He made our lives better
Ryan loved life, and all it offered. He was kind, forgiving, and made life better for those around him. His laugh was infectious, and he saw the surrounding beauty no matter what was going on for him. His mother, MaryBeth, described his hugs like being embraced with complete, pure love. “It was impossible to be anything but happy when he was around,” his mom stated. “There was an energy about him I still feel.”
As a child, Ryan was inquisitive, sensitive, caring, and generous. He and his older brother Dylan played baseball, soccer, ice hockey and tennis together and Dylan was Ryan’s confidant. They also suffered their fair share of injuries when skateboarding together.
Ryan’s passion was music. He was a talented drummer, loved going to concerts and being in mosh pits. He and Dylan were in bands together, Ryan on drums, his brother on bass guitar. Music was a release for him throughout his life.
Ryan and his mom would spend a week together, at Gloucester MA, where they enjoyed hanging out on the beach, whale watching and eating at local seafood restaurants. Cats were his constant companions. Ryan loved animals and was gentle and kind to them all, his goal was to become a veterinarian. It devastated him when his cat, Boo, passed away earlier the same year as he did. His mom said, “I know Boo was there to greet Ryan.”
His first job was at a Sonic restaurant. Though he was only 18, he was selected to travel around the country training employees for new restaurants. More recently, he loved learning his job as a cook at an Italian restaurant. Ryan was working, had a new apartment, and was excited about decorating it and getting a weight bench so he could do workouts his brother had shown him. Unfortunately, he passed before that could happen.
Ryan’s addiction affected the entire family. He lost family relationships and didn’t share when he was in active addiction. Trying to shield his mom from his substance use, he would stay out of touch for months at a time. Like many parents, she knew little about substance use disorder (SUD) at the time and she kept his addiction secret from everyone. Now that she knows more about SUD, she speaks up about Ryan’s addiction to educate others.
His mom’s greatest fear is that Ryan will be forgotten. She has found purpose in starting The FRoM Project (Forever Ryan’s Mom) to keep Ryan’s memory alive and support other grieving mothers. She creates personalized cards with the lost loved one’s name and sends them to moms all over the world. She feels guided by Ryan and knows he is supporting her efforts. His mom said, “I love the signs I get from Ryan; I feel him around me, his body is gone, but his energy persists.”
Ryan’s mother, MaryBeth Moore Zocco, provided the information for this narrative.
October 5, 1993-December 17, 2018
Age 25-Lived with the disease of addiction 8 years