This weekend I came alongside  the Barron family in the loss of Ryan. He was a thirty-year-old Windsor man who died skateboarding in Vancouver late at night. It was a hit-and-run and the family and friends were devastated. 

Here are some of the notes from what I shared at his celebration of life.


Welcome to the Celebration Of Life for Ryan Barron. You only have to check out Facebook to realize how connected and well-liked Ryan is.

He had been in Vancouver working over the last year and had been talking about making a trip home to Windsor. Sadly, that was not to happen and his earthly life ended in a tragic accident. In another kind of way, Ryan has made a trip deep into your hearts and today is to remember and celebrate everything that you love about him.

If God exists, many will be asking ‘why’. If that is your question, I’m not sure you will find an answer that is adequate.

In its place, may I suggest a better question—‘where can I go with my grief?

Grief will take you into deep places you have never been. Here’s a prayer from the Psalms that illustrates a spiritual quest.

Psalm 130 -
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice! O let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleading.
If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness: For this we revere you.
My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word. 


A counsellor I know said that every man makes two journeys in his life. First is the journey away from home. This is when we leave the familiar to discover who we are and look for something to call our own life. Maybe it means moving to Vancouver to experience Windsor’s geographic opposite.

While the first journey is away from home, the second journey is our journey homeward. There are times when we choose to go back and find what we left behind. We want to reconnect, settle unfinished business and make things right if we can.

Most 30 year olds are still on the outward journey away from home, but close enough to start appreciating if there were some truly good things or good people that shaped a deeper life inside us.

Everyone belongs to the generations that came before them and the marks of humanity are on us all. At the end of our days, something has passed through us and lives on in those who remain and those who will come after us.

And for most people, we will be eventually forgotten by the great-great grandchildren of our immediate families.

So, what do we do with the passing flash of one’s life?

1.     Ask For Help

Ryan was fairly independent. He danced to his own drummer and in younger days was known to disturb the excrement. But, most of that points to the willingness to lead others and not be held back.

He learned to play guitar, skateboard, get good at his job and overcome difficulties by learning to ask for help. Sooner or later a fiery kid needs to learn from others and Ryan became a student of life.

He learned to ask for help. By doing so, he acquired knowledge and skill to give to others. Some of the younger kids at the skate park remember Ryan as one of the older guys who would take time to show them how. He knew that they wanted to learn and offered to help. He got that way by learning to ask for help.

The truth is that Ryan was a momma’s boy. He was a huggy, kissy kid that grew up to be a loving man. But, not without those who loved him sometimes reaching their limits and crying ‘Help!’

2.     Be A Seeker

Let’s admit it. Vancouver is Rivendell. The first time you get off a plane there, you are hit with a wall of fresh air and magical sites. People chase the thrills of surfing at Tofino, skiing and boarding at Whistler and much more.

Thrill seekers like Ryan want to know what it is like. They want to live in a world where they feel something more than tedium and disappointment. Carpe Diem and Be The Change You Want To See.

There is something more alive about guys like Ryan who chase dreams and take risks. The question for all of us is this—what are we still looking for? Have we a quest for meaning or did we already die a long time ago?

There is still something inside you that is looking for answers.

3.     Knock On Doors

Whether he was promoting a concert, looking for a job or a place to live; Ryan knocked on doors. Doors are barriers that become points of entry. What were the barriers in life that Ryan had to get through?

It is in the closed doors of our lives that we may find the opportunity that we need. Who is on the other side of the barrier that you need to get through to? What is waiting for you on the other side?

Is it a girl? Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me…

Is it a friend? Someone’s knocking on the door—someone’s ringing the bell. Do me a favour and open the door and let him in…

Is it a spiritual quest? Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door…

Jesus said,

Matthew 7:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.


Psalm 121 -

I lift up my eyes to the hills --
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip --
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you --
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm --
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forever more.

Entrusting the spirit of Ryan Barron to God, we commit his body to the grave. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. We look to the example of Jesus who opened Heaven’s door through his own death.

We look at Jesus who rose from the dead and ponder what happens when we ask, knock and seek the Kingdom of Heaven.

Lord, let your mercy and peace grow in us all.