Tears and Seizures

This isn’t actually happening right now, though it very possibly could because lately it has been happening on and off randomly throughout the day. Right now I’m actually sitting next to my child as I watch him enjoy the classic Simpsons arcade game that I grew up playing. But here it is: I can’t stop crying. Every day I cry. On and off. At times only in bits while at other times uncontrollably. Usually it’s about Jess–it’s connected to some kind of realization of how I’ve wronged her or how she’s loved me in some beautifully perfect way– how she’s loved me in some kind of way that is so beautiful I feel as though I’ll never be able to accept it fully enough. Sometimes it’s about a realization of what I’m going to miss out on in downtown Vancouver. I can almost see it, I can almost see through the fog a new reality emerging in our both “uber old” and “fledgling” neighborhoods that make up downtown. I grieve that I can almost see it and yet won’t be able to touch it. I feel like Moses up on the mountain top being told by Yahweh him/her/it self that I’ve been given the gift of getting the people this close but I shall go no closer.* Sometimes it’s when I realize how much of my children’s lives I’m going to miss, how many moments I am missing right this very moment as I choose to blog instead of doing…instead of doing…of doing whatever it is that I’m certain I’m missing out on doing! Sometimes I just sob ’cause I don’t know what other emotion to feel. Sorrow is all I’ve got left at times…and so I cry. A lot.

Thirty minutes ago (a few minutes after I finished playing the Simpsons arcade game with Jones) I got up and walked my wheelchair (using the wheelchair as a walker) to where my kids were chillaxin. I decided that instead of working on this blog I should sit with my kids for a few minutes before they get sent to bed themselves. On my way to be with the kids, however, I passed out. Oops. It was a slow seizure. It happened slow enough, luckily, for Jessica and Steve to run over and catch me as I blacked out and went to the floor. There was quite a bit of shaking, some twisting of limbs, some awkward gasping and eye rolling,  and just lots and lots of darkness and dizziness for me. It may not have been a horrific seizure (thank you God), but I had a seizure and seizures are certainly scary. They are. Period. Worthy of a few tears. And I cried. The reason I cried, though, wasn’t because of fear associated with passing out. No, the tears were because I was so overwhelmed by these two people who so gently and beautifully cared for me in my time of need. I felt so much love in that lasting moment, I felt so much concern over my life and health. In no way did I feel alone in any sense of the word. How could I have? I was being held in the arms of a woman who in every single way has given everything for me. I don’t remember clearly what she was whispering in my ear tonight (nor do I remember what she whispered during other seizures) but the fact that she was there holding me and whispering anything was enough to keep my body in emotions grip, in the grip of those tears that have eluded me most of my adult life. Those tears that have become so utterly freeing.

It feels good to cry. It feels appropriate, it feels like I”m doing the right thing, like I can’t be judged for crying–I can only be loved. And I desperately want to be loved. Sometimes when I cry, when I really cry and cry hard, I’m honestly just in search of confirmation that I’m not simply wasting time here dinking around waiting to die. The thing is, I think you never feel more human than when you are dying. And that’s an emotional and painful place to be.

*  Let’s not be goofy and please absolutely nobody will be aloud to make any further allusions to me and Moses unless it has to do with our hair or our beards. Unless we’re talking about our massive and powerful staffs, it is a comparison that is absolutely out of place…oh yeah, also aside from the point that we’ve both got siblings, we both had to do a dance for our in-laws in order to have been given permission to marry our current wives, and finally the fact that we’re also dying.

60 thoughts on “Tears and Seizures

  1. Ryan, I don't know you in life, but your story has touched my soul. Your life and death are going to stay with me every minute of mine. I will tell anyone and everyone what I know about you and your family. How amazing and strong you all are. How much love passes from all of you. From your care givers to you and you to them. From you to your wife and children and them to you. Remember in your darkest moments that your wife wants to be now where else, but with you. With you in every moment. Her grace and dignity will give you strength and God (and all of us, even those of us who don't know you personally) will watch over her. Will help her. No regrets. Your strength and courage give us all so very much. I don't know you but I love you, and your family. You are NOT alone.

  2. Ryan, please know that you and your precious Jess are more influential than you will ever know. Your words are so pure, so heartbreaking, so filled with love, and grief, and gratitude … they reach across the country to me here in Michigan. I am an "unmet friend" whom you've inspired to live a life of being "in the present." Today I met with a troubled student here at RC and as I heard his story of family dysfunction and chaos, my eyes filled with tears. My heart ached for this student and I believe it had something to do with how you, your story. I don't know how, exactly, but reading your words has touched my heart in a way that I want to serve others more, show compassion better, and love more openly. Thank you. And never doubt the power of what you do every day … make a difference. May the Lord keep you close and give you peace and healing.

    Linda Park

  3. Ryan I have been reading your previous blogs tonite and just read tears and seizures. You are teaching all of us beautiful lessons in life, love, grace, humility, compassion, forgiveness, hope and so many other things that many of us take for granted. Please know that what you are so courageously and unselfishly sharing with all of us will never be forgotten. I have never met you or your beautiful family but I feel as though you have become family to me, and that has only been possible because of your amazing courage, love, vulnerability and honesty. I sooo wish I could take all of your pain, both physical and emotional, away forever!! Please know that there are hundreds of people here in the 'couv, including me, who are here for you & Jess. I feel like I owe you so much as you have given all of us so much. The love, humor and grace that you emit is beyond words. I actually laugh out loud thru the tears as I read some of your blogs. You are a special soul. People feel this connection deeply with you and your family. Thank you for allowing us to share in your pain, your tears, and your good and bad days. We are a better community for it. Through swollen and grateful eyes, thank you! May the continued prayers from those who love you lift you up and hold you tight…((((HUGS)))

  4. There's no one like you, Ryan Woods. You are a gift to us…and to Jess most of all. Thank you, O God who lives…and who died, showing us that LIFE is greater than death, in all its forms. We will rejoice in You!

  5. I cried as I read, Ryan. Yes, you deserve to be loved, and the best response is "thank you. I accept your love." Your sharing your journey continues to bless me and change the way I look at death and heaven….LYN

  6. Thank you for taking precious time to include us in you journey. It is truly an honor and watch the love if Christ expressed in such a human way. Glory be to God! You are all so remarkable.

  7. Some people go through this life NEVER being able to touch another's life or LIVES as you have done. It seems unfair to have to live this life you have been given Ryan but GOD has chosen the PERFECT man to live it. YOU. Think of ALL of us here left on this planet when you will be gone in the arms of the Lord…………….we will continue to LOVE you and your family until you are able to hold them again. Our prayers and love continue to go out to you minute by minute as you share this life of yours with us. How blessed WE are…………
    Love you!

  8. Ryan, I do not know you beyond the beautiful words, photos and stories you've shared with so many. I wanted you to know that you are not just dinking around, waiting to die. You are changing people every time you share your most personal feelings & thoughts. You are changing us for the better. You, your wife and 2 children are showing us the true face of humanity, of humility and of grace. Thank you Ryan. Thank you and your family for sacrificing so many of your private moments and allowing them to become opportunities of growth & much needed perspective for those of us on the outside. I hope I am not out of line in speaking for the others in saying, we are forever grateful.

  9. Man, I would take a lot from you if I could, but not the tears, you need those too much, I think. What I can give you, I already have: my friendship, respect, admiration, prayers, and a commitment to live a better life because I know you, in life and death and soon in life again.

  10. You made me cry today Ryan. I sensed your loss and joy and fear and faith all swirling in the blender of today. So I prayed for God to bring you healing and for strength to see your kids beat you one more time in a game. I see Christ in you and know they do too. Well done Ryan! Well done!

  11. I have been following your story for more than a year now. It has been a beautiful year. Every time I look at this blog, I am afraid of what I will find. I am afraid that I will look and you will be gone. I honor you for having the strength to give of yourself and for sharing your wonderful message even until the very end. Blessings to you and yours.

  12. Thanks to God for nurturing Brenda, Pam, Kevin, and Tony to be parents who pointed you both towards Jesus. In all of us we are blessed to catch a glimpse of God himself.

  13. I don't comment much. But, wanted to let you know that I lost both of my parents within a year of oneanother when I was a little girl. It was so hard for me growing up in foster care. I never lost faith in God even though I didn't understand his plan. Having gone through all that I have learned to appreciate and value life more. Family is everything to me.
    I now have 2 autoimmune diseases for the past 8 years. One of them being Lupus makes me very aware how short life is. I have 3 kids with one having Autism scares me to leave them like my parents left me. We are open and talk about my sickness. When I blog sometimes i feel guilty for using that time. But, i've learned it's my way to cope, to vent and connect with even one person that might need to stop and think about God's love, how precious life is and sometimes to remind them that hey life ain't so bad over here.
    I will remember to pray for your family for the rest of my life….I promise. Love to you all.

  14. Oh, Ryan, I would give anything if ONLY we could grant you a million miracles….we would all do it in a heartbeat! God is working on yours I know He is, I pray it reaches you SOON! Lucky enough to know you a little, but knowing Jess I feel like I've known you forever, but little did I know everything she always told us about you was SO true, but SO not close to the amazing man you've become! She has always spoken so highly of you, but I think the man you are today…..is even MORE amazing! You have been such a blessing to me and many…..living with Alzheimer's, (my husband), make you SO aware life is short. Stan's body is pretty healthy, but watching the mind disappear is dreadfully painful….however, by reading your blog, the amazing strength you have shown and that it's okay on the days you don't feel so strong, to let it show too….makes you feel somehow it's just okay either way! Reading your blog and "watching" you, Jess, Jones, and India go thru this horrible illness somehow has given my the courage to face what I need to face too! Thank you for being such a great example for all of us, especially Jess and the kids! You may leave us one day, but trust me, you will NEVER be forgotten, for you have left your "mark" footprint if you will, on all of hearts forever! Thank you…..just for being you! Hugs….

  15. Dearest Ryan~
    I don't know you but I have come to know you through your blogs. There have been a time or two that I have been frightened to read what you might say..but then I think of you and what your enduring, how can I not. You have to be an Angel, in fact I know you are… Your constantly teaching us all and reminding us. "When angels speak, their voices sound quite powerful — and the sound is even more impressive if God is speaking with them."
    Stacy

  16. Ryan, everyday when I open my laptop I go to your blog, praying that I will see an entry from you. So relieved when I do and so thankful for what you are going to teach me that day. Thank you for giving us this blog to learn such a beautiful and important lesson. And for the reminder that time, for all of us, is much shorter than we'd like and oh so important to use up! The sorrow that I feel for you and yours is so immense, another lesson to live "out loud" and share ourselves. My heart is full of prayers, love, and thanks to you and your beautiful family.

  17. Thank you for touching me and many others. I am grateful for knowing your story. My thoughts are with you here in southeast Georgia (BTW, I am from Beaverton OR) You and Jess are amazing people! Much love and peace.

  18. You have such a blessed and spirit awakening quality in your writing. One second Im laughing at your jokes and the next I'm crying for your pain. You make me praise God in every cell of my being because I know that his love just radiates in his people (in you especially). Your words and journey remind me to be grateful for every moment- every breath and every little things my children do and say. I feel so foolish sometimes for wasted moments- for times when I wasnt grateful to be alive or times where I got stuck in the emptiness of public media/opinion.

    I pray for you and for your beautiful family. Even though we havent met- our spirits are definitely related. Please continue to share your thoughts- (when you have time and energy) its such a HUGE gift you are giving all of us. A simple reminder that LOVE prevails – even in death.

  19. Your story found me by way of several friends' Facebook posts, and I am so grateful it did. What had struck me from the very beginning is how GENEROUS you and your wife have been. Truly giving and generous souls who blessed us with a willingness to share details of an experience so painful, exhausting, frightening and yet sometimes beautiful.
    I read your words or watch your video blogs and my heart aches at times. In the medical field I work with people in all states of wellness and illness, those facing imminent death and those confronting the very real possibility that their life may be ending on Gods timeline and much sooner than they had planned. I've also been blessed to see the rare miracle that has astounded even my skeptical heart. I pray for one of these miracles for your body. But I also pray for your peace and strength and easing of physical discomfort and pain. Please know you have touched at the very least an entire community and at best communities everywhere. I don't know you or your family personally but I believe I speak for many when I say they have become family to us as well and we feel responsible and protective of them.

  20. Tears are just love pouring out of us when there are no human words to express it. I grew up with your dad in Tacoma, Wa. I will pray for you and your family. I almost died Sept 4th from a bowel that burst and I too felt the love of my family and my christian brothers and sisters. It held me up in my darkest moments. I pray it will carry you also.

  21. Ryan, I found your blog through Jen Burgess Thompsons support page on Facebook. I watch the video "My Last Days" and was so touched by the love between you and your beautiful wife.

    I am humbled by the way you take time to continue to blog and be open with family, friends, and complete strangers. By you sharing your thoughts in this scary time in your life, it gives the rest of us the oppurtunity to remember how important it is to not take life for granted.

    I pray for you and your family. I ask God to wrap his comforting arms around you and I ask that he takes your pain away. I pray for your wife and children. Your wife's strength is beautiful. And I pray that your body surprises us all and stops the forward motion toward death. It is my hope that someday soon you won't need your "hospitality" team.

    God Bless,
    Gretchen

  22. Ryan, thank you for sharing with us your love and life. You are an inspiration to all of us and a precious gift from God. When I first found out about you through a friend, I didn't know that we lived so close. I am praying that God sends his angels around you to comfort you, your wife, and your precious children. I am sorry that you are feeling so much pain. I hope that God takes away that pain. I pray that you may feel his hugs that he is sending to you right now. Isn't it funny how we try to make a plan or a road for our life only to find out that there is a bigger road and a bigger purpose? You are truly a strong man! I like the quote that says: "if you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead to anywhere". This is an obstacle but the journey's end and purpose make it all worth while. I wish that we could have met. Joshua 1:9 Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go! Peace be with you!

  23. Benjy and I were AIM assistants around the time when you came through. Although we did not get to know you well at that time it is obvious that that was our loss. Your story is a strong and courageous one. Thank you for sharing it with the world. Your vulnerability and honesty are refreshing and faith building. We are thinking about your family and asking the Lord of hosts to hold all of you in His mighty and tender care and to fill these moments with peace and joy as your faith becomes sight!

  24. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Ryans family and friends. My husband, I am sure, was there to meet him today. God bless you all and in the days that come.
    Peace, Sue

  25. I only just heard of Ryan's story today, but my heart goes out to the family . . . his wife, his children. My husband died of a brain tumour just over 3 1/2yrs ago, and I have two young girls (now 7 1/2 & 5yrs old), and I know parts of the road they have travelled, and parts they will. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts at this difficult time.
    ~Chelsea

  26. Jess and Family,
    Thinking and praying for you all. I have been following this blog since April and have been so impressed by Ryan's candid story that he shared with all of us. He has reminded me to appreciate life daily with my family. I'm thankful for each day that I wake up healthy. Thank you for sharing with us your love and strength. Your family is such an inspiration. Peace be with you.

    – Lyndee

  27. you guys are in our thoughts and prayers, we can't believe ryan's actually gone, hard to understand and comprehend that. please let us know if there's anything we can do, our hearts are breaking over this.

  28. No more tears in heaven. I am rejoicing in the fact that you are home with Jesus now and free of the pain. I am praying for your family along with thousands of other people. You were very special and have made an impact on my life and many others. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. May God bring peace and comfort to your family in this time.

  29. I just found this blog from "Everyday Kings" and wanted to stop by to let you know I have said prayers for you as you adjust to this new life.

  30. wishing Ryan's family and friends peace, joy and love. although I have learned of this family's journey only recently, my thoughts have turned to it time and again. I'm moved by Ryan's ability to live, and die, with grace, courage, humor and optimism. may we all find such strength.

  31. So sorry you have left us, but so glad that you are with your loving Savior who has prepared a beautiful place for you. May God bless and watch over your family.

  32. I don't know you either…but I promise to be in prayer for your family. I discovered your story today while working on my own blog, and I've been captivated for 3 hours. You are an amazing family. I have to say too…I'm so impressed with Jess. So much on your shoulders and you always have a smile. Praying.
    Michelle http://blessingofheritage.wordpress.com

  33. God speed Ryan. My thoughts are with your family. I say goodbye to my father in law on Friday, who died from gbm on Monday 5 November 2012. I'd like Ryan's family to know that his beautiful words and strong faith gave me the courage to support my father in law and our family in every way i could. It feels very sad that one chapter has closed but I feel hope and joy that another has opened. Thank you for that inspiration x

  34. I wish there were words adequate enough to convey my sympathies to Rayn's family. This blog is an inspiration to all that read Ryan's story. God bless his family and friends with peace and healing.

  35. I wish that I had moved here a few months earlier so that I could have gotten to know you, Ryan. I feel so fortunate to have been touched by you even very briefly, and I know that your family and this community are feeling your loss so terribly right now. Thank you for your kindness to me — I am astounded at how generously you accepted me into this downtown community even though I met you near the very end of your battle. I wish you eternal rest. I am sending my thoughts and love to you, Woods family.

  36. My thoughts and prayers are with Ryan's family and friends. God bless them and keep them, may His light shine upon them and given them peace.

  37. Pingback: Perspective provided in passing « SENSE in the SENSELESS

  38. Earlier today, I finished watching a short video on YouTube, the channel Soul Pancake, to be exact. Watching that video touched me. I needed more. So I searched for Ryan's blog, and after reading through its entirety, I noticed it just cut off abruptly. Quite honestly, I was like reading an excellent book, only to find that it went unfinished. I had a pit in my stomach, because I had a very good idea of why there were no more blog posts. Tears welled up in my eyes as I searched to whether Ryan was still alive, and I found the answer.

    It's such a strange thing that we as humans, in this day and age, can know so much about a person and never have met them. After reading Ryan's blog, I felt a closeness to him, a connection, and in the span of less than six hours, I find myself going from being excited, hopeful, and inspired to being so heartbroken. Not from my own personal loss, don't get me wrong, but because I know how hard loss is, I have a huge pit in my stomach for Jess, and for the children that will no longer be able to be comforted by their father.

    I am so sorry for you. My prayers will be with you tonight, and I hope that the spark carried by Ryan will touch many, just as it has touched me. There is pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.

  39. This is really make me think that I'm nothing, based on your story you can keep yourself stand and never let everything you already get just become nonsense that cool.

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  43. If anyone in Ryan's family is watching this space, I would like to offer my sincere condolences. I just found My Last Days and Ryan was very impressive. I hope that life since his passing has not been too painful. Know that there is a small steady stream of lives that he continues to touch thanks to his willingness to share his story, and that he's still making a difference.

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