“A little fishy just told me, just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” Talia Joy Castellano


Ronan. I got though the 4th of July alright. Mostly just by being distracted which is the only thing that ever seems to get me through anything. I went through the motions and tried to be as “present” as I possibly could. This means playing croquet without you, baseball without you, watching fireworks without you, etc… Macy is still here and that always helps so much with everything. I only had one little sob fest melt down in front of a few people. I couldn’t help it. I was watching one of our family members, hold your Poppy sister for the first time. I don’t know her at all as she is related to us through marriage so this was the first time I had met her. She is young, sweet, and also a bereaved mom. Not too long ago, she lost her first baby girl to still birth. I was surprised she wanted to hold Poppy at all and honestly felt a little guilty about her having to be around a new baby at all. She scooped her up in her arms and just sat and held her while she smiled and cooed at her. Your Uncle Shawn was right there and said, “Do you guys have any kids?” She quickly said, “No, not yet,” while she fumbled with her words a bit. I thought to myself, “Yes you do” but I didn’t say it out loud. It’s not up to me to decide how one talks about their dead babies. I quickly looked up at her and said, “I’m sorry about your baby girl.” She said, “It’s o.k. I’m sorry about Ronan.” That’s all it took and there was nothing I could do but let the tears roll down my cheeks while I helplessly looked for someone, anyone, to wipe them away. I was mostly just looking for you. I cried for her and me and for this fucked up club that we are in that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I pulled myself together within a few minutes but not before Quinn came bouncing in the room just in time to look at my red, puffy eyes. That kid is always so aware of everything that is going on especially when it comes to my feelings. I sucked it up and got up to play in a little boys vs girls baseball game. Girls won of course:)

We spent the rest of the day together missing your Daddy and you. The 4th of July will never be the same again, much like all of these holidays. This one isn’t as hard for me as the others though and I enjoyed it as much as a mom could who has had the love of her life, ripped from her arms. Your brothers had a great day and at the end of the day the smiles on their faces are what gets me through these retched holidays without you. But it’s hard to watch the entire world celebrate a day when you are in constant pain yourself and also so aware of all the pain in the world as well. For me, the pain consists of all of the bereaved mom, dads and siblings and for all of these kids battling cancer. I now live a life where every single firework seems like an absolute waste of money. Every time a firework went off I thought to myself, “There goes another kids’ life and another parent’s broken heart.” I had a vision of what it would be like if just one year, fireworks didn’t exist on the Fourth of July and instead the money was donated to a childhood cancer charity. Imagine how much good that could do. That would sure make me smile much bigger than watching some lights in the sky. A girl can dream, right Ro?

Things around here have been busy, but in a calm and peaceful way. Poppy is still breastfeeding like mad so it still feels like I am feeding her around the clock. She is still sleeping through the night which I’m so amazed by. She seems to want to make my life as easy as possible; for the moment anyway. I’m sure she’s got some good tricks up her sleeve and I can’t wait to see all she has in store for me.

Ronan. I started this a few days ago and I can’t really concentrate on what I am saying to continue on with this post for a few different reasons. One being that Macy left today and I hated so much seeing her go. Who would have guessed that this girl who came into our life in the middle of your diagnoses, because of you and this blog, would be one of my greatest treasures in life? We won’t see each other for a few months and dropping her off at the airport this morning was just awful. We both cried, parted ways, and I hated every second of it. Macy is the sister I never had and my ray of sunshine that is never blinding to me. We all had the best week with her and I know Macy brings out the version of me, that I used to be. I miss that me and it’s nice to see her once in a while. I do wish I could see her more often, but for the time being I will just enjoy her when I’m in the presence of our Macy girl. Nobody makes me laugh and smile the way she does. I know this is the reason you chose to put her in our life. You always pick the best for me and I am so thankful for that.

The second reason I can’t concentrate is because of a girl named Talia who has been on my mind since I found out about her shortly after losing you. I’ve followed her updates, cheered from the sidelines, admired her bravery and attitude while dealing with the shitty hand she was dealt. Talia was diagnosed with that same mother fucker that killed you. She has been fighting non-stop for 6 years, developed a secondary cancer, but still she held on to that beautiful smile of hers. Once Talia the secondary cancer, I knew what the outcome was going to be, but that didn’t stop me for begging for things to turn out differently for her. I found out via social media today that things aren’t looking so great in terms of Talia getting her “miracle.” I want to scream from the rooftops, “WHY NOT? WHEN IS ENOUGH GOING TO BE ENOUGH? HOW MUCH OF THESE KIDS BLOOD HAS TO BE SHED?” My screaming from the rooftops really just leaves me bloody exhausted and drowning in a pool of my tears on the floor. When is this going to get better? When will these kids get an actual real fighting chance? You didn’t deserve this, Talia doesn’t deserve this, none of these babies, toddlers, kids, deserve this, yet it keeps on happening over and over and over all while people continue to look the other way. Ellen DeGeneres had Talia on her show and I am praying that she will do the right thing and help Talia continue to be a voice for childhood cancer.

I’m sad and scared for her parent’s. I made your brothers say a prayer tonight for Talia which really consisted of us all talking to you, Ronan. We asked you to let Talia just fall asleep the way you did. We asked you to help take away her pain. Liam asked you to help her to get to her happy place where she no longer will be sick. Quinn covered up his face and I watched as his eyes filled with tears and he buried his little head into his pillow. This is our life now. A life full of suffering for not only our own pain, bur for the pain of others as well. I know I will be falling asleep with tears on my pillow not only for you, but for Talia too. It shouldn’t be this way, Ronan and I will forever be sorry for everything.

I’m going to go little man. Your little Poppy is stirring. She must hear my tears and know that I need to snuggle into her. Please take good care of Talia and show her the ropes.

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



23 responses to ““A little fishy just told me, just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” Talia Joy Castellano”

  1. Thinking of you always…will never stop wishing for you to have your Ronan back.
    Talia has taught so many of us lifelong lessons…lessons that a 13 year old should never be responsible for spreading the word about childhood cancer…and for teaching us all to be better people.

  2. Wow, is this a picture of Talia? At first I thought it was you. You both have beautiful shiny eyes with a touch of sadness that life brings.

  3. “His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do – the best ones. The ones who rise up and say “I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.” Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places.”
    –The Book Thief

    “They did not even try to stop him, for everything now felt as if it had been fated or had happened before. They helped him to lower his little coracle. Then he took off his sword (“I shall need it no more,” he said) and flung it far away across the idled sea. Where it fell it stood upright with the hilt above the surface. Then he bade them goodbye trying to be sad for their sakes but he was quivering with happiness. Lucy, for the first and last time, did what she had always wanted to do, taking him in her arms and caressing him. Then hastily he got into his coracle and took his paddle, and the current caught it and away he went, very black against the lilies. But no lilies grew on the wave; it was a smooth green slope. The coracle went more and more quickly, and beautifully it rushed up the wave’s side. For one split second they saw its shape and Reepicheep’s on the very top. Then it vanished, and since that moment no one can truly claim to have seen Reepicheep the Mouse. But my belief is that he came safe to Aslan’s country and is alive there to this day.”
    –The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    Keep swimming, Talia, wherever the waters might take you. You were and continue to be an inspiration to millions. I truly thought you would get your miracle, and grace the world with your incredible smile and makeup skills for years to come. You did not deserve this, and neither did Ronan, nor any of the countless other children suffering from this horrible disease. I hope your pain is diminished, and that when the time comes, you can let go peacefully, knowing how much of an impact you have had on this world. Keep her safe, Ronan.

  4. Talia, you beautiful girl, why do your eyes look like Ronans? Your own soul shining out, just so pure. So so sorry Maya that you are going through this. Fuck cancer into a cocked hat.

  5. I’m so sorry for you and for Talia and Talia’s family. It’s heart wrenching. I know of another little girl Brooke who had neuroblastoma, went into remission and then it returned. She is now doing a clinical trial in Boston. I wish these kids did not have to be guinea pigs this way…

  6. Natalie Slone Avatar
    Natalie Slone

    This is so heartbreaking and so unfair…fuck you, you douche fuck murderer cancer!!!!!!!

  7. Cancer sucks. My dad is fighting cancer and id like to say a big fuck you to cancer for making our lives hell. But sucks to be cancer because my dad will beat it.

  8. I started watching Talia’s videos a little over a year ago. The first time I clicked on the video, I didn’t see cancer. I saw a confident and beautiful young girl who was happy to be alive. When I heard that she wasn’t doing well on twitter, I had a breakdown. As in, I sat on the floor in the dark and sobbed until my eyes had no more tears. This needs to end. Talia doesn’t deserve this. Ronan doesn’t deserve this. I personally have never met any child with cancer, but Ronan and Talia have inspired me so much. I want to help so badly put an end to this disgusting disease that is killing innocent people. It makes me so sad that Talia is on her death bed, but I know Ronan will be right there next to her when she finally passes. He’ll be there with open arms and he WILL take away her pain. Thank you Maya, for sharing your & Ronans story. You both have changed my life.

  9. Weeping into my morning coffee like a baby. You’re raising such proud, honorable men. You should be so proud.

  10. RoMama
    Thinking of you and Rockstar Ronan
    Always rolove xo
    I’ve been following talias journey since I saw her on Ellen. I hope Ellen continues Talias mission.
    Thinking of her family
    May they be surrounded with comfort and peace.

  11. Sending love to you and your babes. Love you Miss Maya.

  12. I hate that any of us have to live in a world without our child/children – it is an awful club (that no one wants to be in). I am sorry that Macy left. Hopefully, you will see her again soon.

    Sending hope and hugs to you, your family, Talia and her family. Also sending a giant FU CANCER!!

  13. I have a song you may like: Life Is a Highway by rascal flatts, or highway don’t care by Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban. They both remind me about you. Again sorry about Ronan. I miss him everyday. As I know you do. Stay strong

  14. I have also been heartbroken all over again knowing that beautiful Talia will soon be leaving this word. I fondly call her and Ronan “the most inspirational people I’ve never met”.

  15. I feel the same. From the eyes of a sick child I don’t believe anyone can truly understand until they live it. Until there is nothing you can do but watch as your family, friends, or even yourself is taken and having there be hardly anything done to stop it. I pray everyday that someday it will get easier, someday a miracle will happen, or someday i’ll wake up and it will just be a dream, but each day the illness seems to get worse and i’m left to fight a battle against my body. A battle that I will win with chemo and a genetically altered stem-cell transplant, the problem is, my transplant doesn’t have enough funding to advance with trials…so everyday of my life i’m going to fight this, because so many kids didn’t get my fighting chance at living. I have a normal life expectancy, and although my body may be falling apart, I need to fight not only for myself, but for all of the children lost from illnesses like mine.

    – Emily @ emilysfight.com

    Fighter against two (possibly three) debilitating genetic disorders, i’m going to the doctor tomorrow to possibly diagnose a third. Please pray, eating is making me extremely sick lately and I really don’t want a feeding tube!

  16. From the last past few days, i kept thinking about talia and that i should go on her channel on youtube for any updates. But i kept forgetting. 😦 so when i came on this blog and read the title, i had a bad feeling that something happened. Then before i read your post, i quickly went on her channel and found no new update. Then i searched on google and found posts on instagram about how talia just wanted to die peacefully “without someone pushing on her chest” and her mothers words just made me cry. Talia wont be suffering anymore and i am glad. I will miss her sooooo much : ‘/. Thank you maya for putting this post, or i wouldn’t have known.

    P.S. everyone, lets draw a fish on our wrists in honor for talia. I will keep swimming for her.

  17. Hi Maya,
    I teared when I read this. I’ve been following Talia’s story too and watched her amazing YouTube makeup tutorials countless times. Such a feisty girl with sparkling eyes and a great attitude. Ronan too, was so spicy. They shouldn’t have to go – they deserve to be right here, with those who love them.

    I’m so, so sorry – you and your family shouldn’t have had to go through this.

    God bless you and your beautiful family always. I keep you in my prayers often – that you will find some peace amidst the storm and more beautiful moments to brighten your day. It’s so wonderful that you have your lil Popstar to keep you busy. Poppy is gorgeous!!

  18. Maya, you are quickly becoming my role model. I think of you and your family nearly every day. I don’t normally pray but I have been praying for little Talia who has been in pain for too long and doesn’t deserve this.

    I’m so happy I found out about the Ronan Thompson foundation…over the summer I’m going to save up my tips from my job to donate. Much better than donating to the ACS or any of the large organizations where you don’t know where the money is going.

  19. Hello as im writing this im crying like a baby.. I’ve been reading your blogs since the Taylor song and today Ronan just popped into my head I wanted to say I admire you so much and you are so strong. I lost my shining star too. My father in November of 2012 its was tough and im still struggling but reading this helps me it helps me get my thoughts in tact.So thank you soo much

  20. Hello. My name is Cassandra and I am a 20 year old college junior. Over the weekend I came across your blog. I became engrossed in your blog and your story. At one point (two points) I called my mother bawling over your story. I have not been able to get it out of my mind. It has made me so sad.

    Towards the end of the weekend I was wishing I had never heard your story. What was the point of me hearing it? Honestly it just made me sad and scared of living.

    Then Monday I returned to work. I work part time at a preschool. Never before in my life has a group of children looked more precious, innocent, and perfect. I always try, but oh, today I treated them with so much more love. I know I cannot do much for you, but I vow to love these precious babies so much more because of you. Thank you.

  21. Maya, I know you are insanely busy but I hope you can make a few minutes to hear how you and Ronan have touched my life.
    I just learned of you guys a couple of weeks ago while I was thumbing through a Health Monitor magazine at work. What first caught my attention was Ronan’s face. He is the most beautiful child I have ever laid eyes on (including my own) and I fell instantly in love! I teared up when I read the article then I immediately googled this blog. I became instantly consumed, even obsessed with it. I read feverishly every second of my spare time (which annoyed my husband to no end) until the 4th of July night when I caught up to present day. Ronan’s beauty and tragedy…your raw pain and anger…Inferno fuckwad Bob. I cried so much with and for you guys. I feel like I know your whole family and all your lovies! I part of me wishes that I had, but that would have been even more painful. My 4 yr old Jonah found me reading one evening. He asked me why I was crying so I told him about you guys. His sweet little voice saying Ronan’s name was so precious. I hold him so much closer now.
    Maya, you are the most BADASS Mom I have ever heard of in my life and I have been given me such a wake up call! I have not been very happy with life for a while, but after knowing all the pain you have indured and pushed through…seeing how you’ve kicked ass and taken names has really motivated me. I have a new out look on life and I’m enjoying and feeling more hope for my future than have in a while. I feel like since Ronan died and you are doing all these great things, the least i can do is get my act together and seize the day. I’m all feeling like “go big or go home!” 🙂
    I was so happy when I learned that Poppy was coming! I was so hoping that she would help you all heal, and I am delighted to hear that she is! She is a beautiful baby girl! It’s hard to tell by pictures, but I thought at first that her eyes were dark…it took my breath yesterday when I saw one where they looked blue! Are they?! I know she sure has his beautiful lips.
    Ok, sorry! I was afraid this would get too long but I could still go on for days. You have a life long follower in me. I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing Ronan’s story and being so awesome! I’ve been telling everyone who will listen about you guys and will be sporting bracelets and tshirts soon. I will be proud to do my part to raise neuroblastoma awareness! F U Cancer!

  22. So sorry to hear about Talia! Once you’ve had a child with cancer, somehow you feel drawn to these stories. I just don’t understand why children have to suffer…wish someone could explain this to me. I am actually starting to believe that cancer IS EVIL or the DEVIL or whatever you want to call it.

    I would ask your readers to also pray for Addison Locke, she has just received some bad news about her cancer, tumors growing and unresponsive to chemo. She is 8 years old, same age as my little girl. My heart is breaking for her and her family. I’m sure they would appreciate some words of support on their Caring Bridge page. Thank you!

  23. Macy… Your sister from another mister. I love mine like I know you love yours. Keep well mama. With love.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: