Submitted by: Jeanne (Mom)
My Tribute: MY HOLIDAY MESSAGE TO ALL:
A few days ago, on a chilly morning in October, I woke up and was amazed to see the change in leaves had arrived. Overnight, the world had gone from green to brown, to just a touch of gold, and red. Squirrels were busy gathering nuts. Geese were flying over our house, honking loudly as they made their way south. It was beautiful! Later that day, I heard someone in my home actually humming! How dare they!
But . . . I was alone. It was me. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Suddenly, it hit me. And no matter how guilty I feel in acknowledging it, I have to tell you. I am looking forward to the holidays. Oh . . . my . . . goodness! How can this be? Why is this happening?
Well, after much pondering and prayer, I think I know why. I was focused on the black and white, on the physical, on that which can be seen and physically felt. The first year was spent looking through a lens that was distorted and scarred by an intense, physical and overwhelming grief. Oh, how I miss my son!
I had focused on what was missing rather than on what was still here. The missing is still missing and it always will be! But those still here deserve more of what is left of me. Yes, I think I get it!!
I feel I’ve learned how to not only endure—but to enjoy—a memory that can only be defined as bittersweet. I’ve come to appreciate that feeling emotional is really about feeling impassioned and alive. I grieve deeply because I loved Ryan so very, very much. What a special person Ryan really was! So many people really cared about him. Oh, to be so loved!! And it is ok, really, that is why waterproof mascara really exists! And I think this year, as the songs start to play on the radio and the cards begin filling the mailbox, I will choose a different lens. I will choose a lens that captures that which we cannot see or physically touch, but that we know is there, just the same. A lens that goes beyond the black and white. I will choose to see color!
I will hang Ryan’s stocking beside ours, buy gifts in his name, play Santa for my granddaughter Lottie, light candles in his memory, and put a small holiday tree by his memorial, out under the big oak tree on our farm in Tennessee. But this year, I hope to do these things with joy rather than with bitterness and sorrow. This year, I want to grasp the hand of a homeless mother, and kiss the cheek of a newborn baby. I will go the mall to watch Santa as he holds wiggly, crying toddlers on his lap. I will dive around to view the Christmas decorations. I want to sing “Silent Night” on a clear, cold night in mid-December when it feels as if the entire world is sleeping. I want to feel the Christmas again that we cannot see. It is about hope and faith and love.
This year, I want to remember who I really am. I want to make Ryan and his little brother, Joe proud of me. I want them to know there is a strength that comes from prayer and peaceful introspection. So, to my friends and family, please, don’t ever be afraid to say his name! Ryan lived a full life in a short amount of time. He truly had no enemies. His life had purpose. He was dearly loved and is truly missed! He is both under my oak tree and traveling the open sea! How he would love both of those ideas!! I want to enjoy the months and years ahead. Not because I need to or because someone says it’s time to—but because—well, because I can. I can choose it. This year, I want to find the magic before it is time to put away the boxes. And I won’t stop searching until I find it. I choose to believe. So, let the tears fall from time to time, but with God’s good grace, I will choose to believe in seeing the color again. I know it is there, waiting for me. After all, it is what Ryan would want for me, of that I am very sure. Merry Christmas to all of us left behind. Love each other. Hug each other and most of all….forgive each other. Everyday!
Always and forever Ryan P Frye’s Mom
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