Ronan. A few things have happened since I’ve last written. I’ll start with Gary. Gary the stuffed animal that I bought for you in Starbucks. Gary who I didn’t tell anyone about, except for Dr. JoRo. I was waiting to board the plane with your Daddy and brothers. I was so sad. I didn’t want to get on the plane. I was sitting down. Quinn came and sat next to me. He saw Gary in my purse. He pulled him out and asked what he was and said he smelled like coffee. I told Quinn, that I had bought him for you. I said to Quinn, “Ronan would have liked him, don’t you think?” He smiled and said yes. I asked Quinn what you would have named him. I watched as Quinn got nervous and his little eyes started to tear up. He said he didn’t know. He didn’t want to answer me. He kept looking at the ground. I pushed him and told him just to think of the first name that popped into his head. He took a minute to answer me. He shyly looked up at me and goes, “I don’t know. Maybe Gary.” I thought I was hearing things. I said to him, “That’s exactly what I named him!” I grabbed Quinny’s face and kissed his lips. I told him I loved him. I took it as a sign from you, that I had to get on the airplane and go. During mid-flight, I could hear your daddy and Liam laughing behind us. They started handing us little post it notes that somebody had left in their in flight magazine. The post it notes said things like, “LOSER.” a game of tic-tac-toe was played. Hearts were drawn. But the best one said, “Adam Spofford owns a laptop. This is his laptop. It sucks.” xoxo- a friend. I don’t know why, but these little post it notes from a previous flyer, probably a 10-year-old girl, made us laugh. And trust me, we really needed to laugh. I made it though the flight. Quinn slept on me. Everything in my body hurt. The memories came flooding back of all the flights I taken with you and how sick you were. The memory came flooding back of our last flight together. How you could hardly move because you were in so much pain. I tried to push these memories out of my head. But they are here to stay. Forever. I know this.
We landed really late. Around midnight. It’s our first time to Nana and Papa’s, without you. Painful beyond words. But as I said before, necessary. Everything is so pretty. Nana made sure you are everywhere. Her tree is done up all purple just for you. Your stocking is hanging in between Liam and Quinn’s, just like it should be. Gifts bursting out of it. Your pictures are still all over her house, just as they have always been. Everything is the same, yet different. Nana’s house is perfectly sparkly, warm, cozy, and so welcoming. She has always been so good at this as I know, we are all her whole world. The house is full of laugher, despite you being gone. Not from me but from your brothers and Papa Jim. The never-ending goofing off and playing games that is going on is all too familiar. It’s just the way it has always been. I miss your giggles the most though. It is so obvious they are missing.
Ronan. You’re dead? You’re dead. I’m here. Still here. Because of the someone who is behind all of this. The person who behind all of this, who is not being merciful to me. So here I stay. Blurry, blurry days. A trip we must take. No. No. NO. But yes. Me, the everything must be perfect before we go on a trip. The suitcases packed perfectly to a tee. Never to forget a thing. Everything thought out and so perfectly planned. I lived for packing you and your brothers up for our upcoming travels. So perfect. Even our house. The house. All beds made. Laundry done. Dishes put away. In case we get robbed while we are away. I wouldn’t want the robbers to come into a messy house. This is how my mind used to work. The anal mind that used to control part of my life. Now your daddy, just stares at me from the bedroom. “You need to pack. And the boys’ don’t have winter coats.” But I don’t want to go and I don’t care about the winter coats, I think to myself. “I’m not packing. I’m not packing the boys either.” Your daddy, the best daddy in the world, steps up to the plate. “I’ll pack the boys,” he says. “And I’ll take them out to buy coats.” I just look at him. “I’m sick to my stomach. I think I have the flu. I think I need to go to the hospital.” Your daddy kisses my head and leaves. I lay in bed. My jewish sister from another mother appears. She comes bursting through our front door with her arms full of homemade brisket, potatoe latkes, gifts for the boys, and silver sparkly disco sunglasses on. She yells at me from the front room. I peek out from my bed. “I’m here to take care of you, feed you and to dance for you.” I smile my fake smile. “Cut the BULLSHIT smile!!” she says. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say because nothing that I say, will make this better. But I can dance for you.” She dances and jumps on my bed. She makes me put on the sparkly disco sunglasses. “I haven’t packed. I have laundry to do. I can’t do any of it.” “Well!!!!!!! That’s what I’m here for. I’ll pack you.” I say o.k. I eat some food. I watch as she grabs things to pack. “A couple pairs of jeans, your F U Cancer sweatshirt, your spirit hood, some workout clothes, some boots, underwear, pajamas, running shoes, some tee-shirts…… what else, mama?” “Nothing else,” I say. Nothing else. We sit in our living room. We watch some gun show on T.V. without the volume because I can’t figure out how to turn the sound on. That’s how much I watch T.V. now. Mandy Bee rubs my back. I let her while I listen to the 15 voice mails I have on my phone. All of which I have been ignoring. We light the menorah that sits in our window. We put your picture by it. Mandy Bee says her jewish prayer. I like it. I like the way your little face lights up in the picture from the flickering of the candles. Mandy Bee leaves. But then she comes back. “I’m not leaving you.” I crawl back into bed. She leaves. I throw up. Your daddy and brothers return. Quinn and I crawl up in Liam’s top bunk bed. We fall asleep. Ambien induced for me.
Morning comes. I ignore everything that there is to do, around the house. I shower. I throw up. I feed your brothers. Max and Ruby, comes on T.V. Fucking Fuck. Your favorite show. I throw up, again. I get your brothers in the shower. They are going to play at Cal’s house. We stop at the car wash before I drop them off. I hold their hands. I laugh and smile with them. I miss you. I drop them off. Little Heather, texts me. “Meet me at PVCC for a quick bite.” I do. I eat a grilled cheese and see all your little friends at day camp. I cry. I listen to little Heather, talk about so many things. I get lost in her world for a bit. She is good at letting me do that, without letting you get lost because she knows, it is always about you, even when LIFE is not. As LIFE, goes on for others. She embraces the you in everything that goes on and she didn’t even know you. I appreciate this. I leave little Heather but not before, Sam, her little boy, comes flying into my arms for a hug and a kiss on the lips. I smile at him and the way he reminds me of you. I drive to Dr. Jo’s but I stop at Starbucks before. I run to the bathroom and throw up everything. I brush my teeth, wipe my face and wait in line. I see a bucket full of the cutest little stuffed animals. I thought to myself, Ronan would love this. I panic. OMG. I didn’t buy Ro a gift for Christmas. I grab the stuffed animal. I start to cry. I wipe the tears and buy the little guy. I stuff him in my purse. I get to Jo’s office. I wait in the waiting room, but I really just set my coffee down and bury my head into my arms and cry. I don’t know how long I waited before she came out. 15 minutes maybe. She finds me and I make my way back to her office, only to fall on the floor and not the couch. We sit there, and I look at her. “Ronan’s dead?? Ronan died, right?? He’s dead?” She holds me and nods her head. “O.k.” I say. “Ronan is dead.” We sit. I cry. I look around her office. I see your picture. She asks if I remember her telling me that it was about 6 months after Chey passed away, that were the hardest for her. That the 6-12 months after, seem to actually be harder. I told her I didn’t remember. But I feel this way, now. I tell her I think I need to go to the hospital. I tell her how I can’t breathe. She is quiet and does not entertain my thoughts of a hospital. She doesn’t want that for me. She knows I am stronger than that; I think. We talk about what’s been going on. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Sucksgiving. Christmas. A birthday soon. The list goes on and on and on. I pulled out the stuffed animal and show her what I bought for you. She asked me what you would have named him. I tell her something silly, like Gary. We name him Gary. I look at her and say to her, “I don’t have a choice, right? I have to get on that airplane tonight and go?” She replies with, “Do you have a choice?” I tell her, No. I have to do this for Liam and Quinn. She says it is a sacrifice of love for them. I agree. I don’t want to go home. Back to the place that was our peace. Our solitude. Our paradise, without you. I have not been back, since right before you were diagnosed. It was the last place I spent with you, when you were “healthy,” but really had Stage IV cancer. I don’t want to but I don’t have a choice. I have to go back, someday. Your brothers are so excited. I tell her I’ll fake it, for them. I have to continue to fake this, for now as to not ruin their Christmas. We say our goodbyes. I ask her if her kids are coming up to Sedona. She replies with they are. “Well, all of them except the dead one.” I burst out laughing. That dark sense of humor that I so get. She tells me that Chey gets the top of the Christmas tree, every year. She tells me, that she is not a fan of these holidays either. I know why. I tell her I’m off to the airport to watch happy families everywhere, going to happy places. I’m going to ignore these families this year and pretend everyone has a dead child too. I used to be that happy family, chasing you through the airport with not a care in the world. Fucking asshole cancer. I leave her office, feeling better than when I had arrived.
I go home to a quiet house. I go into crazed mode, packing, cleaning, laundry, beds stripped, dishwasher unloaded. Robot mode. Survival mode. Instinct. Memory. This is what you do, so suck it up and do it. We get to the airport. 4 not 5. Where are you? Bags checked. “Woody, can you watch my things? I have to go to the bathroom.” I go. I throw up. I am so fucking nauseous.
I gotta go baby. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.