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30 Days of Remembrance: Ryan

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

December 1st, 1988 my nephew Ryan was born. He was such a cute baby and we all fell in love with him instantly as he brought so much to our family. As a toddler he was always laughing and smiling and one of my favorite things to do with him was go to the zoo and have him for sleepovers where he had too many snacks and stayed up too late playing games and watching movies. As a teen Ryan was into sports and played baseball & football and excelled at both!! When he was older he bowled in a league with his dad and Uncle Nick and had some pretty impressive scores.

One of the things I loved most about Ryan was his ability to make people laugh, whether he was quoting funny lines from a movie or just acting goofy.

Ryan was someone who loved family, friends, music, tattoos (my son Nicholas now has one with Ryan's initials) & I wish he was still here to continue enjoying those things and to keep making people laugh but unfortunately Ryan's journey through life took him down the road of addiction and on May 11th, 2017 that road led him to a place there was no coming back from and our family was forever changed. If there was one thing I could tell Ryan it would be that he was so much more than his addiction. Ryan was a son, a brother, a grandson, a nephew, a friend and an overall incredible person who was truly loved by everyone and will be forever missed.

All My Love Always,

Aunt Kari


My name is Kelly Wahl, and I lost my son Ryan to a heroin/fentanyl overdose on May 11th, 2017. Ryan was born on December 1st, 1988 and came into this world at a whopping 9lbs 12oz with blonde hair and blue eyes. His dad and I were young parents and had no idea what we were doing, but I knew the moment I saw him and held him that I would never love anything more. Ryan was the sweetest boy and cherished the relationships he had with his family and friends. He was an amazing athlete and played football for Lancaster. He was the skinniest boy on the team. I remember they had to duct tape his pants around him as even the smallest pair would fall right down, yet on the field he hit like a mack truck! Ryan also played baseball at St. Barnabas for many years and was an incredible bowler like his dad from the time he was 5 years old bowling at Infant of Prague Lanes.

This skinny boy grew to be 6'4”. He towered over everyone from the age of 13. He was a great kid that never got into trouble. He was very courteous and willing to help anyone. Ryan was funny, so smart, and a big history buff. He knew everything about history to the point we thought that was the career he was going to choose in life. He did eventually start college, but he decided to major in criminal justice. His issues from a young age with anxiety and depression did not allow him to continue that career path.

Ryan had a big heart. He cared about everyone, and he loved spending time with his grandmothers which he loved dearly as well as his aunts, uncles, and cousins. There are so many funny stories about him but one that I would tell everyone, and he would get so mad at me was when he was two years old, he had gotten a happy meal with a tiny little figure of a boy and for some reason he became obsessed with this little figure that he simply called "Guy.” We could not go anywhere without Guy, and if we forgot him, we had to turn around and go get him and to this day Guy sits on my dresser.

He loved music including many different genres. Ryan especially enjoyed metal and he loved to brag about his mom being a singer in a local band. He was my biggest fan, and he would post videos and always tell his friends and co-workers “hey come see my mom sing in her band.” I loved sharing this love for music with him. He had a favorite song that I would sing. It was the Rolling Stones song “Gimme Shelter.” I dedicate it to him at each show. Ryan would always ask me to go to all his metal concerts too as none of his friends enjoyed the type of music he would listen to. I didn't care what kind of music it was. I wanted to share this with him and a night of knowing where he was and that he was safe was something I welcomed. He shared a love for football with his dad and his sister Taylor, and I think back to those times often watching them yelling and cheering on the couch together every Sunday.

Ryan had amazing friends that watched out for him. They also helped me through so much with his addiction and this disease that took his life. I wear a bracelet every day that was given to me by my best friend and engraved on this bracelet is a note from a Mother’s Day card Ryan had given me and he wrote, "no matter what mom I'll always love you." He ended the card by saying “I am going to fight this disease as hard as I can for you and dad.”

The pain we all feel is unimaginable. We miss him so much and will cherish every moment we had with Ryan, until we meet again my sweet boy.

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