Getting through Halloween

Getting through Halloween has been rough.

Ryan loved Halloween.

He was one of those "tall" teenage boys who still trick or treated.

He dressed up as an adult (even at work) when he could.

I miss him everyday but today is particularly hard.

When they were young there was no Party City or  Halloween stores.
They usually made up their own costumes with what ever 
we had at the house.

I want (really need)  to post a few of his Halloween pictures I have.

My Favorite

thanks to Aunt Gail's sewing skills

Army Man

Karate Kid
with his first carved pumpkin

Karate Kid (again)

Fifties Dude
 In this picture he is 13 and going to a family
Halloween Party with lots of younger cousins.
He didn't really want to dress up for it but I
told him he should so he put
on his leather jacket and said he would just be
a Cool Dude.

Yes Ryan, you are the coolest dude ever.

I don't believe I ever took pictures of him and his teenage friends before
they headed out.  I don't know why.  I think I thought they were too old
and was probably a bit embarrassed.
Another regret……..

I so wish I had more.
I encourage everyone to take pictures all the time of your family.
Whether they make a fuss or not.
There is no such thing as too many pictures.  

This year when you have older boys coming to your door,
remember they are just trying to hold on to a small piece of their childhood.
Boys take a little longer to grow up.

I miss you Ryan.




Ryan is the kindest person I know.

From the moment he was born he was a sweet baby who grew into the sweetest boy 
and remained that way throughout his life.

He is a mama's boy which of course I love.

Of all of my pregnancies, it was the only one that I prayed for a boy.

I was so happy when he was born and am so grateful that God let me be his mom.

As a baby he loved to cuddle.

He needed to be rocked and sang to sleep and I happily obliged.

I loved to read to him and his love of books grew strong even before he could read.

He fell asleep more times than I could possibly count with a book on his head.

From the time he learned to read he would pick a subject and then absolutely devour every
book he could find on the subject.

I remember the exact order when he was little.
First Dinosaurs
then Indians
… Space
…Cowboys in the West
…American History
…Ripley's Believe It Or Not
…Random Facts
…DC and Marvel Comics 
…the list goes on

I always see him in my mind's eye in underoos and cowboy boots.

His favorite at home outfit.

As a child he loved his Sunshine Bear, his Ernie, match box cars,
Tyco blocks, ninja turtles, transformers, batman and models.

The boy loved his toys and comic books.

He loved his cousin Ben like a brother.

He was saved and baptized as a young boy at West Side Community Church.

He liked watching professional wrestling on TV.  He just knew it was real.
The only sports team he really liked were the Miami Dolphins.

He was never big for playing sports but he did enjoy playing soccer when he was younger.

He was a cub scout and boy scout and it was a great fit for his personality.
He continued well into high school, long after his friends had already quit.

He loves camping and out door activities.

He loves all the rides at amusement parks.  Especially Roller Coasters.
The faster and higher the better.

He is as smart as they come.  

In High School he ran cross country and he even tried wrestling for a couple years.

He made his best life time friends in high school.  Especially Zach and Jason.
He treasured those friendships.

They shared a love of  pizza, movies and RPG's

He really enjoyed the ROTC.  Loved it in fact.
He wanted to early enlist in the Marines at 17 of which I talked him out of.
Something I have second guessed my decision about more than a few times.

These are memories about my Ryan while he was growing up.
But I want you to know who he is.

His name is Matthew Ryan "Bubba" Mercer.
His extended family and my friends called him Ryan.
His sister and their friends called him Bubba.
His school friends and adult friends called him Matt.
His girl friend and her son called him Matthew.
He answered to all of them.

He was a people pleaser, especially for his Mom.
He would never say no to anyone who needed help, whether  he had the time or money to do it.
He wouldn't let you know if things were going poorly.

He would tell you what he thought you wanted to hear so you wouldn't worry.
Something I'd find annoying but endearing because I know he truly didn't want anyone to worry.

He would start buying Christmas presents in the summer so he was sure he wouldn't
leave anyone out.  Whether he could afford it or not.  How many young men
do that?   I would suspect not many.

He always remembered  birthdays or special occasions.
  His family, friends, work friends and even my friends.  They would usually get a call
on their birthday or out of the blue just to ask about them and their families.

He'd always ask how my friends or neighbors that he knew were doing, and not
just to be polite.  He would listen and ask questions.

Growing up his sisters took great joy in embarrassing him and driving him crazy.
  They called him Bubba and even their friends called him that.
Even though it wasn't his favorite name he never tried to get anyone to stop.
He took it well and love them unconditionally.
He especially had a soft stop for his baby sister and affectionately called her Babes.

I've heard from people he worked with who absolutely loved him and even if he
hadn't seen them in years, they told me he still would call a few times a year just to catch up
and make sure they were doing okay.

There were numerous people that told me he was their best friend.

I've heard from friends in high school who would tell me stories of how they had
always remembered Ryan because of some kindness he showed them while they were in school
together.  One in particular told me how she had put herself in a precarious situation and Ryan always made sure that no one took advantage of her and made sure she got home.

I was told of how his friends would have  parties and drink
way too much.  Ryan was the one who choose not to
drink quite as much and made sure they were safe.  On one occasion he realized
that one of his friends got so drunk that it might be life threatening and made the decision to call an ambulance even though I'm sure they thought that they would get in trouble.
 They think it saved his friend's life.

These stories and others are things I never knew about Ryan.  How did I not know?
He never came home and told me because
I'm sure he thought it would worry his mom who made worrying an art form.

There have been numerous stories about his kindness that people have since told me
and I cherish everyone of them.  I encourage any of his friends to let me know the things
 about him that a Mom of a grown son may not know.

His girlfriend has a son (Austin) whom he treated and loved like his own.
His girlfriend has numerous health issues and he worked 3 jobs to make ends meet.
He had plans and dreams that he wanted to accomplish
as soon as Austin was grown.  Plans and dreams he will never be able to fulfill.

Because of his work schedule and obligations he wasn't able to make quite
 a few family celebrations and trips.  I know that he tried to come as often as possible.
 He loved the family parties and celebrations.

He loved going to movies with Mike or Carrie even though they rarely got to go.

He loved to travel even though he hadn't been able to for quite a while.

Gulf Coast 

New York City

He always wanted to go to Japan some day.  

Ryan and Mike talked about and planned for a trip to Williamsburg and Gettysburg.
They both love History.  A trip they will never make.

He and I loved our lunch dates and he really liked coming over for home cooked meals.
Neither of which we had nearly enough of.

 He had pets that he took in that always seemed to end up having large vet bills.
Even though he couldn't afford it he found a way to make the money because
he couldn't bear not to.  It wasn't a burden to him.

The last years of his life were full of long hours of  hard work and many, many responsibilities with
little leisure time for fun.  It's not the life I wanted for him.

But I will tell you that is not how Ryan felt.  He just knew his time
would come and until then he had responsibilities.   He always had a smile
on his face and offered kindness to everyone.   He forgave quickly.
 and could never let any person or animal flounder or suffer without trying to help.

His life may not of been successful in worldly terms but I believe God would
be proud of the way he put others before himself.  How he would help others and
give grace so freely.  One of my biggest regrets is not praising him more often for those
 qualities.  What quality could be greater than putting others before yourself.

 I'm determined to continue showing kindness and forgiveness in honor of my precious son.

If Ryan has touched your life with his kindness I hope that you will take the opportunity
to return the favor to someone else in his honor.



How are you doing?

This post is my attempt at letting my family, friends and social media friends know how I'm doing.

I want to thank everyone for your out pouring of love and kindness.

Especially my friend Janet who dropped everything to fly down here for almost 2 weeks
just to be with me every minute, writing down all the details of planning a funeral when I could
barely hear the words, keep track of who was sending meals, flowers and gifts, cooking meals to freeze
before she left so Mike wouldn't starve and more things that I'm sure I will never know of.

 I want everyone to know I'm getting your messages, texts, calls, and cards.

I know it's done from love and I wish I was able (at this time) to respond in person.
I want you to know that your prayers and words are so appreciated.
I'm sure that is what's  getting us through.

I'm just incapable of talking to you without breaking down in tears and that's not good
for you or me.  I wish I was stronger.

So to answer your questions.

How am I doing at this time?
Are you feeling better yet?

I'm doing as well as I think most mothers could be.

I sometimes have to literally tell myself to breathe but those moments are coming less often.

I have finally begun to have somewhat of an appetite.  Yes Mom, I know I have to eat.

I've caught myself smiling a few times and as soon as the corner of my lips turn up the immediate
feeling of anguish and regret set in.  I'm filled with guilt.
And yes I know that Ryan would not want that.
 It doesn't change how I feel.

A few days ago I went through a good part of the day without tears.   I thought maybe I was
turning a corner, only to be followed by two days of mostly tears.  I know that I am going to go 
through stages but I feel like I'm going through all the stages everyday.

I go to the cemetery everyday.  I'm not sure I can envision a time when I won't want to
go visit him everyday.

How are you dealing with the holidays coming up?

We are a holiday family.  We love decorating and celebrating.  I wonder if
my love of those things will ever come back.  Ryan LOVED Halloween so this is especially hard
at this time.  I hate going in stores or watching TV to see those reminders.   Ryan already
had his costume planned for this year (yes, my 34 year old son still liked to dress up).

 He told me about what he was going to be months ago.

I was always nagging him about getting a haircut.  I loved the way he looked with short hair and his hair had been long for a couple years.  He was going to be Ragnar from the Vikings.  For those
who are familiar,  that requires a specific hair style.  He told me he was getting tired of his longer hair so not to worry because after Halloween he was going to get it cut.  My guilt over that is unending.
Why would a mother nag her grown son about something so insignificant as hair?
  Wasted time that I could of been praising his wonderful qualities.

My grandson's birthday was yesterday.  When I made myself go to the store to get his present
I had more than a few tears looking at all the Star Wars items.  Ryan was looking
so forward to going to the new movie coming out later this year.  He'd already bought
tickets for himself and Mike (his dad) to go.  I also knew he had made plans to go with Austin (his girlfriend's son that he thought of as a son) and his best friend, Zach.  Probably his youngest sister too.
That's is definitely going to be a day I'm not looking forward to.

When I go to the grocery store I steer away for anything that I know he loved to eat.
I don't want to eat it if he can't.  I know it doesn't make sense but there you have it.

So the answer to that question is, I'm not dealing well.  I'm not looking forward to the holiday season.
I'm hoping that will change in years to come.  I'm opting out this year.

You know Ryan wouldn't want you to be sad, don't you?

I don't really have an answer to that.  

Let me know if there is something I can do?

We  have been blessed with the best family, friends (including social media friends) and neighbors who have prayed for us, sent flowers and plants, made food, sent cards and messages of
encouragement and generally surrounding us with love.
 I can never be more thankful than I am for that.

I know that I haven't been in touch with most of you personally but I will as soon as I'm able.

I am most grateful for Ryan's friends who have spent time with him at work or just living life
with him who have passed along stories and pictures of the kind of things in his life that a mom is not always aware of when you have a grown son.  I long to know any details (serious, happy, funny or just 
anecdotal).  I would appreciate any of it.  Especially any pictures you may want to share
on Facebook, text or email. 

I would ask for your continued prayers and thoughts as we try to navigate through this tragedy.

How are your husband, daughters and grandkids doing?

Mike has been my strength and comfort.  He spends every moment 
trying to make sure I'm okay and if there is anything he can do, he will.
He makes all the calls to handle all of the terrible things that have to be done 
when your child dies.

The girls are being extremely strong for me.   They handled welcoming
all the the family and friends and thanking them for coming to the services when I couldn't speak.
  I know it must of been so hard for them and I'm very proud of how strong they were.

Also I want to thank my parents for making the photo slide show to use at the services.  
 It has been hard on our immediate and extended family as we are close.  

Please include them in your prayers.

Especially my precious oldest granddaughter, Taylor who lost her
grandfather, father and now her uncle in the past several months.
Too much for her young heart.

How is his girlfriend and her son doing?

I'm sure they are heartbroken so please include them in your prayers.

You know it was God's will.

This may be helpful and comforting for some people but not for me.  I will 
not say anything to those who say it to me because I know it comes
from a place in their heart of trying to comfort me.  
I don't believe God wanted to take my son.  But I do believe that he knows our days before
we are born.  I am trying very hard to take comfort that he is in heaven and life is
perfect for him now but this is a very difficult thing for a mother's heart to take.
I miss him.
I am working on this and praying for God's comfort.

I don't know what to say to make you feel better.

I know you don't know what to say.  I never knew what to say when I was trying
to comfort someone who lost a loved one.  There is nothing you can say that will make
me feel better.  But just being there to pray for me and to tell me your thinking of me helps.

I hope this answers the questions that I seem to get the most of.  There have been
a couple of others but it includes other people or information I don't have at this point so it's
not my story to tell at this time.  


I am not sure if this post comes across as being harsh or angry because it is not meant to be
that way at all.  I just wanted to answer the questions I get most and I believe all 
questions and comments that have been asked are meant with the best intentions in their heart.
I'm just answering them as honest as I can.  It's just how I feel at this time. 

Thank you for all your kind words and all the help that everyone has given us.

I will be back soon with a post of what my son Ryan was all about and 
my plans to honor him in the future.  

As sure you will notice there is a underlying theme that what we need most is
lifting our family in prayer as God is the only answer.

Love You All


Our Precious Son

Matthew "Ryan" Mercer
{Bubba to his sisters}

January 29, 1981 - September 28, 2015

On September 28th, 2015
our precious beloved only son went to be with the lord.

My heart is forever broken.  I can't seem to find the words to speak to all
of our family, neighbors and friends.  Please know that I feel your love and appreciate 
everything you have done.   In the coming days, weeks and months
I will try to put words to my blog about my beloved baby, his precious life
and try to find some meaning to the rest of my life.

I've read the words below before but never knew the true meaning until now.

When you lose a spouse you are a widow, when you lose your parents you are an orphan.
There is no word to describe what you are when you lose a child.  That's because
your not suppose to lose your child.   You're suppose to go before them.
 There isn't a word to describe the pain in your heart when your baby dies.

I love you Ryan and I will miss you deeply until the day that I join you in Heaven.  


Hunter Rose...

When Makenzie and Brody were down to visit, one of the things
on their "must do" list was seeing their new baby cousin, Hunter Rose.

Kelly couldn't wait to get her hands on her.

My mom with her 3 of her youngest great-grandkids and baby Hunter Rose who is her youngest

of course with all the attention on the baby, the great grandkids wanted
their "own" picture with their Nanny.

My sister, Michelle, holding her baby who is looking at Uncle Mike's clocks.

In our family we are always tickled to have new babies join our large group.


Lake Eola...

Basically, this post is just a picture overload.
I don't often get the chance to get all the cousins (my grandkids)
together at the same time for pictures so they love  generously give
their Nana time for photo shoots whenever the stars aline.

Lake Eola is an Orlando treasure.  It was the tourist attraction before Disney,
Sea World or Universal were built.  Growing up whenever relatives
would come into town we always went to Lake Eola and Gatorland.
(Gatorland..... the bad dreams of my childhood, but that's another story)

As a child we always went there for Easter pictures and 4th of July Fireworks.

So when it was a sunny cool day in January I knew that's where I wanted to go.

Thanks everyone for that adventure.

Lake Eola is right in the center of downtown Orlando.  Surrounded by old oak trees 
with long hanging moss, a mix between well kept older two story homes and modern office buildings.
Famous for the beautiful fountain in the center which has lovely color show at night and is
filled with black and white swans.  It even has large swan boats to rent during the day.
There are numerous art festivals and activites throughout the year.  A band shell for musical 
performaces and the Nutcracker at Christmas.  Sunday mornings bring a splendid farmer's market.
Also surrounded by delicious restaurants looking out on the lake.

The next time your visiting the magnificent Disney World 
  it's worth a little side trip to see the real Orlando.

the real Orlando.