Happy Birthday Ryleigh


Ryleigh’s favourite flower –
“Forget Me Not”

Today would have been Ryleigh’s 21st birthday. It is the 6th birthday without her. Ryleigh decided she wanted to move on from her pain and suffering by choosing to end her own life. I believe she did this after deep thought and with intention and purpose.

January 2014 \
Chemotherapy to prepare for stem cell transplant – we were all hoping this would be the answer to managing the Crohn’s disease and hopefully she would have some relief from pain, malnutrition, and extreme fatigue.
Sometimes hope can feel very painful.

At first, I was confused and immersed in deep despair and anquish not understanding her reasons for wanting to travel a different path from us. Some think death by suicide is an act of selfishness, but I believer her choice was an act of selflessness. I know this because through the past years I keep finding messages and hints from her actions, her writing, my memories, andthe pictures of her. All reminding me to live with purpose and joy even when I feel the darkest. These are what I call Ryleigh’s gifts. How better than to celebrate her birthday sharing her the tradition of gift giving.

In honour of her birthday, I am going to post a series of blogs as there are so many gifts Ryleigh shared with me. Please comment and share your own memories – July 22 is a day to remember and celebrate the gifts she gave us!

Ryleigh’s Gifts #1

Ryleigh left her playlists on her iphone. These were songs she listened to for a variety of reasons – to help her sleep, to block out hospital sounds during her various treatments, or just for pure enjoyment. I am sharing one of my faourites and evidently one of hers as it is found on the majority of her playlists. I choose to believe that this was one of her insightful messages to remind me that no matter how down I get “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder”. When I experience a grief attack I wil often listen to this song by The Secret Sisters and reflect on her message.

Black clouds are behind me
I now can see a hill
Often I wonder why I try
Hoping for an end
Sorrow weighs my shoulders down
And trouble haunts my mind
But I know the the present will not last
And tomorrow will be kinder

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