Ahhhhhh….FUCK! I was watching the Today Show this morning and Matt Lauer said he considered swearing a lazy form of communication because the speaker isn’t attempting to find a more creative way to express themselves. Well, Matt, sometimes there isn’t a more creative word. Sometimes the mother of all swear words expresses my sentiment exactly how it needs to be expressed.
One month and 2 days ago was the worst day of my life. Ryan, my husband of 13 years, passed away and today would have been his 40th birthday. The man who gave me (albeit with a little of my help) two of the most wonderful children. We had our rough patches. Every marriage does, but we knew how to be parents and we were good at it together and apart. Ryan was an amazing dad. There isn’t a better way to put it. He loved his children more than anything.
Ryan and I weren’t living together when he passed. It’s shocking how fast any differences we had, vanished when I received that horrible phone call on August 18th. All I could think of was how my children lost their father, I lost my best friend and the one person who truly knew me better than anyone else.
I keep thinking of cleaning out his condo and the one, unopened bag of Goldfish crackers I found. Yes, he had other food, but it was that sole bag of crackers that continues to break my heart in two. Not more than a week before Ryan passed away, Rory was at his house, swimming. Ryan texted me that Rory was ready to come home because he didn’t “have good enough snacks”. That was the last time Rory had been there and Ryan had gone out to get those Goldfish for the next time that he came over. I brought those crackers home and I listened from the living room as the kids ate them in the kitchen. Not knowing their dad had bought those for them. I cried silent tears as they happily munched their snack.
I was anxious about today. I had no idea how it was going to effect me. The fact that Ryan died a month before his 40th birthday isn’t lost on me. I am 2 months older than Ryan and every year between July 29th and September 20th, there were a lot of jabs about me being his “Old Lady”. And now he’s permanently stickin’ it to me! (That’s a George Costanza reference for those keeping track.)
One thing that Ryan wouldn’t have wanted is for me, the kids, his family, or his friends to wallow around and mourn him. I know this because when his dad died in October of 2009, we talked a lot about what we would want when we passed. In some ways, I am most grateful for those conversations because I know what he wanted and I know how he felt about death and dying. We joked a lot that I would be the first to go because of the whole kidney failure thing. It’s funny how you can joke about that stuff when you’re in your 30’s. I think I felt more invincible in my 30’s than I did as a teenager. I don’t feel that way anymore.
So on this 20th day of September, I am thankful for me and Ryan’s friends far and wide for the texts, the cards, the cakes, the balloon, the flowers, the messages, the hugs and the friendship. I’m thankful for his family for being my connection to Ryan and for holding on to more memories to share with our children. I am thankful for my family for always considering Ryan part of our family even before “he put a ring on it”. I’m thankful for Ryan’s lifelong friends for continuing to send me text messages and sharing their memories with me. But I’m most thankful for Kamryn and Rory. Those kids are our greatest accomplishment and the pain I feel that Ryan won’t walk our beautiful daughter down the aisle on her wedding day or see Rory’s face when he becomes a father himself is unimaginable.
I like to imagine that Ryan is looking down on us from the star that Rory and I picked out. That he smiles when I laugh, he shakes his head when Rory is doing something Rory-like and he’s showing his proud dad face when Kamryn brings home that perfect report card. Our love for you will never end and we will always feel your love from above.