His existence shaped our lives, his death transformed our hearts...
Ryan Kenneth Zarlenga
12/7/87 - 2/23/93
The sun had not yet risen when I awoke with a stir of fear, today our lives would change. Slowly we eased onto the roadway, waiting, although he was tempted to escape the red light that hindered our progress. The temperature was 37, and the rain speckled our windshield as the journey began. Hospital bound, despite doctors advice to sleep a bit more, we were young, scared and unsure of the path before us.
After seven hours of labor, at 1:39pm, Ryan Kenneth Zarlenga was born. I can remember the excitement in the hospital as our parents and siblings and many friends began arriving to meet this little boy whose presence would alter us all.
My parents came to visit once we were home, armed with a camera, eager to capture those early images. Crouching in every obtainable position my father began the photo shoot of his first grandchild. Thankfully back then he and Jane were aspiring photographers, since my photographic instincts had not taken flight.
Blessed to cherish five amazing years of laughter and love notes as we witnessed the miracle of this boys life. The picture of kindness, Ryan began each request with please and ended with thank you. Quiet and patient in all that he was, a gift to behold for sure.
An unknown virus creeped into his brain, and in its path left death and destruction all around. His last moments of life resembled the community at his birth. Released from all the apparatus that did nothing to save him, he was laid in my arms and we all said goodbye.
Disoriented and grief stricken we kept going, with the heaviness of grief that losing a child dispenses, an anguish you would not wish on your worst enemy. Investing our time into learning to maneuver in a foreign state of mind, trying to survive and keeping his memory alive. Teaching others about his unselfish love, a love that more people in this world should witness.
"I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance"