Saturday, April 17, 2010

The hardest 2 weeks of my life

Good Friday things started to turn for Ryan and we knew that the end was near. His breathing made a distinct change that afternoon and his headaches were getting worse. He put his hand to his head (the signal we had learned as his speech had lessened) and we called the nurse for some more drugs. After Carol gave him a top up and came back in to ask him "how's the headache Ryan...are the drugs helping?", he answered his last word "AWESOME!" - typical Ryan. That evening he entered a comatose state and we didn't really see him again.

I stayed on the cot at the foot of his bed that night and listened to the steady 3 breaths and the long pause that happened after that - and wondered whether more breaths would start or not. The nurses came in every 30 minutes to check on him. His heart rate was climbing steadily, but otherwise he was sleeping and non responsive. In the early hours of the morning, I texted Kevin to give him an update and he came up to be with us. From 5 to 7 am that morning, Kevin and I stood around Ryan's bed and told him all of the funny memories we had of him. We both laughed and Ryan raised his eyebrows a couple of times to show that he was listening.

Saturday some of Ryan's family and mine arrived and everyone came in to see him. In the mid-afternoon, the AMAZING pad doctor also came to see him - on her day off. By that time his breathing had changed again and the rhythm was more like a gasp for air coming from his stomach followed by a pause. Although he was in a comatose state, it was really hard for all of us to be around him and listen to his laboured breathing - wondering if his pain was really under control and if he was struggling for air or not.

When his colour in his face started changing rapidly, the doctor told everyone to say what they needed to as he probably wouldn't be there one hour later. Everyone rushed in to say some things to him and gave him one last kiss and one last "I love you". But that was around 3:30 Saturday afternoon and you all know when things actually went down...Ryan the ultimate fighter! An hour or so later some colour came back to his face and his breathing remained unchanged. So we all waited.

Ryan had been clear that when he passed he wanted me on his left side holding his hand and Talyn on his right. But of course with the laboured breathing and the sounds that go along with that, Talyn wasn't really comfortable staying in the room for long. So he would run in and out throughout the day. And it was a long day and everyone was getting tired, so in the later evening everyone left to go home for a bit. They thought that he would likely still be there in the morning, so said their goodbyes for now. But Ryan had his plan...

Before they left, Tricia did the most amazing thing. She got Talyn to lie on the cot at the foot of Ryan's bed and tickled him to sleep there. That is where he slept soundly for the entire night. And then it was just me left laying on Ryan's left side holding his hand, Talyn at the foot of the bed sleeping and my brother and Kevin on the second floor sleeping and waiting with us.

The nurses were in every 15 minutes with a flashlight looking for all the signs of a change, but our superman kept up the fight. I spent the night laying beside Ryan for an hour and then went to lay with Talyn for the next hour. At about 3:15 I woke up with Talyn and noticed that Ryan's breathing had definitely changed again. The nurses came in and confirmed that things were slowing down. They went downstairs to get Kevin and Chad.

Ryan's breathing was then just one very shallow breath with a fairly long pause after it. Every pause we all waited to see if another breath would follow or not. This continued until just before 4 am, when I said to Kevin....what is the date today? He said...I think it's the 4th. Just then I was the 4th month, the 4th day and he stopped breathing at 4 am. It was at that time that he took his last breath and in the long pause that other breath came. A week prior to this, Talyn had come running into the house holding a ladybug but said "momma, it's a ladybug - but why does this one have 4 spots?" - we didn't know at the time...but now do.

The last 2 weeks have been the hardest in my life. The first week was filled with preparations for the amazing celebration of his life. He had done all the planning in advance to ensure it was an upbeat celebration full of laughter and it was! Talyn even got up and spoke about his daddy and how he told really funny jokes...I was so proud of him and thought Ryan must have been standing up there with him, because Talyn had no fear.

Then last Sunday everyone went home. Talyn and I have been alone this week and he has gotten back into his daily routine - which I am also so proud of him for. I have been busy with the big lists of things to do and that has been good for me. But as the people have left and the list has decreased, we are only left with the sad loss of Ryan.

Today was the hardest day yet. Our first weekend day of loneliness and heartache for our daddy and husband. I know that with time this should get easier, but right now it just feels grey and empty. Ryan left a huge void to fill and we were so lucky to have the time we did! We miss you like Talyn and Tasha


  1. Dear Tasha,
    Thank you for this loving description of Ryan's last days, hours and moments. It is clear that he knew you and Talyn were there with him, just the way he wanted you to be.

    We had not heard that Ryan took his last breath at the fourth hour of the fourth day of the fourth month. The story of Talyn's 4-spotted ladybug makes your personal "totem" all the more significant. Surely there will be future "sightings" that will speak to you in the same intimate and magical way. We hope so!

    What you had with Ryan was rare and wonderful, and right now your loss must be almost unbearable. Thank you for writing this account for us to read in the midst of your grief.

    May bits of light continue to filter into your "grey and lonely" times and may the memory of Ryan's smile bring you happy relief.
    Much love,
    Louise and David

  2. I have checked your blog everyday since Ryan's passing. I have never meet you or Ryan but I would like to say THank-you for impacting my life in a way I cannot even describe in words. Your Strength, your Honesty and your Sincere and Genuine nature in all your blog post are inspiring and incredibly amazing. Thank-you for sharing your journey, memories and moments with us. Thank-you for showing us all what true strength and determination can help us survive. You are an earth angel I truly believe. Your earth angel may have left for now but is flying above watching you and Talyn start your next journey together. Thank-you for showing us all what true love can conquer. I will send extra prayers and angels your way everyday. I hope your minutes, hours ,days and weeks begin to have more smiles then tears. I'am rooting for you everyday. Thank-you for inspiring me and teaching me so many things that will stick with me forever and ever. You truly are an Amazing women and Angel. May extra Angels surrond you and Talyn in your darker moments. God Bless you both and Stay Strong.

  3. Thank you so much for this update. I have been checking everyday to see if you had updated your blog. I was so glad to see it this Sunday morning.
    It is so amazing how things work and again, I am not surprised how Ryan worked his magic for you and Talyn.
    Lots of Love and Lots of Thoughs

  4. My dear Tasha and Talyn, I can't begin to imagine the emptiness and sadness you are feeling... You dear people, having to suffer such an unbelievable loss. Remember to take one day at a time, keep breathing and always remember that Ryan is there with you by your side. He knows how you're suffering and will give you little signs that he is there watching over you. Ryan was a very special husband, father, son and friend and will be loved and remembered forever. I think of you everyday, Tasha and pray for peace for you and Talyn. God Bless You both and give you strength and courage. XXXXXX

  5. I thought this was interesting, I have a Angel book of numbers. The numbers 444 mean: Thousands of angels surrond you at this moment, loving and supporting you. You have a very strong and clear connection with the angelic realm, and are an Earth angel yourself. You have nothing to fear~all is well.

  6. I wanted to let you know that my heart goes out to you. I happened upon your blog one day about a month ago and have been following ever since. I'm 32 years old and my husband lost his fight to cancer in July. For the last 9 months I've been raising our 3 year old son on my own. I know your pain and I know the battle you're fighting - as do many others. The road ahead seems impossible, and in many ways it is. But you CAN do it. You can, and you will. You are both in my thoughts. xoxo

  7. Tash, I just want you to know that even though my heart is literally breaking for you and Talyn, life will slowly get brighter. You may not remember me, or my family, but we talk about Ryan ( and you and Talyn) a lot. His memory lives on through so many people but especially by your wonderful words in this blog. Thank you for sharing...Vicki, Scott and Jorja Wearmouth.

  8. Dear Tasha, our paths haven't crossed since high school but I stumbled onto your blog today through a Facebook link. I just wanted to say how deeply touched and saddened I have been in learning of everything you and your family have been through in the past several years. Know that you have an amazing strength that is truly inspirational. Sending warm thoughts and prayers to you and your beautiful little boy Talyn! xo Joya Balfour

  9. Jessica McNaughtonApril 21, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    Our hearts go out to both of you, well all of you who must be hurting so much. I wish there was a way to take some pain on for you because I imagine it is strong.
    I don't know what your beliefs are about after life but my though is that he is out there somewhere and although your relationship has changed drastically, it doesn't have to end. Do you best to try to communicate with him, try to shift it from being and end to a really hard change. My mother died of cancer and I too was with her in the end. Near the end of her life we had many meaningful conversations but one I am most grateful for is one where I told her I believed her life would go on in a different way, a glorious way. We talked alot about that and in the end I told her death was not enough to seperate us. She has been gone for 3 years and I can not tell you the amount of signs I have had that our relationship is going strong. Over time it shifts and it certainly doesn't mean it is not hard but it made it a little easier for me to have faith in that connection that I still believe exists, a connection that I think somehow is fuel by my believe in it. I started writing her letters, cards even buying small gifts that I put in a box for her. Just a small story that may help your healing and your continued connection to Ryan.

    Brett and I both wish you well.

  10. THank you for your post Tasha. Sending strength and hugs to you and Talyn, we think of you every day.

  11. Dear Tasha,
    Thanks for all your courage and strength. Thinking of you and Talyn every day.
    Auntie m

  12. My prayers and thoughts are we you and Talyn everyday. Keep on Keepin on. Ryan is always with you in some way or form. Always in my thoughts, you are truly an Amazing Women.