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.

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

  1. AliBee

    You have come such a long, long way in these 4 short years, which I’m sure in so many ways feel like an eternity. That Poppy girl is without a doubt the most incredible gift Ro could’ve given you…and all that spiciness is most definitely from him (and from her spicy mama!) Thinking of you extra today and sending all the love I have in my heart. You will be amazing tomorrow night. After 4 years of reading your blog, I can say I have been proud of you in countless ways…but getting up on the 4th year anniversary of Ronan’s death to speak to a room full of people? That’s a special kind of brave.
    i so wish i could’ve honoured Ronan today in the way that I wanted to, but the weather gods decided it wasn’t to be. But you can be sure, when I do get the chance, I will be thinking of you and him and how I would NEVER have done something like that before knowing you. Ronan has changed countless lives, and so have you x

  2. Melissa

    Oh, Mama…..Ronan’s mama. Your love story will continue to bring beauty to this world–and Ronan will always be remembered. Always. Thinking of you on this unimaginably weekend. I am forever sorry as well, for he should be with you. He has never let you down, he’s not going to start tomorrow. You are the most amazing and spicy soul, and you will rock it for Ro!

  3. Roxana

    I am thinking of Ronan today.I will forever be sorry that he died and that kids die of such an awful disease.I am glad that you are in a better place, I can tell from your writing that something is different.I know it doesn’t mean your pain has gone away, that suddenly everything is all better but like you said, you are willing to let some light in and that can only be good.
    I know I’m supposed to save the spicy stuff for Ronan’s day of love but there’s no rule that says I can’t do something spicy today as well.So I’ll wear a purple bracelet and do something spicy in Ro’s honor.

  4. Shlomit Gruber

    Thinking about you tonight, tomorrow and throughout this incredibly difficult weekend. There are no words and nothing that makes any of this better (short of someone dropping Ro at your doorstep and saying it was a cruel joke/experiment)…I’ll be sending you good vibes for tomorrow night and we’ll be doing lots of special things to honor Ro throughout these days – but most importantly, he has changed the way I look at every day, forever. He has changed more lives than could ever be counted. 💜 XO

  5. Liz Orona

    I know you will have the courage to go up there tomorrow. God is with you. I admire you and tomorrow I will hug my son tighter and think of your handsome son.
    Love ,
    Liz

  6. glenda1203

    RoMama-
    Ronan will not let you down. He will be right there, beside you, guiding you as you bravely stand up on his 4th anniversary to give your speech. Thank you for sharing Ro with all of us! Always Rolove xo #fuckcancer

  7. Kay Jones

    What a woman you are ! I’ve followed your heartbreaking story ( from The UK ) with tears running down my cheeks for you often . You WILL get up on that stage tonight and you WILL be able to speak as Ronan WILL be watching over you . AS A mummy of 3 myself I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to have one taken out of the equation . You should be very proud of yourself . Take happiness from that . Stay strong xxxx

  8. Alexil Cheska Fajardo

    Hey Maya, After I read this, I want to cry. Cause I miss Ronan even though I didn’t meet him. Fucking Cancer. That neuroblastoma of him. It really sucks. He should still be here and be a good brother, son, in Thompson Family. Time here in the Philippines is 5:27 pm, and there, in phoenix, the time is 2:27 am. His 4th death anniversary is coming. And I don’t want it. I love Ronan. And I hope he is okay as you wish too. Good luck for your speech Maya. While you’re doing it, Ronan is at your side. He will be watching you. Love you all Maya.

  9. Toni Collins

    Maya, I’m still so very sorry about Ro. There has not been a day in more than four that I have not thought about Ronan. I have also watched you in this journey. I’m not good with words, I don’t know what else to say. Because of you, I do pay it forward more than I ever would have before! Thank you! Xoxo

  10. Donna

    When I read your last line, the one you end with many times, my mind amended it to ‘I miss you. I love you. I know you are safe.’ Maybe that was a little sign, I don’t know. I have faith but I don’t know for sure what is waiting for us after this life. I only know that I hope we will all be safe…it’s the only thing that makes this shitty life worth living sometimes. There is beauty, but there is misery. Some get luckier than others I guess, but we all were all brought into this world nonetheless, regardless of the cards we are dealt. Sometimes, when my strength and hope are at their lowest reserve, I can only abide in this life with the knowledge that there has to be safety, peace and contentment where we are going next. If we believe we are going there too, then we must believe that others who have gone on before us are safe, healthy and in perfect peace, as we hope them to be.

    I hope this has given you a little peace that Ronan is safe, wherever that place happens to be. Much love.

  11. Melissa

    I wore my Team Ronan hoodie to work today because I saw the facebook post that it was his birthday yesterday. Thinking of him and thinking of you and your family!

    1. Susan

      Maya,
      So sorry to hear of your father passing😢 I work in your home town and met your mother while I was work on the communication lines in the building and she is a very nice lady. The heartbreak you &shout famy have endured would break the strongest, but know your little man Ronan is safe in the arms of Jesus. Have prayed for you in the past and will send up extra prayers for you and your family. God bless🙏🏻

  12. flh76

    You are an amazing momma. My heart goes out to you. Your son will be with you tomorrow, he never leaves your side, I am certain of it. -From one cancer mom to another… Happy Mother’s Day.

  13. michelle h.

    So good to hear an update from you Maya…can’t believe it’s been four years. Praying for strength, peace and the undeniable presence of sweet Ronan tonight as you give your speech. ❥ ❥ ❥

  14. Michelle Wood

    Your amazing strength still shocks me today as it did 4 years ago. I’ve been here since day one and feel I know you all so well. I’m so proud of you, Ro will be too. Always here if you wanna chat or need a holiday to the UK. @shell_from_UK Hope you remember me! (No longer on twitter but follow you on FB) Much love now and always xxxxx

  15. Joanne

    Dear Maya, I read your post and related to it all…I lost my only daughter to Rhabdomyosarcoma 18 years ago, just after her 4th birthday. It is shocking and horrific, and there are no words to describe the pain. Everyone goes through grief differently and on a different time table, but I want to share with you that there will come a day when you are whole again. I read a quote once “a broken heart still beats”, and I thought that is what my life would be like, a broken heart that continues to beat until one day it just doesn’t anymore. But while my love for my daughter has never diminished, my heart did become whole again somewhere along the way and I can honestly say I love my life. All of it. And I was so blessed to be Natalia’s mom, that even knowing the outcome, I would do it all over again just to have that honor of being her mom. Sending you love as one blessed mother to another, and thank you for your bravery. You will give hope and inspiration to others who walk this dark journey, just by sharing it.

  16. Valerie Ramo

    We think of you and Ronan everyday, your strength amazes me. We spread your words and tell everyone to read your blog. The way you share your feelings are beyond raw, sad, happy, beautiful, difficult and everything in one piece. So many emotions as I read your words, you bring us through your journeys. Thank you for sharing every piece of your emotions. I can’t believe it was 4 years ago. I remember calling you about Esther at that time and not having a clue what you were going through yourself at that very moment. My heart breaks and hurts every time I think back. My heart breaks … I want to express so much to you and how deep I feel for your loss and all the losses we went through while living in the Ronald House and while out of the house, we still follow all our friends everyone felt like family when we were living under the one roof… I know I could not have gotten by without each person that supported me while in the house.. I wish I could express to you better about how what you have done to keep Ronan proud of you, the fight you live everyday to bring awareness and to find a cure. You make a true difference to so many people in this world everyday, I just hate that you had to go through what you have and I wish I was a better writer where I could express to you better and help you. I know I am not good at sharing feelings but you inspire me everyday to want to make a difference. I really do hope Dorit and I make it out to visit you to meet your Poppy and to spend time with you and your family. Always on our minds….xo

  17. Bori

    Dear Maya,

    I read your story since the news traveled to my country via Taylor Swifts song last year. Since then I have been reading your blog from time to time. I love the way you explain your feelings, I love the picture of this beautiful child, wiht the sprakling blue eyes. I often only stare at the picture just to see his little fantastic blue eyes, like a little angels has. I am fully inspired by your story and tell everybody next to me, when people come to make complaint of this and that, “just read Maya’s blog and you will understand, that nothing ever matters just love your children as long as you have the possibility to do it” You know, Hungarians are typical pessimistic, they like to moan on every single peanuts. through you blog I have learnt, that nothing matters in life, really nothing. I only have to take care of my children and love them with al my love. And sometimes, if I am not satisified enough with the world, I am thinking of you. You give me so much strength that I am still thankful for!!!God bless YOU that you have showed me the right way to revalue my life!
    I hope, that you continue to write your blog and wish you really all the best from my heart!

    With LOVE,

    Bori (from Hungary)

  18. Silvia

    Maya , I have no words to express the sadness I feel in everyday May 9 … The Ronan ‘s story deeply touched me , and since then I think of him and in you all the days of my life … Ronan had the most beautiful blue eyes of the world !! It’s so intense look in his eyes and see a story that would end in a tragedy in your life .. but when I lost my mother in the same year that his son learned that life is very unfair ! life is fuck ! Cancer has no right to take any child! and I will never accept it !!
    But I’m sure that Ronan is his angel and protects you every day !! He is always on your side and will continue to be loved and admired his son for all of us !! You are the mother and bravest woman of this world !

  19. candiglass

    Thinking of you and your family today as always, I pray each day gets a little easier, and your fight to help others win this war goes on!!!
    Good luck tomorrow night with your talk and every time you speak, I know your sweet angel with be with you showing you the way!
    Always in our hearts!

  20. Melissa Winchester Straub

    I TOTALLY KNOW WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM.MY OLDEST SON WAS 15 WHEN HE GOT APLASTIC ANEMIA…HIS BONE MARROW STOPPED WORKING AND IM SURE YOU KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS ABOUT BLOOD COUNTS..MY SON HAD A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT 4 WEEKS BEFORE HIS 16TH BIRTHDAY..IT TOOK 4 LONG YEARS OF GOING TO DOC APPOINTMENTS AND TREATMENTS. THERE IS A NEW TREATMENT AFTER BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT THAT HAS A 100 PERCENT SUCCESS RATE..I WOULD LOVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT SOMETIME..AND RONAN IS NOT ALONE..HE WALKS WITH GOD.EVERY DAY..I PRAY FOR PEACE FOR YOU AS A MOM YOU JUST WENT THROUGH THE MOST DEVASTATING TIME OF YOUR LIFE..BUT PLEASE KEEP IN MIND.. YOU HAVE OTHER BOYS WHO NEED YOU TO…HUGZ AND I HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON..AND NOT YELLING..MY EYES ARE BAD SO HAVE TO WRITE IN CAPS

  21. Emma

    FU cancer !

    Today is Ronan’s 8th birthday and it’s a rock day ! My little nephew is born tonight and I’m so happy. He we’ll be a rockstar as well, I’ll think of ro every single day of my life … mamaMaya you roooock !
    I love you, thanks for sharing your family and Roro with us, thank you for that love and that strength !
    We love you, we love Ronan !

    And cancer, don’t be stupid, I HATE you …

  22. G

    I looked up your blog after I just happened to read in Parents magazine that Taylor Swift wrote a song about Ronan. I’ve read just a handful of entries and have tears streaming down my face. Any words I write will sound hollow and wouldn’t even be a drop in the sea you’re wading in, but please know there is another mama out there who is praying for you and your family to find peace. God bless you all and Ronan❤️

  23. My Inner Chick

    ***Life sometimes feels really hard. As in bring me to my knees***

    gorgeous, heartbreaking, uplifting, insightful, and fucking sad all at the same time.

    LOVE and Hugs from MN.

    I know how hard anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, ……..All of it can be, darling. My sister was murdered 5 years ago on May 26. Mourning is born, but does not end; it only changes somehow, it only transforms into something else….

    ….even LIGHT.

    I could have written this. I received an award last week, too. I thought I’d cry, but I Didn’t. I thought I’d fall apart, but I didn’t.

    I just told Kay’s story.

    Praying for you. xxx

  24. Carrie Wilson

    I just started reading your blog and it touched me in a way I can’t explain and it has made me cry over and over again. My daughter Lucy just turned 4 on May 12th she is my oldest I also have a 2 year old son Charlie and a 7 month old son Max and on her birthday which I realized is Ronan’s birthday we thought and prayed for him and your family and we did all the things you said to do and we will always think of him that day he shares a birthday with my daughter and when she grows up she will understand why we celebrate her birthday and Ronan’s day of love. We are sending hugs during the month of May and anytime we are thinking of you and your family and Ronan.

  25. Stormie

    Maya, you’re literally my hero. I’m going to school to become a social worker in pediatric oncology right now, & everyone always looks at me & says how I picked a very depressing career but hearing your story & learning more about Ronan his condition and how he fought for his life makes me wake up everyday and be content with the job I choice.. Knowing that in some small way I contribute to being there for parents and their children while they go through this makes me study harder! I wanna be able to help, even if it’s in the smallest way possiable. You’re an amazing mother & please never stop writing.. It’s your muse! Thank you for inspiring me.

  26. Breanna

    You made me cry this morning as I read a few of your blog posts, finishing with this one. Cry is an understatement, I cried again when I listened to Taylor’s song she wrote, I do everytime. But this morning I sobbed as I finally read some of the words you have written. Words can’t say how sorry I am for your loss. Or how amazed and impressed I am with your strength. Thank you for standing up and doing what you can for the cause you are passionate for, I am trying to do the same for mine, but it is just so hard sometimes. Reading your words has reminded me this morning that even when it’s hard, we still need to pick ourselves up and keep going, we need to stand up for who and what we know we need to, but it’s ok to stop and cry, it’s ok to feel the weight of this broken world, and it’s ok to be open with others about how f’ing hard and painful it can be to just keep going. I needed that reminder, so thank you. But we can do this, heck if you can wake up everyday and keep going I can too. Thank you for your strength, and thank you for letting us share with you in your story, and your journey, and for sharing Ronan with us. Thank you so much. Because your sharing has changed my life.

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