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...



December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all our family and friends this year.

***May the light and love of Christ fill your hearts and homes this year***

November 3, 2010

Friends ARE forever...

While Ryan was off at school or work, he was surrounded by many good people. He often spent more time with some of his classmates and co-workers then with his own family.

What a blessing it is to be surrounded by good, loving people on a daily basis.

When Ryan was told that he only had weeks to live, two of his good friends and classmates called to see if they could come visit. This visit was kind of a big deal... these friends were doing their residency in Chicago and trying to get time off during residency is NOT always EASY. These friends were able to juggle their schedules so they could fly in and out in the same day, taking minimal days off.

Even though their visit was short, the time spent together was priceless. Seeing these boys visit was like old times: they talked school, work, life... it was like no time or distance had changed. I know how much it meant for Ryan to see Joe and Marc...

~Thanks guys... for EVERYTHING~

* * *

When residency first started, Ryan would come home and tell me about everyone and how much he enjoyed his work. He was was really excited to be working with such a great group of people.

You know how some people come into your life and you just "click" with them? Well, that is how Ryan felt about Pete. He often talked about wanting to be like Pete, both in his personal life and professionally...he really looked up to and admired Pete.

Before Ryan passed away, Pete came down to check out Ryan's 3rd baby- his truck:

Thanks Pete for being such an example to Ryan...

Not only are families forever... but so are friendships.

I am so grateful for the wonderful people we have met over the years and for the friendships that have been made as a result.


(Man, I can barely type. These final posts are going to be hard, bare with me ;)

October 24, 2010

Love Letters...

People ask me all the time how the kids and I are doing...
Very well.

I think some people may think it is just a front I put on or just something to say, but really, we are all doing good.

I want to keep the TEAM RYAN blog mainly about Ryan and the wonderful life he lived, but still keep everyone up to date with our little family.

I am really excited to invite everyone to MY blog called DEAR RYAN.

I am still in the process of trying to get the layout all worked out and since I am not super computer savvy, it's definitely a work in progress... but I'm getting there. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the updates on how we are "really" doing.

The blog will definitely be full of pictures (did you expect anything different from me?!?), day to day stuff, thoughts, reflections and just complete openness as we continue to keep chugging along :)

Come visit:

Thanks to EVERYONE for all the love and support


October 20, 2010

Sneak Peak

This past week the kids and I took a trip up to Wyoming/Utah during Hallie's Fall Break.
We came to visit family and to see Ryan's headstone.
I am getting a little ahead of myself- I still haven't even blogged about all the amazing things we did with Ryan before he passed away, but I was so excited to give you a little peak of this past week:

Beautiful COUNTRY life

Playing outside ALL day long

and a little glimpse of the HEADSTONE...

The trip was great...
Nothing is better than being surrounded by those you LOVE!


September 27, 2010

Oh HAPPY Day...

I celebrated my birthday and it was one of the BEST birthday's EVER!!!
I have never been one to get super excited or be sad about turning one year older, but this year was a little different.
When friends would ask me if I was excited to do something fun for my birthday, I had mixed feelings- yes and no. I was definitely excited to get out and celebrate, but at the same time not really looking forward to it because the ONE thing I wanted and would WISH for wouldn't be there. I usually started to tear up when people asked, because really, I just wanted Ryan. I just wanted to hear him say, " Happy Birthday Babe!" or just to get a glimpse of those beautiful blue eyes staring at me as I opened my presents and blew out my candles. So the thought of NOT having that, made me really sad.
As my birthday neared, the mailbox was often filled with cards and packages from family and friends. I would take them inside and place them neatly on the bed in the spare bedroom. It was fun to walk by that room every day and see all the cards and gifts that were piling up JUST for me.
For birthdays, I always lay out the presents in the kitchen for the birthday person to wake up to. But it's just not the same when you are doing this for yourself, so I just left mine in the spare bedroom.
So on the morning of my birthday, I got Hallie ready for school and as she is eating breakfast she asks if I could save my presents for opening until after she gets home from school. I happily agreed and then decided to start taking all the present from the spare bedroom and put them out in the kitchen. (I guess I kind of wanted to see my presents out in the kitchen after all) As I started bringing them over, Hallie says, "MOM, can you open them NOW?!?!?!?"
"Of course" I told her.
I was really glad she asked me to open them because secretly, I did NOT want to wait!
I started off with my Birthday CARDS, reading all of them out loud to the kids. Some made me laugh really hard and others brought a smile and tear to my face.
~ It was now time for my presents~
I opened my first few gifts and was VERY excited with the contents inside... then I moved on to my two last gifts.
I opened the first and cried after reading the sweet note Ryan's mom enclosed with it and then moved on to my last present. I saw a card on the bottom of the present and decided to start with it. As I was opening the envelope, I saw ANOTHER envelope. Another envelope- WHAT?!?
(My heart started beating REALLY, really FAST and hard!)
As I pulled it out, I saw this:

and then this:
As soon as I saw that handwriting, I knew who it was from and well... I just cried.
I cried so much I really couldn't do much else because I couldn't see through all the tears.

Still TOTALLY crying, I open up the envelope to see this cute, glittery card:
...and the kids just stood there staring.
The kids stood there waiting for me to read the card and I couldn't get ANYTHING out. Finally Hallie says, "Mom... who is it from?" I couldn't even say, "Your Dad." So, she walked up next to me and began reading it and says, "Oh... it's from Daddy!" I just smiled and then tried my hardest to read through all the tears:

I finally made it to the end and let's just say it was the BEST present EVER, BIGGEST surprise and the BEST way to start off my Birthday morning!!!
I had absolutely NO idea I would be getting that card. My day could have ended RIGHT then an I would have been SO happy and content, but my day was just beginning.
Plenty more surprises awaited...
I noticed cars had been honking early in the morning, but didn't think much of it...
Well, some pretty clever friends decided to make signs for the front yard that said,
"HONK for Margie's Birthday"
I laughed really hard realizing that all those honks at 6:30 am were for ME :)
Then a few of my other friends and their kids decorated my front door and porch with balloons and my garage with a HUGE "Happy Birthday Margie" sign. I especially loved the zebra print letters- very cute!
Thanks guys... so thoughtful and cute!
I my friends!
It was now time for breakfast with some of my closest friends

... and then lunch with these special ladies
My morning and afternoon were spent eating and chatting with my BEST friends- food and fun, can't beat that!

Night came and I headed over to a friends house for some yummy cake and ice cream, except it wasn't really JUST cake and ice cream but....
~A ToTALly AweSoMe (surprise) 80's BirThDay BaSH~

What made the party even AWESOMer was that I had two VERY special people come and surprise me.

Not only did they drive 12+ hours to be there, but they also dressed up:
I laughed SO hard at my dad's faux-leather pants and my moms stirrup pants and jacket with BIG shoulder pads.

Parents and a party were just the icing on the cake to an already wonderful day!

my AMAZING friends that did SO much to make my birthday EXTRA special.

I really couldn't have asked for a better day. Pretty much everything I wanted I got...

and one day, I will get my EVERYTHING.

Thank you friends and family for the thoughtful cards, gifts and for ALL the birthday love.

To describe the day in one word: PERFECT!


September 10, 2010


I have been in contact with MANY people over the past year and it has been so touching to see the outpouring of LOVE and SUPPORT that has come to our family- THANK YOU everyone!

A fellow reader (and friend) of the TEAM RYAN blog recently wrote me to say that her husband is entering the final stage of his cancer, where medical treatment is no longer possible. My heart sunk reading the e mail because it was not very long ago that we were going through the same thing. I remember the sadness that I felt at that time and what got me through and kept me going was the strength I received from all the prayers.

I am asking all of you to remember Paul and his family in your thoughts and prayers. The power of prayer is such a real and powerful thing. I hope that Paul can have the time he needs to say goodbye and that his entire family can have the strength and peace they need to get through this difficult time.
I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given us the opportunity to be with our loved ones here on earth and for the knowledge to know that we WILL be reunited again.

August 28, 2010


It's Saturday morning and it's CLEANING DAY.
I had been moving some things around in my room and decided to make use of some empty space under my bed. I looked under the bed and started digging out some random things like kids toys, DUST and then found a folded up piece of paper. I opened it up and to my surprise read this:

Tears welled up in my eyes and I just sat there thinking why I had written this note and when. All I could think of was that I left the note on Ryan's pillow because we were going to meet up somewhere...

I just couldn't get over finding this note because it still VERY much applies!

I will see Ryan again...we ALL will.

Love YOU

August 23, 2010

Phone Calls...

My car was in the shop and I had just sold Ryan's smaller car. Not to worry though, I had had a sweet 1970 Chevy truck waiting in the garage for me :)

Since the gas gauge doesn't work on the truck and I worried about running out of gas, I wanted to stop and fill it up.

The last time Max had gassed up the car was this time:
...and he LOVED every single minute!!!

As I was pulling up to the gas station:

MAX: Mom, can I help you?

Me: (Not really wanting the "help", but realizing the last time he helped was with Ryan) SsssssssURE...

MAX: Which button Mom? Press this one? THAT one?

Me: No Max, just wait a second... you need to hold on Bud.

I get everything ready and then let Max press the fuel grade button. He tries to do everything and I'm trying my hardest to be patient (Ryan was usually REALLY patient with the kids). I let him put the nozzle into the tank and pull the handle. A custom gas tank had been put in and the gas pump will NOT shut off on its own when it is full. So after a good 45 bucks had been pumped in, I figured there was enough gas and I take out the nozzle to put it back.

MAX: Mom, it needs more gas!!!

Me: No, I think we are good Buddy. I think that's enough.

MAX: No... it needs more!!! It DOES need more!

Me: (As I am putting Max into the truck and getting him buckled in) No, that was enough.

MAX: No it wasn't Mom, because the last time I helped Daddy, he put in more!

Me: Yeah, maybe Daddy did put more in, but really, that was enough.

MAX: Can you call Daddy and ask him? He would know if it needs more.

Me: No bud, we can't call Daddy and ask him.

MAX: Why?

Me: Because Daddy is in Heaven. We can talk to him anytime, but he won't talk back to us... we can't call.

MAX: Well... you can call Heavenly Father! I'm sure he has the number to call Daddy.

Me: (As tears are streaming down my face...) Yes, we can talk to Heavenly Father anytime too and he always hears us, but there is no number we can call.

MAX: Yes, he has the number to call Daddy. I KNOW he knows the number to call Daddy Mom!

I continue explaining that we can ALWAYS talk to Heavenly Father and Ryan, but there won't be a physical voice speaking back to us or a phone number to call and talk.

Of course, if that was the case, I'd be on the phone ALL the time ;)

August 4, 2010

Things found...

Hallie started school on Tuesday and she LOVES it. Well, it's really that she has an awesome teacher and he is going to make this a fun, FUN year!

For part of her homework today, she needed to find 5 things that she likes or enjoys. The VERY first thing she did was find a picture of Ryan. She went straight to his memory box and pulled out his funeral program. I asked her if she really wanted to take that or find a picture of him instead. She wanted a picture of just him... so she goes right over to my nightstand and gets this framed picture:
She wanted THIS one. Not any others... THIS one.
She kept saying as she held the picture, "oh I LOVE my Daddy! I just LOVE him!"

I TOTALLY agree, I love him AND this picture too!

As I was in her room tonight getting her ready for bed, I found this old journal from last school year...
...and on the cover I read:
This pulled on my heartstrings, but I really do love what she wrote...
"hes grat (he's great). You are the best. xox"

It's SO true!

~Missing and loving you ALWAYS~

August 1, 2010

A special BIRTHDAY surprise

We are BACK!
After our MONTH long vacation, I made it home just in time for a little someones birthday. I couldn't WAIT! Our baby girl, who isn't so baby-ish anymore celebrated her 7th birthday on Wednesday. I have looked forward for this birthday EVERYDAY for the past 2.5 months.

Why you ask?
I guess I am jumping the gun of future posts, but Ryan made videos for the kids for special birthdays/milestones. When Ryan was making the videos, Hallie's birthday was right around the corner. He knew he probably wouldn't still be here for her birthday and he wanted to be sure she would have a special surprise from him, so he made a video for her 7th birthday.

I am so grateful Ryan took the time to make these special gifts and memories for the children. I know they will be forever grateful...


Ryan adored his baby girl and they both shared a special bond. I'm not sure if it was because she was the firstborn, a girl or just his little princess? But one thing I do KNOW for sure is that
Hallie will ALWAYS be a Daddy's girl

Told ya:


Wednesday morning came and I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I was SO excited for Hallie to enjoy the special gift from her father and so excited to see the love of my life again. I couldn't wait to hear Ryan's voice, hear the advice and words of love he would give Hallie and most of all, to see Hallie's reaction...

When Ryan made the videos he went into the room and taped them alone. While he was taping, we put a note on the door to be quiet and Hallie remembered back to that time. As she was looking at the DVD and with a BIG smile on her face, she said, "Is this the videos that Dad was making? Is Dad on here?"

She was very EXCITED, although I think I was just a TAD bit more than her... (I could have easily gone and watched all the videos but have chosen to wait and watch them as they are given)



I had no idea what he was going to say, but he had lots of advice for Hallie for this upcoming year with school and preparing for her Baptism. He talked about when she was born and the love he has for her... it was wonderful, absolutely wonderful!

We smiled BIG ole' smiles, shed some tears and just enjoyed seeing, hearing and loving our Ryanstone.

Oh how we miss him, but what a WONDERFUL gift he left for all of us.

It was now time for yummiest part of the day... time to

~Make a WISH~

Happy 7th Birthday Sweets, you deserved the best day...

...I hope it was all that and more.

LOVE you,