The Wife’s Turn: Why I Believe…

By Sue Diviney

“Miracles happen to those who believe in them”  – Bernard Berenson

Throughout the past sixteen months, I’ve been faced with the emotional challenge of seeing my healthy, happy son struggle to stay alive after a brutal attack leaving him in a comatose state.  Day after day, hour after hour, I tell him how he has a bump on his head and that he is having trouble waking.  I tell him he is safe and his body is in great shape.  I ask him to squeeze my hand, to turn his head, to wiggle his toe, lift his arm, move his mouth. Anything that would show responsiveness. While it may appear that he doesn’t…at times… he does… but nothing is ever consistent….but, I continue to believe. Why do I believe?

I believe, because it is Ryan. Growing up, Ryan never gave up. It didn’t matter what the odds were. When his football team won only a game or two in his sophomore year, he didn’t quit, he just worked harder. He believed. And yes, they went undefeated in his senior year to win the district title. When he enrolled in a Political Science class at WVU in his freshman year that was failed by a large number of students, he took this as a challenge. Not only did he pass that class with an A, he made the Presidential List passing all classes with an A.

This is Ryan. He takes a challenge and doesn’t give up. So when the doctor said he had 24-48 hours to live, I believe he took this as a challenge and he is fighting to wake up. Fighting to be back with his friends…fighting to go back to WVU…to have a family…to be a dad…to coach his children.

But what else makes me believe? When I come home from work…. Ryan is often sitting in his wheel chair not moving. But when I talk to him or touch him he starts to move. When he is in bed at night I, at times, can get him to move his arms. No it’s not consistent, but he does it sometimes. When Kari, Hannah, and Brian came to visit a couple of weeks ago (see the pics in the gallery), Ryan (yes Ryan) moved his head towards Hannah’s head as she laid next to him on the floor. I didn’t move him that direction. Hannah didn’t. Somehow, Ryan did. Why? Because he’s in there. He’s fighting. He’s not giving up. Nor am I…

“Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it”  – Lt. John B. Putnam, Jr.

What do I fear… I fear it will take a long time. I fear that people will give up on him. I fear that some already have. I can see it in your eyes. The pain when you talk to me, the pain when you look at Ryan. I feel it too, but he needs us, he needs you. We both need you. Please don’t give up. Please believe in Ryan. Please talk to him…tell him stories of the good times, talk to him about what you are doing now. He’s in there. He needs you. When Kari, Hannah & Brian visited he was so relaxed. This isn’t a coincidence. This was him recognizing his close friends and sister were with him.  He needs you.

“Out of difficulties grow miracles” – Jean de la Bruyere

I am waiting for my miracle. I know it will come. I can’t give up. I won’t. I’m a mom…we never give up on our children.  I will always believe.


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46 Responses to The Wife’s Turn: Why I Believe…

  1. Nicole says:

    I may not know Ryan or your family, but I check this blog every single day believing too.
    I am not giving up, I believe in Ryan and I’ll be checking in for however long it takes for him to wake.

    • Marianne Hernandez says:

      God just brought this need to my attention, as I am not a big news fan. He laid this on my heart, and instructed me to pray for a miracle, for a Lazarus resurrection, for restoration, for complete healing. Isaiah 50:4 “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are instructed to know how to sustain the weary with a word. Remember John 11:40 Jesus said to Martha, Lazarus’s sister; “Didn’t I tell you that you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, ” Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd that is standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent me. He shouted with a loud voice, ” Lazarus, Come out!” Jesus said ‘Loose him, and let him go!, when the dead man came forth!
      Irrepressible hope is what Kim has for her son! God is with Ryan! Psalm 139 9-10, If I take wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me.”
      My Dad had a mini-stroke, where he could only speak garbled words. He recovered the next day, and said in my mind I knew what I wanted to say, it just wouldn’t come out! I believe like Kim that is the case for Ryan. Someday soon he to will tell us all about it! Keep the Faith Burning!

  2. Dave Small says:

    I will never give up.

    -Dave Small

    • Paula says:

      Dave, I’ve watched you support Ryan and has family since the beginning, and I just want to say, I think you’re awesome.

  3. Karen S. says:

    Sue: Almost a year after our son’s accident; he is still on a road to recovery. His motto is “Never Give Up”. For his birthday, his girlfriend gave him a dog tag with this motto which he wears every day. Sue, we will never give up on our son; nor will we give up on your son Ryan. Stay strong; the road is long but you all will get there.

  4. Carla Liberty says:


    We will never leave you or stop praying for you and your family. My family, our prayer group, my extended family and friends (some of them new friends that I met as a result of Ryan’s journey) – we are here for the duration. God hears our prayers, and He is ever moved by your unwavering love for your son. Keep trusting in God, for that is what He wants. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s all that He asks of us…to put our faith and trust in Him.

    Still here, still praying, not going anywhere!


  5. Ms. Blasé says:

    In the stillness
    In the depths
    In the darkness of night
    There lies a soul stirring within
    A heart that still beats
    And a voice that still sounds
    Though its movements cannot be seen
    This soul still dances and sings
    It still loves and laughs
    And wishes and dreams
    But in the dark halls of night
    It has lost its wings
    And searches blindly
    Determined as it fights
    And rages forward in the blackness…
    For it knows
    That once it has found its prize
    It will once again take to the skies
    And rise in glorious flight
    Born again
    Born anew

  6. Rita says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your mother’s heart with us, Sue. I’m with you on this! We can never give up on our children or on God — He’s got a good plan and future for your dear Ryan. I BELIEVE with all my heart ❤

  7. Lisa Svendsen says:

    Dear Sue: I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. I have faith that Ryan will wake up, and that all the hard work that Ken is doing in keeping his body in shape will pay off tremendously. God hears our prayers. We don’t know His timing or His exact plan. But we can have REAL HOPE. We do have to patiently listen to the lessons He is teaching us while we wait. I have to believe that out of this horrible tragedy good things MUST come. If ONE person who follow Ryan’s story decides to back away from a fight instead of give in to their madness and hurt someone. If ONE person facing a brain injury gains some faith because of YOUR faithfulness in working with and loving Ryan. If the new treatments that will start help ONE other person, if ONE person has hope in the face of tragedy because of all that you pour out of your heart, it gives me a piece of joy. You are a spectacular mother setting a perfect example of what Moms do for their children. You are in my prayers every single day. Keep up the fight!

  8. Paula says:

    Hi Sue!! Thank you for your inspiring message!! Just want to let you know that there’s a group of us out here who have always believed the Lord is with Ryan and helping him through this. When we have visited him, we can clearly see he hears us and is trying very hard to respond. I’ve seen it with my own eyes!! He is one strong young man, not just physically, but mentally as well. Miranda asks me all the time if she can talk to Ryan. In fact, she asked me if this summer she could visit with Ryan on a regular basis — just to talk to him. She loves seeing him!! All of us love Ryan, Kari, you and Ken dearly. We are here for you!! The day will not come that you see any of us giving up — IT AIN’T HAPPENING!! We are going to continue walking this journey with you every day — whether near or far — through prayer, financially, positive thoughts, whatever we can do to help. Don’t ever think you can’t count on us!! We believe in Ryan, and we believe in the power of God to give us strength for the road ahead. You, Ken, Kari and Ryan continue to inspire and motivate us — Love & prayers — *Always* Paula

  9. Debbie Blankers says:

    Dear Sue…I believe in miracles and I believe in Ryan. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Ryan responds to you. I know that he is in there fighting to come back to his family. I have seen it. You, Ken, Kari and the medical team are doing such a great job keeping Ryan in the great physical shape that he is in. Ryan is a precious sweet young man who is made of the right stuff. Still here, always will be. You, Ken, Ryan, and Kari are always in my prayers and in my heart. Love you XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  10. Jen says:

    Dear Sue,

    A mother’s love is untouchable. Not that Ken’s love is not all consuming, but there is something about a mother touch, words and love that seems to break the barrier towards the healing process. I have had that fear, the fear of not healing. My family has several times watched me go through traumatic pain and loss. They never gave up on me, the same way you never give up on our Ryan. He is such an integral part of so many lives. I think that is a reflection of how he has lived his life. Please Sue do not ever think the true supporters of your family have ever given up or stopped caring about your family. We will always stay by your family in prayer, support and financially. My hope is that one day you will allow me the gift of visiting Ryan, for a short time, to say hello, give him a hug and kiss and tell him we love him. Much love~ Jen

  11. alecia says:

    Beautiful entry….Made me tear up. He is fighting! Continued prayers and I believe! 🙂

  12. John Maletta says:

    Beautifully articulated, Sue. Just to let you know….I believe!

  13. kaylee says:

    always here! not ever giving up on ryan.

  14. Anna says:

    Never even thought about giving up, why would we?? Never say never in medicine or life!

  15. Mindy Pagnotta says:

    I am still here, still praying. I have never given up and never will. I check in on Ryan every single day…

  16. Kathryn Beggs Howlett says:

    I am here, although “far” away. I have never met you, Ryan or your family, but I will never give up either. I can’t come see Ryan, or hold his hand or tell him stories, but you can read him my entries….you can tell him I care, I’m holding on to faith and miracles. I won’t go way as long as there is the facebook page, or this blog.
    I know a mother’s heart…..I know the love a mother has for her child and I am here for you too.

  17. Gail Doyle says:

    Dear Sue, though I have never met you or your family ,you have all touched my heart deeply…I think of Ryan and you all time, and someday I would love to meet you and especially Ryan ..He. Is in my thoughts and prayers everyday and I do believe in miracles…and also believe Ryan will be one …The good health you keep him in physically is beyond belief and he will continue to heal in all ways ….Never would I ever give up on that boy ..He’s fighting and so are we all. ..I can only imagine how you feel ( the pain,sadness, and wanting Ryan back ….He will come back and all the other feelings you have )but being a Mother ,certain things I do feel..May God give you and Ken and Kari the strength and guidance and help you need to get through everything and. I will always be here….Praying ,praying and praying some more. God Bless you all L Gail

  18. Donna Zimmerman says:

    My son Nicholas is in the same year as Ryan at WVU. They never met, but I follow your journey daily and say hello weekly. I have to tell you a story of faith. A friend’s husband was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer 5 years ago. Instead of planning for his death they faced it head on and planned his life. They attacked with every form of natural healing and diet. No meat, no sugar, only home grown veggies without fertilizer and fresh fish. No negativity of any kind. No chemo, no radiation. Happiness, love, faith and prayer. Last month they announced he is cancer free. There are miracles. We don’t know what God has in store, but we do know that he wants love, and you have lots of it. Thank you for sharing your love with us.

  19. Rochelle Sumner says:

    I am praying for you to get that miracle. Miracles happen every single day and I know that one day it will be your turn to get yours.

  20. Susan Ropchock says:

    Dear Sue, Ken, Ryan, and Kari,
    You don’t know me, I am a friend of Adele Williams, who lives in the house across from Ken’s parents. I have been praying for Ryan, and all of you, since this horror he and you are going through began. I will never give up on Ryan. I believe that one day he will awaken. I don’t understand why something like this happened, but I believe with all my heart the scripture that tells us that God will take what the devil means for our harm and use it for our good. I will keep praying and believing. Susan

    • Rita says:

      That’s the exact Scripture that keeps coming to me too, Susan: What man intends for harm God can use for good, even for the saving of many lives (Gen 50:20). Ryan is touching so many hearts out here as he fights to recover. God intends to bring healing to Ryan, his family and all who hear and follow his story. I won’t even mention those who inflicted the initial evil, although God has a plan for them too.

  21. Last time I visited young Grace (whom our charity is founded in honor of), she sat in front of her computer typing a story one key at a time. She has the heart and mind of an author at the age of 9. For the past 19 months, she has been fighting her way back after brain surgery which removed a tumor. She has had to relearn everything- how to breathe, swallow, sit, speak, crawl, etc. And she works so hard every single day to recover what she lost. And as I sat with her, all I could think of was these words: Do NOT underestimate me.

    Those should be the words we embrace for every person fighting their way back from brain trauma.

    Sue, I say “Amen” to everything you so eloquently expressed.

  22. Leigh Ann says:

    I do not know Ryan or your family but his face is familiar to me. We live in Ashburn Farm and my sons went to SBHS. I am sure they played sports together at some time. Your comments have really touched me and I will keep Ryan and your family in prayer. “With God, nothing is impossible”. I DO believe in miracles and you know your son better than anyone. I pray that Ryan will recover soon!

  23. Anne Shurley says:

    I have been keeping up with Ryan and your family through your posts. I keep all of you in my prayers and pray that Ryan will recover completely.

  24. Erica says:

    I have never had the chance to meet you or your wonderful family, but my sister, Emily, shares with me your trials and triumphs. I pray daily that you will get your miracle. You, Ken, Kari, and especially Ryan deserve/s it! I have faith that God has bigger and better plans with Ryan, and we can only ask that His plan is the same as our own. Please know that thousands of your friends, family, and complete strangers, will never give up. We believe…

  25. The Colangelis says:

    I am not giving up on Ryan. I keep my faith in God and ask Him to heal Ryan. God has answered my prayers in the past and I’m both thankful and blessed. I trust He is helping Ryan also. Ryan’s state looks like he’s improving, particularly in the picture with his recent haircut. We continue our prayers. Please keep your faith in God.

  26. Will says:

    I won’t give up. Ryan is alive only changed a little. He is in there fighting. I believe that. My prayers continue for Ryan’s healing.

  27. Liz says:

    I never met Ryan and I rarely comment on this or the facebook page, but I do check in here every single day and will not stop doing so until I read that he is walking and talking and back at WVU where he belongs. I’m not giving up.

  28. sally ellis says:

    I believe with all my heart that Ryan is aware of what is happening. Hannah called me shortly after arriving at your house, she was so happy to see Ryan. She really felt that he knew she, Brian and Kari were there. She told me how relaxed he was and that she thought he looked great. We believe and we are here with you, I can’t wait to meet Ryan again.

  29. Donna Comstock-Herman says:

    Thank you for sharing. Giving up is easy and staying the path and believing is hard. But, like Ryan, I choose the hard way and the challenge. I know, in my heart, Ryan will be renewed one day. He WILL walk, talk, share, inspire (even more than he already does), help others and live his life. He WILL eventually marry and have children and raise them the way you have raised yours. He will be a living testament to the love that is our GOD! I am NOT giving up on Ryan and continue to pray for him and for your whole family every day! I hope to meet all of you someday in the future when Ryan is fully recovered.

  30. Trish says:

    Dear Sue,

    It must be such an intense pain to sometimes feel as though some have “given up ” on Ryan. I strongly believe that it is just not so. It may be just so overwhelming for those closest to your family and closest to Ryan to know what they can do. They may not know how to emotionally deal. It may be easier for people to support a total stranger, as thousands of people are doing on this blog. But I will bet not a moment goes by in Ryan’s friends lives without some thought or hope for him. They may not be able to exoress it, but I would bet that it’s there.

    You are an amazing mom Sue, and I am grateful for the mom perspective here on the blog. Each day when I check in on Ryan on facebook, I am also thinking of you. Thank you for sharing a little bit of yourself. Constant thoughts and prayers for Ryan and family.

  31. Keith says:

    Dear Sue
    I really Have the Faith that Ryans Gonna Be A “Walking, Talking Miracle”. And I do believe that He will come out of this. I have been keeping up on here everyday for a long while and to see where Ryan has came from to where he is now i can see the changes just from reading on here. God Will Never Give Up and Neaither Should Anyone! My Heart and Prayers Always Goes Out To You All! Every Night I Pray to God that He Shows Us All A Miracle! My Preachers Wife Has a Anurism then a Large Stroke over a yr ago and She is not able to talk, Walk or Feed Herself and She fights so much to come out of this. She tries to talk but cant. And I feel the same for Ryan he is fighting also to wake up. I have the Faith that Both of Them are gonna come thru this. But this is to Everyone “Never Give Up Always Have The Faith” God Bless (From Morgantown WV)

  32. Sue,
    I would say you read my mind but that’s not right, you read my heart. We are about a year and a half further out from “That day when our world blew up”. Andrew was in a vegetative state for about 15 months and the waking up process by no means happened over night. It was a second here where he follwed a light with his eye and then nothing. The pros are all looking for consistancy, I say praise God for any movement and let Ryan know, you can tell he’s trying really hard. The consistency will come. Talk to him like he’s going to answer you. A young TBI survivor told me when he was in the hospital, he heard and understood everything being said in his room. Keep it POSITIVE! You and Ken are doing a great job and know you are not alone. Never stop believing, Myke Bos Muskegon, MI >
    “When a beleiving person prays, great things will happen.” James 5:16

    • Gail Doyle says:

      And we know GREAT things will happen for both these young men….. Ryan and Andrew…..God is with them and helping …nothing is impossible for God. Thoughts and prayers…….Gail

    • Paula says:

      Ryan and Andrew are heroes to me for the way they fight every day to make one more step on the path to healing. I am praying for them both, always, and I have faith in God that He will guide every one of us here as to how we should be helping both these young men. Andrew and Ryan are journeying through largely uncharted territory, and they are proving every day that they are not a statistic, but a force of nature, built by God to overcome, and especially, to make a difference in the lives of other people. It is an honor and a blessing for me to know both of them, and their families.

  33. mike says:

    Been praying since day 1. Been following this blog since day one. I hope no one gives up on Ryan. I don’t see how anyone could. I am a student at WVU, I never knew Ryan (wish i did/would love to meet him in the future), but I can tell there are many of us out there that believe in miracles and believe that Ryan will pull through. As a side note to Ken and Sue, through reading this blog, I’ve noticed how awesome you two are as parents.

  34. Peggie says:

    Dearest Sue,
    This is Brian’s Mom. I have been trying to write something to you since I saw your post yesterday. Tears filled my eyes as I read each piece of your beautiful, heartfelt message. My heart aches for you so deeply. I know some of the feelings that you have right now. It hurts when you see something in someone’s eyes, or through their body language, or just that they don’t seem very interested in hearing about it anymore. You feel like they have given up. Remember, they are feelings or issues that the other person has and they are not founded on anything real. Do you consider them experts in knowing your son? Of course not! And there is not one bit of justification to say that they are right. Live with your instincts…they have served you well in the past and they are serving you well now. Please try not to focus on the few, but rather the many. There are many, many of us here who truly believe in Ryan and believe in miracles. We will never give up praying for Ryan’s miracle. You are so right…Ryan isn’t giving up and neither are any of us who post here. I believe that Ryan does feel the presence of those around him who love him. He is trying, trying so hard, to wake from this, I just know it. He is sending you messages with each one of those movements he makes (although very slight, they are still milestones) toward what is familiar to him and what comforts him. He knows that you are helping him and pulling for him, and he’s not giving up. I really feel that there is that awareness in his brain that he’s taking in what he hears or feels from those around him. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for him right now because he isn’t capable of being able to tell you how much he appreciates what he wants to communicate to you right now. I feel that he is working very hard to try to communicate back to you what he is processing. Some days he is healthier than others. Some days he is more relaxed then others. I’m sure that at the times when he is most up to it, he is making extreme efforts within the limitations placed on him by his body right now to try to let you know what he is thinking and feeling. Also know that there are lots of people who don’t post here who are prayers and believers in Ryan and his miracle to come to him. I don’t know if you recall, but I posted a prayer on the earlier site that was dedicated to Ryan (Ryan’s Rally) and I thought that it might be good to post it again. It was passed on to me by a dear friend who was fighting and overcame breast cancer. She was trying to help me during a very difficult time in my life and thought that I might find comfort in it as she had. I hope that it might bring comfort for you as well, Sue. With my deepest, heartfelt love to you as one mother to another,

    Trust in the Lord of the Journey — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
    We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
    We should like to skip the intermediate stages; we are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
    And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stage of instability…and that it may take a very long time.
    And so I think it is with you, your ideas mature gradually — let them grow.
    Let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
    Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make you tomorrow.
    Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
    Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

    Sue, Ken, Ryan and Kari,
    My prayers continue for all of you each and every day. I trust that Ryan’s miracle is coming to him as we patiently wait. Love, Peggie

    • Gail Doyle says:

      Peggy ,Lovely prayer for all very true……..Ryan you will get better!!!!! So many ,many people praying for you.

  35. Jo Hobbs says:

    We have been out of town for several days, but we are back and catching up on reading all the replies. Here always in thought and prayers.

  36. J says:

    remaining calm when stressed out is easier said than done but it seems to help. I never hit a baseball until i stopped thinking about how bad it would be if i struck out. maybe days you feel best about yourself are the days he succeeds the most. Stay positive.

  37. Mike says:

    You guys are so brave. I will never give up on Ryan and will do everything I possibly can to help.

  38. Jo Hobbs says:

    Negativity is contagious; look out for its carriers. Love them, lift them, pray for them, but don’t let them infect you. Filter what people say to you through God’s Word: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power (ability and a can-do attitude) and of love (which always looks for the best) and of a sound mind (which is stable and consistent).” (2 Timothy 1:7) We will never give up hope! Still here hoping, loving, with faith and prayers.

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