Ryden Lumley Duchesne

Ryden Lumley Duchesne, age 32, died in his home the evening of May 3, 2020. He is survived by his parents, Jennifer Lumley and Raymond Duchesne. Ryden was born in Baltimore and lived in Hyattsville, Maryland, before relocating to Loudoun County in 1994. He was a student at Emerick Elementary, then Loudoun Valley High School. Despite developmental disabilities and psychiatric illness, Ryden was able to achieve his dream of living independently, and at the time of his death he occupied a small townhouse in Leesburg with his friend and aide, Danyella Moskwa, affectionately referred to as “Cat.” Ryden and Cat enjoyed the antics of a variety of beloved pets, including four ferrets, a cat, a chihuahua, two rats and a guinea pig. It was a crushing blow to Ryden, a week before his own death, when his pet rabbit died just as suddenly. The kindness that was evident in Ryden’s interactions with animals, was evident in his interactions with strangers, friends and family. Though possessing very little money for his own needs, he did not hesitate to donate from those funds to help others experiencing difficulties. Anyone who knew Ryden will have enjoyed his quick wit and contagious zest for life. He had the ability to make his friends and family dissolve into the kind of helpless laughter that not uncommonly led to accidents. He loved food, and restaurants, and the horror movie genre. A child of the internet age, he built online relation-ships with individuals of all ages and from all walks of life, and spent endless hours in discussion with them, or sharing with them his love of gaming. Ryden’s health declined over the last years of his life, along with his mobility. Despite nearly constant pain, he remained resolute and uncomplaining, choosing to focus on the good things in his life, rather than his limitations. Ryden’s greatest strength was his bravery — his ability to look difficult situations squarely in the face, unflinchingly. Born with female anatomy, Ryden transitioned to the male gender in his late teens while experiencing an avalanche of misunderstanding from his peers. He understood through his transition that having surgery to change his appearance was an incomplete solution to this complex problem, and that, in addition, acceptance from the general public would always be partial. He lived that reality with kindness and generosity, and deep self understanding. Ryden’s uniqueness, his force of character, his love for those dear to him, leave in his absence a gaping void. But he believed, as a person who struggled tremendously with loss himself, that we do not truly lose the people who shape our lives. And all of us being left behind now in his passing, have been altered forever by knowing him. The family would like to thank all of the people in Ryden’s life who gave him their love, support, encouragement and care. A gathering for friends and family will be scheduled after the Covid-19 crisis has passed.

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