Ryan Hook
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You Can't Win With Me  

If you say to me, "How are you doing?,"
With such sympathy and meaning in your voice,
I reply, "I'm fine,"
And brush you off,
Because to talk about my loss with you is just too painful.
If you see me
And don't mention the loss that is consuming my thoughts,
I think you don't care enough,
Or are too scared to mention it
For fear that you might upset me.
You can't win with me.
If you say, "I'm sorry your son died,"
It is hard for me to reply to that.
What do you expect me to say?
I want to say, "I'm sorry too!" or "It's awful!"
I want to scream, "It's not fair!!"
But I won't because I don't want to upset myself today,
Not in front of you.
So I reply, "Thank you."
That thanks means so much more than that.
It means thanks for caring,
Thanks for trying to help,
Thanks for realizing that I'm still in pain.
If you don't know what to say to me, that's okay.
Because I don't know what to say to you either.
If you see me smile or laugh,
Don't assume I must have forgotten my son for the moment.
I haven't, I can't, I never will.
Tell me that I look good today.
I will know what you mean.
I'm getting good at picking up unspoken cues from you.
If you see me and think I look upset or sad,
You are probably right.
Today might be an anniversary day for me,
Or some event might have triggered a wave of grief in me.
If you don't say anything
I'll think you don't care about me,
But if you do say something,
It might make me feel worse.
You could try asking if I want to talk,
But don't be surprised if I say no.
You can't win with me.
Don't give up on me, please don't give up.
I need your attempts however feeble,
However trite you might feel they are.
I need your thoughts.
I need your prayers.
I need your love.
I need your persistence.
I need all that but most of all I need to be treated normally,

Like it used to be before all of this happened.
But I know it's impossible.
That carefree, naive person is gone forever,
And I am mourning that loss too.
So you can't win with me.

I'm Still Here  

Friend, please don't mourn for me
I'm still here, though you don't see.
I'm right by your side each night and day
and within your heart I long to stay.

My body is gone but I'm always near.
I'm everything you feel, see or hear.
My spirit is free, but I'll never depart
as long as you keep me alive in your heart.

I'll never wander out of your sight-
I'm the brightest star on a summer night.
I'll never be beyond your reach-
I'm the warm moist sand when you're at the beach.

I'm the colorful leaves when fall comes around
and the pure white snow that blankets the ground.
I'm the beautiful flowers of which you're so fond,
The clear cool water in a quiet pond.

I'm the first bright blossom you'll see in the spring,
The first warm raindrop that April will bring.
I'm the first ray of light when the sun starts to shine,
and you'll see that the face in the moon is mine.

When you start thinking there's no one to love you,
you can talk to me through the Lord above you.
I'll whisper my answer through the leaves on the trees,
and you'll feel my presence in the soft summer breeze.

I'm the hot salty tears that flow when you weep
and the beautiful dreams that come while you sleep.
I'm the smile you see on a baby's face.
Just look for me, friend, I'm everyplace!

Author Unknown

"When I Think of You" by Journey  

Magic... moments
There're the things I will remember
Where's the time we spent together... laughing
Then you walk into my dream... dear

And I see your face
Young and so free, smiling at me
So long since I've... had you near

Now you've come back again
Where the love never ends
And you're right here
When I think of you

When I... need you, I just close my eyes
And you're... here
Right beside me when I'm lost in... shadows
Of the memories of you... oh my dear

And I see your face
Young and so free, smiling at me
In your eyes I walk without fear
We're together again
Where the love never ends
'Cause you're right here
When I think of you

Hold on... just for a while
Hold on... hold on

I try to forget the night that you left
It's all so unreal, with you gone
I can dream once again...
Where the love never ends
'Cause you're right here
When I think of you
When I think of you
When I think of you

Until We Meet Again  
Each morning when we wake
We know that you are gone
And no one knows the heartache
As we try to carry on

Our hearts still ache with sadness
and many tears still flow
What it meant to lose you
No one will ever know

Our thoughts are always with you
your place no one can fill
In life we loved you dearly
In death we love you still

There will always be a heartache
and often a silent tear
But always a precious memory
of the days when you were here

If tears could make a staircase
and heartaches make a lane
We'd walk the path to heaven
and bring you home again

We hold you close within our hearts
And there you will remain
To walk with us throughout our lives
Until we meet again

Our family chain is broken now
And nothing will be the same
But as God calls us one by one
The chain will link again

 Author Unknown
The mention of my child's name
May bring tears to my eyes
But it never fails to bring music to my ears
If you are really my friend
Let me hear the beautiful music of his name
It soothes my broken heart
and sings to my soul

As long as I live you will live
As long as I live you will be loved
As long as I live you will be remembered

You don't get over it, you just get through it. You don't get by it because you can't get around it. It doesn't get better, it just gets different. Every day grief puts on a new face.

Mom please listen to me
As I take time to write
I see parents struggling daily
their pain is such a fight

All of us who have gone on
and left the rest behind
We're ok mom I promise
Heaven is beautiful and God is kind

You used to tell me that one day
God would call and take you home
you told me you'd make me strong
so I would stand tall when alone

But things happen sometimes mom
that does not go in our plans
I wasn't scared mom
when God held out his hand

I didn't want to leave you
I didn't have time to say goodbye
when the angels said "come with us"
there wasn't time to question why

I've watched you daily mom
It hurts to see you cry
I don't want you to be unhappy
Just because we didn't get to say goodbye

Tell the others what I have been telling you
So many parents need to know
that Earth was just a layover
we had another place to go

I know you miss me mom
I know your heart was broken in two
But God really needed me
Because my earthly life was through

I'm always alongside you
I smile and touch your hair
I whisper "Mom, I love you"
you just can't see me there

I'm the one who gently touches you
on your shoulder when your sad
I am happy now that you finally found
God again and you are no longer mad

Tell the parents mom for me
that all of us kids are okay
God had plans for our lives
when he called us home that day

I love you mom I always will
and remember I am not that far away
We are going to be together again
when God calls out your name

Miss Me - But let me Go  
To All of My Family and Friends,

When I come to the end of the road
and the sun has set for me, I want
not rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free

Miss me a little - but not too long
and not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
miss me - but let me go

For this is a journey that we all must
take and each must go alone
It's all part of the master's  plan
a step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know
and bury your sorrows in doing good
deeds  miss me but let me go

With all my love, Ryan
Ryan Michael Hook 9/10/83 - 8/1/05
Passed away peacefully Monday afternoon August 1, 2005 at Bronson Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer. Ryan was born on September 10, 1983. Ryan graduated from Galesburg Augusta in 2002 and attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College until the time of his illness. Before Ryan's illness he enjoyed drawing, playing guitar and sports, which included baseball, basketball and bowling. Ryan enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Surviving are his mother Tamura Bush and sister Shana Hook both of Galesburg. Also surviving is his father Henry Hook of Hastings; grandparents Bob and Delores Bush of Augusta; grandmother Barbara Parker of Delton. Aunts and Uncles include Darlene (Shawano) Cleary; Chad (Staci) Bush; Tyler (Anne) Bush; Aaron (Candi) Bush; Marilyn(Paul) Hendershott;
Phyllis Rugg; Ken (Shirley) Hook and an extended family Stan Guthrie,Jean White, Dawn & Vance Eberhard, Mark & Kathy Guthrie, Paul & Deb Guthrie, Lori & Tim Carley,Jim Guthrie and many cousins. A celebration of life will be held at 11:00 Friday, August 5th at the Galesburg High School. Visitation will be 2-4 and 6-8 at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Galesburg Chapel. Cremation will follow services. Private inurnment of cremains will take place at a later date. Memorials may be directed to Bronson Pediatric Hematology Oncology.  
My Hero  

I wrote this story for my college writing class and thought that I would share it with everyone else.

"My Hero"

Heparin, Neupagen, Megase and Morphine were all of the familiar to me, for up until last month they were words used in my house everyday. It was a cold day in March when the first signs appeared. It all started with his hearing going along with his vision worsening. My brother was only twenty-one years old and these are symptoms that are unusual for someone his age.

We paid a visit to the doctor to figure out what was going on and from there we were sent to an ear, nose and throat specialist. In the end, it all bottled down to an ear infection. We were prescribed a prescription and when that did not work, back to the doctor we went. There were dozens of doctors, each with their own specialized titles, whom were all dumbfounded as to why he was having all of these problems. Confusion began to sink in as numerous tests were ran and a countless number of tubes of blood were taken. Finally, there was a long awaited answer. He had a blood clot in his head. He was given a blood thinner, was watched closely for a couple of days, and then was released.

A few weeks later, he had a very terrifying night. He was getting sick, could not sleep, and went into a state where he did not know where he was. He was admitted into the pediatrics intensive care unit, where yet again, doctors did several tests to figure out what was going on. It was then when we found out he had increased intracranial pressure in his head. The doctors performed a spinal tap to release the pressure. This procedure worked, and as result, his hearing and vision started to get better.

About a month or two went by and though he was not back to normal, things seemed to be getting better. Then, out of the blue, he was having the same symptoms but this time instead of hearing it was increased intracranial pressure again, we heard something that no person would ever want to hear. I could tell in the doctor's voice that something was not right. I tried my best to not get upset, but my emotions were starting to pour out as I was fighting desperately to keep them in. My chest felt tight, as if my lungs were going to burst. I tried to relax and take deep breaths to calm myself. Those inescapable words came out and it was almost as if time was standing still, "Ryan has cancer." The cancer was in his cerebral spinal fluid. I sat there with my mom and Ryan, my brother, as we listened to the doctor talking about what actions were to happen in the very near future. I sat unable to concentrate on anything the doctor was saying. I could hear talking, but I could not understand what words were being said. I was asking myself a million questions. How could this happen to my brother? Why him and not me? What did he do to deserve this? Is he going to be ok? After we left the doctors office, I can clearly remember hearing my brother ask, "Mom am I going to die?" From that point, our lives were forever changed. Our scary, unpredictable journey was about to begin and none of us knew what obstacle was going to be thrown at us next.

Ryan went through a round of radiation and several extrememly high doses of chemo. Watching him having to go through all of this brutal treatment was heartbreaking. I watched as my brother lost his hair, got extremely sick, and was always tired. Obviously, with something as serious as cancer, chemo makes you sick, but it was as if someone was slowly sucking life out of him. Each new month would bring another problem. He began to lose his balance and all of his joints were beginning to hurt him immensely. It was then that we found out the cancer cells had spread to his bone marrow, which explained the pain in his joints. As the doctors said, they thought they could cure his cancer. That was something that unfortunately, we would never know for sure.

July 31,2005, I was camping in Baldwin, Michigan with a friend. I received a phone call from my mom. She told me that she and Ryan were at the hospital because he had a terrible headache and fever. As soon as I heard this, my heart started pumping fast and I felt as though I could not breathe. I started panicking and asked my mom if everything was ok. When she could not talk anymore and handed the phone to my uncle, I knew that something was definitely not right. He told me to calm down, drive safe, and come right up to the hospital. As I hung up the phone, I began to cry and could not stop. As we were on our way home, my mom called me back and said, "He had a fresh bleed in his head an just went into surgery, but the doctors said that everything is going to be fine." Hearing this was like music to my ears. Everything was going to be ok after all. As I finally got to the hospital, my mom, grandparents, and uncles we all there. We sat talking about this and that. Finally, a doctor came out and started talking to us. He told us that surgery was over, but there was something in the way he looked and talked that did not feel right to me. It was reminding me of the time when we first got the news that Ryan had cancer. Once again, my heart stated racing and I started to feel as though I could not breathe. That is when the words came out, "His eyes were fixed and dilated. He's brain dead. He's gone." Words can not explain what I felt at that precise moment. I remember crying and crying and saying to my mom, "No mom, no. No mom, no." I remember hearing my mom ask my grandma, "Mom, what am I going to do without my Ryan?" and my grandma telling her, "I don't know." After that, I went into a shocked state of mind, I could not believe what I was hearing. How could this happen to us?

August 1, 2005 is a day that will forever remain in my memory. It was the day that we had to make the hardest decision of our lives. We waited sixteen long, sleepless hours and still there was no change in my brother's condition. It was at that point when we had to agree to take my brother off of life support. My family stood around my brother's bedside and there was not a dry eye in the room. Everyone had to say thier goodbyes. I asked, "What if I can't say goodbye?" My aunt told me to say "See you later," because it is not goodbye. I stood there for what seemed like forever trying to get the words to come out of my mouth. Every time I went to tell him that I loved him and that he was the best brother in the world, my lips began to tremble and it was like someone had sewn my mouth shut. Finally, I got the words to come out. Saying see you later to my brother was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.

After all my brother went through, he was still able to keep a positive attitude. He was the one who would keep everybody laughing even though he was the one feeling poorly. Watching as my brother went through all of these hardships made me realize what a strong person he was. He was the bravest person I have ever known and I am proud to have been given the opportunity to be his sister and share all of the wonderful times we spent together. My brother is my inspiration, my hero. Sometimes life does not make any sense and we never know why bad things happen to such great people. This is why we must cherish the times we spend with each other and live each day to the fullest.

Shana Hook

Merry Christmas From Heaven  

I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don't have to be
perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
In a new special way

I love you all dearly
now don't shead a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year

from uncle Aaron  

It’s hard to express in words how much you have meant to me and my family. From the time you were born I looked at you like my little brother. When you were younger I had the pleasure of you looking up to me. But as you got older I was the one who looked up to you for the young man you had become. The times we had throughout your short life was truly a bond that I will forever cherish. I’ll always remember those days cheering you on from the stands as you played one sport or another. From skateboarding to dirt bike races, our good times together seemed endless.

I want you to know that when our second son was born, there was no doubt in our minds that it was you that we wanted to name him after. For you were such a great example of what we wanted our sons to become.

One of the worst experiences of our lives was learning that you had cancer and watching you undergo that excruciating year and a half. I could tell that it was breaking your spirit. A spirit that had been so full of life. You passing away leaves a huge void in our lives but knowing you are at peace and out of pain makes it bearable.

Your legacy lives on through our boys not only in the way you’ve lived your life but for the role model that you were to them.

We love you and will miss you so very much. Knowing that someday we will be reunited brings hope to a life that seems unfair.

Love Aaron, Candi, Zachary, and Jacob
Lesson From an Aunt to Her Nephew  
When my nephew was born I thought WOW I can really teach him some of lifes lessons. I was so excited and vowed to be the best Aunt ever.

When he was just an infant he had colic and was very fussy.
My sister would be up with him all night long, pushing him in his stroller across the kitchen floor to get him to quit crying.
It was there that I learned PATIENCE.

As he grew a bit older, I sat in the stands to watch my nephew play baseball. One of his teammates struck out, He simply patted him on the back and said "Good Try".
It was there that I learned ENCOURAGEMENT.

When my nephew was a teenager I went to his high school basketball game. I watched as the referee made a bad call against him. He simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away. It was there that I learned GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP.

At the age of 21 my nephew was diagnosed with cancer. During this very difficult time in his life, he kept his chin up and fought the disease with all that was in him. It was there that I learned PERSEVERENCE.

During his battle with cancer my nephews' cat ran away. Although he was feeling poorly himself, he walked up and down the streets searching for his very loved pet. It was there that I learned COMPASSION.

During the last few days of his life he went shopping with his mother. He bought her a beautiful gift. It was there that I learned UNSELFISHNESS.

My nephew has went to heaven now and when I look back at his life and all the hearts he has touched, I realize that HE was truly the teacher of me and the biggest lesson he has taught me is LOVE.

Thank You Ryan, You will always be an inspiration to everyone who has ever met you with the love you so generously gave to every person you have ever came in contact with.


I feel you in the morning
When at first I awake
Your thought is with me
With each descision I make

You'd been around forever
Since the first breath I took
Now I have to go on alone
But for love, I need not look

Cause by what you bestowed
In our short time together
Will last in my heart
Forever and ever

Although you've left
And now walk above
I'm never alone
I'm wrapped in your love

Enjoy now your long waited reward
Feel peace that your love continues on
What was taught to me, will be taught to mine
Cause you live on in me even after you've gone

I Did Not Die  

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.
I am not there. I did not die.

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me  

When tomorrow starts without me, and I'm not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,
And each time you think of me, I know you'll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand,
And said my place was ready in Heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye,
For all my life, I'd always thought I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for and so much yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays, the good ones and the bad,
I thought all the love we shared and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday, I thought, just for a while,
I'd say goodbye and kiss you and maybe see your smile.
But then I fully realized that this could never be,
For emptiness and memories would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things that I'd miss tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did, my heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through Heaven's gates, I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me, from His great golden throne,
He said, "This is eternity and all I've promised you, today for life on earth is past but here it starts anew. I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last, and since each day's the same day, there's no longing for the past. But you have been so faithful, so trusting and so true, though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn't do. But you have been forgiven and now at last you're free. So won't you take my hand and share my life with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me, don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me, I'm right here in your heart.

--David M. Romano

A Child Loaned  

"I'll lend you for a little time
A child of mine", he said.
"For you to love the while he lives
And mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years
or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back,
take care of him for me"?
He'll bring his charm to gladden you and should his stay be brief
You'll have his lovely memories
as solace for his grief.

I can not promise he will stay,
since all from life return
But there are lessons taught down here I want this child to learn,
I've looked the wide world over
In my search for teacher's true.
And from the crowds that throng life's lane I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love
Nor think the labor vain
Nor hate me when I come to call
and take him back again?

I fancied that I heard them say.
"Dear Lord thy will be done,
For all the joy thy child shall bring the risk of grief we run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness,
we'll love him while we may
And for the happiness we've known
forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him
much sooner than we'd planned,
we'll brave the bitter grief that comes and we will try to understand.


You never said I'm leaving
You never said goodbye
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knew why
A million times I needed you
A million times I cried
If love alone could have saved you,
You never would have died.
In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place,
That no one could ever fill.
It broke my heart to lose you,
But you did not go alone
For part of me went with you
The day God took you home.

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