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

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34 thoughts on “All Good Things Happen, in New York

  1. Marybeth

    Maya,
    I could write a million pages to you. I could go on forever. I know my words will never ease your pain but I want you to know you have inspired me. I will continue to harass the ever-loving shit out of every person and company I can until childhood cancer awareness is out there as much as breast cancer. I will not give up, not on you, not on Ro, not on Irelynn…I will NOT give up. Thank you, thank you for more than I could ever put into words. Never stop, neither will I.

  2. Jillian Oliff, N.S

    I have a feeling, the Susan G. Komen’s new neighbor is September is going to be Ronan S. Thompson ! 😉

    Would love to meet you sometime when you’re out in N.Y, I like only about 15 minutes away on a bus ride and am currently a third year Nursing Student. You better believe Pediatric Oncology unit is where I’ll be headed to work after I receive my degree.

    1. Jillian Oliff, N.S

      Sorry I was clearly getting so ahead of myself with excitement that I made a couple woopsie spelling errors! I live very close to the city*

  3. Tristina Senter

    I want to write so often but feel my words are not worthy. I so strongly believe in you and your dream. I pray another child will not endure the pain Ronan did. I feel the same way about Taylor Swift song. I cant listen to it becuase it paralyzes me but I cant get the words out of my head. I wake up in the middle of the night with her lyrics on my mind. My biggest fear is hearing the words your daughter has cancer. You are the breavest women alive, you already beat cancer and continue to kick it in the gut every day. Rock on Rolove

  4. krispearson88

    My daughter took an anatomy class in high school last year. It was just a basic course, more of an introductory thing. But she came home and said that their teacher (who was just teaching this course because he had taken a couple classes similar in college, and they had no one else to teach it) told them the easiest way to remember Neuroblastoma is brain tumor. I asked her if she corrected him, having a little brother who had it. Being her shy self, she did not. So I wrote an email to her teacher. This is something I would never normally dream of doing (had he said to remember breast cancer as a cancer of the foot, I would have chuckled and moved on). But I just could not let this one go. You gave me the courage to speak up!

  5. Glenda

    You are romazing!!! A spicy badass RoMama!!
    I’m so happy that NY is that ace for you!!! Can’t wait to watch the Katie Show!!

    XO

  6. Kelly

    Dear Maya, Woody and family:

    My heart breaks for you. Your story and your beautiful little boy have inspired me to do my part to help in the fight against childhood cancer. Maya, your strength, substance and passion have forever changed the way I view all things. Since I started reading about your beautiful love story there is not a day that goes by where I don’t send a supportive thought or prayer your way.

    With love from New York,

    Kelly

  7. nelianichole

    I love your beautiful words. You and ronan are doing such great things. My eyes have been opened by a little boy I never knew. I am grateful. Thank you. I wish you the best. 💜

  8. Alanna Mlakar

    Well…I just tried about 20 times to start a sentence that would be a worthy response to your post…but I got nothin’! You leave me moved and speechless…..wish I had words to express how much your posts affect me. You fuckin rock and Ronan has got to be so proud of you…that is all. ❤

  9. Amy

    Hi I’m sure you don’t know me but I read your blog all the time. Your lil Ronan is such an inspiration. All the work that your doing is amazing!!! With all that being said your lil man took my breath away today….. I was on the 5th floor of Barrows Neuro visiting my husband,I decided to go check out the Brett Michaels Music Room… As I entered and began to look I stopped in my tracks….. Cause what I saw was the most beautiful picture of Ronan with his gorgeous blue eyes!!!! On the top of the picture it said…. Brett Michaels Rockstars….. And there he was…. Ronan!!!! Thank you thank you for all your work and dedication!!!!! Childhood cancer will be beat!!!

    Amy

  10. Ali Barnes

    I wish that Ronan had been sitting beside you as a survivor of this fucked up disease…not as the beautiful spirit he is now. I know he is making all of these amazing things happen, but it doesn’t make it any less wrong. In fact, it makes it seem so unfair that he is not here to experience all of this beauty…the beauty that he has created.
    I look at you and see all the amazing things you have done and are doing…and sometimes i forget that underneath all of your badassness (yes, it’s a word) that you are just a bereaved mum who misses her boy so desperately. Not being a mother myself, i can’t possibly imagine the extraordinary pain you must feel every day. But when I am with my friends and their children, it hits home a little more because i see how rich their lives are, how much they love their kids and how empty life would be without any of them.
    My point? I’m sorry, this is fucked up despite the beautiful things that are happening and i will fight with all i have to make this better for other families.

  11. maureen

    Yep a lot of people think neuroblastoma is a brain cancer – it’s a pediatric cancer of nervous tissue, and it can for sure invade the brain, but not the same as brain cancer. Glad you spoke out about that on TV!

  12. eliza j.

    Hiii Mama Maya!
    I’ve been checking your blog on the daily ever since SU2C. I love when you write but I also love when you don’t write because I think to myself it must mean that you’re too busy doing great things and too busy having good days.
    I live on Long Island. An hour from NYC and know all too well about the magic of that city. I invite you and your gang of super heroes to camp out next Monday night to watch Taylor’s concert Tuesday morning. Even though you’re probably one of her VIP’s and have no need to freeze your butt off, it truly is an experience like no other. The numbness of the cool air, in the city that never sleeps! The strangers who become your friends. ALL FOR THE LOVE OF TAYLOR! Does it get any better?
    I’ll be there with my little sister. We love reading about Ronan and watching videos of him laughing. Truly had the BEST laugh. I write is name on my wrist almost everyday…to remind myself to not take anything for granted and to be strong like him and you. You may not feel it, but you’re strong. So strong.

    I’ll continue donating 13 on the 13th until childhood cancer is cured. FUCK CANCER
    Enjoy your trip to the best city. Maybe I’ll see ya Monday night? Hot cocoa on me!

    xoxo
    Eliza

  13. Ana

    Maya, going to school in new York is at the top of my list right now. Hearing someone like you talk about how great that city is makes me even more excited about the idea.

    I’m so happy about all these great things that are happening for you. You deserve them, girl.

  14. dtine33

    Looking forward to see the show Maya. Looking forward to hearing what other great things you have in the works for Ronan’s Foundation. I”ll help spread the word no matter what it is – doing all I can to beat pediatric cancers. Enjoy your time in NY – I work here and love coming in to the city everyday – definitely one of my favorite places too!

  15. Cole

    I never comment on here but I receive Rolling Stone in the mail and the current cover is Taylor Swift. They did a whole piece on her and at the end of the piece a good portion of it was about her performance at the Stand Up 2 Cancer event and the song she sang-Ronan. I cried like a fucking baby reading that last piece and I read it over like 5 times after, crying still. As a New Yorker, born and raised, there is no better way to sorta heal a shattered heart than the city that never sleeps and no better way to feed a pregnant woman than a city that has every cuisine known in the world. I hope to see you on the train so I could give you my seat and a wink.

  16. Robin Frederick

    Wow! Moving Mountains, one day at a time. You go girl! Maya, after my little sister Lori died and although she was my little sister and not my child, I still felt some similar emotions about my home. Lori spent at least four or five days a week at my house with me and my children, especially during the summer in the pool. After she passed away, I couldn’t bear to be in my own home because the memories of her were in every corner. I couldn’t stand watching my kids playing in the pool without their beloved “Aunt Beautiful”, a name she made them call her and one which they still remember her by. Lori was this freak of nature who was beautiful in every sense of the word but was completely uninhibited and loved to try to steal my kids swimsuits off of them. I would walk into my study, which was my own little sanctuary in the house, expecting to see her lounging on the couch thumbing through a magazine or standing in front of the refrigerator taking a bite out of everything I had inside to “test” what she wanted to snack on. I would I would expect the phone to ring every morning at 7am just as it had for over 25 years as I sat at my kitchen table reading the paper over a cup of coffee. I honestly thought the walls would consume me and I felt suffocated by the house I had dreamed and built with my husband to raise our children. After two years, I couldn’t stand it anymore and sold it in one week. It took six months to build a new home and we rented back our house from the new owner, who was understanding since she was a trauma nurse. After we moved into our new home, I felt a new lease on life had been given to me. Oh I still hung her pictures up and brought the tangible items she left me into the new home, but this one wasn’t overwhelming me with the shrine of her loss. And, I guess that’s what it felt like in some ways. That the old house was almost a shrine to her non-presence in my life and it literally suffocated me. Many people asked me why I left my beloved house, even so far as saying, “You have so many memories of your sister there.” And, that is, in a pecular way, why I couldn’t stay. It deepened my grief to know that I would never see her in the same old places in my home that I grew used to seeing her occupy when she came over. I can NOT ever imagine what you are experiencing or feeling, but I do know what it felt like for me and all I can imagine is that you are caught between that “before and after” existence. Before Ronan got sick and after Ronan died. Death makes everything in your life compartmentalized. I’d say divorce does, too, but not on the same darkest of levels. My husband and my children didn’t want to move because it was their home and because they had wonderful memories of Aunt Beautiful and while I understood that, I just felt like being in that house knowing that she had touched every part of it and wasn’t coming back was slowly taking the life from me and in a sense, I had to run away from it. I don’t know what is going to be right for you and your family, but I wanted to share my thoughts and to let you know that for me, leaving and building a new home lifted me out of a much darker place. Ironically, I would walk around my new house saying, “Oh Lori would love this or that” but the ghost of her non-presence wasn’t as big and that brought me a small sense of calm. I think that the thing about grief and all that one experiences comes down to this: While we all will experience death and loss at some point, we will all grieve differently. There is no right way or wrong way and there is no stop-watch on the amount of time we grieve openly or privately. We each just have to find our own way through it some way or another. For me, leaving my old home was a step in my own personal healing that nobody really understood but me. I hope that you find where you belong soon. It will happen and you will know when and where is right. Until then, take care of yourself and your family and keep forging ahead with your purpose. All of us that support you, even if we don’t know you, have found a love for you, for Ronan, for your family, and what you are doing is awe-inspiring. Big hugs from Houston.

  17. Emily Nicole Drozd

    I love this post maya!! I now Ronan is looking down on you and smiling. This might sound sort of weird but I was listening to Ronan and then I said out loud ” Ronan if your with your mommy make it start raining and two minutes later it did and it still is and nice soft rain. Please don’t think I’m crazy I’m telling the truth and Ronan was such a beautiful boy ❤

  18. deanlv

    I missed reading your blog entries, but totally understand and encourage you to take any and all the time that you need to recharge.

    I just stopped crying like a baby because I also now follow the Campbell family blog after reading your post about how the treatments the children go through are barbaric and torture.

    I just read the worst words that I could ever imagine:
    Ty Louis Campbell
    10.04.2007 – 10.17.2012

    Please, could everyone please send some love and prayers their way as they deal with cancer murdering another precious child. Ro, please take good care of Ty now.

  19. So Unbelievably Sad

    Maya, I just saw that Ty has died. I am so fucking mad right now. I swear to you I will never forget him, I will never forget Ronan, I will scream it from the rooftops, “HELP OUR CHILDREN WHO NEVER HAD A CHANCE!!!!”

    I am so sorry for your loss. I’ll never stop being sorry!

  20. Heather

    I never knew how horrifying this childhood cancer world was until I heard Ronan’s song, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve read every word of your blog and started following others, too. Ty Campbell – SuperTy – died today. I feel so sick. I’m so sorry. I will do anything to help stop all this suffering.

  21. Tiffany

    Maya – Here’s a little funny story for you that I hope will make you smile…

    I read the two posts yesterday on your actual blog. Then when I checked my email later, I tried deleting the notifications along with about 10 other emails. The other emails were deleted. But the Rockstar Ronan notifications were not. I thought I must not have selected them, so I selected them again and hit delete. Instead of deleting, one of them opened. I thought there must be a problem with yahoo email. So I tried deleting other email but they deleted normally. So I think maybe Ronan was being a little spicy!! (I ended up just leaving them in there.)

  22. Lisa

    Maya,

    I have not stopped thinking about you since I first came across your story. In fact, you have been on my mind for so many different reasons. First, of course, are the obvious. Your words are haunting. They tell the true depths of every aspect of a mother’s love. You have gained such a following, not only because of your amazing strength and courage, but because your honesty helps people find the strength to connect with their own emotions. Thank you for allowing so many people to know that they are not alone in their feelings.

    I so feel the need to remind you to take care of yourself. I pray for you to get to a place where you begin to feel the sunlight on your face. Ronan is shining down on you and would want you to start taking notice of the warmth that he is sending. It will take as long as it takes. I just want you to know that I pray for you to begin feeling the beauty of good along the way. It does not cancel out your loss. It only makes you a more special mommy, wife, daughter and friend. Does that make sense? I worry for you even though I don’t even know you.

    I also want you to know that from your story, it is so evident that you are surrounded by love and support and good people who are there for you for the long haul. Not many people have that in their lives like you do. You are so special that you have attracted many special friends. Take that in and feel the warmth and love. It is rare and it is everything.

    It is my hope that you will find balance and peace in your life. You are already using your strength to move mountains. Be kind to yourself so that you will continue to be strong for your family.

    Much love,
    Lisa

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