It has taken me a long time to be able to even post this. I hope Ryan is chilling in peace and knows just how loved he is.
What do I even say. How do any of us sum up a lifetime in a few sentences? Especially a life as vibrant and colourful as Ryans, it’s just not possible.
I never in a million years would have thought I would be trying to find such words for him of all people, and I can only hope I do him a fraction of the justice he deserves.
I first met Ryan on a hot summer afternoon on my front lawn in 1986, along with the dozens of other neighborhood kids. I remember specifically his glistening blond hair, his siblings, the McNamaras, all sitting patiently waiting to meet us. We were all fast friends and spent countless hours at each others houses, backyards and local beaches. He was always a super spunky blond haired, blue eyed jovial kid. He even taught me what the word “fluff” meant when we were 6, walking home from school one day. Laughing the entire time. For those of you who are unaware, to fluff, means to fart. I was beyond embarrassed to learn the real meaning as he laughed hysterically, at me. Ryan was frustratingly good at everything and meticulously organized in the details. If you ever saw his workshop or saw the way he skillfully and meticulously completed any kind of home renovation, it was clear the pride and precision he took in doing even the most menial things. Steeping tea? Exaclty 3 minutes of tea bag immersion.
We were very close in our late teens and throughout our 20s. I remember clearly the way he would flick the cornes of pillows and the laughter we shared simply just spending time together. Some of the best summer days and nights of my life were with him present. Countless days spent completely not sober on boats with John, Sonya, Breanna and Jeff exploring every hidden beach and bay up and down the lake.
I recall with vivid memory the day I texted Grace with him on my front porch on Cawston, so grateful to act as cupid for the most beautiful two souls in my life to connect. “you guys are basically the same person” I said as I suggested a more focused encounter. My heart is full in knowing that they shared the deepest, most profound love for each other, something I hope to one day taste even a drop of. I am comforted in knowing how much Ryan loved Grace, and how much she will always love him.
Love is what gives life meaning. It makes our days saturated with colour and our evenings filled with soul. Ryan was love, and his warmth, kindness and understanding was the glue that held so many of us together.
If the past few years has taught us anything, and the past few weeks startlingly so: it is that life is so incredibly precious and fragile. That our time on this planet, in this experience, surrounded by each other is increasingly limited.
I am comforted to know he transitioned to the next doing exactly what he loved, where he loved. That he was at peace and that he was, and will always remain incredibly, profoundly loved.
We have very little control over so much in our lifetimes, although we do a remarkable job convincing ourselves otherwise. We do have control over the amount we love one another. And I know Ryan would be so incredibly overjoyed to know that his passing was a major catalyst in bringing us all together, to support each other, to learn the value of deep, unconditional, everlasting, healthy love.
Grief after all, is just love, with nowhere to go.
I send all my love to you Grace, and Donna, Michelle and Mikaela and to every person here, every connection he has made throughout his life, to all of us who have lost a piece of ourselves the way I have, since he left this experience.
I am holding him to a promise he made me years ago that he would watch over me and keep lifting me up, forever. I know he, of all people, wants the most joy, the most peace and the most love for us all.
When it is our time to jump back into the ether, I am comforted in knowing he is waiting for us, with warm arms, stretched wide and his wry, kind, mischievous smile, welcoming us and we will know we are home.
I had texted him right before he died, and I was giving him a hard time. I wish I had told him how much he meant to me. Although I know he knew.
Please let those you love know you love them. Life is just too short.
My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone they hold so close to their heart, much too soon. It is certainly not an easy path. My life will never be the same.
For those that wish to donate to a Go Fund Me in his honor, click here.
To donate to CRIS Adaptive Adventures, a program that helped his brother who recently passed of cancer, click here.