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One of the Good Ones

Ryan had a huge heart...

But he didn’t just let anyone in...

only the good ones.

And Jeff- you are one of the good ones.

From our first date

when I was telling you about Ryan

and his cochlear implant...

Another guy would have stared at me blankly (unclear what a cochlea even was)

but you didn’t skip a beat and replied “Oh wow, I work with a guy who was one of the originators for the sound to noise ratio for cochlear implants”...

I could see your heart and feel your goodness from that first moment.

And Ryan could too.

And he fell in love with you too... over time.

All the little things you did for him and for our whole family made him learn about your character...

You came in with fresh eyes and a new perspective with Ryan and encouraged so many things- from using closed captioning at the movies (duh- we use it at home) to helping buy Ryan a recumbent exercise bike for his birthday just months after we started dating (because you understood how important exercise was for him and wanted to help before you even met him)...to recently encouraging me to order a special adaptive wheelchair so we could go to more challenging places together.

And you were “there” for him... physically, emotionally you were present...

For him,

for my other boys

for our whole beautiful “Brady Bunch” family... and for me.

You learned sign language (although Gillian did pick it up so so much quicker).

You learned to love Sunday Redzone football.

You learned about all the movies and characters and probably more than any of us enjoyed a good Spongebob Square Pants or Loud House episode as I would often peek in the tv room and see you and Ryan holding hands just chilling on the couch together.

You learned the art of selfies and bursts of selfies... with and without the dogs by your side (oh and you learned to love dogs).

You learned and accepted Ryan from day one...the medical, behavioral, emotional needs he had were unlike anything else you encountered. But you figured it out.

You figured out tube feedings and nebulizer and vest treatments... you carried him in the water to touch the stingrays...

you held him in the hospital...

and found the second verse to Loud House that no one even knew existed...

And never for one minute did you ever make me feel uncomfortable about Oren- and his ongoing place in our hearts.

Instead, you embraced our past... our life and love before you came into our world and you felt honored that we allowed you to continue on as part of our present and future.

You were patient. You were understanding. You weren’t threatened...

Ryan would talk and show you pictures of “daddy” in one breath then hug you and tell you he loved you in another.

He understood your “role” and knew you were in his world to love him and he did so purely right back.

I can’t explain the depth of my sadness when I feel like we were all robbed of our time together...

It wasn’t enough... all the fun simple things we planned... our “family-moon” with all of our kids...

But the counter pull to my sadness is my overwhelming joy and gratitude that you came into my world at a time that allowed you to meet Ryan. To know him. To love him. And to be able to hold him in your heart like the rest of the special people in my world.

Jeff- you and I always tease each other about who is the “lucky” one... but Ryan got it- we all (us and all the kids) are and always will be lucky to have each other in our world... always and forever.

Jeff Sarrett- wishing you the

happiest and healthy birthday and many more happy moments to come...

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