4 years later and I’m still like, “What the fuck just happened???”

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Ronan. It’s almost that time again. That dreaded time in May that I hate so much. Tomorrow around 3:15 a.m. you will have died in my arms, 4 years ago. I still don’t know the exact time because I never sent in for your death certificate. I keep telling myself I’m going to do it, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to fill out the paperwork just so I can have a certificate that says you are dead. That makes everything all too real and the tiniest piece of me is still holding out hope that this is all in fact just some sick twisted experiment about what happens to a mom after she watches her son die from cancer. I saw that movie “The Truman Show” many years ago, so why can’t that be what happens to me? If I tell you what happens almost 4 years later of you being dead, do you think somebody will drop you off at our doorstep so we can finally be reunited? I still look for you every time our doorbell rings. I don’t think that will ever change.

So, almost 4 years later and what can I tell you? I can tell you this:

Life sometimes feels really hard. As in bring me to my knees, I’m giving up hard. I still have days that I just want throw in the towel and run away from everything. I still have days where sometimes I can’t go to your brothers baseball games because I can’t get over the fact that you are not on that field, following in their amazing footsteps. I still have days where I am so angry at the stupidest things such as the sunshine, laughter from the Television, or even the new Star Wars movie that is coming out because it kills me that you will not be here to see it. I still have days where my tears are uncontrollable and my anger is directed at all the wrong people, but those days have become less and less. I have learned a lot in the 4 years of your death. I have learned a lot by also having my father die just 5 short months ago. Mostly that life is fucking fucked up and can be totally unfair, but it is up to me to make the most of what I have been handed, even if it is the most horrific thing a mother can endure.

I have learned to let go of a lot of my anger. I am learning to be less judgmental and more compassionate towards other people. I have learned that the human spirit is one of the most incredible things in the world. I have learned that the sorrow I feel every single day pushes me to do better, be better, do more, say less, say more when necessary, to love the people in my life harder than I ever knew I was capable of loving after losing you. I have learned that with a very broken heart, I am capable of feeling and giving love again. I never truly thought I would be able to feel things like love and happiness again, but I can and sometimes I am even able to let go of all of my hurt and get lost in it for just a bit. I am hopeful about the future and hope is a word that I hated for such a long time, but now it doesn’t seem to taste so bitter. I wake up everyday knowing even after losing you to cancer, I am still the luckiest mama. Your brothers are still the most incredible boys and that sister of yours… well, I can say without a doubt that she is the one who brought hope back into my life. She has saved me in a way and reminds me everyday how incredible it is to be alive, full of life, innocence, and feistiness. She reminds me of all the beauty in the world and that everyday we are here, life should be full of laugher, love, and adventure. I am so thankful to have a little person in our house again who calls me mama. Your brothers out grew the mama thing long ago. It is nice to hear the pitter-patter of feet running down the hallway again and the trouble that comes with it. Trouble once again consists of things such as coloring on the walls, covering our dog, Teddy with lipgloss or applying my blush she hijacked from my drawer all over her face. Just the kind of trouble I have missed and love so much. It is nice to have some innocent trouble back in our house again. It always reminds me so much of you.

Tonight, Poppy fell asleep so peacefully in my arms. 4 years ago tonight, you were doing the same thing but only to die soon after. My heart is so heavy, sad, and broken still. I am forever so sorry and would still trade places with you in an instant. I miss you so much, but especially on nights like tonight when every cell in my body can feel you leaving this world again. Tomorrow night on the anniversary of your death I have to stand on a stage and give a speech for an award I am being given. I am so humbled by the honor and so proud to share your story, but I quite simply don’t know how I am going to be able to function let alone give a speech in front of hundreds of people. I just keep hearing the words of one of the people I love most in the world telling me, “I promise you, Ronan will be with you tomorrow night. He is going to be watching you and right there with you. He won’t let you do this without him.”

Please let that be true. And please don’t let me get up on the stage and just crumble up in a ball because I am just too sad to speak. I need you to surround me and give me the strength to be strong on the day that you died so I can make you proud and so we can help other people. In the words of the ever so beautiful, Taylor Swift- “The stakes are high, the water’s rough, but this love is ours.” That song always makes me think of you. Our love story will never end, I promise you that. Our love story is doing amazing things and will continue to do so.

Thank you for being my greatest teacher. Thank you for keeping us all safe. Thank you for helping me to get back up on my hardest days. Thank you for teaching me that it is o.k. to embrace all the darkness that comes with this as long as I let in a little light every once in a while.

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