Ronan. I get a lot of letters from people. They are for the most part, filled with the kindest, most inspiring words that one could ever read. I occasionally get some hate mail, telling me how my evil plot to help other kids with cancer, is destroying the world due to my swearing, too many opinions that I should keep to myself, and of course all of my anger. Because as you know, I have been told over and over again… that you are exactly where you should be and in a much better place so I need to find some peace in that. You know what I say to that and what I will always say to that. Complete and utter bullshit and nobody should ever say those words to bereaved parent. EVER. I don’t care what it is they believe in. Those words are so ignorant and cold. They are so hurtful on so many levels. No parent should ever be without their child in this world. And if they have to be, those words should never be said because they just are not true. The only place a child belongs in this world, is with their parents and nowhere else. End of story on that.
I got a letter in the mail a couple of months ago. During that May month that was so hard to get through. I recognized the address and closed my eyes before I ripped it open. I sat with this letter and let my world absorb around me a bit before reading what it said. I slowly read the eloquent words before me and let them sink in, in a way that only one bereaved mother can do to another. I read the letter, over and over, and cried. I think I sat on the floor for a while. Your daddy came home. He saw me holding the card and asked who it was from. I just looked at him and said, “Simi’s mom.” His eyes fell to the floor. “What did she say?” I held on to the card and just mumbled something like, “Everything. Just everything.” I didn’t give him the card to read. I tucked it away in a book that I carry with me everywhere. I only keep really special things in this book that I carry around with me. It has a couple of pictures of you in it and now, this card too. I have read this card, over and over, especially on the days that I am having an extra hard day. The words fill me with such sadness and strength, all at the same time and they also remind me that no matter what happens in this life, you have to find a way to go on no matter how much things hurt.
I’ll never forget the day that I got the phone call about Simi. It was from a friend of mine, whom I don’t talk to very much so I remember thinking it was so strange she was calling. She started with the small talk. Your brothers were so little, I was pregnant with you. I was at home, just doing everyday mommy things. “Maya, Simi died.” said the voice on the end of the phone. “What do you mean? When? I don’t understand!” I could no longer understand what was being said. I set the phone down. I was trying my best to wrap my head about the news I was given but it seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. Not possible. Not this girl. They must have Simi mistaken for someone else. Not this girl, who was had such a presence and more beauty, personality, and fire then I had ever seen in another human being on this planet. It couldn’t be her. She could not just be gone. I called my mom, crying. “Mom. Tell me it’s not true!” My mom too, had to heard the news. “I’m sorry. I just heard today.” Fuck! I hung up. I spent the rest of the day, taking care of your brothers and thinking about Simi, of course. But it was her parents that I could not get out of my head. I had never in my life witnessed two parents that loved their child, more than the two of them and vise versa. She was their whole world. They were her whole world. How will they survive this? How will they go on? What will they do, without their daughter? The thought of this was so unfathomable to me, that I was left thinking that they just wouldn’t. That nobody survives something like this.
I went back to Washington for the funeral. I sat through it and I remember it all felt like a dream to me. I remember being so aware of having you in my tummy as I think I was about 5 or 6 months pregnant with you. I remember thinking, “How is this possible. How can I be sitting here with this life inside of me and my friend, is in a casket in front of me?” I left after the funeral was over, still not being able to wrap my head around any of it. I left Simi’s funeral and went back to my life in Arizona thinking about a reality that was so awful, but of course it would never be mine, right? How naive I was. I went back with a heavy heart and it was so obvious to me that the entire universe had changed without Simi here anymore to fill it with a sparkle that only existed in the world, due to her. The first holiday, without her I remember being really sad. It was New Years Eve and all I could do was sit at a table and cry. There was no celebrating and your daddy was respectful of that. It was a somber holiday to say the least. I clearly remember thinking though, “I feel sad? Think about how her parent’s feel. My sadness is only a sliver of what they are feeling.” Once again, it was so unfathomable to me, that I could not even imagine their pain. The New Year’s holiday after Simi being gone was never anything we really ever celebrated again. It just seemed stupid to me as she passed away on January 1st and her parents always weighed heavy on my mind.
I took the loss of Simi and continued on with our life, being extra grateful that I had your daddy and 3 healthy boys. I swear she has always been a big part of the reason that I wear my lipgloss brighter (even before you died) listened to my music louder, ran further, and loved harder than I ever had in my life, due to just knowing her. She made everyone around her feel like they could rule the world because, well.. why not? Limits didn’t exist and her free spirit soul was infectious to be around. She was unlike anyone on this earth. Then you got sick, Ro baby. And then you died. And since you have died, I seem to think about Simi a lot more than I used to. I think about what she would be doing if she were still her. I picture her face all the time. Her gorgeous smile and the most insanely beautiful red hair that there ever was. I wonder if the two of you, are together and if you are, I know you are having the time of your life. The two of you are probably giving everyone a run for their money, with your beauty and spitfire souls combined. It’s obvious you are doing the best you can, to give us the strength to go on in this life down here. I am trying to hard to continue to just breathe some days.
I sent Simi’s mom a text last week asking if she was in town and if she wanted to get coffee. She said she was and we made a plan to meet up. I went to her house today. As soon as she opened the door, my eyes were full of tears. “You look so much like Simi. Your eyes. So beautiful.” We hugged tightly the way only bereaved parents can do to one another. Hugs that are filled with so much pain, that you can psychically feel it when embracing. We sat and talked for hours. Time quickly slipped away after catching up, crying, drying eyes, memories and a little laughter, but not much today. It was a hard day, but there was comfort there too. The mother that I thought, would never survive the loss her daughter, because NOBODY survives that, right? She has survived it and has the scars and battle wounds to prove it. But you know what else she has, Ronan? That same sparkle in her eyes that reminds me so much of you. The sparkle in her eyes, that are filled with so much pain, is still there. The sparkle that only the most special people seem to have in this world. You know what a sucker I am for those sparkly eyed people in this world. They are a rare and special breed. Simi had it, too. I’ll never forget her sparkle for as long as I live.
You know what else, Ronan? The mama that I thought, would never survive losing you, has survived too. I won’t ever be better from this. I won’t ever be o.k. from this. I won’t ever get over this. All I can say is up to this point is, I have survived this. I am a fighter and a survivor and I will always be your mama. Forever and always. Just me and you, right baby? I’ll never forget how we used to say that to each other. I miss your squeaky little voice so much.
I’m going to end this here tonight. I’m not going to lie, I had a really hard time writing this. I struggled with the words a lot. I think it is because there are no words good enough to describe the beauty that Simi possessed. And there are no words awful enough to describe how empty this world is without her. I wish that these words never had to be written because she should still be here and so should you. It should not be this way. Life is short, precious and a lot less beautiful without the two of you in it. I’ll never in my life understand any of this.
I miss you, I love you and I am so very sorry. I hope you are safe. Give Simi a smooch from me. I love you both.