Thursday, March 25, 2010

Walking the Line

These days have seemed to just melt by and I have to think for a minute to remember what day of the week it even is. I am spending most of my time at the hospice with Ryan now and still struggling with the balance of time with Talyn too. It's something that I have always struggled with throughout my life and now the balance between them both and my own needs is very tricky at best.

Ryan's family is here to be with him and my mom is here to be with Talyn. That allows me to be whereever I want at any moment - which is mostly at the hospice. I always think that if it was me who was confused, sleepy and in a new place alone, I would want him with me - so I am trying to do the same. I can tell he wants me here too because when he does quickly open his eyes every hour or so, he scans the room and then when we meet eyes, he gives me a big smile.

Last night I stayed at home with Talyn and Ryan's brother stayed up here so that I could try and regain some energy. But my heart felt like it literally stopped when my cell rang at 12:30 am from the hospice and the lady at the other end introduced herself. In that moment I thought...."this is it - the call I've been dreading. I can't believe it happened on the night I am not there." Instead, Ryan was very confused and wanted to speak to me, so they called to try and calm him down. Once I explained where I was and that it was the middle of the night and he'd see me tomorrow, he settled down a bit.

Ryan is continuing to battle an increasing headache and is on some heavy pain medications to keep him comfortable. But he says it's always there a bit. His days are spent sleeping more and more and his words are very mixed up. Most of the time, we just try to assure him we understand and that everything is okay and he settles down to sleep again.

In my readings about people that are near death, there is often talk about unfinished business and experiences of crossing over and coming back. We've seen lots of interesting things with Ryan that continue to signal the time is near. He wakes frustrated about something that he needs to get done - unpluggling cords or talking to someone. Once he even told Kevin that he had to go somewhere soon and that he didn't know where it was, but that it would be really good. He will also think that his right hand is moving again and then realize it actually isn't. Are you getting goose bumps yet?

There are many hard parts to what is happening right now. But the worst is watching his body continue to fail him and knowing that if he knew this was happening, that he would want to go. But we can't just snap our fingers and make that happen. On days where I feel strong, I say out loud to someone that I hope he goes soon, because I know that this isn't the life that he wants to live. But then I instantly feel my heart breaking and think that isn't what I want at all. I just want him to stay with us forever.

Yesterday I went to Talyn's school to see what work he's been doing lately. After he finished one exercise he told me that now it was time to make a wish. He wished that we could be a family that allowed guns in our house (we are trying not to allow toy guns in our house - even though he still makes them out of anything he can find) and that his daddy wouldn't die and he could stay alive with us. I told him that I wished that no matter what happened, daddy wouldn't be in pain and that the two of us would be okay.

Thanks so much for all of your kind words that continue to lift us up and bring us some much needed strength as we walk the line.


  1. reading your blog and Ryan's for the past few months have really made a difference in how I see things around me. I've realized that I make a something so small such a negative thing....why? LIfe is too short and Ryan is showing that right now! From here on in I owe it to myself and my family to be a positive happy person and live life to the fullest, after all you only have today to live for. I can't imagine the pain you are going through right now Tasha and Talyn. Just keep knowing how many of us are reading this and thinking of you all the time. Stay strong Tasha, seems impossible right now I know but from what I have read from you and Ryan you are an amazing woman!

    Hugs for you and your family, thinking of you lots and I dont even know you.

  2. Tasha
    This part of the journey is so hard but so precious. We believe there is great strength and energy in just being present and holding a hand or wiping a brow.
    You and your family remain in our thougths and prayers.
    With love and respect
    Jim & Donna

  3. Wow, I cannot imagine your and Talyn's heartbreak to see someone you love go through this. Your stories have absolutely inspired me to reassess what are my priorities, and to assess - does THIS really matter? What experiences do I want to take with me when I die? What is the legacy that I want to leave? Am I living my life consistent with these values and dreams? How do I become more present in my own life? How do I take it all in? Your and Ryan's blog posts have absolutely reminded me to simply appreciate those things that we all take for granted, most importantly, our family, friends and our health.

    I only had the pleasure of meeting Ryan 3 times - and each time, I got one of those incredible hugs that people have been writing about, and an ear-to-ear smile. He interacted with me as if I had always known him. I am thankful that facebook put me back in touch with you and that I had the blessing of meeting your incredible husband, and witnessing your incredible bond with each other.

    Ryan will always be with you and Talyn. We continue to pray for you and your family during this time.

  4. Hi Tasha, I like so many others, have been reading yours and Ryan's blogs these past few months and have been unbelievably touched by your incredible words of inspiration and hope. You are such a beautiful family and my heart breaks for you all. Ryan will leave his mark on everyone, his amazing spirit and strength tells us all that we CAN bear the most ugliest of things. You have found strength you didn't know you had, you're a strong, wonderful woman and believe it or not, a day will come when you will be able to laugh again. Ryan is going through a process right now, preparing himself and you will come to realize that this is how it was meant to be. You are truly blessed to have such a loving, kind husband and such a dear little boy.....what a brave little soul Talyn is. Likewise, you are a pillar of strength for both of them. Continue to be strong Tasha, keep breathing and when you're with Ryan, hold him close. God bless you all.

  5. Tash,
    We are praying for you, Ryan, & Talyn constantly. Thank-you for being so real and vulnerable with your updates. I will always remember the big smile on Ryan's face when he was holding Blyss just a few hours after she was born; he could always light up the room.
    God Bless,
    Tammy, Sherwin, Elisa, Aphia & Blyss

  6. I hope and pray that you and your family will have the strength to get through all theses things and to understand the reason behind all these things.

    Be strong even, our dear Lord will always be with you and your family.

  7. Hi Tasha,
    Please know that our thoughts are with you and your family. We are amazed at your strength and courage. I am so proud and sad for you at the same time. I'm sorry that you have to endure this difficult journey, there must be a greater reason for you to have to experience so much. We are thankful that you feel supported and will have the help when you are ready to ask for it.
    Monica and Dan

  8. Be strong and stay strong, you are stronger than you know. You amaze me with every update you do. You are so real and open with everyone. I admire you and only wish one day I can be 1/2 as strong as you are. Hold your head up high and enjoy every moment you have left with Ryan. Both of your blogs inspire me and everyday make me want to be a better person. Ryan will always be with you as you always have your son to look at everyday and know you are also looking at Ryan. Words will never express how much I pray for your family or how inspiring you both have been. Thank you for showing all of us what true strength and courage really is. Bless you and your family. Once again you are amazing. God bless you and your family.

  9. Tasha, What an incredible blessing that Ryan and Talyn have you in their lives. You are a strong and open individual. You have given and continue on a daily basis to give so many of us courage and strength in our own lives. The time is coming soon when all of this love and energy you have given 'out' will be there 10 fold to catch you when you no longer feel strong. It will be difficult beyond imagination, but don't be afraid to crumble into the many arms waiting to hold you. If there is ever ANYTHING I could do for you, I can only hope that you will ask.
    Thinking of you and sending you a cyber hug.
    Julie-Anne and family.

  10. Dear Tasha,
    Earlier today we read your latest blog entry aloud. Together we cried tears of sadness, regret, amazement, gratitude, love and release.

    As it happens, David and I were scheduled to meet another couple for supper tonight. After reading your latest posting, we decided to dedicate our evening of friendship and renewal to Ryan.

    Later, at our restaurant table, we shared Ryan's remarkable story and toasted his "stop, drop and smile" philosophy. Because of him, the four of us made the most of our evening and celebrated one marriage of 40 years and another of 45. None of us did anything to deserve the gift of so long a time together. Because of Ryan we will never again take for granted the time we are able to spend in loving support of one another.

    You are very gracious to let Ryan go, Tasha, and to teach Talyn to do the same. We know from your past postings that Ryan wants nothing more than to stay with the two of you. His wish will be granted in the strength you both find in living on with courage and joy. May the inexorable passage of time allow you to do just that.
    Lots of love,
    Louise and David

  11. The Prayer of Thomas Merton

    My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
    I do not see the road in front of me.
    I cannot know for certain where it will end.
    Nor do I really know myself…and the fact that I think that
    I am following Your will does not mean that I am
    actually doing so.
    But I believe this:
    I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.
    I hope I have that desire in everything I do.
    I hope I never persist in anything apart from that desire.
    And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right
    road, though I may know nothing about it at the time.
    Therefore I will trust You always, for though I may seem to be lost –
    and in the shadow of death – I will not be afraid, because
    I know You will never leave me to face my troubles

  12. I've been trying to think of something to write for a week now. But, there are no words.

    My heart breaks for you. I don't understand all of what you are going through as Elias never entered hospice - but I understand much of it too well and just know that I am here. Any time.


  13. Hi Tasha please get the book "Final Gifts" (at Self Connection) so you can receive all of the "unsaid" gifts from Ryan for you Talyn and everyone else. You will be so glad you did-and it makes the next steps so much easier.
    With love and experience of being exactly where you are.

  14. Of course you want him to stay with you forever but in your moments of strength and selflessness you want what is best for Ryan at this moment in his life. It is reassuring to know that he feels that he has somewhere to go and that even though he doesn't know where it is it is "really good". I'm sure that gives you some peace.

    Talyn's wish is a wonderful wish.

  15. Ryan taught us all how life is very simple. What we give out, we get back. I am so fortunate to have known Ryan Westernman he demonstrated to many how precious life is and how we need to squeeze happiness and kindness out of every minute we have.
    Today Ryan is flying high and finally has become the pilot he has always dreamed being. Looking down and watching over Tasha and Talyn.
    Good Bless you Ryan.
    Jojo Major