With & With Out Ryan. San Francisco.

It goes with out saying that Dan and I go back and forth between hell and a somewhat tolerable hell. There are times that we can breath with ease, and times that we can't. Between the good, the bad and the awful are a few 'moments'. Moments that glimmer hope and give off peace. Moments that heal our sad souls a little bit at a time. These moments are given to us with the help of our family and friends walking this loss with us. But truly they are guided to us by Ryan as he works with God to help his parents get through. At least that's what I believe. I have to believe my son is working hard to make sure Dan and I come out of this strong and more in love than ever. Otherwise, I'll drive myself insane with continuously questioning things that will never have answers. I have to believe my son can see us. If I don't believe my son is with God, if I don't believe he is truly happier in Heaven...then I have nothing. Then his death will be a waste, instead of a lesson that leads to not a better life, but a stronger one.

When Ryan isn't working for us he is with us. I have to believe that too. Ryan was such an active little boy. He always wanted to be doing something. We always tried to be doing something fun for him. Sometimes I would feel like I failed him if I only took him to the park. I always tried to take him somewhere fun and then get a treat along with it. As a family we tried to take trips, even if it was just local. When we didn't physically go somewhere we would do crafts or cook something fun. Always up to something...

Now, Dan and I have promised to continue to do the same. We recently went to San Francisco (a trip we had planned for the three of us) and it was the first time we had ventured out since everything fell apart. At first I felt guilty. I felt guilty for going ahead with our trip. I felt guilty for wanting to try really hard to have a little fun. What kind of mother wants to try and have fun while she morns her son's death? These inside struggles happen quiet frequently and then they slowly subside. My guilt wore off as I thought about how my son would hate it if we sat at home all day. I thought about how he would get bored and get stir crazy. That is when Dan and made our promise to honor our son instead of let his life and ours fall by the waste side.

With and with out Ryan. Meaning he is with us in our hearts, but we are with out his little body. He is with us when he feel the wind blow against our faces, but we are with out hearing his laughter or tiny voice tell us stories or jokes. We are with him when we see things that he loved, but we are with out feeling his hands hold ours as we walk or run. It is like feeling okay and then its like having a knife pushed so far into your heart and all you feel is deep sharp pain. You shake with hurt and heartbreak and you think to yourself how are we ever going to do this?

Then we force ourselves to remember he is with us even though we are with out him. This balance is the hardest thing to learn. Thank God for our family and true friends. Dan and I went to college up in Northern California, that's where we met. During our four years there we made friends that have become family. Friends that have the most incredible hearts and the most selfless souls. While up in SF our friends rallied around Dan and I and made sure to help us create those 'moments'. Those moments that glimmer hope and give off peace. Those moments that heal our sad souls a little bit at a time.

And with that, as I have said before, Dan and I will force ourselves to travel and live.

With and with out our Ryan.


San Francisco has been a location that our family has been to a thousand times.

It was Ryan's first trip. And Ryan, we promise to take you everywhere baby. From here on out.