It is amusing to me how many off the wall, random comments I am getting from well intentional folks! Seriously, it kind of makes me giggle, which is a good thing right now! I’m not making fun of anyone or even upset in the slightest. It’s not an easy situation to be in as a supporter either. I have been in your shoes before, not knowing what to say or do for my friend who I love so much that just lost a child. I also find it funny that I am feeling the need to comfort everyone else and put them at ease around me. All in all, there is not a rule book to death and how to treat those grieving (well actually there is—another thing I find very amusing), but I hope that my friends will still treat me as me. I’m a tough cookie ya know!!!! I am still getting calls about Ryder’s services and appointments. Today, after I informed Ryder’s case manager of his passing, I took her completely by surprise. I adore this woman, immensely, but her immediate response was, “Oh, I hope you guys get better soon!” I am also getting the loving advice that I must take care of my other children now, I need to take care of myself, I need to get counseling and that luckily, I have other children to live for.” Yep, I received all those comments, from more than one person! Really though, I’m just reflecting and finding some humor out of a situation that isn’t humorous at all. It’s one of my ways of coping I guess.
The morning after Ryder passed away, Les and I went to the mortuary to make all the arrangements. There was a showcase room of caskets and urns. I hated being there. We looked through books and displays of memorabilia. Only one urn jumped out at Les and I. We also plan on having jewelry made for each of us in memory of Ryder (and also tattoos!!) I wrote an inscription for his urn. That was so hard. I love to write, but this was permanent and I needed it to be perfect. I usually just write what’s on my mind, not something well thought out and permanent! I’m very happy with what I came up with though.
Ryder Cash Hauer
September 5th, 2009-August 22nd, 2012
On the Field of Dreams, we’ll meet again
Where we’ll never have to part
We’ll play and dance in the raindrop colors,
And climb and jump on the clouds floating by
We’ll sing sweet songs with the band of angels
And cuddle and snuggle darling baby of mine
Until then little teacher, fly as high as you can go,
show us the things that we don't yet know
God will take over your daily tickles
So giggle sweet son and shed no more tears
For we will always feel you near
Later that night, Les wanted to have a potluck. 70+ people showed up during the evening with lots of food and love! It was something that Les and the boys needed. They needed to be surrounded by all that love. I on the other hand had a tough time. It was too soon for me. I had a few getaways with my sister and friend during the evening. I’m sorry if I didn’t spend much time with anyone, but that day was for Les and the boys. I needed more time. I put everything I could into getting dressed and smiling, excepting hugs and words of sorrow. I am one to grieve alone and sort out my own thoughts and feelings before opening up to others. Thanks to everyone that did come that day though. Don’t be offended by my absence at times that night.
My Mother-in-Law is someone I completely respect and look up to. She is such a strong, amazing and inspirational women. She raised 5 children of her own (one who had leukemia) and fostered/adopted 2 others with special needs. She has lived in the hospital and advocated for her kids many, many times. I really look up to her. A month or so ago I was talking to her about Ryder and how we were all dealing with his health complications. She told me that IF Ryder did pass away; we should take our family on a little get away so we could “recoup” as a family and be there for each other to grieve, laugh and share memories. That was the BEST advice we followed!
Les and I took the boys on a weeklong getaway. We started off in Flagstaff staying with Uncle Paul. We just love him to pieces and are glad he moved closer to us! Then we drove to California the next day. We enjoyed the beach, Universal Studios, Disneyland and California Adventures for the next several days that followed. We had planned to visit those places with the boys for Ryder’s Make-A-Wish trip and I didn’t want Tyler and Noah to feel that fun trip (along with their brother) was taken away from them. We had a very bonding experience. We played, laughed and cried together. We are all grieving in different ways. Nights seem to be the hardest for me. I have been crying myself to sleep most nights. Tyler sees different things he thinks Ryder would like and shares them with us. He is also trying to invent a machine that will bring Ryder back to life. Noah is less open with his emotions. But before each ride, Noah asked me to promise him that he or the rest of us wouldn’t die. It was very sad for me to know how much he worries we might die too.
I saw many signs of Ryder last week. I felt the wind blowing; I saw beautiful shapes in the clouds that I imagined were Ryder and his activities in Heaven. I saw a small gold dragonfly that I had to do a triple take to make sure it was real! We saw a gorgeous double rainbow and another rainbow on the drive home. I notice everything now that I missed before. There is sooo much beauty in the world! I love my new eyes (even though I despise the reason for them).
Now that we are home it is a bit harder. Actually, today sucked... a lot! I haven’t been able to get to sleep easily before 1-2am and I’ve been waking up every morning around 9:07, the time Ryder passed away. Today my sister came over and we folded beautiful remembrance notes for Ryder’s celebration of life. I made 2 photo books of Ryder’s dedication and wish day. I also started to clean up a bit. I had to throw away the lovely flowers we received last week from loved ones. I almost threw up. I had to lie down, even though they were only flowers. I also got the call that Ryder’s body would be cremated today. I really wanted to run down to the mortuary (what an ugly word) and hold my baby and bring him back home, maybe have him buried instead. Weird thought, but I panicked. I imagined his body being cremated. It’s so permanent. But then again death is too, right. I had hot flashes and panic attacks all day. My room brings me the most panic. Ryder slept in here with us. I get nervous with his things. I don’t want to wash his clothes and I don’t want anyone to touch his stuff until I’m ready. We have dozens of hand and foot prints we made and I can’t find a safe place for them I need to get some in a shadow box to save forever. It would be way too easy to make a shrine with many things about Ryder, which wouldn’t be good for us. I keep repeating the phrase “If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future and if you are at peace you are living in the present.” I am being gentle with myself. I have every right to cry and be sad, but I don’t want to let myself be overcome with these emotions, which I could imagine would be easy to do. It has only been one measly week without Ryder. Some moments, it seems like its been forever, other moments I think about how much longer I have to keep living before I see him again. I also get periods of peace when I can just “be.” I cry sporadically and often throughout the day, mostly at night and pray for the Lord to hold me. This calms me. I just need to remind myself to accept the Lord into my heart instead of dwell on my sadness.
People say losing a child is the most devastating thing a parent could ever go through. Oddly, I disagree. Watching my baby be so sick and frustrated about the skills he lost absolutely tore me apart. Holding him while he continuously threw up, had unrelenting seizures, seemed scared because he couldn’t see and wouldn’t respond to my pleading for him to make any sign of life—yes—those were the most devastating things I went through. My heart is throbbing for all the families watching their children suffer right now. There are so many of them.
I am getting so excited about Ryder’s celebration of life. It will be glorious for sure!!!! It is at the place where Les and I got married. My sister is making sure it is absolutely spectacular. There will be a butterfly release (like at our wedding), face painting, balloons, bubbles, dancing and some surprises in store for everyone!!!! Very special people in our lives will be flying out to attend, along with many treasured family and friends in the valley. Ryder’s blog has now had about 28,000 views!!!!! Our baby was special. He had a big purpose on Earth and accomplished it to the fullest. I am a very proud Mama!
Now….I will take some time to think about what direction my life is meant to continue. I’m not sure if I’ll continue nursing school, teach again, become a child life specialist, teach homebound kids or be a developmental specialist, open a school, write a book, become a hospice nurse, or maybe a marine biologist-lol!!! There are endless possibilities!!!! I’m alive and excited to experience EVERYTHING, while at the same time counting down the days until I can join my Ryder in Heaven one day. Until then, I promise I’ll LIVE to the fullest.