Hole In The Heart RK

Written by: Carl Rice Jr


Written By: Carl Rice Jr

From the moment Mom knew she was pregnant with me, she loved me.  Mom didn’t know my sex and I didn’t even have a name.  Mom prepared my room and bought clothes for me.  When I was born I became part of Mom’s heart, right along with my brother BJ.  When I needed Mom she was always there.  When the weather was nice she took me for strolls.  When it was cold Mom made sure I was bundled up.  When I was sick she would take me to the doctor, hold me in her arms and sit with me all night.

When I hurt, Mom hurt.  When I cried, Mom cried.  During my childhood years it didn’t matter who treated me badly, Mom would go after them like a police officer after a criminal.  Come to think of it, she was like that my whole life. 

As a teenager I loved to shop with Mom.  Being six-foot-five and 220 pounds, many of my friends found that funny.  To me it felt special.  I remember a few days before I died, Mom and I were going to a nearby town.  I don’t know why but out of nowhere I said, ‘Mom what if I die?’  Mom did not hesitate.  “Then I might as well die too Ryan.”  Mom always wanted the best for me.  She often worried about me and would say, “Ryan, be careful, I love you.”  Then she would stand and wait.  I would walk over to Mom and give her a big bear hug and say, ‘Mom I love you.’  

People who know Mom would say BJ and I were her greatest love.  Most of my friends would call her mom.  The moment Mom found out I died; a hole for me was left in her heart.  The love of listening to my words, feeling my hugs, hearing me laugh, dreaming my dreams, seeing me sleep, seeing me walk in the front door and hearing, ‘Mom I love you’ was gone forever.  When I look at Mom I can see she was right, Mom has died too!

As for Dad he loves BJ and I a lot like Mom does but he definitely had other ways to show it.  When I was eleven-months-old Dad was having a good old time.  He was throwing me up in the air and catching me.  Dad was laughing and making a strange sound like “weee.”  Dad told my Mom I was laughing and loved being thrown in the air.  What Dad didn’t know was that I wasn’t laughing.  I had gas. 

As a toddler I would sit in this round walker on wheels.  Every time my feet moved, I would move.  Dad must not have thought it was fast enough.  He would grab the side of my walker and sling me across the living room into the kitchen.  Then I would hear Dad say that word again, “weee.”  This time Mom even thought it was funny.  The next time Dad slung me into the kitchen, the basement door was open and I rolled all the way down the steps to the basement floor.  Dad rushed to the door, looked down with loving fear and saw me laughing.  This time it wasn’t gas.  I loved it.

As a three year-old, Dad took me to the hockey arena, bought me a uniform, and put me on the ice.  Now Dad wasn’t saying “weee” but he did have a big smile on his face.  Now don’t blame this one on my Dad.  When I watched the Detroit Red Wings on television, I would say over and over, “hockey.”  The next thing I knew, I was pushing a chair on the ice and trying to skate. Dad was showing me his love by telling everyone I loved hockey.  As it turned out, I did love hockey and was very good at it.  Dad, Mom, BJ, family and friends would all come watch me play.  It was especially obvious how proud Dad was, which I loved.

I also loved playing basketball against my Dad.  My most enjoyable time of playing basketball with Dad was during my senior year of high school.  I’m six-foot-five and Dad is five-foot-ten.  As I dribbled to the basket Dad would bang hard against my body. Dad was showing his love by not letting me win.  So I would bang back hard against my Dad’s body as he drove to the basket.    The longer we played the more each one of us wanted to win.  Eventually we were banging into each other like bumper cars at the fair.  Of course, Mom would yell, “Carl, don’t hurt Ryan!”  I’m sure glad Dad didn’t listen because I loved Dad playing hard. 

After I died, Dad took his truck and banged into the basketball pole.  He didn’t stop until the pole broke and fell over.  Dad loved having a basketball pole and hoop.  After the basketball pole fell over, Dad looked up to God and yelled, “Now that Ryan isn’t here, what fucking good is it having a basketball pole?”

My first experience with BJ was when I got home from the hospital.  BJ did not want to leave his “Baby brother.”  Every chance BJ got he would try to hold me.  One time when I was three months old and BJ was three, he came into my room.  The next thing I know I’m out of my crib and BJ is walking down the hall.  He is holding me like a sack of potatoes.  BJ walks into the kitchen where Mom is, and BJ says, “Look mommy, I love my brother.” 

When I first started walking, BJ would chase me around the yard and I would laugh.  Sometimes my feet would go faster than my body and I would fall and BJ would pick me up.  Then he would hug me and I would say, ‘BJ, I love you.’ 

Don’t get me wrong:  BJ and I had our battles.  That word “battle” reminds me of a winter day when I was nine.  I was out in the front yard building a big snowman.  Two boys thirteen or fourteen were walking down the street.  One yelled, “You pussy! Snowmen are for babies.” 

I yelled back, ‘Kiss my ass.’  The next thing you know these two boys, who thought I was their age, due to my size, came after me.  Finally I yelled, ‘I’m only nine!’  Apparently they didn’t hear me.  Just as I was about to be caught, BJ came running outside, yelling, “Leave my brother alone.”   The two boys ran away, and from that day on BJ and I always protected each other.  As the memorial service for me came to a close, BJ hugged my casket and said, “I love you brother.”