When I felt Ryder's time with us on Earth was near the end I talked with my sister. I have the most amazing bond with my sister. She just gets me. We are very different, but yet so connected with each other, it's awesome! I told my sister my dream of what an end of life celebration for Ryder would be like. I wanted it at the Wright House (where Les and I got married); I wanted a butterfly release, dancing, colors, a montage and happy memories. I knew after Ryder passed I probably wouldn't be able to think straight enough to plan this dream celebration. However, the BEST SISTER in the world made sure it happened for me, our family and Ryder! She was suffering right along with me, but she made it all happen and so, so much more! What an amazing celebration we had!
September 5, 2012
Ryder's Celebration of Life. Ryder would have been 3 years old. He celebrated in Heaven this year. I'm sure he partied with us at the Wright House as well :) Jen made sure all of my dreams of the celebration came true...Wright House, butterflies, colors, montage and dancing. She also made it more memorable and awesome then I could have even imagined!!!! She added a face painter, balloon artist, magician (which turned out to be a little wacko--lol), balloon release, tons and tons and TONS of food, a super fun photo booth, beautiful, large photos of Ryder, a photographer and catering staff (volunteer students from Highland High school!!!) It was so, so, so FUN!!!!
We had HUNDREDS of people join us!!!! Family from Alaska and Ohio joined us. Most of our Arizona family (Uncles, Aunts, cousins and Greats of each, nieces, nephew), A very dear friend from Delaware flew out to be with me. Elementary school friends, high school friends (and a few of their Mom's/family),old roommates, Minder Binder and Jackson's on 3rd peeps, coworkers of Les' and former coworkers of mine (Ty's 1st grade teacher), former students, nursing school friends, Ryder's therapists, Leukodystrophy families and friends, long time family friends & neighbors, Grandma and Nana's friends, Auntie Jen's friends, the boys principal and Noah's K & current teacher, amazing Child Life specialists and of course Doctor Narayanan and his wife attended! There were so, so many people (many surprisingly unexpected guests) from all walks of our life that joined us to celebrate, laugh and cry with us. It was BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT!!!
Tyler and Noah wrote and spoke lovely memories of their brother. Les and I also gave our own memorials of our sweet angel. Chaplain Charlie gave a beautiful speech and Auntie Jen read the legend of the butterfly release. I will post all of our speeches soon for those who couldn't attend.
My talented friend Jocelynn (Wicked Good Cake Company--check it out!!), made the most spectacular 3 layer cake! Jen spent many, many, many hours (with help from Alicia) putting together a beautiful montage with the songs, Forever Young and Here Comes the Sun. She also put together hours of pictures that played inside. Our great friends/family) Mike (& of course Jen), Mike & Holly, Aunt Janet, Kristie and my Mom stayed to help clean up.
This PERFECT day came together in less than 2 weeks! Jen you ROCK, I love you and I appreciate you so very, very much. I'm sure I forgot to mention some of you that also helped, but THANKS from the bottom of my heart to everyone who made this day so special :)
There was a guest book (that fell apart--long annoying story) but it wasn't the final book. If you can please comment on one--or several of these pages I would LOVE to add them to the final copy, even if you have never met Ry or didn't attend the celebration(just leave it in a comment):
1. What Memories do you have of Ryder?
2. Write 1 word to describe Ryder.
3. What memories of Ryder make you smile?
4. What still makes you think of Ryder?
5. What lessons have you learned from Ryder?
6. What do you think Heave is like?
7. What do you think Ryder is doing in Heaven today?