I Hate Cancer. But I love Tuesday.

A mama wrote this to me. I’ve been meaning to post it, because I think it’s beautiful. I knew about Tuesday before Ronan passed away. I hope they are together.

Date:  Weds, May 11, 2011

Dear Bereaved Mom,

Bereaved.  Bereft.  I hate that dumb-ass word.  No one in the real world uses it.  Just us.  Just us “bereaved” people that can’t find a real word that doesn’t suck.  Just us that live just beyond the real world, where the sidewalk ends.   Anyway, I read your words about R’s leaving and all.  Oh, how I felt them.  Did I write them?  I read them and I wanted to tell you that at 2 years and 4 months, I’m still looking for her.  I wanted to tell you that at 2 years and 4 months, the same amount of time that she spent on this planet, I still freak out when I only spot 3 in the crowd and not the 4 that I know I have.  I wanted to tell you other things, too.

Did you imagine that you would make a hair appointment right after your child died?  I sat in that chair some 70 hours after she died and had all my hair cut off.  That girl with long hair had a dead kid.  I’d like my short hair back, please.  I sat in that chair and thought, “She must think I’ve lost my fucking mind.”  I’m still not sure that I haven’t.

The gift of shock.  I re-did Piper’s room from top to bottom the next day.  Went shopping for new bedding.  Didn’t want her to look over at her twin’s empty bed even one more night.  When they wouldn’t sell me the floor model of the quilt I wanted, the one with the two little birds, I wanted to scream, “Her twin sister died yesterday!  Just sell me the mother fucking quilt!”  Wouldn’t that have been awesome?

Did you sit at that baseball game feeling like you were doing it all wrong?  Like they all knew how to have a newly dead kid and you didn’t?  My God, are they seriously at the School’s Winter Festival less than 24 hours after their kid died?  I would have to be institutionalized.

I don’t know.  I still don’t know much of anything.  These are a few things I know:

1. Time does not heal all wounds.  This is bullshit that makes other people feel better.

2. You are still capable of laughing so hard you cry.

3. Your children (and your husband) (and you) will be pretty much be ok.  This might piss you off.  Your Brother Is Dead!  Act Like It!

4. Everything is more beautiful and precious.

5. SIGNS are real.  Don’t question it.

6. You will be pissed off a whole lot more.  You will still be happy a whole lot too.

7. You will think that you, and everyone you love, has cancer.

8. They probably don’t.

9. You are insanely strong.

10. You don’t want anyone to tell you that you are insanely strong, because, fuck off, I’m not strong, I’m weak and broken, can’t you see that?!  Why the hell am I grocery shopping?

So, there is a weird little list for you.  It’s not official or anything.  I just made it up on the fly.  It might change tomorrow, but that’s what it looks like at just shy of 2 years and 4 months and a couple glasses of wine on a snow day in May.

Oh, yeah, I also wanted to tell you, that although everyone will say stupid things, it’s because they love you guys and love R.  Or, maybe because they are stupid.  People will reach out to you and try to offer advise and insinuate that they know a thing or two about how you feel or what you’re going through.  They mean well.  (I mean well)  And it’s true, it’s the worst thing that you can live through, but you will think up even worse.  He’s missing, but someday you will come to a place where you know he’s not actually “missing”.  He’s got to be somewhere, because you can still feel his presence.   It’s the parents of the actual “missing children” that I pray for the hardest.  My prayer for you is that you continue to feel his presence and eventually find peace in knowing you will be together again.  Whatever and whenever that may be.  It can not come soon enough.

I’m so sorry that R had to go.  I asked T to show him the ropes.

peace and love and tears,


Tuesday’s mama

19 responses to “I Hate Cancer. But I love Tuesday.”

  1. Hi Maya-

    I’m still here although I dont post often. I just had to say, I think that letter is simply amazing!

  2. So powerful. So much love and heart. So glad she is in your life.

  3. Wow…what an eye-opener. Thank you so much for sharing! I really HATE Cancer.

  4. wonderful words for you to hear! awesome lady to have written you. love and hugs…

  5. Beautiful letter. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

    Peace and strength mama bear!

  6. Wow what an amazing letter

  7. So beautiful….thank you for sharing that.

  8. What a sad, but wonderful letter. I’m so glad you have someone like Jessica who actually shares your experience and can help you in some way. So many of us read your blog and wish we knew exactly what to say. When it comes down to it I think we all just want to give you a huge hug. Oh, and let you know that you ROCKED that purple tutu!

    Ps… I had a dream the other night. Which now-adays seems like such a rarity because I’m such a night owl and I feel like I never fall into a deep enough sleep to even have a dream before morning comes. Nighttime is a place for me to have my peace and quiet when everyone else is asleep, to read your blog, browse through Facebook, check email, watch tv, clean, or read a book. Anyway, I dreamt I was having a dance party by myself in a hotel room. In my dream, I thought I was in Argentina, then maybe Chicago? Wasn’t sure. Random. Then my husband walks in the hotel room and informs me we’re in Phoenix. What did I say to him in my dream? “I have to find Maya!” I just remember wanting to find you to give you a hug.

    Hope today is full of signs.
    Hugs from Michigan

  9. I also wanted to add, that if I ever posted anything totally stupid..I’m very sorry. I think Jessica is right in saying that we all mean well. I think sometimes less is more, and just listening and supporting you are the best we can do. I try to put myself in your shoes, and obviously cannot even come close to knowing what you are feeling. I know this. I really believe Ronan is all around you, and showing you signs, and you will be together again someday. I think you are so amazing in how you turned this around and chose to make people hear you, and spread the word about this horrible Cancer. I have never even heard the word Neuroblatoma, until I started reading your blog. Now, I feel like I have to be apart of making people aware of childrens Cancer. I will always support you, and your foundation, even if its a little here and there, or hitting “like” on Facebook. I hope to meet you one day and I can thank you personally for making me realize how lucky I am to have two beautiful, healthy children. Because in one moment, our lives could change forever. I am cherishing each and every moment with my family even more than ever. Thank you Ronan, for opening my eyes and being my familys hero. We all admire you and your family.

    I hope you have lots of beautiful signs from Ro today.



    1. So well said Sara.

  10. so perfectly said!! I was eating out for breakfast the day of my son’s wake – I was kind of thinking “How on earth can I be here? how can these other people be here? don’t they know my baby died!?!? (Neuroblastoma also – at 21 months)
    The priest told us “People will say stupid things…..it is advisable NOT to hit them” Thankfully no one said anything stupid those few days, but since….well…they are lucky I am non-violent!

  11. that made me cry buckets like the raindrops outside today. I don’t understand why any mother should have to lose a child. How can God or the universe or whatever power that is think that is remotely ok?
    I hate the part about thinking everyone has cancer. After my sister died of it, I now think every bloody nose, lump, pain or weird symptom means my kids have cancer. I obsess about it, my doctors think i am a nutcase. I have anxiety attacks just thinking about it.

  12. My God, what an amazing and real letter. Thank you, Jessica … and Maya for posting. Why does it take such pain to make the lucky ones acknowledge their blessings? The lucky ones are not worthy. =0(

  13. I continue to pray for peace.
    Much love,

  14. When I saw these Star Wars themed “Stand Up to Cancer” shirts, I thought of you and Ro.


  15. Melissa Pietrosanti Avatar
    Melissa Pietrosanti

    Wow. Thats all I can say. Equally beautiful and raw. Thank you for sharing…. Mel

  16. Not sure if you’ve seen this….I saw this posting and thought of you, more voices!

  17. D. Murray Armitage Avatar
    D. Murray Armitage

    The paradox is stunning. The beauty of this posting born of the most horrible circumstances. Thank you for sharing this.

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