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.
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