Tuesday, July 28, 2009


As this day draws to a close, I don't want it to end. This is supposed to be one of the worst days of my life, and in many ways it is. However, the only moment I can think of that was sweeter than the moment Ryan took his first breathe in this world, was the moment he took his last.

We had been told by the Wings nurses that we have been depending on for guidance and reassurance that we "would know". I didn't understand what that meant, but last night, we knew. We knew it was time to scoop up our tired son and hold and rock him as we handed his strong spirit over to God. This moment confused me. I thought I would feel angry, frustrated, that I would ache and want to scream. Somehow, as he was ready to return Home and take Jesus' hand, a peace came over me. I prayed for Ryan, sang to him, clung to my husband, let the tears fall and my arms feel the heaviness of his body. I wasn't full of this tension that I feared, I was calm and coherent, for Ryan and because I knew that moment was one I would never want to forget, as painful as it was.

And then, just when I thought he had already breathed his last breath, a smile, larger than any smile we had seen for weeks, came across his perfect little lips and cheeks. His lungs filled with their last aching breath, and he was at peace too. I think to myself that he must have seen something so amazing, so beautiful. He must have felt something so powerful and good. A moment like this, is a true testament to the power of our Eternal Father. A moment so intimate and pure that will only be likened, hopefully, to the day when God calls me home to Him and I witness the glory of Heaven myself.

Ryan is Home again, waiting and watching over our family. He has always been God's angel, lent to us here on earth for such a short while but for such a huge purpose. He has given us all a greater understanding of what love is. We will always be a family of 4 in my heart. Your prayers are all felt, the strength you send our way is lifting us up as we lean on each other and our Faith in God's plan. Many of you have asked what you can do for us. I ask you to help us keep his memory alive. Please, don't ever feel you shouldn't say his name or mention him when you are with us. We may cry and it may hurt, but he is our baby forever and his memory will be with us forever. We will celebrate his life here on earth, but more so the Eternal Life he now has in Heaven. He is more full of life and vibrance than ever... He has a voice, can breathe deeply, can move freely and now has no limits. Perfect.

The Hawns
We will post service arrangements tomorrow evening.


Anonymous said...

I wish the Hawn family peace. Your explanation of Ryan's smile as he must have been experiencing His great love and kindness was beautiful. I am so happy that you felt as you did as Ryan was going to the Lord. That gives all of us such a feeling of peace, too.

Rita said...

Beautiful. I wish you much peace and strength in the days to come. You are always in my thoughts and my heart goes out to you. I cry for both of our boys.

Mindy said...

Wow! Tears, and more tears. You are such amazing people. May you find peace tonight knowing Ryan is safe and sound in loving arms.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. I will continue to keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.


Heather said...

Jenn and Chris,
Praise God that He gave you the peace to let Ryan go. I have been blessed to get to know you all and especially to get to know Ryan. He has shown us a glimpse of the love God has for each of us. How powerful that Ryan sees God's love in more than just a glimpse know, but rather in all its glory. I will never forget his sweet smile and his wise beyond his years eyes, he knew something we all didn't and he felt God's presences more than many of us ever have. I continue to pray that God gives you the strength and peace.
Heather Wilson

Stefany said...

I continue to think of you both. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I am here if you need anything... I truly am a few minutes from you and even though you don't know me, I am here. Please let me know if I can be of any help.

Ryan smiling to you is wonderful, precious and beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes, but I can only imagine what seeing that smile must mean to you.

I plan on being at the service for Ryan. Know that I am thinking about you.

Zehr_Family said...

Your description of the last moments of Ryan's life had my husband and I in tears. I also had goose bumps and know that this was God's touch to show me how strong your Faith is and how weak mine is. Thank you so much for sharing this, you have moved me so much. I pray others will be moved by your testimony to his Blessings in hard times. I will continue to pray for all of you but I know that Ryan is watching out for all of you and always will. God Bless each of you!!

Kristi Zehr

Rev. Debby said...

As I continue to hold you in my prayers, I pray for God's peace to comfort and sustain you.

Alison Baillargeon said...

We are so thankful that your last memory of Ryan is so special and that you were able to share one last smile with him. Even as he is called to Heaven, he teaches us all something-don't be afraid. What a strong and spirited little angel. You and Chris and your strength and your love for each other and your family is such an inspiration and for the first time in a long time, we will be attending church this week. You all are truly angels. We love you.

Our Crew said...

I'm so glad Ryan went the way he did. What a wonderful kindness from God to give you that precious smile. You are so strong through this! Lots of love and prayers still.

Anonymous said...

AMAZING... That word describes you and Chris! You both are wonderful parents, Ryan is so lucky to have you both as parents! My heart aches deeply for you, however you have even given me a sense of peace, knowing that you are there! Your "story" has moved me in a way that was much needed! Your faith in God is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for sharing Ryan with the blogger world! You don't even know what it has done for all of us! How could anyone not believe in God or not have faith after reading your blogs!
May God Bless you and your family always! You have a beautiful angel up there looking down on you and your family! You are in my heart and prayers forever! I will never forget Ryan and those big beautiful eyes!!!
God Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Jenn and Chris,

"Perfect" was one of the most beautiful collection of words that I have ever read. Your faith has always been evident but now even more so. Could that have been Ryan's purpose on earth?...to remind us through your family that there is such beauty and sadness in our world but our faith is there through it all. Love to your family.
Karin McCune

Anonymous said...

Wise. That is what comes to mind when I think of the last moments you had with Ryan. You are both so wise to know how important that moment would be for you. Treasure that weight in your arms. The strength in your heart will carry you through.

Sarah Smith

dawn224 said...

I come to you from Danielle full of gratitude that your dear boy left you with a huge and beautiful smile :)

Anonymous said...

THAT is an amazing post, so beautifully written. I prayed for you before I slept last night. I will pray for again. Your faith is beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

To the strongest family I know.

It's been awhile since I have seen you and been close to your family but there is never a day that you all go unthought of. I guess you never really know what pain is until you are put into the situation.

My deepest remorse and prayers go out to the Hawn's. Ryan has moved on to a better place.

Joni Sampel said...

I sit here and tears fill my eyes as I read this. I'm so thankful that you were able to spend Ryan's last moments with him, and just as the memories you cherish of him smiling, this will be a memory you will cherish as well. Holding my daughter and having the time I did with her to say good bye was the hardest and the best thing that could have ever happened. It's a memory my husband and I hold closest to our hearts. Of course Ryan is still so much apart of your family. YOu are and will forever be a family of 4. I often tell people when they ask I have 4 children. I do, one just isn't here with me physically, I carry her closer to my heart, and someday just as I'll see Piper, you will see and hold Ryan again. Until that day, he is with you always, smiling down on you. When you see the wind blow through CHarlotte's Hair on a calm day, or a feathery touch on your cheek, it's him saying hello to you and letting you know he is okay.

My heart and prayers are with you both during this time. The only help I can seem to offer is attend a support group. One with parents who have lost a baby, it was my saving grace, and salvation after Piper died. May God be with you during this time, and always.


Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to your family. I don't know you personally, but have heard several stories about baby Ryan. Tears rolled down my face as I read your latest entry about a pain no parent should ever have to feel. The love surrounding Ryan shines through your words. Know that I'll be praying for your family. May God bless you all.

ExtraordinaryMommy said...

You are both such extraordinary people. I am awed by your strength and faith. I am overwhelmed by relief - knowing your final experience with Ryan was everything you needed it to be - everything it should be.

I will continue to wish you love, peace, strength and even more faith.

I will continue to share Ryan's story with anyone who will listen.

Much Love, Danielle

Emily Craver said...

It brings me such pain and peace, all at the same time, to know that your little boy has joined Him in a place where he no longer feels the pains of life on earth, but only the freedom and comfort of life with Our Father.
I hope you have time to grieve in the comfort of the Lord and cherish the time you had with him.
Grab Charlotte in your arms and allow Him to comfort all of you in your time of pain.
I thank Him for allowing Ryan to truly be with you to say goodbye before he joined Him for eternity. They will be waiting with open arms for you to join them in Heaven.

I love you and I continue to pray for you.

Emily Craver

P.S. Your love and strength through Ryan's life has helped me to see what I have in my life and who is important. I cherish every moment with my children. I even have found myself rocking them 5-10 minutes longer at night, because I'm not yet ready to say goodnight. I even feel my connection with Derek is stronger, I appreciate what I have thanks to your willingness to share your story, even through the most painful of times. Thank you for that.

Marcy said...

Your family is in our thoughts and prayers... we don't know you personally, but your story has touched us greatly. Many prayers will be said...

Tuesday Girl said...

I am SO sorry for your loss- one no mother should have to bear.
I will pray for peace for your family.

duongsheahan said...

My deepest sympathy and prayers. Your strength and peace during this time is such a testimony to many others who've been through or going through this painful situation. Children are such a blessing from GOD and we know he is in such an amazing place that we cannot comprehend with our natural eyes. God bless you and your family. May Guide's grace and love continually fill your hearts and lives as you move forward with fondest of memories forever cherished in your heart and soul.

Lindsay said...

I am admittedly not a religious person. I do always wonder what I'm missing. Your post, your strength and your experience helps me understand the significance of having God in your life. I am moved beyond words. I am sorry for your loss and I am inspired by your strength.

Rachel said...


I'm sorry for your loss, inspired by your strength and Faith.
It's a wonderful thing to have that walk with God.

bless y'all. You're in my heart and prayers.

Carrie Brown said...

Jenn and Chris,

I only wish peace, strength, and love to you both and your family. I love that you were both with him in his last moments before our Heavenly Father came down and offered Ryan his hand. I know that he is happy and striving up in Heaven looking down on us all. His memory will stay alive in you both and through all our love for him. I will miss him, eventhough I only met him for a short while. His smile would light up his face and bring a smile to mine each and everytime I held him. I love that I can and always will remember that and I cherish it forever. Peace and love to you both and his infant classroom will always remember and keep his memory alive at GSS. Love Carrie

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This was possibly the most beautifully painful thing I have ever read. This will bring so many people who come across his sweet story hope.

Many prayers of strength and peace to you.


Kara @ His, Hers & Ours said...

Such a beautiful post, and an amazing testament of your love for Ryan, each other, and God.

May He hold you in His arms, and give you peace in this lime of loss.

I am so thankful that Ryan's end on Earth worked out the way you wanted. Peacefully, and surrounded by his family's love.

Linda S said...

this is so beautiful and yet heart breaking. my prayers are with you.

The Murray Crew said...

We are weeping with you...
Leaning on the Everlasting All-knowing arms of our Savior,
The Murray Quads

Danielle said...


Kristina said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. Your description of Ryan's last, big, bright smile moved me beyond words. Although I do not know you, your family is in my thoughts. All my best

MaranathaMom said...

I heard about your story on another blog. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I have gone back and read most of your entries. Your family will be in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post and a very precious moment you were able to share as Ryan went to be with Jesus! My heart breaks for you and your family as I know there are mixed emotions. Peace and joy that Ryan is no longer suffering in any way and sadness as you miss him, his smell, his sweet loving eyes and beautiful smile. You have all been in my prayers for months now and will continue to be. Thank-you so much for sharing your life with so many. It truly shows that God is real and for each and every person there is a purpose no matter how long or short their time here on Earth is. May God bless and comfort you now and the days and weeks ahead. Your faith and strength have been such an inspiration to so many. I have shed many tears for all of you today, but I have also found comfort in knowing God's love and the peace he has given you. Always in our prayers....

Elizabeth said...

I thought of you all last night as I was getting ready for bed. I realized the day was ending for you too, and it was the end of the very last day of Ryan's life. I remember the day my brother died, and I didn't want to go to sleep and end that day because of what it meant about losing him. So I prayed for comfort for you. I hope you felt it!

I was shocked to read the news yesterday, and held my own son while I cried. Then I called Danielle to cry with her, and I've been thinking of you all and praying for you ever since. You came to mind this morning when I dressed my kids, when my son said "I love you" to me, when the beauty of a cool breeze slipped past me. I pray for soothing and peace for you.

Lots of love from me and my family!

Lisa said...

I have spent most of the afternoon reading your blogs. What a love story to read. I don't think I have cried this much in years. My grown son's name is Ryan Michael..what a beautiful and precious name it is. Jenn, you have such a wonderful writing style. Your words and emotions projected from the page as gently and as powerful as the wind blows through the trees in spring. What a gift you have. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire beautiful family during this difficult time. I've been in your shoes and it's a journey I wouldn't wish on anyone, but ironically it created some of the most special memories of my lifetime. Please take care of yourselves and dear little Charlotte. It sounds as though your family is loved by many...let them surround you with their love at this time.

Anonymous said...

I wish you peace and know that God is good and will take care of you and your beautiful Ryan! You are such a strong person and I will keep your entire family in my thoughts and prayers.

Elizabeth said...

You do not know me, but I was shared your story through a friend several months ago and have not been able to stay away. I have prayed for your family since the first time I read about Ryan. This last entry, of Ryans last moments was so amazing. The fact that he smiled one last must have been so wonderful for you and your family. My prayers are with you and your family.

Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts during this time.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful words about your beautiful boy. God Bless your lovely family.

carrie metz said...

The words you used were absolutely Holy Spirit driven. Beautiful, beautiful words to describe a moment most can not imagine and a boy who has captured not only your hearts, but so many that do not even know little Ryan. Blessings to you on your contintued journey . . .

Anonymous said...

Continue to lean on Jesus as HE will be your strength through this difficult time. Jenn, you and Chris have had such a grace about you throughout this whole ordeal. As someone who has been there, just hang in there!!!

Anonymous said...


Michelle said...

I am praying for you and your family. Your strength and faith is extraordinary. God bless you.

mom2nji said...

As I read this post, I cried. I am so happy you felt peace in his last moments. But I cant help but be sad and angry you had to lose him. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Kristen said...

You are an amazing woman, an amazing family. We will always remember you and your family even though we have never met. Hearing you speak at the trivia night allowed me to realize what a special person you are but to read your entries is truly inspiring. You are a gift to this earth. I will pray for your continued strength. Blessings in God's name.

JMH said...

Dear Jen, and Chris,
An aquaintance sent me this link about your son and suddenly I was taken back 18 years ago when my own 1st born child Kurt died. We had tried for years to have a baby and finally were blessed with a healthy pregnancy. The day he was born after 36 hours of labor I had a c-section and when they brought him out of the safety of my womb all of our lives changed forever. He had a 1 in a million heart lung defect that they tried to fix but 6 months and many trips to the OR later he left us. He never left PICU at Cardinal Glennon and I never left him as I lived there with him. I am so very sorry that your beautiful precious Ryan. May God wrap you all in his loving arms and comfort you. 18 years ago for me and it seemd like yesterday.Thank you for sharing your beautiful son's story. Below is a favorite of mine.

Fallen Sparrow
(G. Bradford)
A sparrow fell, and no one heard.
No body cared. It was just a bird.
From all the numberless flitting throng
of sparrows,who would miss one song"
But God leaned down and whispered, "I care,
That was one of My sparrows, and I was there."
A beautiful boy, all sunshine and laughter,
(And sometimes scolding, with kisses after!)
And hurts to smooth over, and deed to applaud....
A beautiful boy fell! Where were you, God?
A boy fell! God why weren't You there?

If you're God at all....then You could have prevented
This nightmare of pain! So you must have consented,
I've always believed You Were loving and good,
I'd like to believe still, if only I could.

But God, if You love me, how can You allow
such unbearable pain as I'm feeling right now.
Such helplessness...helplessness...bitter Regret...
So many tears that have fallen and yet
So many more that are still locked Inside.

Oh God...out there somewhere...have You ever cried?
I'm not even sure, anymore that You are real,
But if You are God...do you care how I feel?


Beloved I care in the midst of your grief.
In the midst of your stricken and crumbling belief.
In the midst of the blackness of total despair.
in the midst of your questioning, child... I am there.

"In the midst!" Not far off in some vague fifth dimension,
But there, where you are, giving you my attention.
My constant attention....and not just today,
Since before you were born, I have loved you this way.
You're important to Me, every hair on your head
I have numbered Myself, can these tears that you shed
Go uncounted.......unnoticed? Nay, child, here I stand
Close enough that each teardrop falls into My hand.

I know what you suffer, I know what you'll gain,
If you'll let Me walk with you into your pain.
I'll carry your grief, and your sorrow I'll bear.
You've only to reach out your hand....I am there.

Fear nothing for your dear son.
He is safe in My house, and all heaven's a whirl
With the ring ofhisr laughter, his quick eager smile,
And the things he's saving to show you "after awhile"
Yes, I could have prevented... but, child, you can't see,
With My perfect wisdom, trust him to me.

Of course, you will miss him, but while you are weeping,
Remember, it's only his body that's sleeping
His "self" is awake, wide awake As I said,
I am God of the living, not God of the dead.

Let Me walk with you now, through the long heavy days.
Let Me slowly begin changing heartache to praise.
Take hold of My hand child, take hold of My love.
I will lead you to joys that you yet know not of.
Your faith may be weak, and your trust incomplete,
But I'll walk not too fast for your stumbling feet.

Barb S. said...

What a beautiful gift you were given & thank you for sharing your faith with all of us. May God comfort & bless you all & your special little angel Ryan.

Suzanne Tucker said...

may love and light surround you and your beautiful family...all four of you. your sharing has touched my heart so deeply i can not say. praise god for your faith. praise god for your love. praise god for ryan and his powerful, powerful life. his love lives on in you and in his story. it has and will continue to touch many lives...as it has mine today. blessings.

Dave and Christine said...

Jenn, Chris and Charlotte,

Ryann was a lucky little guy to have you in his life. If lifetimes could be measured by love, Ryan experienced a full life in his short six months. God know what he was doing when he brought Ryan into your lives. Please cherish the memories and be proud of the love and devotion you showed him and each other. Ryan's smile was his was his special way of saying I love you mommy, daddy and big sister....thanks for everything!

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Dave and Christine

amyfish said...

We do wish you peace, comfort and healing. We are keeping your precious family before the Lord in prayer. We also rejoice with you that Ryan is in Heaven where he can't hurt anymore and where his body is perfect and whole. May God bless you during this difficult time.

Kristen said...

From the same Kristen who posted last night: I am listening to your playlist (all day) holding your family up in prayer, thinking of your strength as a mother and father and realizing how much this music probably aided you along this road. Music is so instrumental in my life and I can feel how much it is in yours too. Thinking of you...Kristen (Anne Koettings friend)
P.S. I wrote my grandmother's eulogy to "Fix You".

Gena said...

I pray that your family finds peace, too. Your last moments with Ryan will stay with you forever as will his memory.
He is whole.

scrappysue said...

so sorry for your loss. you have a beautiful family and your strong faith is evident. hugs from new zealand