We have received many gifts over the last few weeks, many of them commemorating Ryder’s life. It would be impossible to say that any one is more special than another. Each have touched our hearts in a very meaningful way.
I work as a Speech Pathologist for a local school district and a few of my coworkers came to visit with me the week after Ryder’s birth. They lovingly came bearing gifts, but one stood out above the others.
The school had come together and made a generous donation to the Children’s Park of Tyler, earning Ryder his very own engraved stone to honor his memory.
The Children’s Park was established as a place to celebrate the lives of all children, including those who are no longer with us. It is a beautiful, peaceful place tucked away in Tyler’s Azalea District near downtown.
All throughout the park, the sidewalks are lined with stones engraved with names of children who will always be remembered. Yesterday, we were able to visit the park and pick out a stone for Ryder. After a stroll around the park, we finally settled on a large, two-toned stone with a crevice down the middle. It reminds me of Ryder. It’s bold and beautiful, yet broken. Just like our sweet Ryder.
It could be a few months before it’s engraved. They like to get several names before they call out the engraver. They’re supposed to call us when it’s done so we can go out and see it.
Ryder was cremated and we have his urn perched up on our entertainment center, surrounded by other knickknacks that remind us of him, like an impression of his footprints and Willowtree figurines. I’ve often thought that cremation was a selfish choice because no one else is able to visit their loved one. Losing Ryder only affirmed that way of thinking. I wanted him with me and I didn’t want to have to walk through a cemetery, full of sadness, to visit with him. I don’t regret the decision one bit, but I did feel badly for a while that there wouldn’t be a place for family and friends to visit and honor him. That’s one reason why the gift of this stone is so meaningful. The park is beautiful, peaceful, and most importantly a happy place, full of life – not death and saddness. It is a place of celebration. And that is exactly what I want for Ryder – a place to celebrate his life and legacy, not just mourn his loss.
So, from the bottom of our broken hearts, thank you for this gift.
With hope and love,