In Loving Memory

Ryan Thomas Champney

February 9, 1989 - May 24, 1989

Ryan was born 5 weeks early, but he was tough from the very beginning. He had an older brother, Cory, who was 3 at the time and who adored him.

Ryan was in the hospital for a few weeks because of his low birth weight and failure to thrive. I can remember sitting in the hospital with him, rocking him, thinking how lucky I was to have him. I saw so many parents there dealing with deathly ill children; I considered myself so fortunate.

When we brought Ryan home, he had a rough beginning. He seemed to always have colic, he wouldn't eat and wouldn't sleep. He was so different from his older brother and we loved him so much.

When we finally found a formula he could tolerate, he grew like crazy. He even started to sleep through the night. It seemed like he was starting to enjoy life.

He was baptized on Sunday, May 21. He did so well. He detested water and yet when it was poured over his head, he turned and smiled at the baptismal candle.

Three days later, on Wednesday, May 24, 1989, he was gone. I brought him to the sitter that morning. He was fine. I gave him a kiss, told him I loved him and left.

That afternoon, I got a call that he had stopped breathing during a nap. I rushed to the sitters where I encountered EMT's rushing around. I drove with him to the hospital.

I will never forget the moment when I knew my life would be changed forever. When they told us that he had died, I was numb. They did not know why, they did not how. I could not believe that I would have to go home without my son.

A lot of what happened afterwards is a blur. Ryan had died of SIDS, basically an unknown disease that strikes infants. They do not know what causes it or why it happens. They have theories, but no answers.

It has been a long time since Ryan has left this world. He gave us so many gifts the short time that he was here, it is hard to list them all. I was angry and hurt for a long time, but now I am grateful that I had him at all. He was truly a gift and he taught us all so much.

He made us laugh, cry and holler. He taught me to be a better mother, more loving human being and much more tolerant and accepting. He taught me the gift of joy. Without feeling and knowing deep despair, you cannot experience ultimate joy. He helped me to be more spiritual and accepting and he gave me a lifetime of joy in 3 1/2 months of his life.

He will never ever be forgotten by me, his brother, his dad and numerous other relatives.

I know he is being held in the hand of God and he is watching over his family. He is our guardian angel. He knows we carry our deep love for him in our hearts and our soul. He does not want us to cry for him; he wants us to be joyous and comforted.

Thank you dear baby boy, for the life you gave me; you are gone but never forgotten.

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Home Town - Cleveland, Ga

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