiful littles taken away far too soon.Your friend and fellow grieving mama,Michelleavioletlifeforme.blogspot.com

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  24. Katie A. says…
    05/21/2014

    I have heard about your son from many different places on Facebook - he has touched the lives of so many people. Your eulogy was beautiful. I know he will be with you ALWAYS. So much love to you and your husband.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Regina Picariello says…
    05/21/2014

    This is so beautiful - thank you so much for sharing these amazing words you wrote for your son. I can just feel the immense amount of love your amazing little boy shared with you both and with everyone in your family - there are just no words for that amount of love. Ryan Cruz will forever inspire me to Live Loud and Live Wild!! <3

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