Ronan. I didn’t die from the fuckwad of May dates that I had to get through. The day you died. Mother’s Day. Your birthday, which was also the day you were cremated. And the day we had your celebration of life aka a bullshit word I think I let everyone around me make up when it should have just been called “the most fucked up reason for a funeral” because that is how I really feel about it. We went away for May. It was as good of a trip as it could possibly be, despite the circumstances. We went to New York and spent about a week out in the Hamptons with our dear friends who are pretty much the only reason I got through everything alright. On the day you died, I didn’t sleep much. I tossed and turned the night before and sent my same text that I send every single year around 3:20 in the morning to Mr. Sparkly Eyes because he was the first person I texted after you died and I’m weird with my rituals like that. I said what I always say which is how I hope he never forgets how much you loved him. How thankful I am for him and the role he played in your life and how I will never forget how above and beyond he went for you and continues to do so in this life now. He called me a few hours later and I ran outside, barefoot so I could talk to him without waking up the entire house.
“Are you o.k.? That is a stupid question. I know you are not.”
I told him it was ok, that I was as o.k. as I could possibly be. I didn’t cry this year when he called for some reason. I just let his words sink in and took his advice which was basically, “You don’t get to stay in bed today because that is not fair to Ronan or your other kids, so go out and do something.” I told him I would and I listened again as he told me how sorry he was. I thanked him for calling and told him to please go and do something for you today, besides work. He said that he would.
We spent the majority of the day, outside in the cooler temps by the ocean. We played in the grass, rolled down hills, climbed to the top of a lighthouse, watched Poppy go to town picking flowers and ended the night by jumping in our freezing cold pool. We were pretty much surrounded by friends the entire time we were in the Hamptons and it is because of this that our days and nights were actually filled with smiles and laughter. Poppy kept everyone on their toes with her constant dancing to Pharrell Williams, “Happy.” A couple of years ago I know hearing this song would have thrown me right over the edge. Now I am able to dance and sing to it and I know that is all because of her. How can one not feel happy watching a one year old pump her little arms and rock back and forth on her chubby little legs to the beat of this song? Impossible even when you have an almost 4-year-old in an urn and kissing that goodnight is the closest you will ever get to kissing his little body again.
We spent your birthday in the city. We started it off by grabbing pizza at your favorite place which is right by the Ronald McDonald House. We then walked through the city a bit and went to see our good friend, Scott at Solving Kids’ Cancer. Your daddy hadn’t met Scott before but they talk a lot on the phone. I was beyond excited for the two of them to meet because 1)Scott is amazing and 2) They remind me a lot of each other. Of course they hit it off and seeing the two of them together made me smile on your beautiful day. I stepped out of our “meeting” and ran across the street to meet up with a favorite editor of mine in the literary world. It was so good to hug her and catch her up on this book/life/fuck cancer/she couldn’t believe it was your 7th birthday. She was so good about checking in with me to see that I was alright the entire time we were together. Our time together was so nice and I was so glad I got to introduce her to your daddy since he hears me talk about her so much.
After our impromptu meetings, we continued to do all your favorite things in the city. Poppy took the streets by storm of course and I did my best to let her have a little freedom, while trying to keep her safe from getting run over by the crazy NYC taxis. It was the first time in my life that I understood why those parents put their kids on leashes; because I totally wished I had one that day. Instead, I chased your sister down the sidewalks as she took off without looking back at all and after a minute I would have to grab her from behind, pick her up to keep her out of harms way, all while she screamed bloody murder for me to put her down. She seems to have turned a corner since turning one and I’m not sure there is any going back. Miss Independent EXTRA spicy Poppy it is. I, of course wouldn’t have it any other way.
We walked as much of the city as we could. Stopped for a little pit stop in Central Park so Poppy could actually do some real running. I plopped down in the grass, exhausted from a beyond mentally exhausting day. Your brothers ran all about and your daddy took your sister to play on the playground while I stayed behind, laying in the grass and looking up at the sky. After about 10 minutes, all the tears I had been holding back came pouring out and I just gave in and let them, not caring who would see. My little, Rachel, came walking over soon after as she had been trying to find us in the park. Just in time for me to bury my head in her lap while telling her, “I haven’t been very spicy today” as the snot dripped out of my nose and tears plopped out of my eyes and on to her jeans. She stroked my hair and said it was alright. I cried for a few minutes more and then got up to decorate the most beautiful tree with a ton of your Ronan bracelets. I had to do something spicy, so I climbed up the tree and sat there for a bit. I can’t remember the last time I’ve climbed a tree and I wonder why. It was lovely up there and so something you would have done. At this time, it was getting dark so we parted ways with Rachel and ended up back at your favorite pizza place, one last time. We had one last thing to do which was our random act of kindness so we bought a ton of gift cards at the pharmacy next door and I took your brothers and marched my little butt right back into that Ronald McDonald House where we spent so much time. I told them I wanted to drop them off to give out to the family’s that were staying there. I had a flashback of you in the lobby there, right when we arrived and you were wearing your cute little warm hat, standing on the luggage carrier giving me the biggest smile as if you trusted me with your life because you knew I was going to get you better and fix all of this. I’ll never forget the look in your eyes as they sparkled so bright and were full of such hope, trust and love. I’m so sorry that you will never get to be 7 and instead you will be always almost 4. I’m so fucking sorry.
Ending this now with some words I read a while ago and I like to read them again when everything seems to be lost in the world, but I know it’s not because once upon a time, you were mine and I was yours. You always will be mine, even if you are not here but somewhere else where I know I will see you again. I wish knowing that made things hurt less, Ronan. Sometimes this pain is all too much.
I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.
On this day, you read something that moved you and made you realise there were no more fears to fear. No tears to cry. No head to hang in shame. That every time you thought you’d offended someone, it was all just in your head and really, they love you with all their heart and nothing will ever change that. That everyone and everything lives on inside you. That that doesn’t make any of it any less real.
That soft touches will change you and stay with you longer than hard ones.
That being alone means you’re free. That old lovers miss you and new lovers want you and the one you’re with is the one you’re meant to be with. That the tingles running down your arms are angel feathers and they whisper in your ear, constantly, if you choose to hear them. That everything you want to happen, will happen, if you decide you want it enough. That every time you think a sad thought, you can think a happy one instead.
That you control that completely.
That the people who make you laugh are more beautiful than beautiful people. That you laugh more than you cry. That crying is good for you. That the people you hate wish you would stop and you do too.
That your friends are reflections of the best parts of you. That you are more than the sum total of the things you know and how you react to them. That dancing is sometimes more important than listening to the music.
That the most embarrassing, awkward moments of your life are only remembered by you and no one else. That no one judges you when you walk into a room and all they really want to know, is if you’re judging them. That what you make and what you do with your time is more important than you’ll ever fathom and should be treated as such. That the difference between a job and art is passion. That neither defines who you are. That talking to strangers is how you make friends.
That bad days end but a smile can go around the world. That life contradicts itself, constantly. That’s why it’s worth living.
That the difference between pain and love is time. That love is only as real as you want it to be. That if you feel good, you look good but it doesn’t always work the other way around.
That the sun will rise each day and it’s up to you each day if you match it. That nothing matters up until this point. That what you decide now, in this moment, will change the future. Forever.
That rain is beautiful.
And so are you.