Ryan’s Visit From Heaven To Protect His Mother During Hurricane Sandy

Exactly 1 week ago,  almost to the minute,  I was on the phone with my sister Debbie in Rockaway Park – New York, as Hurricane Sandy was ravaging our beautiful little beach community that she still lived in.   She lived in the cutest little bungalow,  1/2 block from the beach.   (#1 on the map below is her house)

Rockaway Park

We finally convinced her to leave her one story home,  the news was telling everyone it was going to be very dangerous, and there was a mandatory evacuation. Like most people who didn’t leave, she was sure it wouldn’t be anything big.  She lived on 111th Street,  and after much convincing finally went to stay at a friends apartment 1.5 blocks away on 112th St and the boulevard.   (#2 on the map above is where she was staying)

We were on the phone, and It was getting really wild,  the ocean had come in full force, I was still begging her to leave, while she could, and she told me she couldn’t get out, the first floor was filling up with water.  She was describing what was going on and it was terrifying for her, and for me, on the phone with her.

She then said, It was getting very bright outside, and went to the window to find out a huge fire 2 blocks away lighting up the sky.  Now, it was getting really scary…  really scary… . a fire and a house you can’t get out of!

Then she started telling me that “Ryan’s box” just passed her house…  it travelled from her house 1.5 blocks away, to tell her he was there. She kept saying “he’s looking at me Denise… the box is on it’s side and he’s looking up at me, I see Ryan, he came to protect me.”

To be honest,  I thought she was hysterical and possibly losing her mind.   Her beautiful son Ryan, left our world 10 years ago, in a car accident.

I had no idea what she was talking about.  I didn’t know about “Ryans box”,  or how he could be looking at her,  or how it left her house, or turned on it’s side so she could see him,  and passed where she was staying,  and she kept telling me,  she knows she will be safe,  he is there with her, and protecting her.  Then we lost phone connection…. for the rest of the night!

I stayed up all night,  hysterically watching the news.  I couldn’t reach her, couldn’t reach her son Russell, or her daughter Rickie..  all the phones were down,  all the electricity was out,  and my family was on this little peninsula that was flooding and burning.

Watching the news all night,  The fire was on 114th street, and was spreading out of control.  The news said it spread 2 blocks,  but didn’t say which direction.  I knew she was on 112th St.   They showed it on the news all night, but didn’t show the streets it began or ended on, they kept saying how it was spreading.

The only good news,  was they said nobody was hurt, and they got everyone out safely.  The fireman had to get to the fire in boats because there was over 4 feet of water filling the streets and the current was rough. The peninsula is very narrow right here,   about 2 city blocks wide,  with the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and Jamaica Bay on the other. (#4 in the photo below)

I didn’t hear from my sister until the next morning when she left and walked 1 mile in almost four feet of water to where her son Russell was staying with his family. When she called me, she kept talking about seeing Ryan, and “Ryans box”…   and knowing she was protected.  I still had no idea what she was talking about,  and as long as she was OK,  I didn’t care.  I just thought she was in shock, or a mom missing her son, and perhaps because she felt death was near,  needed to feel his presence.  I didn’t care what it was,  she was safe, and that was all that mattered!

She came to stay with me in NYC, and yesterday we went to her house in Rockaway. Seeing the devastation, seeing her home, I knew she wouldn’t have survived if she stayed there.  The door had to be pried open,  her house was filled with water… she showed me where “Ryan’s box” was… where she stayed during the hurricane, and then we walked over to where “Ryans Box” parked itself…. (#3 in the photo below)

The fire is #4 in the photo below.

How Angels Travel To Protect Their Moms

There is no way to describe the love I was overcome with, seeing “Ryans Box”.

I saw Ryan, seeing the path Ryan took from her home, by where she was staying, and where he turned and parked. I understood what she meant when she said it was on it’s side so she could see him, and he could tell his mom he was protecting her, seeing where he turned into a driveway, between his mother on 112th  and the fire on 114th, he really did protect her!

After “Ryan’s Box”  passed her,  he went another 1.5 blocks,  turned into a driveway,  went another 30 feet,  turned rightside up again,  and parked himself,  between the fire and the house with his mother in it.  (#3 in the photo above)

I felt embraced by the love of my beautiful nephew, and I knew he was there with her during the storm.

“Ryans Box,  is something his father built for a memorial site for him. They will plant a tree in it across the street from the site of his accident. It is about 4x4x4  and I’m guessing a few hundred pounds, since I couldn’t move it yesterday. You can see from all the water damage, it took a pretty intense ride through the water, yet, the photos and his beautiful face, didn’t have any damage.

“Ryans Box” front view

“Ryans Box” side view

“Ryans Box” putting himself between the fire and his mother

I wanted to share this story, because many people we love, are no longer with us… or are they always with us, and just let us know, when we need them most?  I think they are…

You can see from the photo of my sisters house below, she would not have made it out of this storm, if she had stayed in the house. I don’t think she would have made it through the fires and floods,  if Ryan hadn’t made his presence known!

With all the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused, feeling his love and presence so vividly, made me know everything really is ok, no matter what happens.

I hope you recognize when your loved ones are with you… even if it’s not this obvious.

Debbie house

This entry was posted in Hurricane Sandy, Love, personal and tagged , , , , .


  1. Gertraud Walters November 6, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    In all the tragic circumstances caused by Sandy, this proves to me again that “Love conquers All”. A true Story well worthy to be passed on, so that someone might believe that we’re always surrounded by God’s Love. Thank You Denise.

    • DeniseWinters November 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      Thank you Gertraud! It was quite miraculous to see it all in person, like all parents and children, they had quite a special bond.
      I agree “Love conquers ALL”.

  2. michal fabrizio November 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    this is truley a beautiful story…my name is Michal and it was my apartment Debbie stayed in….this is so sad yet warms my heart…thank you for sharing…xoxox Love you Deb

    • DeniseWinters November 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      OMG Michal, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

      • Michal November 7, 2012 at 3:38 am #

        No thanks needed…I love your sister like my own. She has been nothing but a blessing to us and my little girls…I’m just so happy she is ok!

  3. Mary E Bright November 7, 2012 at 3:33 am #

    I have always believed in Guardian Angles and when that Angel is your child there is nothing more powerful than that connection. Ryan will always be the wind behind his Moms back……

  4. SHELLEY November 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm #


  5. Vicki Berry November 8, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    Denise, this is an incredibly moving story – wow. Although you told me about this when we were finally able to talk a few days later, I felt as if I relived it with you again while reading this. Such a harrowing experience and testament to the greatest gift we have that binds and protects us, our love for our family and friends. I’m so grateful for you and that you and your sister are ok!

    With much love always,

    • DeniseWinters November 8, 2012 at 1:34 am #

      Thank you Vicki, Until I saw it all for myself, I didn’t understand what she was talking about. It was just 10 years ago, that he “left” us… but. now I see he never did! With all the devastation in Rockaway, feeling his presence makes it possible to believe we will get all get through this!! xoxo

  6. GiaRose Tocci-Guskind November 8, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    Beautiful, sad, touching yet at the same time so inspiring. I believe that our loved one’s after their gone do see and watch over us, although at times we may miss the signs from them. Ryan certainly was his mom’s person angel during hurricane Sandy and protected her. Love never dies. Thank u for sharing this story Denise, about your wonderful nephew and sister! His light will forever shine. God bless ur family!

  7. ANNMARIE SIEDERMAN November 8, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    This story is so inspiring and reminds me that our loved ones are always watching over us. I met Debbie when my brother passed away 7 years ago and she helped me through that more than anyone.I am so grateful you are ok and love you like a sister.

  8. Jennifer Burns November 8, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    WOW, but to be honest I am not surprised that Ryan protected Debbie that night, he loved his mom so much!! Thank you for sharing this Denise. (tears are rolling down my face)

  9. Leah November 9, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    Oh, Denise! I choked up as I read the part of the story where you described spot #3. What an amazing realization for her, to know she was protected! Wow, what a powerful visual, that box. I’m so glad your sister is safe but my heart breaks for her losses.

  10. Ruth Sheahan November 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    That is a wonderful story, Denise! I’m so glad she’s okay. I can’t imagine how YOU made it through that night.

  11. Cindy November 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    How cool is that! I truly believe in miracles !! Thank you God!!

  12. jennifer a. batchelor November 11, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    What a touching story! I am a Spiritualist, so I’m always aware that our loved ones are still with us, even after they cross over.

  13. Iceprincess November 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Oh what a sweet and loving God we serve. My son was in a car accident in 2001. Thrown threw a windshield fifteen feet he survived this horrible wreck. When I got to the hospital and was able to speak to him the first thing he said was I saw my Memaw. She carried me.

    Memaw is my mother. She died in 1999. My son was her first grandchild and she loved all her grandchdren very much. Yes, I know a mother’s love is a earnest love that has and will carry us on the wings of love. Thanks Ryan, your showing the world just how strong love really can be!

  14. Laurie November 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    444 is a very spiritual number & I noticed thats the dimension of “ryans box”!!

  15. Danielle Huertas November 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Beautiful story, thank you for sharing!

  16. Mary Harper-Simpson December 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    that is truly an amazing story. I don’t know what to say right now, I have this warm amazing feeling that is going through my body and I am at a loss for words. I believe and have always believed in a higher power. It is many different things to many people but it is there. I am sure Ryan has always been there but he found a way to show her he was there at a time of need. God Bless you and your family Denise.

  17. Russel December 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Great post, really enjoyed it!
    — Russel


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