I want to take all the pain that I feel and celebrate and turn it around. ~Stevie Wonder
Today would have been Ryan’s 36th Birthday. It has been nearly twelve years since Ryan moved on to bluer skies. To be honest, Ryan’s birthday creeped up on me this year. Yesterday was Dr. Jennifer (Smith) Galbraith’s memorial service. Blue Skies Dr. Jennifer (Smith) Galbraith It was what one would expect, an emotionally draining and tragic service. The type of event that brings rushing memories of past and current pain back from the corners of my being and gets me really thinking of Ryan again, not that I ever stopped.
After the church service, all of Jen’s friends and family gathered in the cafeteria in Saint Cecelia’s school building to meet with the family to share stories and to comfort and be comforted. As we were at the table sitting and discussing Jen’s death, it dawned on me. The twenty-forth of September was upon us, Ryan’s birthday! Once I made the declaration to mom and Nicole, a friend of mine, Patty, who was sitting across the table asked me, “Do you still celebrate his birthday?” My quick response was ‘no’. Only because we never really did or do “celebrate” each others birthdays. It was never apart of the Piper family culture. We always acknowledge the day of our birth, just not make it into such a big deal. To be honest, I like it that way. So really no, we don’t celebrate it, yet we do in our way.
Sharing a stupid story about Ryan, I told Patty how I used to tease him about going bald. Yep, I did! Reminding Ryan that both of our grandfathers were bald, grandpap Chester was sporting the shinny scalp when he graduated high school. I used to say, “It’s going to hit you right in the middle of your head! I can’t wait to see it.” Ryan would just roll his eyes at me. Priding myself on the conclusion of my perception, I informed Patty that Ryan’s hairline was starting to recede a bit before he died. When Ryan passed, he just turned twenty-four years old a month prior. A really stupid story to remember, but it brings a smile to my face. I do miss picking on him terribly! He was a lot of fun and would take me for so long before retaliating.
While driving Kyle around yesterday, I mentioned his dad’s birthday. He just shrugged his shoulders and grunted, in acknowledgment. I don’t know if it just doesn’t mean anything to him or if he doesn’t know exactly how to react or what to say. Knowing Ryan’s birthday doesn’t mean as much to Kyle as it does to the rest of us might change over time, the more he learns about his dad and matures. At least I hope so. Ryan loved that kid so very much, even before he met Kyle.
There is no doubt that Ryan and Jen are hanging out somewhere in the big blue heavens above us. After all, they did know each other. Like I said, Jen was always apart of our family.
Ryan would have been thirty-six years old today.