Motherhood takes many shapes and forms. As a new mom and Doula I am constantly astounded by the bravery, strength, and courage of mothers. I’ve learned that being a mom is a gift, blessing, and is truly indescribable (oh, and it’s also hard too). I write this with one incredible mommy in mind (and all mothers who can relate). A fellow boy-mom and my dear friend: Layla. I write this with her permission unable to contain my tears and heartache. Layla lost her newborn son Ryker Brooks who lived just 5 days before being carried on angel wings to heaven. She may not see or know it yet, but she’s a super mom and one of the strongest mothers I know. She personifies love, selflessness, gratitude, and openness, even during the worst sorrow a parent will ever go through as described by Layla.
On Monday, I attended one of the saddest ceremonies of my life, but also one of the most beautiful – a celebration of life and memorial for her beautiful baby boy. I was touched in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Family and friends were invited to gather to mourn, remember, and celebrate the life of a child lived too short. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Ryker outside of his mother’s womb, I feel as though I know him. Our boys met each other in late December while Layla held my son for the first time and her son danced inside the cozy home she created for him. My first encounter followed as I greeted Ryker in Layla’s stunningly round belly. Layla glowed. Ryker responded with a flutter and kick that only she could feel and connect with. I am blessed to say that I met Ryker again on Monday as his soul graced my presence in a room full of his closest loved ones, most importantly his loving parents. They cried tears of sadness and tears of joy for having lost their boy but for also knowing him. Through despair and loss, they laughed at the funny times they shared with their son as he grew in his mother’s womb. His life meant so much to Layla and Adam. When they allow themselves to feel the loss and hurt, the void and ache is so strong and intense, but also real and special for they had the opportunity to meet the greatest love of their lives.
Layla and Adam openly shared their journey and grief one step at a time on their Facebook and Instagram pages and they continued to share the story of Ryker at his funeral. I got to know him that much better when his parents wrote and shared an honest, raw, emotional, and sentimental letter to their son which touched the deepest parts of my heart. Ryker was a fighter, from conception, to the moment he arrived on this earth, and to the day he departed. Ryker loved to hear his parents voices, be read to, and listen to momma sing to him. He cherished every moment holding his parents fingers while in the NICU, being wrapped in the loving arms of his parents in the last moments of his life, and above all was the biggest Moncton Wild Cats fan out there – fluttering, kicking, and dancing about at every game. His parents will never forget how alive and excited he became amongst the sounds and noises at each and every game. They’ll forever frequent hockey games with Ryker in their heart and mind – one of the many ways to keep his spirit alive. This is the greatest loss in Layla and Adam’s life, but also the most beautiful love story and unbreakable family bond.
In Memory of Ryker Brooks. You are and will always be so ever loved. I will remember you. We will remember you. Sending love, prayers, and healing energy to Layla and Adam’s family and friends. You are not alone and your boy will not be forgotten. Born
January 12, 2020
Deceased January 16, 2020