Cody | Planet Ryan - Republic-Times | News

Cody | Planet Ryan

By on October 12, 2016 at 8:45 am

Two weeks ago, I received utterly devastating news about my younger brother, Cody, who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident in Florida where he lived. The pain and shock was instant and perhaps the worst part was calling my mom to let her know she’d just lost a son.

No words can describe that call and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.

When I experience tragedy, success and everything in between, my usual response is to write about it.

The day I found out of his passing, I did just that. I posted a farewell message to my brother on Facebook and I feel as though I need to publish a slightly revised version of it here to honor his memory:

“I’d like to take a moment and tell my brother, who now peacefully rests in Heaven with our Father, how much he was loved.

Though we’ve lived apart for most of our lives, he was always my brother. He was forever in my heart. When he was a little guy, I still remember changing his diapers and watching Lion King and Barney with him for hours just to keep him smiling.

As we both aged, I came to realize that he was literally one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. A beautiful mind. A sometimes troubled soul. But no matter what, he was full of love.

One of my last great memories with Cody was while he temporarily lived here and specifically, one night we sat in my truck listening to Dirt Road Anthem for what seemed like hours. And yes, we definitely had ice cold beer in the console.

I’m so thankful I got to share that moment with him.

The circumstances of his death are shocking and tragic and horrific, but I take some comfort in knowing that in part of his last Facebook post, dated July 3, he wrote the following:

‘…blessed are those who seek the Father’s approval and not man’s as much.’

Throughout all the bad he experienced and the dire situations in which he found himself in over the years, that’s the kind of stuff that his solid-gold heart was made of. The kind of stuff that God knows and sees — the kind of stuff that really counts in the end.

Cody, you were a brother, a beloved son and a friend to many. We will NEVER forget you.

You can rest easy now, bro. We’ll take it from here.”

I wanted to also take a moment and thank the tremendous outpouring of support and well wishes for our family through this wildly difficult time. I received messages from folks I haven’t heard from in years and it was genuinely appreciated.

Thank you. You know who you are.


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Ryan Ledendecker

Ryan is a biweekly columnist for the Republic-Times newspaper. When he’s not working, he enjoys a good movie, bass fishing, and CrossFit.