I had big plans today. HUGE plans. I had decided on them last night while I was in my bed, crying. I thought to myself, “Tomorrow I’m going to do nothing but stay in bed all day long.” I got up this morning, hopped in the shower and just as I was getting dressed for my “big day,” I got a text message from Stacy. It simply said, “Can you meet for breakfast?” I didn’t even hesitate as I texted her back, “Yes,” and plans were made. A year ago, I would have told Stacy in no way shape or form, could I possibly meet her for breakfast. That was the state of mind I was in last year. Things are different now.
I met up with Stacy and as soon as she sat down she said, “Fernanda is meeting us, too.” “Great!” I said. Even though she just had surgery, she still was popping in for our little breakfast which I was surprised by, but shouldn’t have been since her nickname should be freaking Superwoman. I sat and caught up with my friends and our breakfast ended up turning into a two-hour meal/discussion/sob fest. I listened as Stacy and Fernanda talked to me about some things they know I am struggling with. Mostly about the last week or so of your life. They told me they know how I am regretting not having you die in our home and I listened as they both explained to me why it was that we were encouraged to take you to the Ryan House. I hadn’t really ever heard this from them before. They talked about how scared they were that you were going to die this awful, painful death by basically drowning on your own blood. How for many kids that die of Neuroblastoma, this is what happens. It is usually a very painful and awful death. They talked about how they didn’t want your blood, all over our house. I listened to them, understood and now I feel like I can let this little piece of my guilt go. I do not blame anybody for pushing us to take you there. I know my friends only had our best intentions at heart as they always do. We all sat and cried talking about this. I said something about I only have the guilt because you begged me to go home and I feel like I didn’t answer your one little dying wish. Nobody knew you were going to die so peacefully the way you did. Nobody knew you were just going to fall asleep. I looked up at the girls and one of them, I can’t remember who goes, “But Maya, don’t you think Ronan’s home was wherever you were?” I nodded my head in response. We talked about some more things as we continued to sit and cry at the table.
I told them about the chapter for this book that I am supposed to be working on. I told them about what it is I was thinking about writing about. I watched as the color drained from Stacy’s face. “You can’t write about that right now. You are going to give birth soon. You cannot write about that.” Fernanda’s eyes welled up with tears. “You need to listen to your gut, Maya, but do you really want to write about that, now?” I told them I was having a hard time working up the courage writing about this part of my life, but it was the only thing my mind kept going back to. I listened to them both and their advice. I left our breakfast still unsure about taking on this chapter but I could not think of anything else that I could connect with to write about. I ran a couple of errands after breakfast and cried almost the entire time in the car. I came home and made a decision to head up our mountain to go hiking today. I can’t take another day of not doing a thing, exercise wise. I put on my clothes, threw on your little backpack and off I went.
I didn’t wear my headphones or blast my music while I hiked. I listened to my head instead. I listened to you. I took it slow up the mountain to keep your Poppy sister safe. I felt my head become less foggy. It was as I was coming down the mountain that I decided what I am writing my chapter about. It suddenly came to me so clearly just the way things always do when I am outside, exercising, and listening to myself and you. It felt so good to be free and clear with my thoughts flowing non-stop. I’ve said this from day one; nothing good will ever come from me hiding in my bed. I cannot change the world this way and for sad as I am and for as much as I want to hide, I can’t. Because if I hide then I die and I really don’t want to die anymore.
I said something to your Sparkly yesterday that has been bugging me to pieces. I told him I was working on being less sad. Saying that left a bad taste in my mouth and I have been mad at myself ever since. I texted him today as I was going up the mountain and told him that I had decided that me saying I was trying to be less sad, was bullshit. That my sadness is like a chronic illness. It’s something I’ll always have and it will always be a part of me. I have to accept it, stop trying to change it, and learn to live with it. I will never be able to get rid of my sadness but I can learn to manage it. Managing it for me will come in many different forms and I am slowly figuring out the “medication” I need to treat my sadness. No, not real medication. My medication. The things that work for me and help me through this life. Things like exercising, nature, writing, helping others, surrounding myself with the kind of people who build me up, not beat me down, and trying to live a life you would be proud of. That’s my prescription. It may not be prescribed by a real doctor, it may not work for everybody, but it works for me and that’s what I’m sticking to.
I’m tired from today and the hiking wore me out, but it made me feel good as well. I’ve missed our little mountain so much. I see Dr. Schwartz tomorrow so she can check up on this baby sister of yours. Please keep her safe and sound for me, Ronan. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams my spicy little monkey.
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