Ryan Clark Hastings
April 20, 1984 - November 2, 2000

The weekend of January 13th, 2001 I was in San Antonio, Texas for inventory with my company. During the weekend I read two books on grief. The first book was C. S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed" and the other was Harold Kushner's book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People". One of the observations I made in Lewis' book was that he was able to communicate with his wife after her death. This began to open me up for any communication from Ryan in the future.

Erin's mother, Vangie, had told me early on after Ryan and Erin’s death, that she had been having communication with Erin through her dreams. Although I wasn’t sure what to think about this I was open to any communication from Ryan just to know that he was ok. On Monday January 15, 2000 about 11:45 a.m. as I was driving between 2 Dillard's stores, Vangie called me. Then she told me that she had been seeing Ryan and Erin in her dreams and that usually Ryan was there but didn’t say anything. She said for the first time Ryan communicated with her that week. He told her that he had a message “For Dad”. Vangie said she hesitated to tell me in fear that I might not understand but she finally felt she must approach me with what she had encountered. The message from Ryan to me was: “I was to receive a brown package and I should look at it very carefully”.

The only package I could think was coming to me might be from Alayna, my niece in North Carolina, as she told me that her Christmas present to me was in the mail. I arrived home Monday evening and immediately went to the place where my mail was usually kept near the coffeepot. I was surprised to see a brown package laying on the counter. The package was from Alayna and it had stars on the front of it and a smiling face close to her name. I opened the package and discovered that Alayna had made a 2001 calendar of pictures about Ryan. She had contacted other family members to gather a variety of pictures of Ryan from birth through his most recent pictures. Some of these I had never seen and was overcome with joy just to see these new found treasures of past days.

I carefully looked at each picture trying to find some communication. It was not until I came to the last month, December that I discovered something very unusual. The picture showed a number of family members in front of Mom and Dad's fireplace in Memphis about 4 or 5 Christmas’ ago. In all there were eight of us standing in front of the fireplace: first was my older brother John, then Ryan, myself, my wife Marilyn, my sister Abigail, her son Nate, and mom and dad sitting. In the background was the painting of the Bluebonnets which was the same picture we had used as a background for Ryan's picture for the memorial. As I looked carefully, I noticed that Ryan's hand was on my shoulder. When Ryan was alive his hand on my shoulder was a message to me that I was the best dad and that everything was all right with this world. At that moment I knew he was in heaven and that he was OK and it was also a message to me that I was going to be OK as well. As you can imagine my heart leaped with joy and I knew that God had honored my request to somehow let me know that Ryan was safe in heaven.

I called Vangie the next morning and told her my discovery of the brown package. She was very happy for me and said there was one other thing that I should look for. For some reason there was a picture that had angel wings around Ryan. She did not know where to tell me to look, but it was possible some picture would reflect this. I thought back of the calendar and did not recall anything about the appearance of angel wings.

Later in the day I decided to put the calendar on a wall next to my computer desk. The January picture showed Ryan as a baby, probably 8 months old, holding a bottle. We use to lay down a giant gray and white Teddy Bear on his back, then lay Ryan on his back on top of the bear and feed him his bottle. He always seemed to enjoy the comfort of this bear while he had his juice or milk. As I was typing along I happen to look up and all of a sudden I noticed that the paws of the bear made perfect angel wings around each of Ryan's shoulders. Once again my heart leaped for joy as I experienced a sign and message from God that Ryan was now safe and in God’s hands.

Many of you may find skepticism in this. I know that it is a strong desire of those who remain to want to know if their child is OK. That may drive the wish-fulfillment dreams to come true. But for me this is much beyond all of that. I am convinced that being open to communication from God as a Christian has allowed me some messages that I would have otherwise never received. I thank God daily for this special revelation in a time that has been so difficult.

Ryan’s Dad, Larry Hastings, Feb 15, 2000

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