Grannys Guest Post

My mom was 41 when Isaac was born. I was 20 and that seemed old– but now at 38 it is kinda mind blowing– I always said Isaac & I grew up together– but even my mom was just a kid! Because she was so young i teasingly called her Granny– to her horror– until the day Isaac said Granny for the first time and she was hooked. Now everyone calls her Granny.
Granny and Isaac spent alot of time together, especially when he was younger, they were two peas in a pod. They were pretty cute! They stayed close even a Isaac became a busy teenager and Granny and Grampas house was always Isaac’s favorite spot to be comfy all of his days.

Today at her birthday party she asked if she could be a guest on my blog. I asked if she had written something already– she hadnt she said, but se had something she wanted to write about.Here it is.

The Toothbrush by Deb Ryan

“Being crushed means being reshaped…”~Charles Swindoll

A toothbrush.

A bluish green toothbrush.

An ordinary toothbrush.

Who would have thought a toothbrush would start it.

But it did, and with a listing wobble, I hung to the sink to stay upright…and then the tears began to gush.

And I stood in my bathroom sobbing and my chest heaving to breathe. And trying to get ready for Sunday school. I am a SS teacher for 1st & 2nd graders…they love me, and expect me to be there each week. I had already missed a few weeks, and they depended on me. I needed to get ready.

To get ready.

Today, January 11th is my Mom’s birthday.

She’s been in heaven now for 10-1/2 years. I brace myself each year as the holidays wind down and the deluge of January birthdays begin in our family. I miss my Mom every day…she was my Mom, (you only get one)… and she is gone.

So, Saturday, the 10th, I knew that the next day would be the 11th.

I was all ready for it… or so I thought.

But what I wasn’t ready for, was the toothbrush.

The toothbrush belonged to Isaac. It was his for when he stayed with granny and grandpa. It had been in the medicine cabinet for a long time. It was with Abby and Jack’s toothbrush. I don’t know why on this Sunday morning as opposed to any other morning since Isaac left us that it would affect me….

But today I saw it, and thought of him, and I just buckled.

The “aliveness” of ones we love deeply affects us. I loved Isaac so much. He loved me. I was his Granny. His love gave me winks and whistles… whispers and secrets…hugs and kisses…and his laughter, oh his beautiful laughter. This granny and this grandson had a special relationship. He inspired and enriched my life with vitality…with challenge, with blessings… with his smile.

Being Isaac’s Granny taught me so much about life and living.

Isaac’s “aliveness” was a crucial part to each member of our family…to each friend he had, and to most who knew him. It is hard trying to make our life without that “aliveness” that was Isaac. We were tightly wrapped around him…especially in this last year, since he was going to be graduating, going into college, or the service, or something, somewhere, most likely away from here. We all held tight…as we tried to let him go.

Abby and Jack had never even experienced life without Isaac.

The rest of us had been molding and adapting our lives around Isaac for the 18 years, 1 month and 26 days that he was alive. And in a moment, that was gone. His presence, his “aliveness” ceased to exist in the way we had always known it. Friends, neighbors, fellow athletes, teachers, principals, coaches, students, coworkers, bosses, people clear across the country, had all been affected by Isaac’s life. His “aliveness’ was no longer available. He was gone. The hopes and dreams and plans…they were all gone. Each of us, all of us, were robbed of Isaac’s life, of his “aliveness” in our lives. That which was so vitally a part of our lives, and our thoughts for the future no longer existed.

With his passing that chapter in my life is closed.

And, now, today, January 11th closes another chapter, a year that I have to say I am glad is almost gone.

Tomorrow I turn 60. A new decade, a new awareness, a new challenge. The year that started on the day of my 59th birthday was the beginning of a dreadfully sorrowful year. I must tell you quickly what took place in this last year of my life, and even though I am turning 60….yes 6-0….

I welcome it with open arms.

The day of my 59th birthday, we were housesitting, dog sitting, and grandkid sitting. We came home from church to the Turner’s house, and were eager to get changed, and go meet everyone for lunch for my birthday. We let the dogs out, and then in quickly, they were cold. Mike had to run and do a quick chore with Jeremiah, and Abby had to get something at her dad’s. So it was me and Jack. Shortly after the dogs came in, there was a car at the end of the driveway blowing its horn…Jack looked out and said that’s the neighbor lady, she’s crabby, Granny, just ignore her.

She kept honking and honking. I grabbed my cell, and made my way down the slippery drive only to find out that Violet had bitten her. It was bad. I had to tear her pants and make a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. I wanted to call 911, but she wanted to drive herself. I called Mike, he met her at the hospital and was there for 4 hours with her. The next day Violet had to be put down…a day after my birthday, the day before Abby’s birthday, and 5 days before Jack’s birthday. Their beloved pet…A tragedy.

February 23rd would bring the tragic news of a very dear friend, Michalanne, being killed in a car accident.

March 18th, I would fall on the ice hitting my head and suffering a concussion.

The very next week brought the death of our friend’s son, Jake Fekete.

May 8th brought news of the death of another dear friend, Linda Philo, who was also Jake’s grandmother…Stacey Fekete’s Mom.

My grief was overwhelming. My head injury exasperated that grief.

Then came October 25th.

We lost Isaac Julian Ryan McKinnon.

Our lives are changed forever. Our normal is permanently altered.

I said earlier, that being Isaac’s Granny taught me so much about life and living….and now in the midst of death, he is doing the same…

teaching me about life and living.


Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


2 thoughts on “Grannys Guest Post”

  1. Thank you for sharing your year with us, Deb. It makes it easy to see where Christina gets her effortless ability to so eloquently pour out her feelings. May this coming year bring you love and light and spiritual peace. More than ever, that is!
    \m/- Mick


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