Ryan Hayes

Ryan Hayes

Persistent, thrill-seeking, artistic, kind

Though Ryan gave many things to the people he was friends with, the common thread was giving his heart selflessly to others. Never judgmental about others’ beliefs, abilities, or circumstances, he was open-minded and accepting of everyone he encountered. He was a protector of his family and stuck up for anyone who was being bullied or picked on.

Ry’s dad, Bryan, said Ryan was a climber, “first out of his crib, and soon into trees and anything else he could find.” Ryan loved riding bikes, going to the park, playing video games, and watching movies with his older brother Anthony. They also went swimming, played sports together, and rescued baby ducks from the drainage ditch. Ry had a half-brother, James, and spent his growing-up years with cousins Tony, Arie, and Alora.

Ry was “artistic beyond belief,” and a talented self-taught artist and guitar player, according to his dad. Ry, his brother, and his father acted in several commercials together. Ryan was a gifted deep thinker and loved having intellectual discourse and exploring new ideas. He enjoyed studying philosophy, was confident in his opinions and beliefs, and not judgmental about those who had differing opinions. Ry could adapt to any situation and thrived in the most difficult circumstances, while still maintaining kindness and consideration for others. And he could always make people laugh.

The family had several wonderful family vacations, including when Ryan and Anthony went to Disney World with their aunt, uncle, and cousins. Their dad surprised them by flying in for the day to go to the park together. Bryan said, “The unexpected surprises where we could spend time together were the best!” In 2020, Ry’s brother Anthony died by suicide, Ryan passed just over a year later. Their dad said, “When Ryan’s brother died, Ryan took it upon himself to make his brother proud. It is without a doubt that he accomplished that mission.”

Ryan loved drawing tattoos and getting them. One was a tribute to his grandmother with her name on his wrist. When his dad saw it, he remarked, “What is that?” Ryan said it was his grandmother’s name. His dad informed him with a laugh that he had misspelled it!

Ry loved exploring new things and was learning the craft of carpentry which he excelled in. When Ry died, he had just started a new job as a skilled craftsman. His boss called the recruiter to compliment Ryan’s hard work and remark on how he took on additional responsibilities without being asked. Future plans for Ryan included building three houses on the same property. One for his dad, one for his cousin, and his own. He was excited about moving to Colorado to help his aunt and uncle remodel their home and happy to be close to his cousins.

Ryan’s dad shared that one of the most difficult parts of addiction is seeing the most amazing people not fulfill their potential. “It is hard to know how Ryan would be without the drugs and alcohol. They were intertwined throughout his life so much, that it was indistinguishable,” his dad said. Since Ry’s death, Bryan is left with compassion and empathy for those with SUD. It has given him a greater understanding of how precious every waking moment of this life is.

Ryan’s father, Bryan Hayes, provided the information for this narrative.

June 29.1995-August 19,2021

Age 26 -Lived with the disease of addiction 8 years

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