Ryan's story

In memory of Ryan Patrick Halligan 1989 - 2003





 Otter Valley Union High School Students in Brandon VT all wore Ryan's favorite color on October 7, 2013.




After pressing the play button, you can left mouse button double click anywhere on the video to play full screen.


His Way by a Vermont student who wishes to remain anonymous

"Thank You Mr. Halligan" from Taylor

The Rock Underground Role Models Stop The Bully

Ryan's Story performed by Sebastiano A. Ricci , Puppeteer, Actor




by Kelly Clarke


By Aylssa Smail and Ashley Maass  

Ashley and Alyssa of Commack, NY stopped by our home to deliver this beautiful picture they both worked on together.

By Chelsea Sweeney


  Chelsea Sweeney of Waldwick High School in NJ presented this beautiful painting of Ryan to me on May 17, 2011. 

By Yasmin

by Students of Hernando Middle School

  by Anna Jaretsky of Black River Middle School, Chester, NJ

by Madeline Garden

by Ms. Teresa Hill's Language Arts Class of North Side Middle School, Elkhart, Indiana

This amazing display of individual signed butterflies making up one huge one was at North Plainfield High School dedicated to Ryan's Story.

And here is Louis, the man who worked very hard to cut out every single one of these butterflies.  It was great to be back here for a second time on October 21, 2014.

  by Erin Cosgrove of William Gurrie Middle School in La Grange Il.



There's never been a story
Quite as sad as yours I've heard.
There's never been a person
Who could move me with a word.

At times I almost wept for you,
But almost I do say
Because I didn't know you,
So my tears were kept at bay.

I listened quite intently
To the speaker up on stage
Recounting tales of sadness,
Of his pain and of his rage.

I couldn't see the feelings there
Or feel them in my heart
But I knew the pain of loss
And loss will tear someone apart.

As I got up and left that day
And went to class, I knew
I'd never let a person
Hurt someone as they hurt you.

by Kayla of Ipswich High School


A person teased
No gain
A life lost
Clouds of tearful rain
Seen from the eyes of the blind
Heard from the ears of the deaf
One key to open the door
One door to let in the light
Be the key and save a life

To those lost when they could have been saved

 By Cassie Teschner


The Story of Ryan and John Halligan
It’s just not right
Ryan’s plight
We must set our sights
And try to see the light
His situation makes me mad
Simultaneously sad
It’s easy to see
He has one heck of a Dad
It takes a lot of courage
To do what you do
Sharing your pain
Trying to get through
To other people
So they don’t endure
Your pain and suffering
Your motives are pure
I want to express
Heartfelt gratitude
Ryan’s story tears us apart
Then puts us in the mood
To find ways
To be involved
Complex problems we face
But must try to solve
So thanks for caring
And thanks for sharing
Ryan’s story with us
This night in December
His story is something
I will always remember
By Bob Lindsay

Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom but to scar tissue and callous.



Through air, fog, haze

Feel the mist that comes

Before rain, the rainbow that

Hangs in two,

Velvet and broken

Beautiful and broken


Build promises,

Through the summer air

Watch them intertwine,

Before your eyes, watch them

Weave, intricate melodies

Through the wind

Each tendril clinging on

For life

Strong and broken,

Beautiful and broken


Hold the sky up

As it recedes, in delicate layers

As the storm comes and rain

Falls, reminding you of storms and arks

And autumn days when he used to sit

Beside the window, counting the

Raindrops, as they fall

Trembling and broken

Beautiful and broken



In the heavy air

Turning you inside out,

Inside out. Feel it come down on the very

Spot of the hill you stood on, alone.

The place where the gale struck one fateful winter,

Where a yellow flower once stood,

Tender and broken

Beautiful and broken



Among the streets

That you once thought you knew

The railroad tracks, coated in gently

Falling snow. Watch your breath fog

Up the mirror as your sobs blur the lights,

A streetlamp standing, crooked

Aglow and broken

Beautiful and broken


“He’s lost a child” they whisper,

Voices finally heavy with regret,

But do they know

Love is a curious thing, like the petals of

A flower, lose them and you’ve lost yourself.

Watch it fly

Away in a single blink, a half-taken breath

Hollow and broken

Beautiful and Broken


Lie beside the window

With a finger pointing down on your heart;

How could you not know? How could you

Not see, beyond the light of day, into the night

Where that single hill stood

Isolated and broken

Beautiful and broken



The anger against your heart

Obscuring your vision, your mind

Your grief, until you don’t know who you

Are, anymore. Until everything is gone and it’s you

And this frozen earth, you and the world, as he stands

Grieving and broken

Beautiful and broken



Your story, first a whisper,

A single word uttered, a line

Screamed, into the crowd. The rest comes easily,

Flowing on your lips like the torrents on an ocean wave,

Your only assuage.

Infinitely broken

Beautiful and broken



Him late at night for all he has given,

When you know it’s just the two of you

Speak not of loss but of hope, of wisdom,

Of scar tissue and callous. Of love. Whisper his name slowly,

In a single breath

Remember how he once stood,

Beloved and broken

Beautiful and broken



Of him as your thoughts fade into dream

When you find yourself staring up at the sky,

At the stars that aren’t there anymore

When you tell us and we cry, too

Feel him in the air around you, heavy but so light

Once beautiful and broken, whole at last.

by Catherine Zhu


 There is a tale that I have heard.
 Hear tragedy of one who didn't endure.
 And at the end they all cried.
 Not one person was notified.
 Killed by depression beyond belief.
 Sorrow there was with no relief.

By: Robert Casino

By: Mallory Harris 

Why did you do this?
You had to go away.
Left with nothing but memories.
Not a word more to say.
This feeling is horrible.
I'm dying inside.
Such a short innocent life.
I just want to run and hide.
The tears won't quit falling,
The most miserable thing.
Can you not hear me?
I'm screaming your name.
I know you're not there,
But I'll never forget
Your presence on earth, 
Was as good as it gets. 
A careless world,
Now filled with regret.
We'll always remember,
But never forget.

You could have had more time

To be with the people you love

Not to be above

You could have gone far

College, career, marriage, baby

That could've been your life, maybe

It's okay though

We're doing good down here

So don't worry, don't fear

Everyone knows your story

We're not mad at you

There's nothing we could do

We hope your joyful

Don't frown

Turn it upside down


We love you

And know you love us too

By Anonymous

an innocent child,

scarred and hurt by cruel words

forgot the people that loved him most.

a bomb dropped,

on this beautiful family.

years later,

the tragedy still breaks hearts,

draws tears.


but not forever, 

because the last words, the last goodbye,

will be the first hello,

when father is reunited with son.

Everyone has to remember this:

you mean so much.

you are loved and will always be loved,

that inkblots can be turned into butterflies,

beautiful butterflies of hope, and love.

to forgive and believe and know that

you are surrounded

by happiness.

By Jace Watkins

would you kill someone?

because you can.

not with a knife

a gun

or your own two hands.

the words you say

your devious ways

makes somone's life a living hell.

you called him gay

the poor thing, poor thing.

you called him weak

the poor thing, poor thing.

you pushed him beyond his limits.

his life was taken

his own two hands

murder can be invisible

its happend.

it can.

but you can change it. change your ways.

brush away the rainy days.


for those evil ways. 

because in the end, it realy pays.

and for all you poor things,

no more need for the sighs

i promis, promis that you will get by.

there realy is no reason to die

you can always turn a ink blot, into a butterfly


By Teresa Motherway

In Memory of Ryan Halligan

Can I be the karate kid

Can I be your karate kid

Can I teach you a lesson

Can I reach your attention

It would be such a blessing

If I could puncture through that wall

And into your heart

Notice what you have

And that’s the ability to tear apart

A person’s strength

Ad I was strong

It’s just so much a person can take

And so much happiness a person can fake

It is not your fault

You didn’t understand

This is not what you planned

So say I’m sorry

And you are forgave

And I’m peaceful in my grave

Looking down at one I love

You’ve done so much

by Arlyssa Hardin, Mansfield High School  1/23/2012

Can you see them?

by Amber Auslander

The angels walk among us.
I almost didn't believe
Until I caught a glimpse of you
Crying down from the star-lit night.
You scream out that you didn't mean it
That you wish everything could stay
And even though I don't "know" you
I, too, wish it was that way.
My heart felt hollow
As your father spoke your sorrow
For you, I wished with all myself
That there could be tomorrow.
Those eyes that laughed so brightly
Could still be shining light.
You know, you haven't faded
In a way, you live today.
In the hearts of children
Who have heard your father say
"He was a sweet and gentle child
You just wanted to hug him back."
I knew in that moment
The love of a father and a son
I wished that not everything
Had been already done
I wished this was a story
But no, this was all true.
The world has not stopped moving
But this doesn't mean you weren't hear
Listen to the crying
Sounding out from far and near
They all wish they could see you smile
Even if they know nothing but your name
They pity all the others
Who have chosen to do the same.
Maybe this was fate
So the message could be passed on,
But as for me, I refuse to believe
That's the reason why you're gone.
The cruelty of humanity
Burns deep scars through us all
That's the reason why we see
The world's slow rise and fall.
But even though you aren't "here"
It doesn't mean you don't exist
You live within the hearts of many
And your father's love.
You're missed.

"Time Machines and Ink Blots" by
by Natalie Mariani
If I had a time machine...
I would let you go in
And fix all the things you want to
If it didn't work...
I would help and
get in,
If it still didn't work
the pain would be
a million needles
through my heart
not my
And from Back To The Future,
we're not
Marty McFly
so why don't we

> Roses are red

> Violets are blue

> As you look up to him

> He looks down to you

> Your son has been welcomed

> Your son is blessed

> He has recovered

> From his long rest

> His story will be told

> His life unforgotten

> In his memory I make this poem

> For you the blessed.

by a High School Freshman who wishes to remain anonymous

A flower starts as a seed
From nothing to beauty
Though it never grows
Perfectly or the same
The thing I know for sure
Is every flower
Has beauty 
In its own
Special way
We share moments of Love 
And some
Moments of pain
But these moments shape us
In some way
Though this flower
Will not stay
Immortality is just a fairy tail
Those moments we shared 
With that flower
Is immortal
They will never fade
So love that flower
Remember the great memories it made
Because sooner of later
Our bodies lose movement
But our souls
Will forever stay
By Angie Gates

Our Beautiful Boy   by Erin Cosgrove

Your Bright Eyes

Your Wide-Mouthed Grin

We Remember

Our Beautiful Boy

Your Gentle Embrace

Your Tender Heart

Our Beautiful Boy

You Were Our World

Our Moon

Our Shinning Sun


Our Beautiful Boy

Then Came That Crisp October Day

When The Only Question To Ask Was ‘Why?’

Our beautiful Boy

Now We’re Trying Not To Break Down

As We Whisper

While Fighting Back Tears

‘We Love You.’

Our Beautiful Boy

Why Didn’t You Tell Us?

We Could Have Helped You

We Wish There Was Someone We Could Blame

But There Really Is Nobody To Blame

When Someone Is Taken

Now We’re Sobbing


Now That We Lost

Our Beautiful Boy

If Only The World Wasn’t So Cruel

If Only They Could Have Seen

Your Innocence 

If Only We Could Tell You Just Once More

How Much You Mean To Us

If Only You Were Still Here

You Know,

You’re Still Our Everything

Our Beautiful Boy

Dedicated to Ryan Halligan 
by David Gonzales, Lytle High School, Texas
All that pain 
All that hurt 
All contained in a couple words
They cut straight through him
Like a couple of swords 
He tried to stop the bleeding 
But it made it worse
Trying to go back in time
But he can't reverse 
It wears down on him
It becomes a curse 
Sometimes it just ate him alive 
Every Time they say something 
A little piece of him died
So either live as a lamb 
Or live as a lion 
Words can kill 
And These poor kids are dying 
Not because of a bullet or a knife 
Its funny how just a couple of words
Can take a life 
Its all fun and games 
Until he doesn't wake from the night
Now he's up with the angels 
You could say he has left for his flight.
He wasn't  ready to go to the light 
But he saw it 
And He fought with all his might 
But those words were thrown at him 
All Out of spite
Despite all that has happened 
His father still holds on 
He holds on tight
No matter how much it hurt
He still stands upright. 
His message gets across 
So stand up 
Speak up 
And fight the good fight. 

It Was Only a Joke

by Domonique Rose


I found out today

That my brother was killed by a rumor.

I listened to the story

Trying not to cry.

I didn’t deserve to cry.

The rivers he must have created

For demons to wade in.

And here I am wanting to cry.


I found out today

That my brother was killed by a joke,

And those tears

That I fought so hard to hold in

Stabbed their way out of me.

That joke was so wicked

Fabricated by a seamstress

With ice in her heart.

That joke killed my brother,

But that joke was so familiar to me.

Once upon a time

It rolled of my tongue

Like blood on a knife.

Except when I said it

It was only a joke.


Had I almost killed someone

The way my brother was killed?

Could my “joke”

Almost have broken the heart

Of an entire family

Just the same as my own?

But it couldn’t be.

Could it?

I didn’t’ mean to hurt anyone.

After all,

It was only a joke.


I found out today

That I had a mission.

I had made an oversized ink blot,

That needs to be made into butterfly.

Because my brother was killed by a joke.

The same joke

That I once found amusing.

That, had it not killed my brother,

I would laugh at.

That I used over and over again

Without a care in the world

About anyone’s feelings

Because when I said it

It was only a joke.


Additional Dedications

If you search for "Ryan Halligan" on YouTube you will find very touching videos created by students.




2010 Ryan's Story Presentation LTD.