I’d totally let you be Hanky the Christmas Poo for Halloween. Actually, I’d let you be Hanky everyday if that is what you wanted, if you were still here.

Ronan. Holy Fucking Fall Break. Day One, down. I remember, when you were still alive, how I thought it was crazy that schools had a Fall Break. Didn’t your brothers, just start back to school? What is this Fall Break madness? I remember feeling the pressure of wondering how I would keep all 3 of you, entertained, for a whole week. What I wouldn’t give to have that worry back now. It was not a worry at all. How did I even think that it was? What was wrong with me? How did I think that something like that, was an actual problem? It’s because I lived in the make-believe problem/worry world before all of this. In a world that was so simple and perfect, that I had to make things up, to complain about. Like the Arizona heat, like not getting enough sleep, like missing a workout, like not having enough time to myself. Blah, Blah, Blah. Those are not problems. Those are blessings. If I only knew then, what I know now. I would have never complained about a thing.
I spent the day with your brothers. Doing a lot of errands. I took them for haircuts, to Costco, etc…. We spent about 4 hours, running around today. They saw one of those big Halloween Costume places. They asked if we could go in. I put on a smile and told them, of course when it was secretly killing me that I had to walk in there, without you. Our first Halloween without you. We spent a good hour in that store today. They ran all around. We tried on silly costumes. They pointed out some things they thought I should be. They played with fake swords, knives, guns, blood, and all things Halloween. They both want to be characters from South Park. Remember how you used to love that show? How once you got cancer, all of life’s rules, just kind of flew out of the window? Crap. Before all of this, I would have never let my kids watch South Park. But then you got Cancer and one night, we were trying to make you laugh. To forget that you were sick. Your Daddy put on the Hanky the Poo, South Park episode. Laugher galore in a house full of cancer and sadness. Fuck what is appropriate. Because once your child gets cancer, you no longer view the world the same. And things that seem important and appropriate, are not. All that mattered is that we were all together and we were all laughing. So Kenny and Cartman they wan to be. If you were still here, I’d let you be Hanky the Christmas Poo. I wouldn’t think twice about it. You loved to sing that song so much. I have a feeling trying to find costumes to fit 8-year-old boys, after an adult Cartoon show, may be a little difficult. I’ll make them if I have to.  I wanted so badly, to buy your costume today. I don’t know how I am going to get through this Halloween without you, Ro.

I spent all day, entertaining your brothers. It was work. It was hard. It was exhausting. And normally, it would not have been. It would have just been fun. It would have been crazy. We would have spent the day with friends. At a pumpkin patch. At the Train Park. At the Zoo. Or any other big adventure as long as it meant you 3 were busy, having fun, getting messy, dirty, and just being boys. Your Daddy came home around 4 and I was about to break. He let me lay in bed for a while, but the whole time, Quinn was by my side. I needed some space and your Daddy knew this. He took your brothers to play basketball and they went to dinner afterwords. I stayed home, curled up in bed, and as soon as it became dark, I headed out for my run. It’s the only place, where I can clear my head just a bit. It’s the only place where I can seem to find just a bit of clarity; whatever that means now. I ran 6 miles. I turned around at 3 and ran back home so I didn’t end up somewhere crazy, like last night.

I came home, showered, and spent the rest of the night with Quinn attached to my hip. I watched Liam  play Chess. He is getting really good. I tried to spend some alone time with Liam, but Quinn is just not having it. I had to have a talk with Quinn tonight about “my world now.” I had to say things to him that were tough and made him cry. I was in his bed, trying to get him to sleep, laying with him like I do every night. He started talking about the trip I am going on this weekend. He has obsessed about it for a month now. His little brain, cannot comprehend it or understand it. Not to sound harsh, but he has been riding my ass about it for 2 weeks straight. He is making me feel really guilty for leaving. I have so much that I feel guilty for, so you’d think that this little thing would just be another little thing to throw into the pile. Add it to the list, no big deal. It’s becoming a big deal so tonight I kind of just broke. I raised my voice, which you know I don’t do often because I don’t really ever have a reason to. It’s happening more and more. I’ve explained this trip to Quinn, no less than 10 times.

I wish I could say I was going on a Girls Trip. I wish I could say, “Oh, all of my children are alive, and mommy needs a break so I’m going to Napa.” I wish I could say I was going somewhere with my husband because we are so overdue for the one week-long trip we used to take every year, together. Without kids. I wish I could say I was going somewhere cool to “find myself.” Nope. Natta. Not happening. Will never be the case again. I’m going on a Grief Retreat. Alone. A trip I would not wish on anyone. A trip I wish I never had to take. A trip I do not want to go on, but I have decided it is something that I have to do. Because I don’t know what else to do and if I don’t do something, I will crack. And much more than I already am. It’s in Sedona. I’m going up on a Friday night and coming home on Sunday. The seminar is all day Saturday and it is put on by Dr. J and a couple of other people. I’m really only going because it is something that she is involved in and I believe in her. I don’t know if this will help me and I am going without any expectations. I will be proud of myself if I can manage to be present for even part of the day. I know I am asking a lot of myself at this point in my life, but I am willing to try because I have to. Because what I am doing now is not working and if somebody can clue me in, even the slightest bit…. then I am willing to take a chance. Even if it is to tell me that the seminar is too much and I just need to crawl back in my hotel bed, for the day, pull the blinds and not worry about anyone or anything, then that is good enough reason for me to go.

Back to your brother. Your brother that spent 20 minutes, in his bed with me, grilling me about Sedona. I was trying so hard to be extra sensitive to his questions. I was really patient, sweet, compassionate and was doing really well with explaining everything to him. He would just NOT let up. I get that he has a reason to worry but after sweetly talking with him for 20 minutes about this trip….. crack. The mama, spawn of the devil, took over.

“Quinn! I am sorry! I don’t know what else to tell you. I am sorry I have to go on this trip, because your brother died. I’m sorry you don’t understand because you are 8 years old, and you are not supposed to. But I need to take a little time, to take care of myself, because if I don’t, I cannot be the best mommy that I want to be to you. Because I am so sad about your brother dying that I need help. That’s why I go talk to Dr. J, that’s why I am going to this. Because all I really want to do is lock myself in a room for a month and cry, scream, yell and punch things. But I can’t do that, because I have to take care of you and Liam. So you need to cut me some slack! You need to trust that I am coming back and I am not going to leave you! But I need a break, Buddy, and if I don’t take some time to do some things to help me, then we are all going to be in big trouble. So please. Try to understand a little, Quinn. You are not a Daddy. You are 8. You don’t know what it feels like to lose your own child. It is very hard to be a mommy and have your 3-year-old child die, Quinn. Please just give me a break. This is not a fun trip that I am going on. It is a sad trip but I need to take some time to go on this sad trip and just be really, really, sad. And listen to some other teachers, that can maybe help me a little!”

I’m laying with Quinn as I’m saying this. He says he is sorry and tears pour down his cheeks. Stamp my forehead with WORST MOM EVER, please. I kiss him, tell him I’m sorry you died, and that I love him. I don’ know what else to say or do. He falls asleep while I rub his back. I woke him up a few minutes ago to tell him how much I loved him. How much you love him. How he was your best friend. How special he is. I don’t know if he’ll remember tomorrow. Maybe you can visit him tonight and play with him in his dreams. I know he’d like that.

That’s all for tonight, little man. I’m beat. But not really. You know how this goes. I love you. I miss you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, Ro baby.


I found Liam reading in my bathtub. I think I’ll just wear a really funny mask for Halloween so nobody has to see my tears.

23 responses to “I’d totally let you be Hanky the Christmas Poo for Halloween. Actually, I’d let you be Hanky everyday if that is what you wanted, if you were still here.”

  1. Hope this is a worth while weekend. You and your entire family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. Quinn is very tuned in to you. He doesn’t have to hear a word, he reads your face and body language like a book. His world has been shattered and he is terrified of losing his mother. Kids absorb more than we realize. Impressions that will forever be imprinted on him and carried the rest of his life. He is a sensitive soul.

  3. Therese in Ireland Avatar
    Therese in Ireland

    Still reading every day Maya, still heartbroken for all of you. There are no words. Because of you, I’m running my first mini marathon next Sunday in support of our local hospice. Hope you know how inspiring you are. And Ronan is always in my thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing him with us. He has had a profound effect on my life.

  4. I hope the retreat is helpful for you and the family. You are all in my prayers…

  5. Hi Maya,

    I saw this over the weekend and thought of you- but thought it would be weird so say Southpark, which is often so crass, reminded me of you and your blog but then I open your blog this morning and you are talking about how Ronan loved Southpark. Such a strange coincidence.

  6. You are definitely not “Worst Mom Ever”. Not even close! You are amazing and good luck this weekend. 🙂

  7. Last year my twins wanted their brother to be a spider. They even went so far as to explain this to random people at the playground. I am not sure how many times I said that Sawyer won’t be a spider this year because he is dead. I tried to hold back the tears and the frustration but I snapped. I am not getting the mother of the year award either.

    I am so glad that you are going on the grief retreat. I always tell people that if someone told me to stand on my head or wear purple every day and it would help with the grief I would do it in a heartbeat. Take care.

  8. oh how quinn loves you SO much. he might not understand now because he is 8 and not supposed to understand but he will someday.
    i hope this time away will help and if anything allows you to really focus on your grief. yell, scream, and cry as loud as you can!!
    and you are not the worst mom ever ok. you are beautiful, amazing, and ridiculously strong woman/mother who will do anything for her family!!! how do you do it maya? i hope you know in your heart that you are incredible and doing the very best that you can with the shitty cards you’ve been dealt.

  9. Oh dear God, how I hope this weekend will give you a little healing and peace. I hope the same for Q and L and W. You are all in my prayers.

  10. Don’t beat yourself up over losing it— you can’t fake it ALL the time. You are real, you have your own feelings and NO ONE is “on” 100% of the time– those people are all fake 🙂 Hopefully Sedona will be a place of peace for the weekend.

  11. Hi Maya,

    I am just a random stranger who reads your blog everyday, I am a mom of 3 little boys just like you. I wanted to know you that I was at Stater Bros yesterday and they are raising money for Pediatric Cancer. The man in front of me declined to donate a dollar and I wanted to punch him. When I was asked,” I said of course!” I have to be honest before reaading your blog, I might have been like the man in front of me and declined to donate a simple dollar. But let me tell you, NO MORE…Rockstar Ronan has put his beautiful face in the name of this horrific disease. I will never say no again! Thank you for sharing your story and making me be a better mom and human being.

    A hug for you from a mom in California,


  12. I hope this weekend really helps you. You are always in my thoughts!


  13. Maya,

    My heart breaks for Quinn. He lost his lil bud. He is terrified of losing you too. I was 13 when my dad passed and the fear of losing my mom became an obsession.

    I hope going away this weekend makes you feel a ok. Thinking of you and Rockstar Ro every day. Thanks for sharing Ro with all of us.

    Peace & strength mama bear

  14. Hey lovey –
    First thing, you are not a bad mom, and you do not need that stamp on your forehead. I have a friend who lost her twin babies before they were born, and she went to a Grief Retreat. Granted, it’s totally different, as she didn’t get a chance to know and love her boys like you got to with Ronan, but it definitely helped her a lot. She made some great friends and actually has one she is going to introduce me to when I move home.
    I have more I want to say to you but I will send it personally. Just wanted to say on this that you are not a bad mom… try not to feel that way. Loves to you over and over again.

  15. Maya,
    Please cut yourself some slack. It breaks my heart to read your harsh words about yourself. You are a fantastic mama and you should never doubt that, although I know you doubt everything right now. You have been so busy taking care of everything and everyone. Except YOU. I don’t pretend to have a clue what you are experiencing but please don’t doubt yourself and how you parent. Fuck God.

  16. Such a good message you shared for many a mom, myself included, to appreciate the time fall break offers rather than…to not 😦 By doing so we honor Ronan’s memory as well as your family. Thanks always for sharing. Praying for you that this weekend offers some healing, in whatever way that may be. xo

  17. Worst Mom Never You are amazing each and every day in all that you do. Keep up the hard work that is living. Hoping that a tiny bit of peace, comfort and healing comes from your grief retreat.

  18. My friend, Billie Friewald, will be in Sedona this weekend, with you. She is seeing Dr. J as well. She lost her son 4 years ago when he was 3 1/2, in fact, we just celebrated his 7th birthday on the 4th. God, I loved that kid. I hope you are able to meet somehow.
    My love is still flowing in abundance to you and your family.

  19. Dearest Maya,

    I hope and pray this weekend helps you, and I know how hard it is to leave behind your boys but the fact that you recognize you need this weekend speaks volumes. I wear my bracelet everyday, for you and ronan, to remind me of how thankful I need to be, and to help spread the word. I have been questioned a couple of times, one lady said to me, ” your bracelet seems a bit inappropriate for work” my response really, how so? her reply well the curse word of course, and my ever so sweet reply was, Mam, I think the most offensive word in the english language is CANCER, I believe fuck is an adjective used to describe a feeling no one else gets, until you reach that point of understanding, so if you are offended by fuck then it most definetely belongs in the same sentence with cancer cause you should be offended by that word too. I have written and thanked you before for opening my eyes although I never met you and your precious Ro, I feel as if I know you both. I know that when I read your posts my heart hurts for you and I wish I could take some of your pain away. I know what you felt for Ronan because my lil Scarlett is everything to me that you describe your Ronan was to you. I am so glad you have so many wonderful people in your life that understand you and know grief is an individual battle, with no set rules or regulations. I know it isnt much but you have trully inspired me in several areas and I am forever greatful to you for that I only wish you didnt have to go through what you have been through for so many people to have their hearts and eyes opened. Thank You, Love You, Pray and Hope For You Daily
    Your California Friend Chrystal

  20. Maya, while watching football this weekend I came across that Toyota is giving to charaties during half time of the Sunday night football games. I would have wrote to them but you have a way with words, here is the link to the website. http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota+halftime+hand+off+rallies+support+sports-related+causes.print

  21. I came across this wish list today and thought of you.


  22. You. Are. A. Wonderful. Mother. If someone else is judging you, well, as a mother of a child who was bald, if you haven’t spent a few months on PedsOnc, you don’t get to have an opinion.
    And if you are judging yourself, i think of this quote that rings my heart’s bell. “Don’t judge yourself, because when you judge yourself, you break your own heart.”
    Your heart is broken enough. I think of you every day and pray for you and am in awe of your strength and love and devotion. May you and your family be at ease of heart.

  23. I hope this weekend eases some of your pain. And I echo everything that everyone else has said – you are an amazing mother and you are doing the best you possibly can in such an impossible situation. You are always in my heart, as is beautiful little Ronan.

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