Breaking rules, changing Holidays


Ronan. Hi baby. Another day done. Looking back on todays events, although nothing major happened, it seems like forever ago. If I were to write a handbook on losing a child, because there seems to nothing out there about this subject, one of the things I would write about is how slowly time passes by. How the hours just drag on, and so do the days, months and I am assuming years as well. By the time I die, I’ll bet I’ll feel like I’ve lived hundreds of lives. As of now, I don’t really feel like this is a good thing. I’m just tired. And sad. I think I’m also starting to realize that I don’t think I will truly be happy again. I don’t think I will ever know pure bliss again like I knew before all of this cancer shit. Before the loss of you. My life, at best, will be filled with moments of happiness here and there, but the happy that once existed before all of this will never be again. Maybe this will change as time goes on, but I just don’t see how that is possible.

What did I do today?? No clue. Woke up. Didn’t want to. Texted Liz to see if she wanted to walk down to the Del to grab a coffee. She did. Quinn came with us. We got coffee and some yummy but very bad for you pastries and sat and ate them at a table outside. A girl named Katie came up to me with her little boy to introduce herself and to say how much she thinks of you. It was so sweet. They both were wearing their Rockstar Ronan bracelets. It made me smile and my heart melt all at the same time. Everybody loves you so much. Even strangers whom have never met you. It really is amazing all the love and support that has come of this. I will forever be grateful and humbled.

After our coffee, your daddy wanted me to grab him some bagels in town. Liz headed back and Quinn went with her. As much as I love being with your brother, the time to walk alone was nice. But then something weird happened. Something that I should probably get used to, but it still annoyed me. I was paying for our bagels and I felt like a hole was being burned in the back of my neck. I glanced to the side and there sat a family. A mom, dad, and three older daughters. They were staring with their sad eyes and talking in low voices. The girls had their backs to me, but were turned around in their seats while they all gawked. I don’t know if gawked is the right word here, but I’m using it anyway because that is what if felt like. At first, I thought is was my imagination so I just went on with my business and paid for our things. I could feel them all still staring, so as a natural reaction, I glanced their way to see if it was indeed true, and not just me making things up in my head. It was true. Once they saw me look back again, their eyes fell to the floor and they avoided anymore eye contact with me. I quickly rushed out of the bagel shop after that feeling very sad. I get it. Coronado is a very small place, a mini Phoenix. I know people know about you and just don’t know what to say. I know a lot of people just choose to say not say anything and that’s fine. But just a smile would have been nice. That way, maybe I wouldn’t have felt like a zoo animal on display. I hate the looks of pity. I understand the looks of sadness, but the pity looks only make everything even more painful. The looks of pity followed by awkward silence. I’m not a fan of that at all.

I walked back to the Shores trying not to get too sad about that I didn’t have you following behind me. I pictured you running on the boardwalk, doing something naughty like stepping on all the flowers. I pictured myself chasing after you, laughing, but trying to be stern about teaching you to respect nature. As tears started to form, I saw a woman walking in front of me, carrying a Paul Frank monkey bag. The tears stopped. I smiled instead. Then I got to thinking about life and how what if everything that happens is carefully orchestrated. That woman, that stranger, was put in front of me, in that single moment because I wasn’t supposed to be sad. She was put there to make me smile and think of you in regards to something that reminded me so much of you, in the form of happiness. My head starting spinning then and I took a deep breath and thanked you.

I came back upstairs and did my best to get on with the day. I failed. I sunk into bed and fell asleep for an hour. After kicking my own ass in my head, I got up and agreed to go to the beach with your brothers and daddy. It was warm out there today. We played beach darts, football, and I snapped a bunch of pictures. After a couple of hours, your daddy and brothers headed back up to the condo. I stayed down on the beach to finish my book. I now get to read books about sadness and grief. I am looking for answers that I am never going to find. What I wouldn’t give to have some trashy novel in my hands instead. What I wouldn’t give to be completely consumed in a summer beach read. I finished, “The Other Side of Sadness.” It was actually pretty good and interesting. It talked about surviving grief and how there is no step by step guide, which I am slowly figuring out. It talked a lot about different cultures and how death is perceived differently in each one. If anything, the book was informative in that way. I got a few good things out of it. A mother talked about losing her daughter after 9/11. She said one of the things she worried about most was forgetting the memories of her. After a few years passed by, the author asked her what bereavement felt like, years after losing her.She said, “It’s a bit like a fading light. It grows dim, but it never goes out, never, not completely anyway. I find that enormously ressuring. I used to worry that someday the light would disappear that I would forget, and then I would really have lost Claire. I know, now, that doesn’t happen. It can’t. There is always a little flicker there. It is a bit like the small glowing embares you see after you see a fire dies down. I carry that around with me, that little ember, and if I need to, if I want to have Claire next to me, I blow on it, ever so gently, and it glows bright again.”

I thought this was really beautiful. What a simple, non-complex way to bring peace to your heart. I know your little light will never flicker out, Ro. But it was nice to hear it from someone else, who has lost a child. Which I have also decided, is the worst thing that can ever happen in life. I’ve honestly thought about this for some time now, trying to throw in other losses that could even come close to comparing. There is nothing. Losing a child takes the cake. Losing you is like losing a million cakes all at once. I cried on the beach today at a lot of things said in this book. I took the time to sit, reflect, and watch the oceans waves all while being engulfed in the sound of two little girls building a sandcastle right beside me. Their dad apologized for their loudness. I wanted to say to him, it wasn’t loudness at all, but music to my ears. I watched them play for a while and then was determined to finish my book, which I did. Mr. Sparkly Eyes would have been proud that I actually finished it. I was proud of myself. For something so little, the fact that I am actually able to finish a book now is a big deal. Who cares that it takes me twice as long now. I did it, felt emotions from it, and now I can put it behind me. Check mark, please!

I came back upstairs, showered and got ready to go to dinner. We went to happy hour on the island and sat in the bar with Liam and Quinn. We had a really fun dinner. There seemed to be a lot of laugher, talking, and engaging. We have talked a lot about holidays and what are favorite and worst are and why. We have decided to make up a new holiday to celebrate on Easter. Woody says we should call it Feaster and make it all about food. I agreed as long as we could worship a giant chocolate Easter Bunny and not have to dress up in fancy clothes. Liam wants chocolate covered everything, including bacon and Quinn wants to play games. Sounds like we are on the right track to turning this into a lot of fun. I think I’ve said before that most holidays seem meaningless now. Easter is one of them for us. Down with Easter; Feaster is born. I would like to take it and put your spin on it of course, buddy. We’ll have to come up with some things that you would have wanted to have. I’m imagining huge glass bowls filled with your favorite, Candy Corn. I may have some funny shirts made up to and anyone wants to come is invited. Feaster is the new Easter at our house. We will not be giving thanks to Jesus Christ. Sorry folks. That’s not the way this holiday is going to be celebrated. If you are offended, sorry. If you are cool, come over:) We have decided after losing you, Ro…. that life is too short to do things you really don’t want to do. It’s time to start making up our own fun rules and traditions as a family. The Thompsons march to their own beat and we are going to embrace that now more than ever. You earned that right, you loved to break all the rules, so that is what we are going to do. Some rules really are meant to be broken in life, only to be put back together, much better than they had ever been before.

After dinner, we walked around and the boys got cupcakes for desert. I stayed away from those due to my stomach issues. All of my favorite things, sweets, cupcakes, frosting…. destroy me. It’s as if my body is rejecting them. Oh well. I’ll take rejecting them rather than scarfing them down. At least my pants will still fit:) We came back to the condo, I got dressed for a dreaded run. It was chilly out but I did it anyway. Just 4 miles up and down the beach. I sat down for a while and talked out loud to you. I like to talk out loud to you. I did a lot of talking and crying to you. It felt good to listen to my voice say those words to you tonight, alone on the beach. After our little pow wow, I got my sandy butt up and finished my run. I showered and Quinn had asked to watch, “The Cove,” on my computer. I thought about it and said it was o.k. Why not educate him and his  young mind on how corrupt this world really can be. He’s already had the worst thing possible happen to him, he loves to watch, “Whale Wars,” so let’s do it. I watched it with him and explained this is why I have a hard time going to Sea World and swimming with Dolphins. It is one of the saddest movies ever and those Japanese “Fishermen,” need to be stopped. Watch the movie if you haven’t seen it. You will be so appalled that you will want to help expose what is going on. They are slaughtering those beautiful creatures left and right. It is beyond sicking and maddening. Especially to me now, Ro. After all the time we’ve spent watching the dolphins here, it makes me even more upset. What is wrong with people in this world?? Are they that selfish and greedy?? The slaughter of these poor innocent mammels has got to stop. How am I supposed to take on Childhood Cancer and this Dolphin slaughtering together?? I feel like it is my second calling in life. I felt that way when I first saw this movie. I am totally passionate about it and I think it is a beautiful thing for my boys to learn about. They have already learned about death in a way they should have never known, but now they can take this and turn it into nd learn how we need to respect these beautiful mammals, and how if you are passionate enough about something, that you can change the outcome. Sign me up! I’ll kick cancers ass and the japanese fisherman’s as well!! Bring it on, yo!!!

It’s going to take shit like this to get my ass out of bed in the mornings. I am planning on jumping back into boot camp next week. I need to email Tammy to tell her if I don’t have a reason to get up, I’m just not going to. She needs to be my reason for a while. Until I find a new reason. Although, waking up for her boot camps were always my favorite reasons to get up and exercise in the mornings. I hope she’ll save a spot for me:) Phoenix Adventure Boot Camp is by far, the best one in AZ. Tammy rules!!!!

Do you all see what I’m doing here? I’m slowly planning little things so that I don’t barricade myself in Ronan’s room and never come out. Ro, I can not, not, live for you. God. You would be so mad at me for my sadness and anger these past couple of weeks. You would be so mad at me for laying in bed. I’ve got to get up and do things for you. I don’t have a choice. I’m not willing to go down so easily and just die. Then what? Then everybody loses. I’m going to stay in this fucking fucked up world without you, and try to change some things. You would want this. You would be proud. As much as I want to escape into a non reality world, which means hiding in bed, ignoring everyone, not taking care of your Daddy, your brothers, our house…… I just can’t. I can’t have your brothers remembering me as that mom. They’ve been through enough already. I can do this, Ro. Just promise you’ll always be right by my side. I feel like you are, I really do feel you during the day. Please don’t ever go away, Ro. I already miss you so much.

Alright little buddy. My favorite not spicy monkey boy. I love you to the moon and back. I hope you are safe. I hope it’s a kissing day because I miss your sweet little kisses so much. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

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17 Comments

  1. ROBIN

     /  July 27, 2011

    Ms. Maya…. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS!!! Why???Because now we have fearless Maya back. The leader of Maya’s mafia that is gonna kick cancers ass and WIN!
    U are so amazing Maya!! I am in awe of your strength! You go girl!

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

     /  July 27, 2011

    Oh Maya, my heart breaks for you and your family. I hate that people who recognize you often use that chance to gawk and stare rather than share their concern and give you a hug. But I think that if you allow Ronan’s death to result in your complete rejection of God, then that will be tragic. I cannot imagine what you’re experiencing, nor would I presume to tell you how best to navigate this awful time. I think you’re handling it beautifully, with grace, love, and determination to do what’s best for your boys. I have been praying for you for some time now, and I will continue to do that. Before you give up on Him, talk to Him. Tell Him you’re mad. Tell Him you don’t understand and that He made an awful mistake. But don’t reject Him.

    Reply
    • Katie R

       /  July 27, 2011

      I really like this comment. There have been times in my life when I question my faith b/c bad things are happening….I then have to redirect my thoughts and know that it’s my faith in Him that keeps me going, that keeps me from crumbling. I believe that for you too, Maya. I hope that when you’re ready, you can go back to God and talk to Him.

      If I saw you, I’ve run up and give you a GIANT hug. You’d probably think I was a nut. I’m sorry for those people that just sat there and stared. I probably would have flipped them the bird! LOL!! That’s not very good manners but who cares!

      Hugs,
      Katie R

      Reply
  3. Keep ‘Hangin Tough’, Maya!

    … and yes, I am going to see NKOTBSB tonight… tryna get PUMPED! =)

    Reply
  4. Laura

     /  July 27, 2011

    Proud of you finishing the book, there are no exact path to recovery, it is a personal journey. You recovery path even though you are going down it with Woody and others, each of you will feel and be at different places on the same path. It is such a personal yet shared experience. Rest assured nothing is worse than losing a child. So glad you are putting your own twist on holidays and the future, have the fun is talking and planning something new. I’m glad the one woman came up and chatted with you, the others just did not know what or how to say it. I had friends that avoid me for way over a year, because they did not know what to say or how to say it. There are also no instruction manuals on how to deal with or how to help a grieving friend. People don’t mean harm. Glad you are making plans on what to do when you get back to Phoenix. Hope you have a great day. Thinking and sending love to your entire family.

    Reply
  5. Dorene Plampin

     /  July 27, 2011

    Maya dear, I have been wanting to share something with you but waited until I thought the time was right. When I was 21 and our son Jimmy was 2 we lived next to my grandma Searing. She was wonderful to both of us. One day I was with her and she was sharing some old pictures with me. She showed me a picture of a little 3 year old girl. She said that was Josephine. I looked at her and tears were coming down out of her loving eyes. Grandma said Josephine died when she was three. I just looked at the beautiful little girl in the picture. No, you don’t forget. My grandma showed me that by her tears.
    Love to you, D. ps Grandma was in her mid 70′s

    Reply
  6. Glenda

     /  July 27, 2011

    Maya… thinking of you, Rockstar Ro, Woody, Liam and Quinn.

    Hoping you enjoy the last few days in SD and praying that the transition back to PHX and into your home is as smooth as it can possibly be.

    I’m sure staying as busy as possible will help you a lot. I hope to some day run into you :)

    Peace & strength
    xo

    Reply
  7. Kelly

     /  July 27, 2011

    Maya, I came across your blog through a facebook friend who posted it.To be honest, I avoided reading your posts for a long time, afraid of where your words would lead…talk about weak. You’ve been living it, and I couldn’t even bring myself to read about it. But today I said, have some balls, Kelly. I sat here all morning reading every archived hopeful, gut-wrenching, and heartbreaking word, and killing a box of kleenex in the process. Wow. Double holy shit Wow. You’re amazing. Truly. Everything you wrote, everything, I felt for you….and agreed with. I have 4 boys, the youngest 4yrs. It’s impossible to read your words and not feel a connection to you and your sweet baby. I look across the room at my Toy Story lovin’ 4yr old and here come more tears, knowing what you and Ronan, your family have gone through. I’m so incredibly sad for you loss. All morning, I keep squeezing him, thinking of Ronan. Unfair. Grateful. And afraid of what could be. And now (again through facebook) another friend in Phx has a 4 yr old boy who just had surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor (anaplastic medulloblastoma), and now faces chemo and radiation. Feeling helpless, angry, and wanting to protect these precious innocent babies.
    On another note…People are generally insensitive and ignorant about how to behave around those who have had such a deep loss, like yours. I’m sorry you had to put up with that.
    One last comment…Thank you so much for blogging (and continuing to) your experience. Selfishly….I’m better person for reading it, and I know I’ll be a better mom.
    And it was great to read your last entry – especially the tone of it….Children’s Cancer look out!
    Ronan is a Rockstar….and Maya just Rocks.

    Reply
  8. Allison

     /  July 27, 2011

    Maya,
    I do not know you or your family, but like so many others I have been reading this blog and have been so deeply touched by Ronan’s story and by your ability to be completely vulnerable through your words each day. I have three children, the two oldest are twins (Ronan’s age) and a 7 month old. After reading this entry today I thought about a post my deeply spiritual, godsister had recently shared on FB. I just looked it up and wanted to share with you:
    “There is a tendency for empathic people to feel sad for
    those who are struggling. If not viewed through our soul’s eyes, we can easily drop down into sympathy, feeling sorry for others. This doesn’t serve anyone. But if we rise above sympathy into compassion, we can see people’s soul purpose and their inner resources to meet life’s challenges.”
    I have no idea if this will help you, but I am positive that the vast majority of people reading this feel complete compassion for you and your entire family. If this even helps to lift you up for one minute, it was worth sharing.

    Reply
  9. Allison

     /  July 27, 2011

    Maya, I do not know you or your family personally, but like so many others I have been reading your blog and have been so deeply touched by Ronan’s story and by your ability to be completely vulnerable through your words each day. I have three children, the two oldest are twins (Ronan’s age) and a 7 month old. After reading this entry I thought about a post my deeply spiritual godsister had recently shared on FB. I looked it up and wanted to share with you:
    “There is a tendency for empathic people to feel sad for those who are struggling. If not viewed through our soul’s eyes, we can easily drop down into sympathy, feeling sorry for others. This doesn’t serve anyone. But if we rise above sympathy into compassion, we can see people’s soul purpose and their inner resources to meet life’s challenges.”
    I have no idea if this will help in any way, but I am positive that the vast of people reading this, feel complete compassion for you and your entire family. If this helps for one minute, it was worth sharing.
    Love to you and your family.

    Reply
  10. Pamela

     /  July 27, 2011

    I just fuckin Love you. And the Thompson Feaster plans. And the fight against the Japanese whale and dolphin farming. Sign me up. I am on team Maya!

    Reply
  11. Rockstar Minion

     /  July 27, 2011

    Isn’t “The Cove” despicable?? I will never be able to go to Sea World again……trapping beautiful, harmless creatures to have greedy bureaucrats decide their fate. Then poison their own children with mercury?? What’s even worse was some show I watched detailed that whales & dolphin’s dorsal fins will droop or flop over in sign of depression, all the dolphin’s & orca’s fins are flopped at Sea World. :( No wonder they eat people at shows, I would too – I think its awesome you are teaching your boys such phenomenal lessons about life. They are going to be quite amazing men!
    And, I would also be one of the crazies that grab you & hug you to the point of embarrassment, if only to squeeze some of your pain out on to me.
    much love & respect always

    Reply
  12. Rosemary S.

     /  July 28, 2011

    You are moving toward a future of hope, light, love, accomplishment. It’s good to see that. (I admire strong women!)

    I do understand those that do NOT know HOW to react when they recognize someone in public whom they know is in pain because of loss. At times, I have been one of those people….wanting to get up to offer love and condolences, but unable to reach out. Not sure why I couldn’t do that…just frozen to my place at that moment, I guess. Maybe I thought I would be intruding if I would say something? Not sure. All I DO know is that I am pushing myself to give more love to others…risking it…and finding that love, when given with good intentions…is a good thing. (odd that I didn’t understand that before.) Life lessons.

    Your little Ronan is with you. Each word, each step forward, each loving thing that you do with your family…he is there. You won’t forget. Time will be kind to all memories.

    Please know that I and many others, are encouraged by your blog… and I hope that my and others who leave comments for you…encourage YOU. I wish you peace.

    Reply
  13. Desiree

     /  July 28, 2011

    Maya, yesterday I was obsessing over something so silly, so not worth obsessing over, but my brain couldn’t stop… And then, I told myself “Think about Maya! She lost a child! GET OVER IT crazy brain and stop obsessing over something so stupid. Suck it up and move on!” and then and there, I stopped. Thanks to you. This is yet another one of the million ways you’re changing my and other’s lives, perspectives, thoughts, actions. If I saw you in that bagel shop, I would have squeezed you until your head popped off! I’m sorry that family was so thoughtless. You are going to change the world Maya, I just know it. Stay strong, you can do this, even in the midst of your every day sadness, Ronan will be with you every step of the way, pushing you along. And so will ALL of us!

    Reply
  14. Thinking of you.
    People just don’t know what to say. They probably have never gone thru an experience as yours……I don’t think it is pity in their faces, but anguish at themselves not able to express themselves and give comfort. Sometimes people say stupid things, believe me silence is better than ignorant comments.
    Hope you guys have a great day.
    Luv and hugs

    Reply
  15. Kimball Arnold

     /  July 28, 2011

    Dear Maya,
    Each day will be just that, each day. I sent an email in June to your gmail account and am resending in case you did not receive it. As I am home recovering from surgery, I am tackling 18 yrs. of photos I have not dealt with since our son’s death. Sort of expect tears and laughter as I go through them and get them into albums. We never forget, we just learn to cope.
    In peace, Kimball Arnold

    Reply
  16. Kate S

     /  September 8, 2012

    Thanks so much for continuing to write these articles. I recently lost my best friend, and it has been so difficult. Your articles are really helping me and making me feel hopeful. To know that there are people out there who have had something absolutely awful to them, but still be hopeful and caring about other people makes me so hopeful.

    Reply

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