The Chaos and The Calm


Ronan. What have you been doing? I miss you so much, baby. I don’t know where you are, who is taking care of you, what you are up to. I worry about you so much. All day and night. I’m still looking for you, everywhere. I went to Sedona, for the grief retreat. I’m back home now. I wish you were too. It’s so strange, being here without you.

Saturday was the day of the actual seminar. It started at 9:30 and lasted until 4:30, I think. I don’t remember much of it. There were about 16 other bereaved parents there. All with different/similar stories. Nobody there had lost their baby to cancer. Some had lost their babies very early on, at birth. Others had lost their children, tragically, in accidents or just suddenly because life is not fair, and death does not discriminate. We are all part of the same club. The club that nobody wants to be a part of. The fuckthisshitinowhavetoliveonthisearthwithoutmychildandidon’twantto club. It is not a fun club to be a member of. Nobody in that room on Saturday, wanted to out live their child. Everybody in that room on Saturday, would have traded places with their babies, in a heartbeat. But the choice was not theirs. They are still here, on this earth, fighting for their loved ones that were taken much too soon.

As soon as I got there, I felt uneasy. I went into shut down mode. We had to go around the room and tell a little about our story and what we hoped to achieve by being there. I don’t remember much about what I said. I was sobbing. I somehow managed to get out a little about you, in between my sloppy tears falling everywhere. I think I said out loud that I was only there because I don’t want to live this life anymore, without you. I don’t remember seeing anybody’s faces while I was sobbing/talking. I just remember wanting to run out of the room, so badly. I didn’t want to be there, having something like this in common, with all of those strangers. I wanted to close my eyes, snap my fingers, and hop into my time machine that would take me back to living life with you. I begged for our hospital life together. I begged for our Ryan House life together. I begged for anything but being where I was, on Saturday, as long as it involved being with you. I closed my eyes, wished for those things only to open them up and see that I was surrounded by the saddest faces I had ever seen in my life. The faces of 16 other me’s. I pinched myself, to make sure I was not dreaming. I felt the pinch and was taken slam bam right back into my reality. This cruel reality of being here without you. The reality that I would trade any day, for anything but this. I’ll never stop asking why this could not have been me. You deserved to be here so much more, than I do. What a cruel world we live in, that would take the life of you. You had so much to give. You were going to be so many things. I am trying really hard to carry on the beautiful life you would have lived by trying to make a difference in this world. It is so very hard, Ro. You would have done this, so effortlessly. You would have done it with one little wink from your blue eye. Your one little wink, would have changed the world.

After we all went around the room, we moved on to something else. I think we were supposed to be meditating about something. All I could do was pull my knees up to my chest, and cry. I couldn’t focus on anything else. Dr. Jo had been watching me closely since I had arrived. She came over to me and wrapped her arms around me. I told her I wanted to leave. She said she knew and continued to hold me and let me cry all over her. I think she held me for a good 20 minutes, while I went through an entire box of kleenex, snot, and tears. I really don’t remember much about anything else except I think the times I did talk, I said the word fuck a lot. I told the group about the name I had come up for my Grief. Inferno Fuckwad Bob. I think I got some laughs out of it. I truly did spend the entire 7 hours crying. It was painful but so very necessary. I have learned that I have become very good at distracting my grief. I needed to take that day and just cry about you, without stopping. I could have cared less if I was in a room, full of people I didn’t know. I knew they could relate to my pain. They all knew that I was only 5 months out of having had lost you. I was the newbie in the group. The one who had just lost their child, a very short time ago. They all remembered what it was like, being so new to all of this. They were gentle with me and didn’t expect anything. Many of them were surprised that I was even there at all, having all of this be so painful and fresh. Many of them said it took them years to deal with what I am trying to deal with. Which is my grief, I guess. I don’t even know if this is what I am doing as I seem to be stuck on a fucking merry-go-round that I cannot get off of. Round and Round and Round she goes, where ever she stops, nobody knows! Nobody does know. Not even myself at this point. I’ve always hated that fucking ride. And that song.

I met two mama’s in our group. Mama’s that both lost their kids to horrific car accidents. Mama’s who did not know each other, before losing their babies. Mama’s who now have a bond so deep and strong, it is as if they are twins. I didn’t talk to them much, except to learn that one of them had emailed me about wanting to do something for your Foundation. Very random that we both happened to be at this retreat. This mama, does a yearly Tea for her Ellie, who was killed by a drunk driver. She wanted to talk about how she had heard about your story and was wanting to hold the tea in your honor, this year. We exchanged phone numbers and hugs. I wanted to talk to these two mama’s more but I was so emotionally drained that I am surprised I was even able to peel myself up off of the floor and into my car to drive back to my hotel. Before I left, Dr. Jo asked if I wanted to do something with her later. I smiled and told her I would love that and I would call her after I got back to the hotel and rested for a bit. I somehow made it to my hotel, changed clothes and washed my face. I send Dr. Jo a text that said I was ready when she was. She offered to come and pick me up. I gladly accepted.

We went to her house to hang out. It is so perfectly her and I fell in love, instantly. She showed me her home office and her built-in bookshelf that I swear had thousands of books in it. I said to her, I’ll bet you’ve read all of these. She smiled that humble smile of hers and said she had. The brains inside of that woman’s head are something not of this world. Because it is not only her brains that she uses to think with, but her heart and soul as well. That is a very rare combination to find in a person in this day and age. We sat outside, underneath some twinkling lights, and the fresh Sedona air. My brain was pretty much fried but we talked for a couple of hours. About everything, but mostly you. About you and me. Me and you. Us. It was peaceful. I think I even laughed a couple of times. I never laugh anymore and it felt so nice. I don’t have any of my walls up whatsoever with Dr. Jo. There are only a few people in this world that I am able to be like this with anymore. She is one of them. She is the puller, not the pusher. She knows what to do with me, when nobody else, does. I trust that. I trust her. She trusts me. That right there, is everything to me. Plus, the fact that she is a super bad-ass, like the two of us, Ro. Brains, beauty, and badassness. That is a combo not to messed with. If not for her, I can guarantee you, I would not be functioning at all.

Dr. Jo dropped me off back at my hotel around 9:30. As I got out of her car I looked at her, smiled and said, “JoRo.” Her name and yours. A perfect fit like it was always meant to be. Like you have been leading me to her, this entire time. I left her car feeling more peaceful than I have since you left me. Even if the feeling, only lasted for a couple of hours, I was still so grateful. As soon as I got to the room, my head hit the pillow and I was out like a light. I did not even take my Ambien. In fact, I have not taken it in 3 nights. I’ve been able to sleep alright, without it. I have been dreaming, very vividly. I have been dreaming very vividly of everything except you. This makes me so very sad. I just want to see your face. I just want you to tell me you are all right. I just want to hear you tell me, you love me and miss me. You are visiting everyone, but me. Dr. Jo thinks it’s because I want to see you, so much that I cannot. I am fearful that I will never see you in my dreams, because I wish for this all the time. I would give anything to have you visit me. I know you know this. I think I am too caught up in this pain, to let my head clear enough for you to get to me. The pain that is only becoming worse, Ro. Everyday is harder and harder without you.

Sunday was our barefoot hike day. It was just me, Dr. Jo and a Daddy. We headed up the mountain, in silence. At one point, Dr. Jo and I stopped to wait for our other warrior Daddy friend and I whispered to her, that I never did things like this. Like hiking in silence. I told her that I always had my music blaring and loud. She told me it was much easier to be in chaos than calm. She is so spot on. It is so hard to be in the calm for me. Distractions everywhere. The louder the better. The busier the better. It takes courage to be in the calm. I have no idea, what it truly means to be courageous yet. I have a lot of work to do, little man. I have a lot to learn from Dr. Jo. I know you will help me. The barefoot hike was amazing. I felt nothing except for very connected to the earth and I was reminded of my capabilities as a human being. As your mama. I cried for you on that hike. I thought about how much you would have loved coming up that mountain, with me. The thought of not having you there, destroyed me. I looked for you anyway.

Ro baby. I wish I could write to you, for 2 more hours. I have so much left to tell you but I can hardly keep my eyes open. I’m going to have to finish the rest of this tomorrow. It is then that I will tell you the rest of my stories. About how much your brothers miss you. About how I sat and held Quinn as he sobbed for you last night. About how I sobbed with him and told him over and over how sorry I was. About Ellie’s mama. About my Fry’s Shopping experience today and how I was a mad woman crying all over that damn store and then had a “talk,” with the manager about the NO CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS anywhere for September. She must have thought I was a lunatic. I don’t care. She gave me the phone number, to someone higher up than her. I’m on a freaking mission, baby.

I love you. I miss you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

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16 thoughts on “The Chaos and The Calm

  1. Laura

    Sounds like lots of good, positive healing. I hope you continue to feel the strength that you have inside. Our love and thoughts go out to your entire family. So proud of you.

  2. Maureen

    oh how I pray, beg, push thoughts of peace towards you each and every day. i will do this forever. you are a beautiful person maya.
    peace,
    mo

  3. Jaime H.

    i don’t even know you personally but i feel so proud of you for going to that retreat! what courage! i am praying for you still, daily, and for your little, precious family. i am thankful that you have met Dr. Jo, such a gift. many hugs to you and much love for you today Maya! prayers, xoxoxo

  4. Riley

    I am glad there was some peaceful moments in Sedona- you deserve it. I know Ronan was there with you.
    Random, but read that the William/Kate in England opened a children’s cancer wing of a hospital. Clearly, this is dear to their hearts. You are always looking for a famous spokesperson- maybe them?? I know it is a long-shot, but thought i’d mention it! Anyone have any connections to royalty?? šŸ™‚
    Peace, love & strength.

  5. Vivian

    In reply to Riley, I love that idea. This is such a long shot but my husband and I use to be members (years ago) of a concierge group called Quintessentially. The founder, Ben Elliot is actually the nephew of Camilla Parker Bowle’s. He even shows up to events they throw. If anyone knows someone within that group, it may be worth a shot? Just trying to think outside the box : )

  6. Colleen Fisher

    You are full of courage! Taking the first step is such courage. So glad you have Dr. Jo in your life. Sending you and all your boys many hugs from Washington, DC.

  7. Annie

    Quinn and Liam are so lucky to have you share in their grief, as heartwrenching as it is. I know from experience that moms want nothing other than to take pain away from their children. You’re a wonderful mom, Maya…

  8. Glenda

    Maya,

    I’m so glad you spent peaceful moments in Sedona. Rockstar Ro was there with you… every step of the way… right there beside you… guiding you…holding your hand.

    Peace & strength to you mama bear…
    xo

  9. Daniella

    No words today, nothing seems to fitting. Just happy for your few moments of peace. Glenda put it best “Peace and strength to you mama bear”

  10. MS

    The other day as I shopped in Safeway, it made me so frustrated and upset to see all the pink EVERYWHERE, for breast cancer awareness! I voiced my opinions about this to a friend on the phone the entire time I was there. About how I never saw ONE thing in there about pediatric cancer last month & how they ask you to donate to breast cancer, prostate cancer, muscular dystrophy, etc…but never childhood cancer. Perhaps I sounded like a mad woman ranting on my cell phone around the store too, but you know what? This is something I never would have paid attention to five months ago.
    Know that your voice, Ronan’s voice, is being heard.

  11. Melissa Vendt

    Tonight I walked in to the bathroom and my 4 1/2 year old son was leaning over the scale rather awkwardly, totally naked and ready to hop in the shower. I asked what he was doing (I should have known better). “I am weighing my penis, mama.” While I never knew Ronan, I feel his spirit in our home and he has changed so much of my heart and my daily interactions with my children, family, friends and world are more pure and honest because of him….I just know little Ro giggled away over my Will tonight!

    Hoping beyond all hope that you are able to really be and grieve in calm.

    Peace, Love and continued strength to you, Maya.

  12. nicole b.

    me too… no words. just hugs. i am still reading, and aching, and thinking of you and your family everyday. and honoring ronan, in anyway i can. even little ways. sending love with every thought of him. xo

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