Ronan. Where are you? Why did you have to leave? I am missing you so much. We are home. Back to our house that is now so empty without you. Back to our life which seems so forced. Everything is lost. I’ve been going through the motions, doing all responsible things that comes with being a mommy and wife. I’ve been keeping busy with unpacking, organizing, answering phone calls, running errands, playing with your brothers, trying to do all the normal things that are normal but do not feel that way at all. I went to the grocery store today. Quinn went with me. I haven’t been to our store since the last time I took you. You were so sick and you sat in the cart with your little hat on. You fought me on leaving because you wanted me to buy you a new toy. I couldn’t say no. I remember being so worried about taking you to the grocery store as I was exposing you to germs. I remember how I careful I was to make sure I disinfected your hands as I was so grateful to just have you with me, out and about. I swear I could hear you little voice in that store today. I was doing o.k. until I was at the Deli Counter. I remembered waiting in that exact same spot with you a few months ago. It was there that the tears started and I tried to fight them back as the girl behind the counter took my order. It didn’t work. I cried the rest of the time as everything in the grocery store, reminded me of you. Quinn noticed of course. As I was getting the milk I heard him go, “Are you o.k, mom?” I smiled and lied to his face and told him I was. I was not. I somehow managed to pull it together as it took everything I had not to abandon our cart and run out of that place today. I now loathe the grocery store. I used to love everything about it, but now everything in there just makes me sad and nervous. It all seems so overwhelming. I wanted so badly to be pushing you in that stupid, germy, little car grocery store cart that used to make me cringe. I wanted so badly to be that mom that would have been worried about you catching a cold from all the germs on that dirty thing. I’ll never get to be that mom with you again. I cannot believe you are really not here. I can’t believe I’ll never get to take you to the grocery store again with me. I can’t believe I’ll never get to chase you up and down the aisles because you refused to sit in the cart. My entire life, I’ve never really known what true pain feels like but now, I feel like it’s the only thing I’ve ever felt before in my life. My world, without you, is painful every second of the day. Even while I sleep. I wake up sad, spend my days sad, go to sleep sad. I’m trying but I cannot escape the pain I feel, no matter how amazing your daddy is being, how beautiful your brothers are….. nothing can take away my sadness.
Yesterday, somebody asked me how many kids I had. I was out, trying to do some normal things. A girl was trying to make small talk with me. She asked if I was a teacher and I told her that I was just a mom. She asked how many kids I had. I told her I had twin boys that were 8, and I had another son who was almost four, that just passed away. I could hardly choke out the words and I just sat cried as I tried to tell her a little bit about you. I guess I wasn’t prepared for that question, or the emotions it was going to flood me with. I tried so hard to be strong and be so thankful for the time that I got to have while you were here. All I could do was sob. I came home and cried some more. Every time I’m out, I cry. I feel like a walking waterfall. I have been going into your room a lot. I like to lay on your bed and cry there, snuggled up with all of your stuffed animals. Your sock monkeys, your Master Yoda‘s, your Julius.
Quinn usually follows right behind me. Last night when I was crying on your bed, he read me a story. He is still not wanting to leave my side. He helped me with all of the laundry tonight, he sat outside with me while we watched the monsoons, and now, he is laying right by me playing on his iPad. Oh Ro. He misses you so much. You two were joined at the hip. I watch him when he doesn’t think I am and I can see him looking for you, wanting to play with you, wanting to wrestle you, and I feel like he expects to walk into your room and see you there. Liam on the other hand is so independent. He has been spending a lot of time outside, playing on his rocks, talking to himself, playing in your room, with your toys, like you are still here playing with him. I am able to go into your room now. After I came home the first time, alone, and spent a lot of time in there….. I can do it now. I spend a lot of time crying on your bed. Your room is still my favorite room in our house. It always has been. Even before you got sick. I find if I need to breakdown, your room is the place I like to go. I feel safe in there. I want to keep it just the way it is for a long time. I like to sit in there and talk to you and remember all of the fun times we had in that room. Your daddy likes to sit in there and play his guitar and sing to you. We will not be changing it anytime soon. It needs to stay that way until we all feel like we are ready to change it.
I don’t have my week planned out. I have some plans tomorrow, some things that need to get done with your brothers, but I cannot plan anything out for as far as what the rest of our week will look like. That’s too much for me. I am just hoping to get a lot of things done, one day at a time. I cannot bear to think what a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday will look like yet. I am such a planner, so this is hard for me. But I also know the feeling of being totally overwhelmed and I never know if I am even going to be able to get out of bed in the mornings to get my shit done. One day at a time works for me, as of now. I can’t ask too much more of myself at this point. I told you I was starting Boot Camp tomorrow, Ro. Remember when I would have to put you in bed with Daddy so I could sneak out at 5 a.m. to go? I was always so worried you would wake up and be so upset I was gone. Sometimes I would come home and you’d still be asleep. Most mornings, you would be cuddled up with your daddy, watching cartoons, waiting for me. It’s going to be so strange to walk out of this house tomorrow morning, without having to worry about you staying asleep. I told you if I don’t go to boot camp, I’m afraid I won’t wake up in the mornings. Today, everybody in our house, slept in until 11 a.m. That is MADNESS! I haven’t done that since college! It felt weird and it made me so depressed. We were all so used to you waking us up in the mornings, demanding your eggies and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. With just the 4 of us, nothing is complicated, your brothers are so easy, such good helpers, such hard workers,….. we are all missing the spice in our life that came in the form of you. Life without you is depressing, Ronan. Dull. Stupid. Boring. Sad. You were everything to all 4 of us. EVERYTHING. Now we are back to square one. Back to routines, homework, school, family dinners, but you’re not here. You’re not here to help me cook, you’re not here to make messes for me to clean up. It’s just me while your brothers are at school. I don’t get to hear you screaming for “Guy’s Helmets!” because you wanted the correct Star Wars Helmets on the correct guys. I don’t get to tell you that you are driving me crazy because you are taking off all of your guys’ heads and they are all unorganized. We not longer get to have helmet hunting parties. What am I going to do without you????????
I cannot even think about this right now. I’m bawling and I have to get to sleep so I can get my ass out of bed and be productive. Come with me to boot camp in the morning, Ro. I’m sure Tammy would be fine with it now:) I love you little man. I love you to the moon and back. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby boy.
Ronan. San Diego summer is over. Our first summer without you. We are heading back to Phoenix. Time to get back to reality. Time to try to start a new life, a different life. Time to try to figure out what this is going to look like. As much as I don’t want to, I have to. This summer was a complete and total blur. I feel like I’ve done a lot of crying. A lot of thinking. A lot of nothing but just allowing myself to feel the sadness that I feel from losing you. It was a place that I needed to be in, a place that I had to allow myself to drown in for a couple of months. I am trying my best to get my mind set in a different mode. I am trying to do my best to pick up these pieces that are shattered all over the floor. As of now, I have to do this for your brothers if no one else. I hope there will come a time in my life when I will start living for myself again, but I’m still not there. I’m still jaded, guarded, numb, mad, sad, angry and scared. But I have also found that with all of this I am able to feel glimmers of love, passion, laugher, peacefulness, and happiness. If anything, being able to feel myself feeling these things again, is saving me. Saving me from drifting off into a place that I do not want to go. Ever. My fighting spirit, and your fighting spirit will keep me going. I’m not giving up on you and I am determined to make a difference in this world. I am determined to make the most of this life without you. You wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ronan. Hi my lovey. Missed you so much today. It was another long day. My mind is drawing a blank at how it even started. I remember now. Woke up, threw on some clothes and ran into town to go to the grocery store. Heidi, Luke and Lily were coming over from Mission to spend the day with us. I got some food at the store for lunch. They arrived around noon and we all headed out to the beach for the day. You would be proud of me as I didn’t spend the day hiding. I spent it enjoying being with your family instead. It’s been much too long since we’ve enjoyed your cousins. It was just what we all needed today. We played in the sand and I actually enjoyed the day as much as I could. At one point, Luke was playing football with your daddy. It made me miss you so much. I miss watching you play. You loved to play with Luke so much.
I had two different women approach me at the beach today just to say hello and they wanted to let me know how much you have changed their lives. It was very sweet to hear and as always, I was so thankful for the kind words that they had to say. I hope you will continue to inspire people everywhere and for as long as I live, I will help you do this. It is one of the many gifts you have left behind and I am honored to carry it on for you, baby boy.
After our day at the beach and pool, we went down to pack up our things. We were gathering up all of our sand toys, boogie boards, towels, beach chairs, etc…. when the dolphins appeared. We all watched them together and Luke kept yelling out, “It’s Ronan, it’s Ronan!” It was pretty amazing that just as we were getting ready to leave, that they came out just in time for us to see them. I’m going to miss those dolphins when we return back to Phoenix. They have been something that I so look forward too. I’m just hoping you’ll continue to leave me little signs, everywhere.
Your daddy had a night out with the boys. He took Luke, Quinn and Liam to a Padres game. They had a blast and Luke caught a ball. They stayed for the entire game, which I didn’t think they would do, but they did as they ended up having a really good time. I spent some time with Liz. We went out to dinner, walked around, attempted to go play Lazer Tag, but as soon as we got there, it was closing….. we drove around, got Fro Yo, and basically just spent some time together. We talked a lot about you, about life, about God, heaven, religion, etc. She has questions now about everything. I’m glad. She is insightful, yet thoughtful about the things in life that nobody knows the answers to. I appreciate that so much.
We are leaving to go back to Phoenix in a few days. I’m nervous and anxious about it. So much reality there that I have avoided. It’s hard to imagine going back to our life before all of this. I don’t have a choice though. I cannot avoid this life without you forever. I am thankful that we spent your last week at The Ryan House and that is where you passed away. I know I struggled with this decision forever, as I just wanted you at home, but I think now the right decision was made. The thought of having to go back to our house, with that memory of you there, would have not been good. It is going to be hard enough going back there with all the good memories I have. I know everything in my life will continue to feel empty. I cringe at the thought of the silence that will fill most of my days. I cringe at the thought of your empty bedroom, full of all of your things. My mind is still in denial that you are truly gone. It’s still in protective mode because when the thought of you, not being here, sets in, my heart drops and my body just wants to sink to the floor. I wonder if there will ever come a day when I do not physically feel this way.
Oh, Pandora. How I love you. I was just sitting here thinking about you and our Mr. Sparkly Eyes. The song randomly came on Pandora and that is the song for the both of you. It is one of my absolute favorites and always makes me cry, but makes me feel peaceful as well. I love to put this song on repeat and run to it over and over. I’ll put it on your you tube lullaby tonight. You loved that song so much too.
Everyone is asleep now as it is late. Luck is sleeping over tonight. We gave him your GiGi to sleep with. He seemed so excited about that. He loves you so much. I talked to Liz tonight about Luke and how I feel like he is so different than most boys his age, but how he is still so much the same. He is different in the ways that he really observes things that are going on around him, and he is a deep, thoughtful thinker and speaker. Everything that comes out of his mouth is straight from his heart and soul. I love that about him so much. I know the time he spent with you at The Ryan House was really hard on him, but it was so special. It was the last time I heard you laugh. Luke was doing something crazy and silly and you laughed that great laugh of yours. Gosh, you had the BEST laugh, Ro. I am so glad it was Luke who was the one to bring it out of you. It will forever be a beautiful memory we will cherish.
Tomorrow, we are spending the day in Mission with your cousins. The boys are excited to go and do something off of the island for a day. I’m excited to do something different and to have a reason to get out of bed. I know I have 3 very important reasons right in front of me all the time, Ro. But sometimes I am just so sad, that it isn’t enough. Sometimes I need to have a plan for the day ahead of me so I know I don’t have a choice. I need consistency, a routine, a plan in place. I know what will happen on the days that I am hurting so badly from missing you. I expect to have them, but the less I have the better. I have to go back to being a functioning mom. I’ve been getting by, but I am not even close to the mother I was before all of this. I’m still trying to find my bearings. I’m still trying to come out of this fog. But hey, at least I’m still trying, right. I’ll sleep on that tonight.
I love you my little man. I miss you so much and hope you are safe. Goodnight, Ro baby. Sweet dreams.
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.