Ending 2012 with tears on my pillow and you in my heart

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Ronan. This is what I get after 11 years of marriage. Him. He still opens my car door. He brings me my towel before I get out of the shower to make sure I stay warm. Kisses me goodnight, every night. Tells me he loves me 10 times a day. Never lets go of my hand. Respects my wishes when I ask him to let go. A husband that fights for me, believes in me, pushes me, challenges me, makes me laugh, puts up with my insanity, tries his hardest to fix my broken heart, wipes away my tears, and reminds me every single day that I am the strongest, most beautiful person on the planet. He takes care of your brothers, when I am too sad to do so. He does this without complaining or making me feel more guilty, than I already do. Everything he does is for us. He holds me up when I cannot stand, lets me fall when I need to, but is always there to help me up when I am ready. I am the luckiest girl on the planet to be married to your daddy. I know people say marriage is hard, but I never really felt this way until the death of you. I don’t even think it was even marriage that became hard, but it was more that everything became hard. Everything becomes hard when you just want to curl up and die. I know what the death of a child does to a marriage and I know how many marriages, don’t survive. I am thankful everyday that this is the one thing that I have never had to worry about. I know myself and I know your daddy. Cancer may have taken you away from us but it cannot have our marriage, too. That is something we both decided very early on into this whole thing. I am so thankful that we are a strong enough couple to come through this together and not apart. I am so very thankful for your daddy for not giving up on me when I gave up on everything in my life, including myself.

Last year, was an awful anniversary. I remember laying in bed, pushing away the gifts your daddy gave me as the tears poured down my cheeks. I made him return all the things he had bought for me. I remember barley being able to hold my head up and begging for death to take me away. This year was a little better. Your daddy and I went to Portland for the night. We stayed at a hotel and only had a few minutes of tears while I sat in a chair and stared at your daddy from across the room. He told me how sorry he was for the how awful the past 3 years had been. As if any of this has been his fault. I didn’t say anything. I just grabbed my coat instead, wiped away my tears, and we headed out the door to do a little shopping and grab some dinner. I made it through dinner, without crying. We sat and talked a lot about Poppy. We both tried our hardest to make it an o.k. night. It felt alright to be out, together, pretending to be the normal couple that we are not and never will be again. Sometimes it takes pretending at a dinner for your 11 years anniversary, with smiles instead of tears. I can pretend smile when I need to. It’s was the least I could do for your daddy on our one night of the year, that is just for us. 11 years later and we are still standing where most people would not be. I am so very proud of us, our marriage and the foundation we have. I cannot imagine how upset you would be if we would have let cancer take away not just you, but everything that we have worked so hard for, our family included. I promise you that will not happen, Ronan. I won’t make you any more sad than you already are. I know you are sad enough, not being with us. I know this no matter what the others in the world would say. I don’t care who is looking after you. It will never be good enough as having you here with us, where you belong.

Do you know what the theme of this trip has been? I have heard it no less than a dozen times. “Today would be perfect, if only Ronan were here.” This will be true about every beautiful experience we have in this life without you. Perfection will never exist again in our days, but we will come close. We have been doing a lot of fun things, as a family which is still so hard for me. Yesterday, we headed down to Long Beach to go Clam Digging. It was a great late afternoon spent together but I often find myself getting lost in my thoughts of, “If Ronan were here, he would be doing this or that, or he would have made me take him to the car already because I’m sure the first thing he would have done was run right into the ocean only to get soaking wet.” And I would have happily carried you all the way up to the truck, pregnant or not, to clean you up, warm you up and smother you with the million kisses that I used to love to give you. I miss having you to kiss so very much and I still will never understand why you had to be taken away.

As this year comes to an end I can say for as hard as it was, it has been beautiful in many ways as well. Somehow I find the strength to go on in this life. I have found strength in myself that I didn’t even know existed. I have a wonderful husband and your brothers, Ronan, make me so very proud each and every day. The friends I have are the most beautiful souls that exist and I am so very grateful to have them in my life. They have seen me through the darkest of the dark and although some have went away, the one’s who have stayed have proved that they are never going anywhere, ever. I feel very lucky and blessed in that regard. Your foundation has given me a purpose in meaning in my life that I didn’t think I would ever have again. On the days that I am hardest on myself, all I have to do is take a look at all the amazing things we have accomplished and I am reminded that the proof is in the pudding. We have done some really amazing, great things in such a short amount of time and it is always fueled by the love that exists in this world, because of you. Of course I have to say one of the most amazing things about 2012 was the generous heart of Taylor Swift. She has helped me move so many mountains in a way that I could have never imagined. She has restored my faith in so many things by the beautiful gift she has given us. One that will live on for eternity, just like the love between the two of us. I will forever be humbled and grateful for this sweet girl who fell in love with you and who has now taken on this world of childhood cancer with me. I cannot wait to see what 2013 brings. Of course my wish is for a cure, for babies to stop dying, and for childhood cancer to finally get the funding and awareness that it so desperately needs. I have a lot of work ahead of me but from everything that was accomplished in 2012, I know even more amazing things are going to come this next year. As always, I am thankful for all of you, who continue to read this blog, support this cause, and live each and every day knowing that there is more to life then the life we sometimes settle for. I am thankful for all of you who are able to see outside the box and outside of yourselves and who are not scared to take on something that is uncomfortable and scary, because you know this cause and these kids, deserve better. Thank you all so much for being a part of this war with me. Hopefully one day, it will be one with better outcomes or it will no longer even exist.

Last but not least, I am so excited for 2013 because it will be the year that your Poppy sister is born. She is going to bring such joy to our lives that we so very much need. Please continue to keep her safe, Ronan, but most of all please keep her healthy. I know you hear me at night when I do my little chant to you. I say it over and over in my head to you while I am trying to sleep. “Please don’t let her die, please don’t let her die, please don’t let her die…” It might be morbid but it’s the only way my brain works now. Please Ronan. Take good care of her. We could not handle anything else awful thrown our way. We have barley survived losing you.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. I am so sorry you are not here with us. I know I am going to fall asleep with tears on my pillow, but you in my heart as I always do. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

xoxo

P.S. To all of you lovely little blog readers. Happiest New Year to you and your loved ones. I wish you nothing but blessings and health for not only 2013, but always. I love you all, so very much.

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I know what I want to name her…

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Ronan. Ireland Ronan Poppy Thompson is what I want to name your sister. I know I told you I’ve been having a hard time getting super attached to this pregnancy and I know the only reason for that is because of the fear that comes along with it. Not because I love her any less than I love you and your brothers. It’s the fear of death that now comes along with this pregnancy. I’ve never had this fear before, until losing you. Now I worry about it all the time. If I don’t feel your sister kick for a while, I’ll think to myself, “Oh my god, she died.” Good thing I didn’t get too attached, right? Wrong. I am not fooling anyone with this whole trying to protect myself thing. I have been attached since I found out at 5 weeks that she was the size of a Poppy seed. I already have a plan for when I am having her, and I will be induced before 40 weeks because I of course have to get her out before she dies of stillbirth, right? I was induced with Liam and Quinn at 36 1/2 weeks. I had you at 37 1/2 weeks. I know Dr. Schwartz is alright with the plans I am scheming up in my head.

Now that I am feeling your sister kick all of the time and I can feel how strong she is, I am starting to come around. It’s taken me a while, but I can finally decide on a name. Your daddy and I have had the name Ireland picked out since before Liam and Quinn were born. I have always loved it. I think it is so strong, unique, and beautiful. I have to have Poppy in there as well. I cannot give that name up for anything. It has come to mean too much to me and just saying it out loud, makes me smile. We will call her, “Poppy,” even though her first name is Ireland. And eventually, when she is old enough to decide, she can take it upon herself to figure out what she wants to be called in life, but to me, she will always be Poppy. That name will forever remind me that something could make me smile, through my darkest hours, even before your sweet little sister, set foot on this earth. That name will forever remind me of the happiness I can feel again, just by saying the name out loud. What I love even more is hearing other people referring to her, as Poppy.

“How is Poppy today?”

“Is Poppy kicking?”

“Who do you think Poppy will look like?”

Everybody is calling her by this name and I love it so very much. It makes me smile and feel a bit of happiness again. I am so very thankful for your little sister already. I know she is going to help us all so very much. She will bring us back some of the sunshine in our lives that we are all missing so very badly.

Today, we hopped in Papa Jim’s truck and headed up to the Mount St. Helens area to go sledding and play in the snow. This state never fails to leave me breathless. I still think it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We found a ton of snow and I watched and snapped pictures as your daddy, your brothers, and Papa Jim spent a couple of hours hiking up a hill to fly back down it on their sleds. I listened to their laughs and soaked up their happiness as much as I could. You would have loved today. If you would have been with us, it would have been absolutely perfect in every way. I took it easy due to my ever growing belly. No sledding for me today although I’m sure I would have been fine but better safe than sorry, right? This whole better safe than sorry thing is slowly killing me. How am I supposed to burn off my grief/anger by having to be so freaking safe all of the time? I hate that I cannot go for my long runs/hikes/ or all of those other things I used to do to help me get through this. I cannot wait for this Poppy girl to be born so I can get back to all of my night runs, etc… I am already planning on running the NYC Marathon in November if I can get in. No training required once again;)

Alright little man. I’m sleepy tonight. I sleep really well here and it’s a nice change from the insomnia I usually deal with back at home. I’m going to take advantage of my sleeping well while I can. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

xoxo

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AZ Foothills Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

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Thanks to whomever nominated me and all of you for voting. Humbled. You all are amazing.

http://www.arizonafoothillsmagazine.com/features/news/4848-best-of-our-valley-2013-the-list.html?start=10

Most Influential in Valley Nonprofit- Maya Thompson

Best Blog or Local Website- Rockstar Ronan

I love this article. Medicine is not always the answer. And my Dr. JoRo is mentioned!

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http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-isnt-golden/201212/the-hurry-heal-therapists-cannot-explain-everything

Welcome the newest board members of The Ronan Thompson Foundation!

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I am so proud of our growing family/board members. Woody Thompson as President, Ken Frakes as Vice President, and Melissa DiFilippo. I am so lucky to be surrounded by these beautiful souls and so honored to have them on our board!

http://www.theronanthompsonfoundation.com/about/board

Ronan. Your song for the night. You were the best kind of trouble. I miss you.

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My favorite line that is not even in this song, but at the end of it. “I don’t know if you know who you are, until you lose who you are.”-Taylor Swift

Wise girl. Wise soul. Forever grateful.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNoKguSdy4Y

Life without Ronan, is Not Wonderful, Merry, or Bright…

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Ronan. This time of the year is tough for me. I’m having a major mental road block in my head over every single thing that I am trying to get done. Shopping for holiday gifts, ordering holiday cards, deciding on what to pack for our trip when I still cannot believe that I do not get to pack a suitcase for you. The holiday card thing kills me the most. I don’t send them out personally anymore, but I do through your foundation. Try picking out a holiday card to design when you have a dead child. They all read, “Best Christmas Ever!” “Everything is Merry and Bright!” or my personal favorites, the one I would have sent out in my former life that simply says, “Happy Holidays!” which to me really reads, “We are perfect. Life is perfect. Everything is perfect, as it should be, and no child ever gets sick and dies from cancer!” Holy hell. It took me 3 days to pick out and design a simple fucking card. I put your picture of the front of it, giving the peace sign. I put a picture of the 4 of us, ugh, on the inside standing in front of your Star Wars Christmas Tree. Through my blinding tears, I managed to write my own happy version of our holiday card which consisted of something like, “Life without Ronan, is not wonderful. blahblahblahblah. But we are determined to make him proud. blahblahblahblah. Thank you for loving us and remembering what is truly important in life.” I wanted to end it by saying, “Fuck Cancer,” but I didn’t think my board members would approve of that so I held off. I will never be able to write a holiday card of fluff again. But I hope when people get that card and open it up they will understand a few simple things. From tragedy, can come good. From losing the most important thing that ever exists, your child, a family can survive the pain and turn it into doing good for others while falling apart at certain times, but not all the time. A family can stay together, hold each other up, and at the end of the day go to bed kissing each other, tucking each other in, telling their dead child goodnight with the promise that tomorrow, might just be an o.k. day.

Today was an o.k. day. It’s the little things though that can make my o.k. day all of a sudden, turn into a ugly cry sob fest in the car. That happened today. I was driving to my office, listening to Taylor Swift of course. Something about one of her lyrics, punched me in the gut. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. I kept thinking, “No, no, no, no, no. I can’t believe I don’t have his lips to kiss anymore. I can’t believe I don’t have his hand to hold. I can’t believe I don’t get to hear his little laugh or watch the way this sparkly blue eyes light up when he laughs or is doing something naughty. Please, no. I need him back.” I sobbed in the car until I arrived at my destination. I kept it together after that for the rest of the day. I kept it together only because I had a ton of shit to get done and I did not keep it together over my weekend of, “I’m hiding in my bed and not coming out.” I made myself power through today because of the slacking off I did all weekend long.

So.. I KNEW my last blog post was going to cause a major uproar. Most of the comments were lovely, but some were not. I was told everything from, “Your blog is ugly and you are ugly!” to “You just lost another reader.” “Ronan is right where he should be, with our heavenly father. You need to accept that.” What do I say to those nasty comments? Nothing except for thank you. Thank you for being so small minded that you will no longer be reading this blog. I do not need small-minded people on here. I understand it takes a special kind of person, to stick with me. I learned that a lesson a long time ago. It takes the kind of person that can let my words outrage them, but still find it in there hearts to continue reading because they get the bigger picture of all of this. They get that this isn’t about my beliefs, their beliefs, religion, anger or my grief. They get that this is about things that are bigger than themselves and their lives. This is about a very special boy who did not deserve to get childhood cancer and die but he did and because of that, GOOD will come out of it. This is about a BOY with the most beautiful blue eyes who’s mother loved him in the most insanely, passionate way possible that losing him may make it seem as though she has gone mad sometimes, and rightfully so. If my opinions offend you so much that you can just walk away this blog, then so be it. But I hope you remember that it is not me you have walked away from, but him. And for you, I feel sorry. Yes, I rant and rave about everything on here because these are MY feelings and this is MY blog. I am so sorry my being truthful about the things I feel offend you so much that you feel the need to spew such words of hate towards me. I honestly feel like some of the people in this world would be much more comfortable with the way I am handling my grief if I were popping pills or drinking myself to death. I honestly think we as a society are more comfortable with people numbing their pain then actually be true to it. I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I don’t smoke. My vice is telling the truth about this pain, my pain without much of a filter. That is MY right as a grieving, heartbroken mother and a choice I have made. I am proud of myself for this choice and I know it is something Ronan is proud of as well. As Ronan’s mom, NOBODY knows what this feels like for me because you were never his mother. He was mine and he was taken away from me and he shouldn’t have been. I will NEVER accept that or come to PEACE with that. I will learn to live with that and that is as good as it is going to get. I do not hate the almighty God. I not hate people who pray. I love them. Why do you think those are the people in my life that I am closest to? I get strength from them. I get love from them. I embrace them and all they believe in as long as they are not telling me what I am doing or feeling, is wrong. I do not hate the power of prayer, but I do question it. I prayed for my son every single day along with thousands of other people day and night and my child still died. So of course I question it all now. Anybody that has a problem with that, well those are your issues, not mine. I’m the one who had the love of my life ripped away from me in the blink of an eye. I’m the one who had to kiss the cold lips of my dead child. I’m the one that had to bathe his dead body and watched as he was taken away on a mother fucking gurney. So not so lovely little blog readers who say they will no longer be reading, I say GOOD FUCKING RIDDONS. At the end of the day, I know who I am and I am not an ugly person. YOU DO NOT KNOW ME, personally. To know me is to love me. I know that. I am not perfect. I am far from it, but the bottom line is, I have a very good heart, I am an outstanding mother, and I WILL FIX this world of childhood cancer even with all of my anger that apparently I am not supposed to have because I should be over it by now. NEWSFLASH!! Grief does not have an expiration date!!! I am quite simply sick of hearing all of that get over it talk. I will never get over the life my child was robbed of.  I will never get over life without him. I am a grieving mother who is trying her best to be honest and true to everything that I am questioning, exploring and feeling and I made the choice to share it with the world because I know that my voice, will change things for others. I am not holding a gun to your head and asking you to feel the same things or believe in the same things that I do. You don’t even know what I believe in, yet you are sure quick to sit back and judge away. I don’t understand what was so wrong about saying prayers and actions need to happen together because those are the two most powerful things in life. I am a realist. I know that prayers alone are not going to be what finds the CURE for childhood cancer. Or what keeps mentally ill gunmen out of our schools. That was the point of my last blog. How did you misconstrue that into something so ugly? I know why and deep down, you know why and I am going to leave it at that.

One last little thing. You know what else I hate more than anything? When people say, “Well, I prayed and I got my miracle.” As somehow, the thing you were praying for was more precious than my son, therefore your miracle was granted. That is so cold-hearted and mean. That is so selfish and sick. Think about the totally warped thing you are saying in your head, before you actually say it. As somehow, God picked you or your loved one because they were worth more than my Ronan or all these other kids out there who are dying or fighting terminal illnesses. You need to chickity check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self. Thanks though for your unconditional love and support. Peace out Mo’ Fo’s. Have a nice life with that unicorn you ride on up in the sky.

Ronan. That was yesterday. This is today. I have a lot going on. I am having a lot of anxiety about Christmas morning and what it is going to feel like to sit there and watch your brothers in all their glory, unwrapping gifts when you are not there. I can’t stop thinking about Teddy’s family and the 7 other kids who died today from childhood cancer and what their holidays are going to feel like. I can’t stop thinking and hurting for all of those parents, siblings, friends, and relatives in Newtown. I walked into a store today and it was just like it was another normal day. Some really happy christmas song was on. It think it was the one about it being a holly, jolly christmas and the best time of the year. The song stopped me in my tracks. I felt like I was on that show, The Twilight Zone. I looked all around. Everyone was smiling, laughing, and the colors everywhere were so bright. Don’t they know about Ronan? Or Teddy? Well, surely they know about the shooting that just happened. Shouldn’t the world just stop for a little while? It all felt so wrong today. Shouldn’t we have a few days of silence and mourning as an entire county for a couple days. Shouldn’t we cancel Christmas this year? That feels like the right thing to do. The right thing to do does not feel like me finishing up my Christmas shopping. I didn’t. I abandoned my cart and aborted mission. I went to my car and bought my plane ticket for Teddy’s funeral instead. It’s January 6th. I made the decision last night to fly out to San Francisco to go. It’s the least I can do for Teddy and his family. Macy will go with me. My brave sweet friend who watched my child die, attended his funeral, and did not even hesitate to say yes to going to the funeral of another little boy, so I don’t have to go alone. That right there, is true love at it’s finest.

Alright, Ro. I’m getting off my soapbox for tonight. I’m sorry I had to vent. I have been holding all that in for a couple of days and I have been feeling like I am going to explode. That is my venting. Sorry it took over a majority of my writing to you. I hate when my anger interferes with that but I also know I can’t keep it bottled up inside. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

xoxo

This is right after Ronan had his head cut open. Look at that smile. He was so happy just to be back in my arms again. That is the ONLY place he belongs, so please STOP saying otherwise. His smile says it all.
This is right after Ronan had his head cut open. Look at that smile. He was so happy just to be back in my arms again. That is the ONLY place he belongs, so please STOP saying otherwise. His smile says it all.

As always, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore knows best. My mentor, friend, sister, mother, and Rolover.

We should have never had to know life, without you. You made us all so happy.
We should have never had to know life, without you. You made us all so happy.

http://www.missfoundation.org/professionals/articles/effective

I hear these things, all of the time. If you read this blog and still say these things, I will punch you.

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This is from an article off of Huffington Post. Thanks, CC.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-emily-c-heath/dealing-with-grief-five-t_b_2303910.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

We often have no idea what to say in the face of senseless loss. That is especially true when children are the victims of tragedy. Today’s shooting in Connecticut is heartbreaking in so many ways, not the least of which is the staggering loss of children.

My first two years in ministry were spent as a chaplain assigned to the emergency department of a children’s hospital with a level one trauma center. During that ministry I saw so many senseless tragedies. I also heard some of the worst theology of my life coming from people who thought they were bringing comfort to the parents. More often than not, they weren’t. And often, they made the situation worse.

Here are five things not to say to grieving family and friends:

1. “God just needed another angel.”

Portraying God as someone who arbitrarily kills kids to fill celestial openings is neither faithful to God, nor helpful to grieving parents.

2. “Thank goodness you have other children,” or, “You’re young. You can have more kids.”

Children are not interchangeable or replaceable. The loss of a child will always be a loss, no matter how many other children a parent has or will have.

3. He/she was just on loan to you from God.

The message is that God is so capricious that God will break parents’ hearts at will just because God can. It also communicates to parents and loved ones that they are not really entitled to their grief.

4. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

Actually, some people do get a lot more than any one person should ever have to handle. And it doesn’t come from God. Don’t trivialize someone’s grief with a “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” mentality.

5. We may not understand it, but this was God’s will.

Unless you are God, don’t use this line.

And here are five things to say:

1. I don’t believe God wanted this or willed it.

A grieving friend or family member is likely hearing that this is God’s will from a number of other people. Affirm the idea that it may very well not be.

2. It’s okay to be angry, and I’m a safe person for you express that anger to if you need it.

Anger is an essential part of the grieving process, but many don’t know where to talk about it because they are often silenced by others when they express their feelings. (For instance, they may be told they have no right to be angry at God.) By saying you are a safe person to share all feelings, including anger, with, you help the grieving person know where they can turn.

3. It’s not okay.

It seems so obvious, but sometimes this doesn’t get said. Sometimes the pieces don’t fit. Sometimes nothing works out right. And sometimes there is no way to fix it. Naming it can be helpful for some because it lets them know you won’t sugarcoat their grief.

4. I don’t know why this happened.

When trauma happens, the shock and emotion comes first. But not long after comes our human need to try to explain “why?” The reality is that often we cannot. The grieving person will likely have heard a lot of theories about why a trauma occurred. Sometimes it’s best not to add to the chorus, but to just acknowledge what you do not know.

5. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I am here to support you in whatever way feels best.

Even if you have faced a similar loss, remember that each loss is different. Saying “I know how you’re feeling” is often untrue. Instead, ask how the grieving person is feeling. And then ask what you can do to help. Then, do it and respect the boundaries around what they don’t want help with at this point. You will be putting some control back into the hands of the grieving person, who often feels like they have lost so much of it.