For Ryan O’Byrne

I’d heard about Ryan O’Byrne’s mother Lorelei passing away but I wanted to wait before I said something. I wanted the hockey game and the circus that goes with it long over because something like this doesn’t need to take second fiddle to anything. This is life and moms we’re talking about.

Ryan O’Byrne is 25 years old and has just lost his mother to the evil clutches of cancer. I was 27 when my own mom left because of the same disease, and I can only imagine what Ryan is going through. It’s not just young kids that hurt and cry and miss when they lose their mom. It’s any age. Because moms are moms, the greatest role of mankind.

Ryan’s mom will never see her grandkids grow. She’ll never see how Ryan carries on as a fine man, father and husband. She won’t see anymore the one she gave birth to, who she fed and changed and watched grow from a little boy into a big strapping man, but who remained to her still her little boy. She’ll never again swell with pride to see her son play hockey on the big stage.

When I lost my mom, my family fell apart. We went our separate ways. My father, now 89, was buried in grief and has never recovered. It was my mom who made things work, who helped us with our problems with friends and homework and all the drama in our young lives. She did without so we could have nice clothes like other kids, who listened to my rock and roll records with me even though she probably preferred to be somewhere else, and who made sure we had good Christmas’ even though there was no money.  She wore old clothes and spent her life in her kitchen cooking for us. She helped me write my letters to the Montreal Canadiens, she came to my games, and in my world, she was the best mother on the planet. My mom gave up everything to be a mom. It’s what most moms do.

And I remember the joy on her face when she won a clothes dryer in a poetry contest. Her life just got a little bit easier that day.

Ryan O’Byrne, at 25, is still a young fellow and is grieving. He’ll remember things from before, the big and small from his days at home, like I do. And he’ll remember those times with her for the rest of his life.

I miss my mom and have for many years, and my heart goes out to Ryan and his family.

13 thoughts on “For Ryan O’Byrne”

  1. Thanks, Marc. I also wanted to ask you about this website you mentioned where one can see all the games. I went to it and every program seems to start well into it and not at the beginning. Am I not doing something?

  2. Dennis, thank you for sharing such lovely memories of your Mother. Her poetry skills and winning clothes dryer – so that’s where you get your writing skills!

  3. That was a really touching tribute to your mum. I’m fortunate to still have mine, she’s 84 years young. We still watch hockey together and she doesn’t want to hear anything about how great Sid the Kid or Ovy is, to her Rocket Richard was and always be the greatest player ever. Bless her.

  4. Hey Dennis;Mothers are a special breed,I feel for those who have lost there’s,me included.I lost my mom three years ago,i was 48.Losing a parent at 25 is a terrible thing.I feel for him ,but life will continue after awhile.Keep your chin up Ryan,your mom will always be in your thoughts.

  5. That’s a tough one. I was only 26 when I lost my dad and I’ve missed all that fatherly advice that would have been there for the asking these last 26 years. Even so I think losing a mom would have been tougher. But you know as a dad myself I really feel for Brian Burke. As my Grandmother said after my dad had died, “You’re not supposed to outlive your kids.”

  6. Dennis, you mother certainly passed along a great gift — your wonderful way with words. I’m so lucky to have two wonderful parents in good health. I cannot imagine the pain of such a loss. I am told you never really get over it completely. Thank you so much for sharing those beautiful heart-warming stories with us.
    Our hearts go out to Ryan O’Byrne and Brian Burke and their families during their time of grief.

  7. Danno, thanks a lot. You really are so lucky to have both parents. Good for you and good for them. When I go back to Orillia I go to the cemetery but it’s always really hard. In fact, there’s been times when I haven’t gone. And now the Brian Burke tragedy has happened and it’s terrible. Because like Dishonest John said, you’re not supposed to outlive your kids.

  8. Thanks, John. I think it would be very tough to lose a dad and I’m sad you had to go through that. I’m also very sure that you’re a fine dad yourself. And about Burke, I’ve never been a fan, but when it was first announced that his son was gay, there wasn’t a chance in the world that I would ever say something about that, and now Brian loses him in a car accident. It’s very sad and I really feel for him too.

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