I was asked to write my son Ryan’s story for this part of the Steve Rummler newsletter and honestly I am touched and afraid at the same time. I really haven’t told much of my son’s story since his passing. How does one put into words that which is nearest and dearest to their heart? But I vowed to him that with my last breath I wouldn’t rest until I helped to save even one life in his absence so I am praying for God and him to put the words here so that maybe one would recognize how deadly addiction and particularly heroin really are.
October 27, 2014 for me was a usual busy day in a law office where I work. It was a Monday, typical start of a work week. I had spoken to my son only 3 days prior about his plans to stay in Minnesota and marry the love of his life and friend of many years and how he had just landed a new job and was finally going to get responsible and stay in Minnesota for the winter instead of going to California as he usually did over the winter months to work on a marijuana farm in what’s called “the Emerald Triangle” – you see my son led the multiple lives an addict learns to live – he was a camp counselor for ten years during the summer months at an upstanding camp of which I won’t name, but it was always his second home from the age of 10 or so he would retreat to this place where he could remain sober and happy and free – it was the off months that tormented him so.
At the stroke of midnite (or thereabouts) my husband and I were awakened to the clammering and banging at our front door. We used to live in the Twin Cities (I grew up there, as did my children) – we now live in a small town where things are quiet, very quiet. I will never ever forget that sound and waking up out a deep sleep with our dog barking and my husband going to the front door – there in the outside light stood two young deputies. My heart sank when my husband said I needed to come to the door (my legs actually became weak), I knew I was about to hear something my heart could never bear. Then they told me they were really sorry to report that my son had died earlier that day (actually in the middle of the night the night before) and I said “not Ryan” not my Ryan (first born son).” They were teary eyed – both of them. I felt so bad for them as I knew that this was probably the first time they may have ever had to report such news to a mother about her child (I think they actually were younger than my son who had just turned 28 the week before). Well, I don’t need to say anymore. No words can describe that moment (suffice to say I could stand no longer).
My son was like a diamond – so many facets, the most incredible smile that lit up so many people’s lives. He was a leader, he loved to love people, anyone – young or old, rich or poor. He never judged – in his own words he told one of his younger sisters “people are inherently good” when she was struggling on a trip to Guatemala. He held his other sister many times when she would have to get her shots at the doctor (he was the only one that could console her). Reaching his only brother was a challenge and was most heartbreaking to hear his response on the other end of the phone.
There are many things I could write about that are so overwhelming, one can only imagine. Ryan was a good soul who had the disease of addiction always kicking at his heels. When he found heroin, it found him. He had been straight all summer and when he went back to it in a brief moment, it killed him. He was at a “friend’s” house where he knew he could score in North Minneapolis, his friend found him dead in the morning. He called 911 – it took the police and deputies down here where we live almost 24 hours to find his mom (me). I hope and pray for anyone who knows a person that struggles with addiction to really listen to the warnings, learn as much as you can about the disease of addiction, and God help the addicts out there still suffering, may they get the help they deserve. I can’t reel time backwards, but God I would do anything to hug him one more time and look into his sparkling eyes that were once so very alive. There were over 400 people at my son’s service from all over the country (some even flew from Alaska). He wouldn’t have believed it. He was a humble man. I hope I helped someone here Rye, I did my best.
Written by Patty Moe (Ryan’s Mom)