Yesterday was an incredible day. It was filled with extreme highs and lows. I started out strong and that was good, because much strength was required.
It felt as though we were preparing for a wedding with all the day's details, yet my heart lurched at the idea of going to the celebration. But I continued to put one step in front of the other, doing what was required.
The hardest part of the day was going to the funeral home to pick up Ryan's personal items, delivering the pillow and blanket he would forever lay his head and body on, and watching the delivery of his coffin that his wonderful co-workers from Derkson Construction made. The coffin is beautiful and was made with such love and care. But it was hard to enjoy the beauty when I knew what it's final destination would be. As we drove home I knew a houseful of wonderful, loving relatives would await me and my heart just felt more and more compressed. My resolve of strength I felt in the morning was quickly fading. I decided it was a good time for everyone to go and find their rock to bring to Ryan's graveside so that I could regroup and shore up my strength again.....for the Wake was ahead. I am so grateful for understanding family as they quickly scurried and gave me the space my heart was requiring.
After a bit of rest we headed to the Wake at the Sports Climbing Center. I had a sense this would be an easier event than the funeral, but I had no idea the sense of celebration and affirmation it would bring. The place was packed. I regret I did not get to speak to everyone. I'm told I shouldn't feel bad about that, but it truly fills me up to hug those that loved Ryan and love our family. There were people there from all over. People who just had to come and celebrate Ryan's life. Yes, there were some tears...but mainly smiles and laughter as person, after person, after person shared their stories of Ryan and the impact he had on their lives. He made impact through his smile, his daily texts, his humour, his word.... his heart. I just kept thinking, "RIPPLE". His life had a ripple effect as he lived his life fully. It was a good reminder that each one of our lives have a ripple effect. Our choices don't just impact us. How we choose to live out our laughter, our sorrow, our anger, our joy, all ripples into the world making impact. I was able to walk out of the climbing center last night with a peaceful heart. My son, while not perfect, chose to use his life to impact the world with encouragement, laughter, and depth of heart. Is there anything more a mom could have asked for?
I've sat here a bit wondering if I should share this next part. But my mantra these past few days has been, "It is what it is and I want to be reel." One of my son's friends has been wrestling with what caused Ryan's accident. There have been all sorts of theories and the one we had been told is that a pin broke or slipped out, which caused his fall. It didn't really set well with some that had climbed with him and knew his abilities. One of his friends decided to make the accent and retrace his steps. What he found is that the pin was intact. His other friends examined his equipment and saw that nothing had broken or frayed...everything was as it should be. Our only conclusion is that it was a divine moment. It was a moment where Ryan's Saviour said, "Son, your life can now do more good with you by my side." Some of you may real from that conclusion. Some may wonder how that could be a loving God. But this mom's heart finds much peace in that. My son did not make a mistake, it wasn't an accident or an error in judgement.......God chose him to make a HUGE ripple effect in this world. As one of Ryan's sweet friends said, "Ryan fell down, to go up".
So grieve with me only momentarily but then allow this event to have the impact that was intended. Don't put off tomorrow what God wants to do in your heart today.
P.S. I know there will be hard days ahead. I'm not kidding myself. But as one mom shared with me yesterday....on those hard days I will cling to the "Whole Story" of why his absence is necessary. I will allow the pain of the absence of life but will purpose to live in the glory of the reason for the absence.