Thursday, August 1, 2013

Running for Ryan Returns

I promise this to be the last post that reflects sad emotions; however, some things just have to be said.

Writing this blog post has been a most dreaded, yet highly anticipated task for me. 
The past two months have filled my life with more confusion and feelings unknown, 
that I was actually looking forward to writing them down to help myself understand.

Ryan passed away unexpectedly on May 12th. Mother's Day.
What's strange is that the day itself seems so distant, so fuzzy, 
except the moment that evening I found out the news.
That's all extremely clear, and it's painful. 

Maybe it's due to movies and television, 
or perhaps because I am one to love drama,
but I've actually pictured how I would react to the news of a death.
And it was nothing like I'd pictured. 
It's actually not at all how I imagined.

In fact, I remember telling my husband that night how badly I wanted it all to be over. 
As if after the funeral it would all just disappear and I could carry on.

But that was not the case at all. 

Instead, I think about it every day. It's even inescapable in dreams. 
And if there is a moment in which I find myself carrying on, 
I find myself in a pool of guilt. 
(Which I realize is just as acceptable a feeling as it is ridiculous.)

There was one moment when I was driving home from a particularly hard day at work. 
Windows were down. Music was up. I was breathing sighs of relief.
And that alone had me questioning how I could possibly enjoy a moment like that.

Or the moment I was on a boat on Lake Michigan watching fireworks,
and couldn't help but feel completely saddened that I got to see something so spectacular.

I'm sure these feelings will come and go for months. Years. 
I'm sure every scooter that passes me on the street will make me stop and look again.
I'm sure I'll still get upset when someone complains about turning another year older 
when they should really be grateful. 
I'm sure every time my son asks when Uncle Ryan is coming back down from the clouds
it will completely break my heart. 

I'm absolutely sure that I will never forget who my brother was and what he meant to me.

I'm not positive what I believe as far as where Ryan is now. 
But I do believe that in some way or another, 
we are still connected. 
Whether he is perched on a cloud and looking down on us,
or reincarnated into some other body,
or perhaps some energy in the atmosphere,
I feel certain that he approves of me taking his passing as a lesson in my life.
A gift that teaches me and those around me to appreciate what we have here on earth.

To not complain. 
To take care of our bodies and minds.
To be kind and help others.
To take advantage of every single breath we are given.
See the world. Feel loved. Experience life fully. 

To not "live every day like it's your last,"
but rather, just live every day.

Ryan's passing will always be painful and confusing to me. 
Really, I was always confused as to why he had to struggle. 
I remember telling my grandma when I was young that I wanted to switch lives with Ryan. 
And her reply didn't come back to me until the day of Ryan's funeral.

She said,
"Kellyn, that is a nice thought, but you don't want that. 
You were meant to be you. And Ryan was meant to be Ryan. 
You both are special in your own ways."

She was right. 
We both were meant to impact the world differently.
Ryan was Ryan. And he's absolutely irreplaceable.
And in light of the song playing,
perhaps he was a King, and I'm a Lionheart. 
He left behind a strong message, 
and I'll see to it that that message is heard.

Luckily, I'm not alone. 
Ryan's friends and half of SoHo approached my family right after Ryan's passing. 
Together we formed The Ryan Shuck Foundation.
A foundation in which we will actively honor and pay respect to Ryan's life,
and in doing that, help those who share similar struggles.

You see, I think Ryan left this life and went onto the next because he was ready. 
He had experienced what takes most people nearly a century to do.
He understood his struggles. He understood himself. 
He also understood that you live this life only once, and he lived it well. 

His favorite song in high school was Bon Jovi's "It's My Life."
He would pull into the garage, park for (I'm not kidding) an hour,
and listen to it on repeat. Seriously, over and over.
It drove me and Nikki crazy. 
In fact, it was the first laugh we shared when I got to Tampa for Ryan's funeral.
Anyway, the lyrics read:

I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd
You're gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud.
It's my life. 
It's now or never. 
I ain't gonna live forever.
I just want live while I'm alive.
It's my life.

Maybe Ryan knew that he wasn't going to live to be 85.
Regardless, he understood and embraced the life he had been given.

The Ryan Shuck Foundation will be for those who aren't as fortunate as Ryan.
For people with physical disabilities who need help finding the spirit that Ryan possessed.
To embrace life and live it fully.
To feel confident in thriving in the world.

Running for Ryan is still very much alive,
and I cannot express how proud that makes me.
Ryan had quite an impact while on earth, 
but to know he will continue to shake the planet makes me speechless.
(well, clearly not all that speechless.)

September 8th will be the first annual 
Running for Ryan 5k in Tampa, FL.

This year's proceeds will go to the Hoyt Foundation, of which Ryan and I felt very connected to. 

The 5k website will be up this week to register, but here's the jist of it:
1) Register to run 
2) Gather other registrants and create a team
3) Find sponsors and gather donations
4) Run race
5) Get a super prize for fundraising the most cheddar
6) Drinks buckets of Coors Light at MacDinton's afterwards

And we thought that we wouldn't see Ryan again... 

 photo ry.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment