All Good Things Happen, in New York

Ronan. The night before the Katie show, your daddy arrived. As soon as he arrived, we hopped on a train and made our way to the SoHo area. There is a record store there that he insists we hit up, every time we are in New York. I was tired, but I sucked it up  for him. We also met up with our friend, Ally M and a girlfriend of hers. We had some dinner and did a little record shopping. It was a nice way to end our New York trip and I know it made your daddy happy. We got back to our place, kind of late, packed and went to sleep. I tossed and turned most of the night. I was nervous for the next day. I woke up early, got ready, and tried my best to calm my nerves. A car picked us up and we headed over to the ABC studios. I had a long talk with you in the car ride over. It went a little something like this. “Ronan. I need you today. I cannot do this without you. Please, help me get through this. Make me calm and relaxed. I need to feel you, everywhere.”

Once we arrived, we were taken into our dressing room where we sat and waited. I had already done my make-up and blown out my hair, so I was good to go. I wore my special magical sparkly shoes that remind me so much of you, because of your love for your sparkly toe nails. Our Fairy RoMo showed up just in time, to take my mind off of everything that was about to happen. We sat and caught up. We had some laughs and she sat back and snapped some pictures. Katie’s lovely team came in and briefed us a bit. I just kept telling myself to breathe. We were soon taken downstairs to where the segment would shoot. Our Fairy RoMo went off to the green room, which was really green. Your daddy and I sat and watched Katie do her thing from the monitors. We hadn’t met her yet. She finished her segment and came bouncing off the stage over to us. “Hi, I’m Katie it’s so nice to meet you.” We chatted for a few minutes. I had a moment where I thought I might pee myself, but thankfully I did not. She ran off to change and we went to sit and wait for her. She came back to us once again and started briefing us on what she would be asking us. I was still a little nervous but I slowly felt things start to shift. We were taken out to her stage and sat down on the couch. I was closest to Katie, your daddy on the other side of me. I smiled at the audience. I felt a switch flip. It was as if all of a sudden, you were sitting right there next to me. My nerves were entirely gone. What in the world? This is not me. I have stage fright. I freak out over public speaking. I sat back, the cameras turned on and Katie started right up with our story. I started to tear up, almost instantly. They were showing pictures of you and playing some videos we had sent them. Katie handed me a Kleenex. I looked into the audience. Tears everywhere. Katie started talking. One of the first things she said, was Neuroblastoma was a brain tumor. “SHIT!” I thought to myself. “What do I do? Do I correct her on national television?” I had no choice. I had to. That is a big misconception with Neuroblastoma and rightfully so. The name makes it sounds like it has to do with the brain. I think I said something like, “Actually, it’s not a brain tumor…” Then I let your daddy explain it in a way that I hope everyone could understand. From that point on, the entire interview flew by. I felt so at ease and so proud to be up there, telling your story. Katie has a gift of just making you feel as if she has known you for years. She was very choked up, for most of the show as was everyone. Katie does what she does best, which is being a true journalist with this amazing heart of gold. After a very hard topic she had us all in giggles when she said, “I’d love to have you back on the show after you have the baby. Baby Katie.” The entire audience laughed out loud. It was a great way to end things. We walked off the stage. She came following a few minutes later. We talked and she kept thanking us over and over for sharing our story. I wanted to pick that tiny thing up and thank her from the bottom of my heart. She is a wonderful human being for caring about so many others than just herself.

We left there and grabbed lunch with Fairy RoMo. She was blown away. She watched the entire thing from the green room and kept saying how brilliant and lovely it was. I smiled as hearing that from her, means the world. We sat there, eating our lunch. I looked at Woody and I looked over at Fairy RoMo and said, “I have something else I want to ask you.” Your daddy and I have been talking about this for a while. I looked up. “We want to know if you will be the GodMom of this baby.” Tears sprang to her eyes, instantly. “Oh my god. Yes! Of course! I would be honored. I’ll be the best fucking god mother ever.” I wiped away my tears and your daddy and I chuckled at that. “I know that,” I said. “That’s why I asked you.” It was one of the most beautiful moments that will forever be frozen in my mind. She is your Fairy RoMo and loves you so much, Ronan, even without ever having met you. Imagine how she will be, with this little one. She is such a gift. You are such a gift. Thank you for bringing her into our life.

We got home last night. I am going to try not to be dramatic here, but I’m going to be dramatic here. Not once did I throw up in New York City. After we got home and I hugged and kissed your beautiful brothers a bunch of times, I started to get really nauseous. I ran into our bathroom and threw up everything I had eaten for dinner. I honestly think I had a physical reaction from being gone, coming home to our house, and not having you here. This house that I once loved so much, makes me sick. Your daddy told me to change my attitude. I didn’t argue. I shut my mouth instead. I wish it were something as simple, as changing my attitude. I wish that you in fact were still here, and I was coming home to you and your two brothers. Not your two brothers and you sitting on an urn on top of my dresser. Fucking cancer.

It’s today. I just had a 3 hour phone interview for something that is coming up. Something that I will talk about when the time is right. I was told after our interview that I was the bravest woman alive. I smiled with tears rolling down my cheeks and just said, “Ronan was brave.” I am throwing everything I have into everything I do, all for you. It will be this way for the rest of my life.

Also, for as much as I cannot listen to Taylor’s song, because I sob every time I hear it… it plays non-stop in my head, 24 hours a day. That girl, like you, is such an old soul. I am still blown away by her grace, beauty, and dignity. I will be thankful for the rest of my life, for her and for you. I am going back to New York this weekend until Tuesday. We will be going to see Taylor on the Katie Couric show. A handful of my board members are coming with me to celebrate everything New York, Taylor, Katie and you, Ronan. I cannot wait. I also have a lot of unfinished business to take care of. All good things happen in New York. The BEST things happen in New York. I cannot wait to see what comes of this trip, this time. I am always so surprised by the amazing things that come from that magical city.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

I Love You to the Moon and Back

Ronan. This is what happens when I am in this city. I feel alive once again. It’s the only place that I really feel this way. Away from the blinding bright sun. From all those fake plastic shiny trees. It’s only here that I feel like I belong. Where I can walk the streets for hours on end, at anytime of the day or night and I feel so alive. Where I can go to dinners with strangers and have the most stimulating conversations. This city that is so full of substance that it leaves me feeling fulfilled in a way that I don’t feel back at home. Back at home, a lot is missing. The biggest thing being you. I am making a 5 year escape plan. Well, I am making an escape plan. I’m not sure what that looks like as of now, but I have some ideas. I won’t leave AZ permanently as of now, for a couple of reasons. But I know I need to start thinking of some other options, so I don’t constantly feel like I am suffocating. I am very thankful for these breaks every once in a while. I am very thankful for the friend that I have here, that just lets me stay in her apartment when she is not using it. I could not having the guilt of spending money on an expensive hotel when I know I should be using it elsewhere as in doing things for you and your foundation. These breaks help to rejuvenate my soul and help to give me a little mental break. When I come here, there is no T.V. blaring. There is not a lot of answering the phone. There is no computer time. I tend to unplug from everything. It’s the alone time that I very much need. I cry a lot. Alone. It’s an emotional release that feels o.k. I like that I don’t have to hide my tears here. I like that I can cry and not worry who is looking over my shoulder, worrying about me. Sometimes, I just need a break from everything. Including my very supportive, very loving husband who just wants to constantly make sure I am o.k. and fix everything. Who I am so lucky to have, but even I know I need a break from the, “Are you o.k.’s.” “What can I do, to help?” “I’m here for you’s.” Sometimes I just need my badass solo time where I know nothing will ever be o.k. and I am strong enough to take my alone time to deal with that. The way that I need to deal with that, even if that just means getting lost on the subway for a couple of hours. I always do my best thinking and planning in this city. As I said before, I feeds my soul. I also always feel super close to you when I am here, which you know I love.

Yesterday, oh yesterday. Where do I begin? It was a busy day. It was a packed day. I had a lot crammed in to yesterday. I ran down to SoHo to meet someone for lunch. I had a couple of other meetings as well. I took the subway like that typical New Yorker girl that I have become. Someone even asked me for directions yesterday and I knew right where to tell them to go. That made me smile. I never know what the days are going to bring here which is one of the reasons I love it so much. I got a call from the Katie Couric show. They wanted me to come down to the studio around 4. Also, something had changed in regards to the show I was supposed to tape next Monday, October 22nd. I returned the phone call to Katie’s oh so lovely producer. “What can do to get you to stay in New York and tape your segment, this Monday?” I listened to her tell me what was going on, what had changed, how the show the I was originally scheduled to be on, had become so filled up with other things that Katie was not happy as she wanted our story to have enough air time. I tried to put all the pieces to the puzzle into place as far as what I needed to do, on my end. I know this is the way this insane world of television works. Everything can change in an instant. I called your daddy to ask him if he could please drop everything he had on Monday, to come out here with me. He had a packed day, but of course he made it work. So now, instead of taping the show next Monday, I will be taping it THIS Monday, October 15th.
I got to Katie’s studio around 4 p.m. I met with her producer and a few other people. I was not sure of what all I was to be prepared for. That’s one of the other things about this world… sometimes things just get thrown your way and you have to just roll with them. After chatting for a bit, I was feeling pretty comfortable. They told me they wanted to do a little interview but I had no idea of how intense it was going to be. I was taken into a small office with three twenty something year old boys. At least they looked to be about 20. They hooked me up to a mic, camera on, closed the door and I sat as they started setting everything up. At one point I think I said something like, “This is weird.” They all chuckled a little bit and said, “You’ve been interviewed before, though.” I said, “Yes, but not like this.” The next hour or what felt like 4 hours was an emotional roller coaster. I was not prepared for the questions. Questions that I think about all the time, but when I have to put my actual feelings into words, I sometimes have a hard time doing so. I did the best I could do. To break down in a room with three boys whom I have never met before in my life, left me feeling so vulnerable in the most vulnerable of situations. I, being the mom on the other end of the camera, sobbing over having lost something that can never be replaced. I did my best to talk about you, which is still so hard for me to do because my pain is still so raw and fresh. I had to stop a few times. They were asking about the dates of things and you know I cannot remember those things to save my life. My grief brain is still so very present that I often feel as if I have Alzheimer’s or something. After the interview I felt shaky but put on my best face to finish up what I had to do. The people that are working for the Katie Couric show could not be nicer or more accommodating. I got to see some of the behind the scenes stuff which was very fun and one of the boys, Josh, who was showing me around was absolutely delightful. It was a nice way to end a very hard interview. I left the Katie show and realized I was starving. I found myself in a little diner, all alone, drowning my sorrows in some french fucking toast. I sat texting your Mr. Sparkly Eyes like mad. I told him about my afternoon, he could tell how shaken up I was and simply sent me a text back saying, “Go easy.” I replied back with, “What does that mean? Go easy on the French Toast? I’m about to stab it to death. Or go easy on myself? You know I’m always my toughest critic.” He said, “Yourself, please.” Fine Sparkly. You win. I stopped stabbing the french toast and inhaled it instead. I went back to my little apartment and did my best to unwind. I fell asleep easily like I always do here.
Today, I met up with one of my little angels who floats around this city. We had the loviest of lovely lunches where I got to tell her thank you from the bottom of my heart for so many things. I have not spent much time with this angel on earth. We had a lunch full of so many, “Oh my gosh moments,” that I was so blown away once again, by all the people that you are placing in our lives. We talked a lot about life, death and souls. She is one of the few people who looked at me, bent down and kissed my belly and told me, “Maya, I cannot imagine how hard this pregnancy is for you. You are still a grieving mom, yet you have another life inside of you. That is so much to take on.” I was blown away. She doesn’t read this blog, yet she totally got it in a way that most people do not. That just shows me how connected she is to not only her own soul, but other people’s around her as well. It’s not often that I am truly surprised by people. Today, was one of those days. Our lunch was quick but so fulfilling. I left there once again, being inspired to do great things, just by the company that I was in. This person has made herself an incredible life and she has done it all with those two little secrets that I have mentioned before. Substance and passion. I’ve will say this for the rest of my life. If you have those two things in your life, the world can be your oyster. Once we parted ways, I was on a mission to find my outfit for the Katie show. It took me a few hours, but I think I found something that will look pretty cute. I’m at that really awkward stage of being pregnant where I either look pregnant or just really, really bloated. That should be fun on national television. I’m not too worried about it because it is what it is. Poppy is popping and I will just be thankful for this little one that seems to be growing by the day. I had somebody say to me the other night, “If this is a girl, how are you not going to name her Poppy?” I just said, “I don’t know. I’ve fallen in love with that name. It makes me smile.” I think Poppy Thompson is such a darling name. We will cross that bridge, when we come to it. I went to Bloomingdale’s for my little shopping adventure with also a side plan too. I did what I always do when I am in the city and go to Bloomie’s just to eat at 40 carrots where I always used to take you. I sat at the bar and ordered my food as I was starved. Some older lady came and sat right down next to me and proceeded to scream into her cell phone the entire time I was eating. Granted, the restaurant was loud but that was from all the patrons, enjoying themselves. Not from them RUDELY talking on their cell phones. The lady proceeded to scream into her phone and say things like, “You didn’t call me out of love. You called me to ask something of me! Did you watch the Debates? What kind of an idiot would vote for Obama again? He’s ruining our country! If you want to drive in my fancy car with me, then you do not just get to text on your cell phone the entire time! Learn some respect!” OHMYFUCKINGGOD. The lady went on the entire time I was eating. I so wanted to reach over, snatch the cell phone out of her and throw it across the room. I pictured myself saying, “EXCUSE ME! I’m trying to eat my Fr-Yo, with my dead son, and you are ruining EVERYTHING!” I didn’t though. I sat quietly and tried my best to tune her out. At one point I was doing my best to eat our frozen yogurt and the tears just started pouring. I quickly wiped them away, while trying my best to make sure my throat didn’t close up so I could swallow our favorite tasty treat. I was so sad, sitting there alone, without you. I finished my meal. Paid and got out of there not without looking for you around every corner. Not without remembering every spot we sat, stood and I took your picture. I remembered it all, so vividly.
I’m home now. Tucked away, safe and sound. Exhausted from the day, but thankful to be here, in this city. I love it like no other. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Goodnight my little spicy monkey boy. Sweet dreams. I love you to the moon and back.

Hello NYC

Ronan. This break from Arizona, could not have come at a better time. I am seriously about to go blind from all the sunny sunshine that just does not match the way my insides feel anymore. I spent the weekend at home. Pretty much in bed. I was trying to rest up for New York and was not feeling well. I also was seriously hiding from the sun. As in, I think I may have a sun phobia. I didn’t step outside Saturday or Sunday. It was only after the sun dipped down on Sunday, that I decided to go out to the grocery store to stock up on food before my departure. Monday came and went. I kept myself busy, getting ready to leave for my flight to New York. I tackled all the laundry that I have been ignoring, paid bills and packed my suitcase. I picked up your brothers, we did homework, I made them a snack, and I took them to a birthday. It was a NFL birthday theme hence the Monday night party. I came home, talked to your daddy for a bit and drew myself a bath. Your daddy came in to check on me.

Our conversation went a little like this.
Me: I think we need to move out of this house. I can’t stay here. It’s suffocating me. It’s too sad.
Him: O.k. we can talk about this. Just hear me out. You want to leave this house? You say that all the time, but that’s not going to make you less sad. You really want to pack up Ronan’s room? Then what? Start over? I think you would end up regretting that, but if that’s what you want to do, we will do that. To me, that seems like we’ve moved on. And I never want to move on from him.
Me: I think this house caused his cancer. And now this new baby is going to have cancer. (I know I’m not being rational)
Him: This house did not give Ronan cancer. This new baby is not going to have cancer. That won’t happen. Nobody has that much bad luck.
Me: I wasn’t aware there was a cap on how much bad luck a person has. I don’t think it works that way.
Him: I don’t know what to say. This fucking sucks. You are the worlds best mom. He was the most amazing boy. How the fuck something like this happens, is beyond me. It just goes to show you, how fucked up this world is.
I stop talking. I think about the moving thing. I am torn. I leave it at that. I get out of the bath and get ready for my red-eye to New York.
My eyes burn from crying. There is a little boy, who is seated next to me. He’s flying alone. He’s only 6. I strike up a conversation. I ask him what he’s going to New York for. He says to see his daddy, because he misses him. My heart breaks. He’s holding onto a little lego guy. I ask to see it. He shows it to me and pulls off the head. Just like you used to do. His hair is bald under his stocking cap. Somebody is clearly messing with me. He won’t put on his seatbelt. I coax him in to doing it. I tell him the airplane won’t be able to take off, until he does. He can’t do it himself. I help him. He’s out like a light now. He was out before we even took off. I turn my head towards the window to pretend like I give a shit about what’s going on outside as we take off. I do not. I turn my head so I can sob into your blanket. I sob as quietly as possible for a good 15 minutes. I can’t seem to stop. I miss you so much. I can’t breathe.
For as much as I love New York and am so thankful to be going, I hate all of this. I hate that we all are apart. You, wherever you are. Me, going to New York. Your daddy and brothers, at home. It would not be this way, if you were still here. I wouldn’t be doing any of this. All I ever wanted was simple. That was one of the biggest reasons I married your Daddy. Because everything was so simple. Our life revolved around each other and the three of you. It was so easy. No drama. No fighting. No cheating. No lying. Just a life that was so good and wholesome. Apparently that pissed somebody off, because we were then dealt the fucking worst hand. It was like, “Oh hello. You all love each other too much, so here’s some cancer for you. And not only cancer, but cancer in the form of your 3 year old and he’s going to die from it too.” What in the hell is that? Now I’m watching these other families that have gone through this or are going through this and it’s the same thing for them as well. The nicest families. It makes no sense at all. You can’t make sense out of nonsense, right Ro. I know this but I will never quit trying. I will always be searching for the answers that do not exist.
I am in New York now. Stacy is with me. As soon as we arrived, it started raining. You know that made me smile. We spent the day trying to catch up on a little sleep, grabbed a bite to eat, then I came back and tried to nap again. Poppy is still making me tired. I tried to nap but I really just went through some of the 500 email messages that had popped up in my inbox from just this morning. We met up with our Fairy RoMo for dinner and a little secret guest. It was a good dinner full of lots of secret plans that will be revealed when the time is right. I asked Stacy and your Fairy RoMo to come with me, knowing that you don’t get any better than those two when it comes to needing an open-minded opinion/some gut trusting intuition. We all left there with the same feelings of this totally feels right. I was so happy we were on the same page. It means the world to me that I was able to have the both of them there. I truly do have the most amazing friends.
That was last night, this is tomorrow night. Holy amazeballs. This city. I honestly come here, without many plans and the most amazing things come my way. It is pure Romagic. Today, we got up and walked the streets, making our way to see Fairy RoMo. We spent the day with her. The days with her always feel like I’ve been transported into another world, another time, where I actually feel happy. She has that infectious way about her that just makes me feel good. A feeling that doesn’t happen very often to me anymore. We saw some sights. Met up with one of her dear friends, who I have been dying to meet. Had a cocktail, (a virgin spicy bloody mary for me), and walked some more. It was one of those days where Stacy and I just kept looking at each other and saying, “Is this all really happening?” We parted ways as we had a dinner to run off to. We had plans to meet up with Scott Kennedy from Solving Kids’ Cancer. Stacy has been dying to meet him and I was so excited to see him as well. I got a little surprise at dinner. Scott had brought a lady with him, who he introduced as Catheryn. I thought she was just somebody he worked with. We said hello and I started asking her how she got involved in the foundation as she said she had just started working there. She then told me she was John London’s wife. John London is the other dad who started up Solving Kids’ Cancer with Scott. “Oh my god. You’re Penelope’s mom.” I said tearing up. I grabbed her for a hug. I know their story. It like ours, does not have a happy ending. Penelople’s parents fought with everything and more to save their precious little girl. Oh, how I wish that mama still had her baby girl. I should have known there was a reason when the second I saw the woman standing before me, that I was so drawn to her. It was because her eyes, looked exactly like mine. They burned with pain and beauty right into my soul. We had a great dinner. Which now I’m thinking, really, a great dinner? How can that be? It’s the kind of dinner that is always sad. So fucking sad. The fact that 3 of us, were sitting there with dead children is about as sick of a joke as you can get. It will never be a dinner where we carelessly drink our “hectic” day away without a care in the world, like everyone around us seemed to be doing. It will never be a dinner full of so much laugher and joy. It will always be a dinner full of sorrow, pain, love and survival. We don’t get to have normal dinners ever again. And I would never want to because normal to me will never exist. I have accepted that. I am making my own new fucking normal. I was thankful for not having to sit through a dinner and fake it. I don’t do those dinners ever anyway, because I just cannot. I am careful about the company I surround myself with. I was glad to be in the company that I was, even under our circumstances. We left that dinner and I looked at Stacy and said, “That man. (meaning Scott Kennedy) makes me want to move to New York and raise a billion dollars for childhood cancer.” In other words, he is incredible. I am so thankful to have him as a mentor and a friend.
Stacy left today. I was sad to see her go. I need to end this here. I’m beyond wiped. I love you baby. I miss you. Please, I hope you are safe.
xxoo