Follow along and read about how Ryan spent his final days surrounded by those he loved the most... his FAMILY.

You can follow my blog at: Our life in Letters to Ryan

May 17, 2011

A year ago today...

I still remember that day, it is so vivid in my mind. It was early in the morning and I can see the dim lamp on in the room, the shadows of everything else all around. I decided to crawl into your bed and say a few things...

During your fight with cancer, we talked about EVERYTHING and ANYthing. There was nothing left undiscussed. From the sad, to the serious, to the funny and happy topics, we talked about it ALL. But on this very morning one year ago, I still wanted you to know ONE more time how I felt.

As I lay there next to your tired, resting body, I began by thanking you. I was in awe of everything you had been through and the way you carried yourself through it all. Years of serious complications from your Chron's Disease, to your almost 1 year battle with cancer, you NEVER complained. I thanked you for your courage to keep fighting, when it would have been easy to give up. You continually remained faithful, hopeful and optimistic. You are an example that I will never forget and only hope to emulate as time continues to go on. I thanked you for taking such great care of the kids and I. You were our provider from day one, and you did everything in your power to make sure we had the things we needed and yes, wanted too ;) I was so grateful for that final trip we took to California just days before and I thanked you for giving me that time. I was so lucky to have found someone so wonderful and good to me. I was so thankful for the 9.5 years you blessed my life. I couldn't have asked for someone better to be the father of our children. How thankful I was for your devotion to our family. I know it was your family that helped keep you going during that last year and I was extremely thankful for that.

Next, I told you how much I loved you. I married my best friend, you truly were the light of my life. You made me the happiest at times and drove me crazy at times, but no matter what, our love was SO strong. I told you EVERY day that I loved you- there was NO doubt that I loved you with all my heart. But the moment the Dr told us this was going to be the "end," I made sure to say "I LOVE YOU'' at every chance I had. Every time you opened your eyes and EVERY time they closed again, I made sure to say it because I never knew when it would be the last. I love you babe, always and forever.

Then came the hardest words to say...
If it was time, then it was time.
I told you that I was okay with everything- you had fought long and hard enough and your poor body was SO tired. I wanted you to know that the kids and I would be okay. Of course we would ALL miss you like crazy, but that we would be okay. I thanked you some more, told you I love you some more and I am sure said a million more things to you, but those things are for you and I to always hold close to our hearts, remember and cherish forever...

I got out of bed, gave your head a kiss and laid down on the couch next to you and watched you sleep.

The rest of morning/day was spent watching your tired body sleep until it was time. Watching those final breaths was so heartbreaking, but lovely at the same time because I KNEW where you were going. I KNEW that you were finally at peace and could live full of life and joy until we are reunited once again. At that very moment, I had a peace come over me that has NEVER left and I am so eternally grateful for that.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about you and wonder what you are up to. I often find myself wondering what you would have done or said in particular situations and find myself laughing at my response. When I am frustrated with something, I find myself talking out loud asking you to help me out. On the other hand, when I am really happy and proud about something, I find myself squealing in excitement asking if you are just as proud and/or happy for the kids and I too. I miss having my best friend, my lover, my helper, my tease, my confidant, my peacemaker, my light and my love by my side, but i know you are there. At the end of the day, when I get into bed without you, I give thanks that I had 8 years to have you by my side.

Thank you.
I love you.
and of course...
I WILL see you again.
Love and MISS you so very, very much.

{Ryan's Life slide show}

Lastly, Happy Birthday to your sweet Mom.

Debra, I hope this day is full of love and peace.
Thank you for raising such a beautiful, beautiful boy...

With all my heart Babe- i LOVE you.


April 18, 2011


Ryan loved surprises.
He loved being on the receiving end, but equally as much, he enjoyed being on the giving end.
With his Dad's 60th birthday approaching and knowing ALL his siblings would be out, Ryan wanted to plan something fun and SPECIAL- Ryan's dad LOVES Western movies, guns and all things related. So, what could be better than a trip to TOMBSTONE, AZ with the entire family?!?
{Tombstone, AZ is formerly a mining boomtown and most famous for its history as a frontier town on the edge of the American frontier, the Wild West and the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral- borrowed from Wikepedia}

So, OFF we went...
Ryan's dad had NO idea where we were going, so he was pleasantly surprised when we pulled up for this:
The trolley ride was entertaining, informational and totally recommended!

Our next stop:

A fun place to eat and watch a gunfight

The Birthday Boy:

The Fam
~Families ARE Forever~

Aunt Anna and Hallie

The big Hess Boys:

this little Hessner was in his GLORY with all these guns

Yup, a sign for our very own Ryanstone Cowboy:
After the checking out all the shops, the trip wouldn't have been complete without some Old Time Western photos:

It was perfect: the weather, the togetherness, the fun, and most importantly-the memories created...

March 7, 2011

Time for an update:

I can't believe that I haven't made a "real" post since the BEGINNING of November- WOW! These final posts are definitely going to be hard and I think subconsciously that has a LOT to do with why I keep putting off writing the final entries.

We are coming up on Ryan's 1 year anniversary and what a year it has been. Looking back, I feel like Ryan would be proud of how we have all continued to carry on since his passing. There have definitely been many tears shed this past year, but also many smiles and laughs thinking of Ryan and the amazing life he lived.

I look forward to sharing the remaining final weeks with Ryan with ALL of you...