Ryan's 7th Bday & The Fight For Happiness

You know, these last few weeks I have been seemingly happy. Trucking along through out the days and not really noticing how extremely anxious I've felt deep inside about September approaching. I have this really awful habit of forcing feelings down, down, down until they get masked thick with other things. Before I know it I am drowning, my mind goes to mush and instead of happiness coming easy I feel like I have to walk through quick sand to find it. It happens fast and I honestly don’t know until I know. I look back and I’m like “oh! this is why I’ve felt so damn numb and now I feel awful!” Then I tell myself, remind myself that I must feel the things I need to when I need to … or else this incredible fight to feel happiness will rear up again. 

My issue is, my son would have been seven years old this September and he isn't physically here to celebrate. Which quite frankly has been the case for his sixth birthday, fifth birthday and fourth. Every year I go through this crashing wave of anger over the fact that my son isn’t growing before my eyes. I now have to imagine what he would be like, the things he’d be into at this age and what exactly life would be like with him by my side. I typically feel more anger around his birthday than when I miss him during the holidays because birthdays in our family are a big deal! We have small traditions that have huge impact and most of the time our celebrations last a few days. So, I feel angry Ryan isn’t here. Though, I hate feeling angry for two reasons 1. because he wouldn’t want me to feel angry and 2. I can’t do anything about it so feeling angry sometimes just is a waste. Also, I feel guilty about feeling angry when I look at Mila and then look at my son’s face in photos … my kids are great I can’t feel angry right?! 

Anger is the feeling I mask the most and you’d think that after nearly three and half years with out Ryan this whole grief monster would get easier to slay. It doesn’t. In fact, the monster stays the same I just learn knew things about it, develop strength against it and so on. I mask my anger and I’m like “oh! this is why I’ve felt so damn numb and now I feel awful!” Then I tell myself, remind myself that I must feel the things I need to when I need to … or else this incredible fight to feel happiness will rear up again. 

This past week I licked my wounds so to speak, let myself feel what I needed to and teetered on the decision to celebrate big (like we always do) or take it easy this year, do something small and let the day pass. See! This is why I want to mask anger and sometimes sadness because when I let those emotions in and rule the roost negative thoughts take over. We nearly didn't do anything for his birthday. But I soon realized that that wouldn’t be fair to Ryan. I pushed negativity aside and decided to go big because turning seven is fun and this family deserves to have fun even if it hurts a little. 

I never really know how to explain what goes on in my head. I try to. I believe my husband can read it on my face sometimes. I am sorry if this sounds like a jumbled up mess. Though if you’ve lost someone you love, I think you know that life with out them is a jumbled mess. A mess that you strive forever to make sense of. 

“Ok! Enough already!” says my kids (and probably my husband too) get to the fun stuff! My family and I ventured to - surprise surprise - Disneyland for two days and stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. We’ve been staying there and celebrating Ryan’s birthday since the beginning and it just wouldn’t seem right to not. We spend one full day playing in the pool and drinking fun drinks poolside and the next playing in the parks. This trip we did a little bit of adventuring and found a fun fireworks viewing area on the top of the Paradise Pier hotel. That night will forever be burned in my memory. The three of us huddled together high atop the hotel watching the fireworks was just the best. What is it about fireworks?! On Ryan’s actual birthday we made it to the park before open and the cast members let us open the park for everyone! (I posted the video on my Instagram) The rest of the day went by so fast, but in a really good way. We celebrated Ryan the way we knew he would have loved. Truth is, even as his age grows with out him, we’ll continue to celebrate our three and half year old the way we remember him. Which again, stinks because I look at my friends boys growing older and get jealous. But I have to let those feelings go I guess. Well, I need to feel them and then let them go. 

And with that Ryan’s birthday has slipped by and I feel proud looking back at it. I tell myself, remind myself that I must feel the things I need to when I need to … this incredible fight to feel happiness will never cease. I learn that and re-learn it often. Though it is a struggle to feel happiness, once I feel it, I understand the worth of the fight.

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28 comments

  1. BirgitP says…
    09/07/2017

    They say time heals all wounds.

    I don't think that's true. I believe some wounds are so big they can't heal.

    But I do believe time will teach us how to live with them.

    But I do believe beautiful souls have the ability to turn the wounds in a magical memory so wonderful that from time to time, the wound almost feels healed.

    Xoxo, b

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. livingjuicy1 says…
    09/07/2017

    Oh, my heart is with you as I read about your feelings around Ryan's birthday. Celebrating him, saying his name aloud are what keep us mama's going who have had our child(ren) go on before us. I think if we were left on a deserted island with no concept of time our insides would feel the anxiety and intensity of these days: the angel day, birthday, Mother's Day and every day in-between.

    You keep writing, living, sharing, feeling ALL of it as you are because YOU are not alone and are helping to educate others on how to BE with us even when we are not sure of how to BE with ourselves.

    Big hugs to your THREE gingers and to you. I have been on this path for nine plus years and I can feel the familiarity of your words in my heart and SO wish that I had not a clue of what you were speaking of... Deepest of sighs...

    Hand in hand, Heart to heart with SO much understanding. Happy 7th Birthday, Ryan! You are deeply loved and sorely missed each and every moment.

    Joanie

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. jennistarling says…
    09/07/2017

    Being able to navigate between grief and joy is so tricky and seems impossible. There is no perfect process, no perfect words, and no magic button. Your honesty in this space is refreshing, it is needed and we honor it. You give us all a tremendous amount of courage when you choose joy. Simply thank you.
    xoxo
    Jenni

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. lenaathane says…
    09/07/2017

    What an incredible read. Your kids are so lucky to have you two as their parents !

    You know, when I find it hard to deal with various aspects of life , turning to your blog always helps. So thank you.
    Xxx

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. VictoriaStrong says…
    09/07/2017

    I understand. Birthdays and holidays are so hard. And the anticipation is sometimes worse than the actual day. This grief world is tough stuff. Good for you mama for finding your strong, your joy, and your pain.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. LifeByMeli says…
    09/08/2017

    I don't know if it's because I have a Ryan or because in general I'm a mother but, I think of you often. I admire your honestly and your desire to find happiness. My baby is now dealing with some medical stuff and some days it's hard to even get up. I feel consumed in what we are dealing with and I too get very quiet. This blog post was beautiful and positive and really helped me. You reminded me to keep pushing to find happiness even when it seems impossible. Ryan is one lucky kid to have such a loving mom. Happy Birthday cutie pie. I didn't know you but I'll never forget you. ?Thank you for sharing Ryan and all your real emotions with us.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Jentos1814 says…
    09/14/2017

    Its 1:30 in the morning. I have been up late for several nights playing my day over in my head. My daughter is 3 years old. Everyday comes to an end and I feel defeated. My husband travels. I'm home raising a 3 year old and a 1 year old. There are so many precious moments throughout the day. But all I can focus on is how hard raising a 3 year old is. The attitudes, the melt downs, the arguments, sometimes screaming, the up hill battle of trying to communicate with a miniature version of myself. She's only 3 but she seems so much smarter then me. She is as strong willed, out spoken, defiant, and loving as I am. And I battle with how to raise a little version of myself. I think about how I can handle things differently. If I'm doing it all wrong. If she's ok. If I'm breaking her spirit with all the rules, and discipline. 2 has nothing on 3. It's a tough age. But I stay awake blaming myself for anything negative that happen through out the day. Trying to empty my mind, I zoned out to Facebook. And came upon Ellen's video clip telling your story. I immediately went right onto your blog. Tears haven't stopped flowing since. You are an amazing mother to your son and your daughter. I will forever have your family in my heart. I took a break from reading to go upstairs and wake up my heavily sleeping daughter. She asked what's wrong mommy. I said nothing hunny I just wanted you to know I love you, your my perfect little angel, and I'll see you over some pancakes in the morning. She hugged me and kissed me and feel back to sleep. I stood over her crying. Inside I kept replaying your story in my mind. Tomorrow I'm going to wake up before my children. I'm going to make a big fun breakfast for them. I'm going to have music blaring. Because they also LOVE music. And I'm going to wake them up. And shower then with hugs and kisses. I am going to change my shitty attitude of this 3 stuff is hard. And make everyday as fun and magical for my kids as I can. You are an amazing women!!!! An amazing mother!!! Your husband is amazing as well. You opened my eyes tonight. It's like I was meant to see that post. Your son will forever be burned into my brain. I don't know if any of this is making sense. But I appreciate my crazy, hectic, awesome, insane, super magical life. I appreciate your amazing life, story, your family, your amazing blog, I appreciate your beautiful son and daughter!!! You don't know me. But just know your family will forever be In my heart. Anytime I see red, I will think of Ryan. I will never take a day with my daughter for granted. I know this post might seem selfish on my part but I couldn't stop myself from sharing how your story has changed my life, my way of thinking. I thank you for sharing so much of your life! #redballoonsforryan ?????

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Rudybeaz says…
      09/18/2017

      I am so happy this blog post struck a cord for you. Being a mom to 2 young kids is very hard - don't beat yourself up. We do the best we can even when we make mistakes. I hope your pancake breakfast turned out wonderful!

    2. Lham006 says…
      11/18/2017

      I love this reply. You don't sound selfish at all. You make it real. And your reply together with Ryan's birthday post did make tears trickle down my cheeks. Xx

  8. JACOROB says…
    09/16/2017

    Oh I fully understand and relate to ALL of your feelings...we thoroughly enjoyed our son-Robbie for 8 yrs when he started his eternal life with Jesus being his helper now for 23 yrs. I thoroughly enjoyed reading as you shared your thoughts and life of Ryan and while tears flowed down my face the beauty of helping another person through the gift of Ryan's life is so precious. Happy birthday to you Ryan may your life live on through your Mommy sharing!!! Love and hugs for you all, Karla

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Nannykaren says…
    09/25/2017

    We lost our boy 5 years ago on Father's Day. He was 28 so we did get to see him grow up with his 2 brothers and I'm so grateful. And so sad that he didn't get to finish his life. He and his young wife never had children. She remarried after 3 years and they have a beautiful baby girl which makes me so happy and so sad at the same time.
    There is never enough time for the grief to go away. The anger subsides, or the worst of it does. Friends of ours lost their almost 3 year old son, the youngest of 3 boys, 7 years ago. They celebrate his birthday every year with balloons and cake and a visit to his resting place. They adopted a baby girl a couple of years after Brandon's death. A friend did a family portrait for them after the baby girl was adopted and painted Brandon in the picture. ❤️
    When asked how many children we have, we always say 3 sons. Jay is in Heaven, but he is still our son. He is still with us in so many ways. I don't know if you believe in signs, but we've had so many from Jay that he is still close by. Heaven is not as far as we think. And love never dies.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. sunleft says…
      11/01/2017

      So sorry fo r you're loss
      Love never dies.!

  10. MusicalJillian says…
    10/04/2017

    A half hour ago, I had no idea of who you, your husband, or children were. I was scrolling on FB and an Ellen video came up with your visit on her show. Normally when I read a title that has something sad in it, I scroll past because I don't want to be sad. But today, today was not the same. I don't know why I clicked, but I did. And I watched. And I cried. I cried with you, I cried for you. I want you to know you are amazing. You are an inspiration. As you heal, you heal others. I was so moved by your courage that I looked your blog up. I've read about Ryan and what an amazing person he was. I promise you, and Ryan, that my family and I will make each day count. We will smile and laugh and be thankful. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for helping others. Sending you hugs!
    Jillian

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Verna says…
    10/21/2017

    I found your blog while at work. Probably not the best time to read it or to comment. But here goes... I lost my youngest son 14 years ago. He will be 15 in just a couple of weeks. I miss him everyday. To those who have recently lost a child, please allow yourself to grieve. I still grieve to this day and not to long ago I went through a 2 year period of self destruction, anger, depression and seeked counseling which didn't help. I was told I was going through the grieving process. I was so angry and it changed me. I am much better today but I still mourn for my son. I have two older son's that are still troubled by the loss of their brother. Please seek help in the early stages of loss even if you are coping with it. The loss you feel will never go away. But you can have a happy life if you allow yourself to grieve and keep your childs memories alive. My son's were very young when they lost their brother but they remember him so vividly. God bless you all.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Amberdawn2710 says…
    10/29/2017

    My son would be turning 11 years old this November. The grief never goes away.

    This is not a “club” that ever imagined I would be a part of, let alone survive everyday of my life. Trying to live through the pain has become an art to me. Not having one of my children here for their birthday is not something I could have ever fathomed. Birthdays are very important to my family, I grew up that way. I went into labor with my son on my birthday, that is also the day I found out that his life would be very short. Two days later he came into the world, only to leave it exactly four months later. So November is a month of anger and deep sadness for me.

    I just found you blog, I watched you on a clip of the Ellen show. I have read many blogs before and tried to find comfort in many online forums, yours by far spoke to my soul. So I wanted to thank you. Thank you for honesty and your real life experience with the grief no Mother should ever have to feel!

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. sunleft says…
      11/01/2017

      You are correct no one wants to be in this club.
      So we will support you in you're journey.

    2. sunleft says…
      11/01/2017

      I lost my wife this March and just now I can smile without 😢

  13. staciemac says…
    10/29/2017

    isn't it a strange yet beautiful and perplexing gift to have someone enter your life just at the right time, in the right way, with the right message. My son died in May 2017. He chose his ending with suicide. I know it's not the same kind of grief. But aren't we all mothers, fathers and families, grieving the loss of the greatest love we have ever known? I want so desperately to be angry. To rage against someone or something that did him so much harm, but how can I be mad at the sweetest boy I have ever known? So I am angry at the time that passes and I fear our next first holidays without him. Thanksgiving, Christmas, my Birthday and then his.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. sunleft says…
      11/01/2017

      So sorry for you're loss.
      I can extend my support with all the losses in my life my spouse this March know God will let you're son rest.

  14. CappuccioCarolyn927 says…
    10/31/2017

    I have been inspired by your blog, I haven’t lost a child although my children are going through the hardest times of there lives right now I find strength in your blogs and want you to know that you are so amazing to me. We lost my Mom our Rock in Nov 2011 and it seems like the years after have been filled with so many downs rather than ups with the struggles so emotionally draining with despair...... Thank You for giving me strength to keep moving forward to change the future’s emotional roller coaster!!!! We will always Remember Ryan💙🙏🏻❤️

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Heather691 says…
    10/31/2017

    I saw you on the Ellen Show, well just a clip and I’m so amazed at your demeanor and your dedication to others. I could never imagine what you all are going through. God Bless you on your journey, I know I couldn’t hold it together as well as you all do. He is now your angel who watches over you all and sits with Jesus, right in his lap.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. sunleft says…
      11/01/2017

      Agree with all you're thoughts

    2. sunleft says…
      11/01/2017

      True and your words I can understand.

  16. sunleft says…
    11/01/2017

    After I read your words I will never stop fighting for happiness.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. cozark says…
    11/11/2017

    You are so wonderful, you and your family. Time may pass, but it does not erase, my mother used to say. Her 4th child Ronnie went to Heaven when he was only a year old. In her day, it was "best not to dwell on it" and she did not talk much about him unless asked. She carried him with her always. She went through so many things at the end of her life with cancer but her focus was always on her children, all of us grown, and to ensure we were doing fine. Her wish for any help after her last days on this earth were for the March of Dimes because they helped her with Ronnie. I wish she could have talked with you but I know she would hug you, cry with you, maintain her faith as she always did, and let you know how much she admires you as do I. Thank you for how you have chosen to share your son's life. My mother used to get sad with October coming for the same reason. I know she has lots of hugs for him now and I know she has lots for Ryan and all the other children she meets. Thank you so much.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. AlvasMom says…
    11/17/2017

    Always sending positive vibes to you and your fam. Every day I am thankful. Sometimes the empathy makes me ask myself how would I deal? If it ever comes down to Mila being too old just one year at Disney, or for any reason, don’t let that be a heart breaking experience changing a tradition. Maybe she can choose how to celebrate his precious birthday one year. That bond you have with him, it’s energy, it’s solid in the Universe. Your loving energy is bonded with his, and his with yours. I hope you really can feel all of the love always being sent to you with positive, healing thoughts. You’re an amazing amazing mommy and Ryan and Mila are so lucky to have you. Stay strong and know there’s prob not a day, for the rest of my life I know, that I won’t think of you, close my eyes and send loving vibes.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. marianconnol says…
    11/17/2017

    I am a mother who lost a son to murder in 1993. My heart aches for you and your husband. Always know that you are not alone in your journey amd I will be praying for you both...God Bless

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. jessicaskype says…
    11/20/2017

    Happiness is all i see now I never thought that I will be cured from HERPES virus again. I have been suffering from a deadly disease (HERPES) for the past 3 years now, I had spent a lot of money going from one places to another, from churches to churches, hospitals have been my home every day residence. Constant checks up have been my hobby not until this faithful day, I was searching through the internet, I saw a testimony on how DR CLIMENT helped someone in curing his HERPES disease, quickly I copied his email which is drclimentscott just to give him a test I spoke to him, he asked me to do some certain things which I did, he told me that he is going to provide the herbal cure to me, which he did, then he asked me to go for medical checkup after some days after using the herbal cure, behold I was free from the deadly disease, he only asked me to post the testimony through the whole world, faithfully am doing it now, please brothers and sisters, he is great, I owe him in return. if you are having a similar problem just email him on ( Thank you and God bless you Doc climent Scott. [email protected] [email protected] contact him on his whats-app number here +2347036879479 +2347036879479.

    Reply 0 Replies

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