On December 18, Jason answered the phone ringing in our hospital room. He listened for a few minutes, kinda with a blank stare (because every conversation in the hospital was followed by a blank stare) and then politely said something like “thank you” and “we appreciate your prayers.” When he hung up the phone, he said, “Do we know a Tamara?” I gave a half-smile and explained that yes, we did know Tamara and Tom, her husband . . . Jason was just a little fuzzy on the issue. We had only been attending our church for about eight months at the time and described how we knew them. Then, he said that she was calling because she’d heard about Ryan’s diagnosis, she knew the overwhelming feeling and that she and Tom had a college age boy who was diagnosed T1 when he was 13. She gave Jason a few words of encouragement and said to let me know that she was just a phone call away.
Today at church, standing in the choir loft, I notice there was a handsome, college-aged young man sitting between Tom and Tamara. All I wanted to do was get Ryan and go meet him. When I came down from choir and sat next to Jason, he asked me if that was the lady that called at the hospital and if that could possibly be the T1 son she spoke of. As soon as church was over, we headed that way, all five of us. We had our introductions with Matthew. He is a very polite young man who had such a calm and calming presence about him. We talked long enough for us to be one of the last families to leave the building. This was good and encouraging for Jay and me, but so much for Ryan too. Matthew talked to Ryan a little, told him he liked his back pack, and Ryan mentioned it again in the van. But the thing that came up in the van on the way home the most was about his medical tattoo.
All the boys thought the tattoo was so cool including Jason. The conversation continued on to our Sunday lunch at the table. The usual stuff came up . . . does it hurt, how does it work and when can we get one. We talked about how badly it hurt and how exactly they work and all the needle pokes. I even told him I thought some were pretty neat but I was too much of a wimp to have one myself.
But then Ethan got really serious and said he wanted to have one that said something about Ryan having diabetes. He decided he wanted one that was a red cross and said “A Cure for Ryan.” Talk about a momma’s eyes fighting the tears.
Aaron joined in and said he wanted two tattoos, one for Ryan and one that said, “I love everybody.” I said, “You mean one that says, ‘I love my family?’ ” And he said, “No, because I love everybody, I just love my family more.” LOVE that little momma’s boy!
Then Ryan piped up and said, “I need three tattoos (yes, it was becoming quite the competition at this point). The medical tattoo like Matthew’s on my wrist. One that is black that says, ‘I love Jesus.’ And one that is blue that says ‘We want a cure.’ ” I got all choked up with this one too. My heart breaks that he knows his body is diseased and needs a cure, but that’s not what touched my heart at this moment . . . it was his pronoun choice ~ “WE.” I was so proud that he saw the longing for a cure as a family unit desire; that it was what we all want for Ryan . . . and he knows it.