Because of you, I can do hard things.

IMG_3728Ronan. Remember that time that I said I was going to actively start writing on this blog again and then months went by without me writing a word? Me too. This life without you feels like I’m on a non-stop hamster wheel that I cannot seem to get off of.

Everything is so busy. And in between busy I’ve been working non stop on this book that I just cannot seem to let go of because in my mind, it’s never going to be good enough. I am constantly second guessing myself, but day after day I continue to write and put in the work. Any free time I have belongs to your book. And by free time I mean waiting for the oil to get changed in my car, waiting for an appointment, sitting in a parking lot in between school drop offs… my laptop is out and I am writing. And when I am not writing, I am writing in my head or in the notes section on my phone or in the 1 out of 7,000 notebooks or journals that I carry around with me at all times. The only time I can seem to quiet my mind is at the 80 minute hot yoga class that I have been taking which is currently saving my life. And even when I am there, I have to actively force my mind to shut the fuck up. I know I went insane a long time ago but this kind of insane, the one where you are reliving your real life worst nightmare all over again by writing the story down is a totally different type of beast. It is this self inflicted kind of torture that should have killed me by now, but because I am so stubborn I refuse to let it. I’ve stopped and started this book so many times. I’ve hated it. Erased words. Ripped up pages and thrown them in the trash. Re read my words and sobbed because sometimes I can’t believe they are my own and sometimes I can’t believe how good they are. I’ve hated myself. Loved myself. Been so proud of myself but I also have that layer of self doubt that always seems to be lingering about. The only thing keeping me going is your sweet little face that I see at the end of the finish line. This is for you. All of my blood, sweat, tears, vomit…. all of my self doubt because who the fuck am I?

I am not a writer.

Today, I had one of those days where I cried over everything. I had some stupid errands to run but it was the type of day where everything felt hard, even just a simple trip to the UPS store. I was feeling overwhelmed, a little sorry for myself and I was truly just missing you. A few days ago my agent put me in contact with someone who said she could help take a look at this book. I had a phone call with her and she agreed to take a look at things. I told her I would send her everything but I warned her that it was still really messy and asked her to please ignore all holes that needed to be filled in.

As I was pulling out of the UPS store where my mind was so foggy that I seriously lost my car keys for 35 minutes before finding them in a weird part of my yoga bag that apparently eats keys, I got a text from the person I had sent my book to. It said:

“Maya. Reading and crying and crying and reading. You are a fantastic writer. It needs a little polish but it is so raw and articulate.” 

As I read her words, my stomach dropped and I had to pull over. I read her words over and over again as the tears poured down my face. Hearing those words from this stranger today, who lives in the literary world meant everything to me. You know what I decided today, Ronan?

I am a fucking writer and I have the most heart wrenching, beautiful story to tell all because of you. I think deep down I’ve always been a writer but it was you who led me here. I am trying my hardest to make you so very proud and I promise to finish what I’ve started. I am so very close. Thank you for constantly pushing me through this process. Because of you, I can do hard things and I can do them well, even when I think I suck.

I love you so much.

G’nite, little man. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.


15 thoughts on “Because of you, I can do hard things.”

  1. Maya, this book is going to be perfect because he is always behind everything you do. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book and cry like a baby, just like I do with everything you write. You’re words make people feel things, even if they can’t directly relate to. You and that beautiful boy are changing the world.

  2. There is simply no denying that you are a writer. A very, very good one. Start believing that about yourself for real, because it is true. Your book is going to move people, to change them. I think that the pain you are experiencing and re-living as you create this thing, is going to help make it a beautiful and sacred thing. Thank you.

  3. Just want you to know you’ve always been a writer. Ro’s story brought us all to your site — but you kept us. I remember the week I found your blog and I could not stop reading…and it’s cause you let us inside your thoughts and life…in a way not too many people can. The really amazing part is that so many people (myself included) woke up with your writing and realized it’s not about the cute bald kids but actually putting money towards this cause and most of all making people aware….and aware of what…well, so much there too — aware of childhood cancer of course…but probably the biggest gift you gave me is how to talk to people that have lost a child. I will forever know more about what not to say…and moreover it really made me look at how we all try and avoid things in life but that’s a mistake…Anyway, you are a writer…for sure…and a teacher…and the true beauty and pain of it all is that it’s really out of pure love for your beautiful boy. I can’t wait to read this book!!

  4. Maya, I am going to cry when I read Ronan’s book. The reason I love your writing so much is because I gget this overwhelming feeling to love harder, be more compassionate, and ever thing else can fuck off. Thank you for sharing.

  5. 💙 you are a doll Maya. I love your words and can’t wait to read your heart felt book. You
    Were born to writer. See you on your mat ❤️❌⭕️Alex

  6. I I agree with others sentiments here. You have always been a writer. I came to your blog late, and binge read every post you ever wrote over the course of a week and cried every night along with you even though you’d written the words the year before. Your book will be epic {epically sad and beautiful in equal parts}.

    I wish there was an option to preorder so your long-time followers could know about your books release before the general public. *hint hint*

  7. I’m not in the literary world professionally, but I’ve been a voracious reader all my 50 years. I get bored very easily and will quit a book if it’s not grabbing me by page 20. I’ve known from the first time reading your blog that you are a writer. A damned good one. Can’t wait for the book, but I’m sorry it’s putting you through hell. ❤

  8. Your words are always beautifully written. Thinking of your family always. My Ronan (now 1) is named after your little rockstar. Always spreading awareness and Rolove. Beautiful family. Excited to read your book. You rock! Pre-order would be awesome.

  9. Because you are quite skilled at writing, I’m able to understand what your life experience has been like. Your love for Ronan is what drives you and motivates you to keep pushing yourself to write! Your expressive way with words is what brings out all the emotions from the deepest level. Your words describe the frustration, the agony, the anger, the depression, the helplessness, the unfairness, the hopelessness, and all the emotions you felt losing your beautiful little boy. I can’t say I know how you feel, but the emotions that come from the deepest level of my soul as a reader, feels the immense loss you have endured. I stop and reflect on what you’ve shared with total strangers over the years and can’t stop the tears of sadness. And, because of you and your abundant love you have for your son, Ronan, you leave the readers a sense of optimism.

  10. Maya,
    You were having some doubts about whether you were a writer and if you could do this book. Let me set the stage a bit for you on what has happened in the last week at my end.

    I am in Canada (your attic). In 1999 my husband Bruce (a police officer) was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 42. He is still alive. We have no kids. I still work for the police as a civilian. He is retired.

    Last weekend I was surfing the net on You Tube and I decided to check out Taylor Swift because she’s so funny and I was looking at some of her videos and I saw Ronan’s song. I saw the emotion in it so I checked out your blog and saw Neuroblastoma. I thought – Oh, great Cancer. I hate Cancer. And it’s going to be about a child. Crap. I’m not reading this. So I read the first page to see how this all happened to you. Whatever.

    I read and felt your walk of innocence that Bruce and I walked when we didn’t know what was going on. How I naively stumbled into the hospital Emergency room after the ambulance and the nurse said – OH, EVERYBODY GETS ONE SEIZURE; IT’LL BE OKAY.

    And from that day, that moment, that speck of time our lives were changed forever. And I read your entire blog, 8 months of horror and confusion and dizziness and silent screams, I read it all in 8 hours. I crammed your life into 8 hours of mine.
    My stomach clenched over and over, I felt sick and weak, and I remembered how my life had been taken over by strangers – people I had not vetted in any way – who were, at that time, telling me how it was going to be. Your words made remember following those stupid green or blue or purple lines on the hospital floor to get somewhere when I just wanted someone to take me there.

    I cried and I sobbed and I whimpered at the recall of what we had lost in our lives as Bruce made his journey through the operation, the radiation and the recovery; the seizures, the loss of use of his right arm. I remembered the bedside manner of some of the doctors – how they were excited about the tumour because they wanted to study it, but they couldn’t actually SEE us, sitting right there. And others who were lovely and kind and good.

    For two days after reading your words I was unsettled and off. This has not happened to me before. I’m old and I make sure things go my way.

    But it was your ability to take your soul right out of yourself and press it into the paper enough to tug my soul out again after 18 years and hold it right up to the light. You have a question about your skills, Ms. Maya? OH, YOU ARE A WRITER, MAYA, YOU ARE A WRITER.

Leave a Reply