Hole In The Heart RK

Written by: Carl Rice Jr


Written By: Carl Rice Jr

BJ wakes up at night and screams my name.  He blames himself for my dying. The night I died he gave me my car keys to pick up a friend.  Now that I’m in heaven, most of our friends no longer see him.  My girlfriend Leslie doesn’t even call.  BJ has reached out to some of my friends but no one reaches back.  BJ tells Dad he is angry with God and will not go back to church.  BJ sometimes thinks Mom and Dad wishes he would’ve died instead. 

Mom loved nothing more than to care for her “Babies.”  Even when BJ was twenty-two and I was nineteen, Mom would not let us forget “We were her babies.”   Mom continues to show BJ love and wants to once again show me love.  Mom will here a noise in the home and say, “Ryan is that you?”  Mom still believes I will walk in the door, pick her up, give her a big bear hug and say, “Love you Mom.”  

Mom’s desire for life is almost gone.  She draws upon all she has to give love to those she cares for.  Mom wants to embrace people’s happiness but the thought of not being able to brag about me brings tears, not joy. 

Mom goes into a severe depression and Dad takes her to the doctor.  Mom immediately is admitted into the hospital, where she stays for a month.  In the hospital Mom is fed intravenously.  Medication and therapy do not lift her severe depression.  Mom ends up receiving eighteen Electro Convulsive Treatments.  After each treatment Mom ask Dad, ‘What are Ryan and BJ doing?’  When BJ visits, she ask him, ‘Where is Ryan?’ 

Dad showed me love a little different than Mom but I knew he loved me.  When I was four-months old, Dad stood in my bedroom looking at me.  Dad had just found out he was going to start second shift at the police department.  Dad thought of how he would not be there to lay me down, tears ran down his cheeks and fell to the floor.  At fourteen, Dad dropped me off at the high school for my weeklong football camp.  As Dad watched me walk away, tears rolled down his face and found their resting place in the palms of his hands.  Even though I was returning, Dad felt the emptiness of me not being with him.  Since I died, Dad has a hole in his heart, which reminds him every day I’m not returning.         

My girlfriend Leslie, second to my salvation, is the most precious gift I ever received.  I started liking Leslie in the sixth grade.  Over time Leslie became my best friend.  When we were together a comfort came over me and the terrible anxiety I struggled with went away.  Eventually we showed each other love with words, hugs, soft touches and intimate respect.  The thought of getting married made us excited about the future.    

Then without any notice, I died!  Leslie’s hopes and dreams of being with me forever vanished.  We no longer were one and Leslie felt me ripped from her soul.  Leslie missed her Ryan and could only ask, “Why did you let us grow so close God only to end up apart?”

Since I died, my grandparents have changed their view of life and interact differently with my parents and BJ.  Grandpa Rice goes out of his way to call, stop by and he keeps up on everyone.  He goes golfing with BJ and talks with him.   Grandpa Rice comes over to help Dad remodel things that Mom wants done.  When it’s my birthday he shows up at my gravesite, along with my Grandma Rice.  When Dad cries, Grandpa cries.  Now instead of handshakes, Grandpa gives hugs.  He doesn’t talk about me much but occasionally he will mention my name and say, ‘I still don’t want to believe it.’  On August 24, 2009 Grandpa Rice died and now is with me in heaven.

Grandma Rice has become bitter, angry and is negative toward everything in the world.  She blames my dying totally on drinking and will not listen to any other views.  Rarely does she hug my Dad. She shows sympathy toward my Mom and cherishes and worries about BJ constantly.  During certain situations, like at my gravesite, Grandma Rice will break down and cry.  When my Dad comes over to visit my Grandma, she shows Dad affection by anxiously wanting to make him food.  Grandma has a good heart but life has broken her down.

Grandma Jacobs tries to get Mom to go out.  She encourages Mom to spend more time with Dad.  She tells Mom to sleep in bed with Dad instead of on the couch.  There are times where Grandma tells Mom how she should be feeling.  Then Mom yells at Grandma Jacobs and tells her that she can’t tell her how to feel.  She can’t change how she feels because she’s not ready to change.  Grandma wants to fix Mom and often asks my Dad, ‘what can we do Carl?’  Grandma Jacobs means well and sometimes even gets Mom out of the house.

Grandpa Jacobs tries to keep everything calm.  He talks to my Mom about television shows that they both like.  Grandpa rarely mentions my name.  Grandpa Jacobs avoids conflict and conversation, which hurts Mom.  He tries hard to keep Mom from talking about me because he doesn’t want to see Mom cry.  When Mom does cry, Grandpa is afraid to say anything but will give Mom a warm hug and kisses her on the cheek.

For the most part family and friends who were around every corner when I died, now hide in the shadows.  Two of my friends Dusty and Rachael did give their son the middle name Ryan.  My other friends rarely stop by to see my parents.  The only time Mom and Dad see my friends is when they see them out somewhere.

The only family who stops by anymore is my grandparents.  My Uncle Tim calls at times but breaks into tears and asks my Dad, ‘Why did this happen to you guys?’  My parents’ aunts and uncles on rare occasions will bring up my name.  Dad’s best friend Mike keeps in touch and Dad’s friends Richard and Marty call to show they care.  Mom has friends but they don’t call much because Mom cries and has a hard time talking.

My cousins will come to special family gatherings and, like most everyone else, will act like I was never born.  During those rare times Mom shows up at special gatherings, Mom and Dad will bring up my name.  As quickly as my name is brought up, someone quickly changes the conversation.  The only cousin I can think of who will speak freely about me is Christy. 

Mom and Dad encourage people to bring up my name.  It’s painful for them but they hurt more when people act as though I never existed.  Mom and Dad know it’s easier for people to avoid the name ‘Ryan’ but they also know avoidance hurts them more.