I’m Cindy Ford, and I am Lindsie’s mom and one of Royce’s grandmas. My husband, Rick, and I have 7 beautiful children: Brandon, Ryan, Emily, Kenny, Derek, Carrie, and Lindsie. Our 4 married children, and 1 almost married child, have incredible partners, and we have 9 nearly perfect grandchildren. Until February 21, 2008, life for our family was pretty typical. Brandon and Ryan were married, and each of them had their first babies. Kenny had just begun serving a 2-year mission in Chile for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Emily, who has Down Syndrome, Derek, Carrie, and Lindsie were living at home, and all of them but Emily were still in high school. That day, the day before his 25th birthday, our family lost our son and brother, Ryan, to suicide. His young wife became a widow at 20 years old, and our grandson was just 4 months old.
What helped the most after losing Ryan: Being on my knees in prayer was the only thing that brought any real relief, because the sweetest peace would settle over me when I prayed. I knew the Savior was holding me and He understood how much I hurt. I came to trust in Him in a way I never had before. He sent so many people immediately to our rescue. I’ll never forget the sweet personal visits, gifts, meals, friends and family that cared for us, people who walked our dog…anything they could think of, they just did.
What helps me remember Ryan: My daughters-in-law and I put together a scrapbook of Ryan’s life that I love to look at. It reminds me just how wonderful life was with him here, and that it will be again someday. I love talking about Ryan and hearing funny stories that make me laugh! And I so enjoy being with our grandson, who reminds me so much of him.
My advice to others who’ve lost someone: Be kind to yourself. We all grieve differently and in no particular order. I still allow myself to have a good cry when I miss Ryan and wish he could be a part of things we do as a family, but I don’t feel bad for having fun without him anymore. Most importantly, ask the Savior to help you carry your burden. It will always be there, but will feel so much lighter if you do.