Ryan walked into one of the lowest times of my life. I still felt sorry for myself because of my accident, and I had just began to reclaim my independence from my overdose by moving into my first apartment with best friend, and I was finally going back to school.
At this point, I was finally using a cane and Ryan took an interest. I found out later on it was because he too had had a near death experience and had learned to walk again.
The difference between Ryan and my survival stories were only limited to the fact that he remained in the hospital longer, he recovered faster and his story was overall more inspiring.
Our last days together. I should of known what was going to happen, but I was so self involved I couldn’t see past myself. He was deteriorating in front of my eyes, and I had the audacity to tell him I thought he was faking. He was constantly hooked up to his grandmother’s oxygen mask, his skin hung over his bones and his color grew grey.
He told me, “I’m dying,” and how he figured out why his Morphine and Oxycontin pills weren’t working because his Doctor had changed him to time release and he was taking too much. I still chalked it up to him being dramatic. Ryan wasn’t even a dramatic person. He was surprisingly nonchalant about most matters. How I could I be so clouded about what was I witnessing? He was overdosing slowly.
On leap day 2012, Ryan had a Doctors appointment. I saw him every single day! Out of respect, I hadn’t tried to make contact until around 4 o’clock to see how his appointment went. Ryan past away around 4:30 that day, without seeing his Doctor. He was going to be 25 in less than a week, too young to go.
Most of my grief and tears were aimed towards the fact that I should of been there. I should have did something. I should have helped him. I should have took him to the doctor. I should of called him until he answered. I should have known! I don’t think I will ever forgive myself for not being there the one day I wasn’t! For thinking he was ‘making it up’! How could I let him die when he was responsible for teaching me the most important lessons about loving life in a time when it felt so fucking hopeless?
He used to hide my cane to teach me that I didn’t need it anymore, even when we were broke as hell he would still give panhandlers money because he said, “it comes back.”
In honor of Ryan, I ALWAYS give money to people who are brave enough to ask for it, especially when I can’t afford it. He changed my life more than I would have ever guessed, and I am so lucky to have known him.
The song I played on repeat the day before he died, that he he was super irritated about: