Is it possible to Die choking on your own Tears?

Ronan. Days are filled with emptiness. They are not getting easier. Nights are worse. Halloween is approaching. How am I supposed to celebrate our favorite holiday, without you? If you were here, we would be going to your school tomorrow to celebrate. I would be tucking you into bed right now, but you would have been too excited to sleep. I’m sure you would be dressing up as someone from Star Wars. It was our tradition.

Baby Ro- Chewbacca. 2-year-old Ro- Master Yoda. 3 Year old Ro- Captain Rex. Who would it have been this year? I’m not sure. Does it matter? It does to me. Halloween cards come in the mail. But nothing for you. I lose it. “What the hell?” I scream! “Did he not exist?!” “Is he that easy to forget?!” The hot tears stream down my face. ” I want a card for him, too! Not just 2. 3 little boys. I HAVE 3 BOYS! I want him back! NO! I DO NOT WANT A PUPPY OR A FUCKING BABY FOR CHRISTMAS! I WANT RONAN! I ONLY WANT RONAN!”

I don’t get to go to your school tomorrow for your Halloween party. I get to go to only Liam and Quinn’s. How am I supposed to put on my bravest face to handle tomorrow? I don’t have a choice. I have to do it for them. I had Quinn’s conference this week. His teachers words….”He is a gift to me. Such a delight. So kind to everyone. Excelling in everything. Needs a little work on his handwriting. He is off the charts in his math….” I felt like I was in an alternate universe. I looked all around the classroom at all the kids’ work. I started to cry. I apologized to his teacher. “I’m so sorry. I have no idea what’s been going on in this classroom. I’m usually the mom that knows it all. That is always helping. I haven’t been in here once this year.” She just looked at me and said that it was o.k. That I have a pretty good reason, not to be. But I don’t want a reason or an excuse.  I just want my life back. I want to be the fun classroom mama again. I don’t know how the fuck I’m going to get through tomorrow. I have thrown up all day about it. I want to go to your school. I want to dress you up. But some evil mother fucker out there decided that you brought me way too much happiness in my life, so you had to go away. But I didn’t do anything wrong to have you taken away. I only loved you so much. That is the only crime I am guilty of committing.

I went to Sedona on Tuesday. Dr. Jo couldn’t make it to Phoenix this week, so I drove up to see her. We did our session at her house and then went and grabbed lunch. It was a long but peaceful day and night. I was able to smile and breathe a bit. I know you know why. You always do. I came home, relaxed and fell asleep all night long. My sleeping has been better. I have not taken my Ambien since the night before I left for my Sedona Grief Retreat weekend. I have been able to fall asleep and I have been staying asleep until about 2 a.m. I always wake up around this time and than, the pacing begins for about an hour or two. I look for you everywhere. I scream into pillows. I cry.  Dr. Jo says it’s my animal instinct taking over. I’m like the mama tiger at the zoo, who has been separated from her baby. The mama tiger paces back and forth. Sometimes she even chews off her own limbs  because she goes crazy not knowing what to do without her baby. I feel like that mama tiger. I’m trapped on the inside of the glass cage, looking for you, watching as everyone on the outside just goes on with their lives. Everyone is happy. How can that be? What? You have a new boyfriend? No. I don’t want to meet him. I want you all to go away. I don’t want to see life go on. I want life to end. I am incapable of feeling the happiness that you feel. That you deserve. I cannot be happy for you. So, please just let me be. I have nothing left to give anyone. I am doing my best to keep myself alive. That is all I am capable of now. Forgive me. But Ronan died. Doesn’t anybody understand? How is Halloween not canceled this year? How is your school, celebrating like it is a normal year? Don’t they miss you so much, that they shouldn’t? No. Only in my mind should they. Because to me, you were so special that the whole wide world should stop. But nobody misses you, as much as I do. Which means that nobody is even capable of feeling the pain that I feel. Which means that nobody loved you more. Which is why I physically hurt so bad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t get a break from this pain. Ever. Not that I would want it. I wouldn’t give this pain to anyone else. It is mine to carry for the rest of my life because it reminds me every second of the day how much I love you. How much I will always love you. So much that I often think I am going to choke to death, on my own tears.

This week has been a blur. I took your brothers to a park to play after school. They had the time of their lives. They played football in the rain, with some other kids. I could have sworn you were right there with them. I cried on the way home because you weren’t. I told your brothers how sad it made me that you were not there, with them. How much you would have loved it. They were both covered in mud, soaked from head to toe, just like they should have been. Where are you? Who are you playing with? How is it not us? Why is it not us? Do you think I killed you? I was supposed to keep you safe. I promised you I was going to get you better. But then you just died. Just like that. How am I supposed to live with this, Ro?

I don’t know. I don’t fucking know anything anymore except everyday without you is harder and harder and who the fuck came up with the saying that the pain will get easier as time goes on? I know who. Some jackass who is not a mom. Probably some asswad fucking fuckwad scientist who had to bury their cat. Clearly it was not a mom. Or a dad. Who’s almost 4-year-old died.

I don’t know what else to say tonight. Except what I say to you, every night. I love you to the moon and back. I miss you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, babydoll. I love you.

xoxo

P.S. Dear loveliest of lovelies:::::: So many of you sweet peas have sent the most beautiful gifts. A lot of it, pretty jewelry for me to wear. Please know these things, always make me smile. Today, I wore one of my new favorite things. A little delicate gold necklace that has, “Fuck Cancer,” inscribed on it as well as a small purple jewel hanging from the chain. Oh, how I proudly wore this today. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. xoxoxoxo a million times over.

Liam needs glasses and I killed you.

Ronan. I kind of slept last night. I was restless, but I fell asleep for a few hours, here and there. Your Daddy said I was up and down all night. I don’t really remember, except I woke up in Quinn’s bed. I didn’t send your brothers to school today. It was a half day and they both had an eye doctor appointment at 10:15. We all slept in until 8 or so. I got up, prepared to get ready for the day I knew I had to face. Our Lovie called. I bawled about how I was taking your brothers back to the same doctor, that sent us to PCH for your CT scan. I told him I didn’t know how I was mentally going to do it today. I got a little pep talk, but that didn’t stop the tears. I wiped them away, I fixed my face as best I could and threw on my sunglasses so I wouldn’t freak your brothers out. We drove to Dr. Cassidy’s office. I don’t know how I got us there as all I could think about was driving you out there for the first time, before we knew anything was wrong. I cried most of the way. I am good at hiding my tears when I need to though. Liam and Quinn didn’t notice. We stepped into the office, I filled out their paperwork and we sat and waited. There was a baby boy, about a year old, sitting on his mama’s lap. He kept looking at me and waving. I waved back, smiled, as the tears just poured down my cheeks. He wouldn’t stop smiling and waving at me. His Mama must have thought I was a lunatic as there was nothing I could do to stop the tears. Your brothers saw. They were in full force and I couldn’t hide them while we sat in that waiting room today. We were soon called back. Dr. Cassidy’s Assistant came to do your brothers exam. He asked a lot of questions. I was on auto pilot. The word Chalazion came up as one of your brothers eye lids looked puffy. I just laughed out loud. He asked if I was familiar with what a Chalazion was.

Here was the answer in my head:

“A Chalazion…. why yes. It was what my 3-year-old, was supposed to have  had, which was causing his eyelid to look droopy, which is why we came to see Dr. Cassiday. Well, it turns out, it wasn’t a Chalazion, gosh darn it. It turns out, my 3-year-old had Neuroblastoma, and he is now DEAD. So yes, I am quite familiar with that word.”

Here was my real response: (Insert teary eyes, and fake smile here) “Yes. Yes, I am.”

Boys got their eyes dilated next. Which took me back to being in Dr. (insert name that rhymes with witch here) Robinson’s office. The lady with the not so nice bed side manner whose appointment I walked out of because she was that awful. The lady who dilated your eyes and then made some rude comment about not wanting to listen to you fuss about it so we would have to wait out in the waiting area. We didn’t wait in the waiting area. I grabbed you, stormed out of her office and put you in the car. I called your Daddy and he told me I was crazy, that I would never get another appointment  so quickly because nobody would see you in such a short amount of time. I sat in the parking lot of Liam and Quinn’s school, panicking, googling another Children’s Opthamologist, and found Dr. Cassiday. They didn’t want to see you until September. I screamed and told them that was not acceptable. I needed to get you in, that next day. They listened.

Fast forward, a little more than a year later; and I’m back in his waiting room, with your brothers, and you are dead. I thought I was going to have a panic attack. The voices in my head were screaming, “What were you thinking!? You idiot! You can’t handle this! Why didn’t you have someone else bring them?” Then I remembered. I remembered why I brought them today. Because I am their mom and that is what mom’s do. I didn’t get to be their mom, for all those months. I have to start acting like it again and if it means I have to walk into the same eye doctor, that we saw… then I just have to do it.

We saw Dr. Cassidy. I don’t think he remembered me. It was dark when he came into the room. He told me it was nice to meet me. I told him that we had met before. Those are the only words I could get out of my mouth. Such a nice man. I did not want to get all upset in front of him and your brothers. I did not want to remind him that he is the one who came to PCH, in the middle of the night for us, to read your CT scan. I did not want to remind him that I looked him in the eyes and asked him if you were going to be o.k. He told me, yes. As he should have. He didn’t know what we were up against. I did not want to tell him, that you had passed away. I could not sit and say those words today. So, I didn’t. I listened as he told me Liam needs glasses. I requested a CT scan for Quinn, because he has been having headaches. He said he would set it up for me. I get to play the overly paranoid mommy role now because I am convinced that both of your brothers have Cancer and are going to die, too. It’s an awesome feeling to live like this, Ro. Just wonderful.

We left there, all upset. I was upset for the obvious reasons. Liam was upset about having to get glasses. As I was backing out of our parking spot, crying, crying, crying; I looked in my rear view mirror. Liam threw something at my head. He was crying and yelling about how he was not going to wear glasses. His exact words were, “IF YOU MAKE ME GET GLASSES I’M GOING TO TAKE THEM HOME AND STEP ON THEM UNTIL THEY BREAK!!!! AND THEN IF YOU MAKE ME TAKE THEM TO SCHOOL, I’M GOING TO THROW THEM IN THE GARBAGE CAN!” I could not help it, but I started dying laughing and could not stop. This coming from Liam; my little rule follower, my easy as pie, independent, does whatever you ask of him and does it happily. He was throwing the biggest fit and it only made me think of you. I could not stop my fit of giggles, but I was trying so hard to play the “let’s settle down and discuss this role.”

Quinn took over instead.

Quinn-  “Liam, those glasses looked nice on you. You will be able to see better.”

Liam-  ” I don’t care! I don’t want glasses! Nobody in my class wears them, they looked stupid!”

Quinn- “Liam, they looked nice on you. They looked better on you, than me.”

Liam- ” I don’t care!!!! Glasses are dumb!”

I took over from here, after I got my laughing under control. I got Liam settled down for the time being. I took your brothers to Chick-fil-A, for lunch. We came home after that and they were tired and their eyes were still dilated. Quinn asked if I would lay down with him. I said sure and we snuggled up in my bed and passed out for a couple of hours. All that crying, wiped me out. I held his hand as we slept, just the way I used to hold your yours. I woke up, feeling strange for having have slept in the middle of the day. I felt disoriented and it took me a minute to realize what exactly I was waking up to. I expected to find you, playing with your brothers. Once I remembered what I was waking up to, I felt like I had been hit with a ton of bricks.

I had to get to Dr. Joanne’s office for our session today. Papa came over to watch Liam and Quinn. I was crying before I even pulled into her building. I gathered up my notebook, with my “homework.” I walked into find her in the front office putting some things away. She hugged me and we headed back to her office. She had a little treat for me. A picture frame that came with a big magnet that attached to it. It said, “Rockstar.” So sweet and thoughtful of her. We jumped right into where we left off last week.  I told her all the things that have consumed me all week long. The panic attacks again. The guilt, sadness, shame, regret. How everyone I love is either, sick, dying, or going to leave me. You left me, so why shouldn’t everyone else? We talked about each one of those things, in depth and where they were coming from and what they were about. The real reason they are there. I told her I killed you. I told her I promised you I would save you and that you must be so mad/sad/lonely/hurt that I didn’t. I cried almost the entire time I was there.

You know one of the things I appreciate most about Dr. J? There are so many things, but one of the things that sticks out the most is when I fully break down, and go to the darkest of dark places, like telling her that I think I killed you… she doesn’t tell me I didn’t, like everyone else does. I’m sure she thinks it, but she doesn’t tell me this. She lets me feel it, she let’s me talk about it, she let’s me cry about it, she let’s me say it until I’m blue in the face. I know why she does this. It’s because she knows what it’s like to feel the exact same way that I do. Like she killed her baby, too. She’s felt the exact same way I am feeling right now, and she knows the answer is not to tell me I did not. She knows the answer is giving my time to feel this, believe this, and hopefully, I’ll finally come to a place, where I don’t really believe this anymore. She knows it takes time to get to that place, and I will get there when I’m ready. But she knows I’m not going to get to this place by being pushed by anyone. I’ve got to get there, myself.

I left her office, with a slew of books and some tough homework assignments. I left there feeling as if I had just had an exorcism. I looked down at my phone and it read 6:30 p.m. What the hell, I thought to myself. I had been there for over 2 hours. No wonder I felt so exhausted and beat down. It was worth it. I feel somewhat peaceful tonight and sleep might actually happen. We shall see, my little one. I’m going to go now, Ro. I miss you, I love you, I hope you are safe. I am so, so, sorry I couldn’t save you. I hope I can forgive myself one day. I love you, my not spicy monkey. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

I’m leaving you all tonight with something Dr. Joanne shared with me that she had written. I sat with my eyes closed as my tears just poured and I listened to her voice. I sat there and thought, wait, did I write this? How did she get into my head? Everything she read to me tonight, was if she had taken the words out of my soul and put them on paper. Except she does it much more eloquently than I do. I am so thankful for her sharing her words tonight. In a place that feels so lonely, it is nice to sit across from someone who really does get it. As much as I wish that she didn’t; I am thankful that she does. For those of you who don’t understand, because, thankfully, you have never lost a child, Joanne’s words could not explain the feelings that come with it, any better. Thanks, J. You are one of the most amazing gifts to this world.

 

I waited a long time to watch the film The Rabbit Hole. It was intentional. There was too much media frenzy around the film, and I wanted to allow that to settle, wanted to be clear and present with the film in an unadulterated way.


Disappointedly, the film didn’t move me. I shed a tear, maybe two, but there was an emotional lacking for me, an inauthenticity in Kidman’s character with which I simply could not relate. But of course. How could a Hollywood actor possibly capture a mother’s grief? It reminds me of a myth I’d heard long ago about Michelangelo’s Pieta; he was hesitant to sculpt Mary’s face for fear he could not possibly carve, with requisite honesty, the pain of a grieving mother.

After the film, I contemplated the many movies I’ve watched since my induction into bereaved parenthood in 1994. Many depicted traumatic death, and some even child death. Yet, none of the Hollywood enactments resonated any degree of substantive authenticity.

Tonight, I watched The Greatest for a second time. The first time I watched it, I found it to be one of the most sincere portrayals of parental grief and, though it still felt inadequate, I noticed that some memories unearthed during the second watching. Memories of the real storywhich had fallen victim to an ad hoc amnesiac state, but which were rapidly resurrected. These memories evoked powerful emotions tonight.

So, what is the real story- the one I wish Hollywood would tell- so the non-bereaved could really experience the truth about grief after the death of a child?

– I wish they would tell the story of how every single cell in our body hurts. Literally, it hurts from tip of our toes to the ends of our hair. The pain is indescribably physical and as merciless as the Mayan heart sacrifices of its helpless victims.

– I wish they would tell how difficult even basic bodily functions are: drinking becomes work as our throat is constantly tight and closes off to water, or food, or oxygen, or sustenance. Or how we are unable to carry groceries or the mail or the sadness in our arms as they ache with the phantom weight of our children. Or how we cannot breathe because of the concrete slabs on our chest, heavy and dense and gray. Or how our legs buckle and we cannot bear to see other children, especially the ones who are their age and with their names walking gleefully with their parents; parents who may or may not take a moment or two for granted but who will tuck them into bed tonight as we lay sobbing, our salty tears saturating the shag carpeting, in our dead child’s room.

– I wish they would tell the story of how, on the rare occasion when we do sleep, we awaken in the morning, nearly every morning, wishing we hadn’t.

– I wish they would tell the story of how we look in the mirror at our unrecognizable self every day and wonder at the stranger we see. And how every relationship in our lives change, even our conflicted relationship to the imposter-self. And how all the others- family, friends, colleagues- want us to be the person we were previously, but we know that person is irretrievably lost.

– I wish they would tell the story of how our primal mourning is most often done alone and that the supernatural sound of this mourning frightens us, like an wild animal being killed and eaten or like the flogging of human flesh or like the torturing of a prisoner or like Satan being cast from G*d’s presence.

– I wish they would tell the story of grief’s incessant state of craze: pacing the hallways late at night, the inability to focus on anything, the intolerance of music, or laughing, or expressions of joy, sensitivity to lights and other benign stimuli, racing video tapes that replay in our heads as we wish-for-changed outcomes, the constant self-accusations of blame and responsibility, the unconscious roulette of risk with Death as our challenger.

– I wish they would tell the story of how we are terrorized by insidious ruminations of our other children dying, and we either over-protect to maintain illusory control or under-love to maintain illusory protection from recurrent grief.

– I wish they would tell the story of the dark and ugly thoughts about other people and their happy and naive lives. Or how we become fierce imaginary protectors of children who are neglected, or unloved, or scolded, or abused by their “parents”.

– I wish they would tell the story of how a mere turn of a corner in the grocery store that confronts us with baby food, or car magazines, or cereals can unhinge us to the point of utter helplessness and madness, frantically abandoning $200 worth of unpurchased frozen foods for an exit sign .

– I wish they would tell the story of how this brings us to our wounded knees. On the floor. Face in the dirt. Begging and pleading for a different life. Willing to do anything, anything to turn time back and go through another door. Or how we fantasize about time machines and contemplate self-institutionalization.

– I wish they would tell the story of a pain so deep and so wide that no word in the English language can begin to express it. That no subsequent child, no new job or house, no distraction- no pill- no drug- no G*d- no joy- no self-induced suffering is sufficient to fill the chasm of the loss.

– I wish they would tell the story of how we pray, even in the absence of a belief in a Creator- we pray, that the suffering would end, by any means.

-I wish they would tell the story of how well-meaning others cause us to recoil with their platitudes and mindless remarks about G*d’s will and His garden, the one which needs tending, and something idiotic about making lemonade.

– I wish they would tell the story of how this mother and that mother and this father and that father would have given their life in a moment to save their child, and that we continue to negotiate that with a G*d in whom we may or may not believe for months or even years.

– I wish they would tell the story of how life goes on but that everything has changed, and that we have died in a sense, and must choose to be reborn.

– Mostly, I wish that they would tell the story of a bittersweet survival that does not include a fallacious or contrived “end” to the grief after a prescribed six months. This is not reality for most of us. Yes, I wish they would tell a true story of the anguish absent the “happy” ending. Not that we, at some point, aren’t capable of pure love and joy and contentment. In fact, having really “looked into the eyes of such sorrow” is the only way to such pure joy, as Gibran says. But there is no bypassing the tortures of child death, it’s effects perennial and relentless for much longer than the unsuspecting world believes.

And there is so much more I wish they would tell.

I wish they would tell the story because I wish others knew. Certainly, if the others knew, they would have to be kinder, more compassionate, more loving to bereaved parents. Wouldn’t they?

Wouldn’t they?

Yet, I find even my own words fall woefully short of the real story.

As the Michelangelo-myth goes, some things cannot be expressed in sculpture or form or film or with words. The real story is one we can never truly tell.


I Hate Cancer. But I love Tuesday.

A mama wrote this to me. I’ve been meaning to post it, because I think it’s beautiful. I knew about Tuesday before Ronan passed away. I hope they are together.

Date:  Weds, May 11, 2011

Dear Bereaved Mom,

Bereaved.  Bereft.  I hate that dumb-ass word.  No one in the real world uses it.  Just us.  Just us “bereaved” people that can’t find a real word that doesn’t suck.  Just us that live just beyond the real world, where the sidewalk ends.   Anyway, I read your words about R’s leaving and all.  Oh, how I felt them.  Did I write them?  I read them and I wanted to tell you that at 2 years and 4 months, I’m still looking for her.  I wanted to tell you that at 2 years and 4 months, the same amount of time that she spent on this planet, I still freak out when I only spot 3 in the crowd and not the 4 that I know I have.  I wanted to tell you other things, too.

Did you imagine that you would make a hair appointment right after your child died?  I sat in that chair some 70 hours after she died and had all my hair cut off.  That girl with long hair had a dead kid.  I’d like my short hair back, please.  I sat in that chair and thought, “She must think I’ve lost my fucking mind.”  I’m still not sure that I haven’t.

The gift of shock.  I re-did Piper’s room from top to bottom the next day.  Went shopping for new bedding.  Didn’t want her to look over at her twin’s empty bed even one more night.  When they wouldn’t sell me the floor model of the quilt I wanted, the one with the two little birds, I wanted to scream, “Her twin sister died yesterday!  Just sell me the mother fucking quilt!”  Wouldn’t that have been awesome?

Did you sit at that baseball game feeling like you were doing it all wrong?  Like they all knew how to have a newly dead kid and you didn’t?  My God, are they seriously at the School’s Winter Festival less than 24 hours after their kid died?  I would have to be institutionalized.

I don’t know.  I still don’t know much of anything.  These are a few things I know:

1. Time does not heal all wounds.  This is bullshit that makes other people feel better.

2. You are still capable of laughing so hard you cry.

3. Your children (and your husband) (and you) will be pretty much be ok.  This might piss you off.  Your Brother Is Dead!  Act Like It!

4. Everything is more beautiful and precious.

5. SIGNS are real.  Don’t question it.

6. You will be pissed off a whole lot more.  You will still be happy a whole lot too.

7. You will think that you, and everyone you love, has cancer.

8. They probably don’t.

9. You are insanely strong.

10. You don’t want anyone to tell you that you are insanely strong, because, fuck off, I’m not strong, I’m weak and broken, can’t you see that?!  Why the hell am I grocery shopping?

So, there is a weird little list for you.  It’s not official or anything.  I just made it up on the fly.  It might change tomorrow, but that’s what it looks like at just shy of 2 years and 4 months and a couple glasses of wine on a snow day in May.

Oh, yeah, I also wanted to tell you, that although everyone will say stupid things, it’s because they love you guys and love R.  Or, maybe because they are stupid.  People will reach out to you and try to offer advise and insinuate that they know a thing or two about how you feel or what you’re going through.  They mean well.  (I mean well)  And it’s true, it’s the worst thing that you can live through, but you will think up even worse.  He’s missing, but someday you will come to a place where you know he’s not actually “missing”.  He’s got to be somewhere, because you can still feel his presence.   It’s the parents of the actual “missing children” that I pray for the hardest.  My prayer for you is that you continue to feel his presence and eventually find peace in knowing you will be together again.  Whatever and whenever that may be.  It can not come soon enough.

I’m so sorry that R had to go.  I asked T to show him the ropes.

peace and love and tears,

Jessica

Tuesday’s mama

Dear overly concerned blog reader

I read your long comment today. I thought about it a lot. I just want to clear up a couple of things. First of all, a lot of the things I write, I write during the middle of the night, when I cannot sleep and my feelings come flooding out and rightfully so. I write without much thought, but with feeling instead. I understand how this may be misconstrued and sometimes I may be overly dramatic, but my feelings are always honest and true. The whole “no fear,” thing that has gotten a lot of people pretty concerned, is nothing to be worried about. I promise you all, I will not be jumping off the Coronado Bridge anytime soon. Am I less scared of things in life now that I have just lost my son? Absolutely. It would be one thing if I was shooting up heroin in the streets of a back alley, playing chicken with a train or even skydiving…. but come on peeps… I don’t even drink wine. I’m channeling my fear into doing things like surfing, which I’ve wanted to try my entire life, but was always too scared to. My running at night… what a stupid thing to be scared of before all of this. I’m always aware of my surroundings and it just happens to be at night when I am my most restless and taking my energy out on the pavement is my way of keeping myself in check. The living without fear thing anymore is coming more from a place of not being afraid to speak up, trying new things, and living a life that is worth living by putting fear aside and living with passion; as you never know when your time will be up. It is not about hurting myself, but more about pushing myself to be the best version of myself that I can be. To do that, a big part comes of letting go of fear. I am sorry if my posts sometimes get a little too dark, but darkness is a part of my life right now. I hope it won’t be forever, but it is here and as long as it is, I’m going to deal with it and not sweep it under the rug. I am hurt and I am sad. But I also have a conscious and a little chip programmed in the back of my head that tells me that I cannot get too crazy, because I have a family to live for. You know when you can all become officially concerned?? When I stop writing. When I stop speaking the truth. When I stop running and being active. When I stop being a mom. When I start doing every drug known to mankind and when I lock myself in my room and don’t come out for days. I just watched my son die and I did none of the things above. I’m pretty sure that I’ve hit the all time low that I’m going to hit and none of those things happened. So, overly concerned reader. You can relax. I am not going to let anything happen to Liam and Quinn’s mommy. This mommy was a mommy first to those to boys and I plan on staying that way.

I understand where you are coming from, but I can’t say I agree with much of it. There was a lot of judgement in your comment and you know I am not a huge fan of that. The fact of the matter is, you are just a reader. You don’t know me, my life, my family, and what goes on in our lives every second of the day. You are making judgements from an outsider looking in, by a blog that I am putting out there and that’s not fair. But it’s to be expected. It is my choice to write this blog, and I know judgements are everywhere and I’m o.k. with that. I am secure enough within myself to handle the daggers thrown my way. Are the things you said something that I would ever say to a stranger whom just lost their son? No way. Have you lost a child?? I am thinking not. You said you have lost loved one’s before, but I’m sensing not a child. That is like comparing apples to oranges and it has no relevance to a bereaved mother. Something in particular you said, was really out of line. You are putting words into my mouth and that is not o.k. with me. This was your lovely line: “you make it sound very clear that Ronan was your favorite child, and Liam and Quinn are being forced to live in his shadow. i dread the day they read your blog for themselves, because as much as you do love them – and it is clear you love them dearly – you state flat out that Ronan was your soulmate, your best friend, your partner in crime, your *everything*.”

So, lady….Wow. I’m not sure where to even start with this one. All I know is that I had no idea that I wasn’t allowed in my life to have all 3 of my children be my favorites, all three of them be my soul mates, all three of them, my everything. Because they are. If this had be Liam or Quinn, I would be feeling the same things I am feeling with the loss of Ronan. I love all three of my boys equally. Do I have different bonds with them? Of course. Was my bond with Ronan deeper? Yes, as of now, it is. But I think that is just a part of life, and bonds change due to time and circumstance. If you had just spent the last 8 months, fighting for your baby’s life, 24 hours a day, there is no doubt in my mind that the bond would be deeper and stronger than anything that has ever existed. To say that Ronan was my favorite is absolutely true. But so are Liam and Quinn. I love them just as much as I love Ronan and that will never change. I owe my life to Liam and Quinn because they have saved it. They are saving me every second of the day by reminding me of why I have to get out of the bed every morning, why I have to engage and interact with people when I really don’t want to. Those two little boys and my husband are the only things healing me right now. You really shouldn’t be afraid of the day that they read this blog; because they know in their hearts the truth. They will never doubt my love for them and if anything, I hope that this teaches them about the importance of living a life that is true and real. If you knew my twins, which you don’t, you would understand that they will not be scarred for life from this. You would understand that the things that they are learning from going through this are to always be proud of who they are, and they are both so different from Ronan. We embrace and encourage them to be who they are and always have which is why they are such amazing little guys. They will never live in Ronan’s shadow because to us, Ronan will never be a shadow. He will forever be a light that burns like the sun, he will forever be the most beautiful star in the sky. He will forever be the reason that Liam and Quinn hold their heads up high, love life, help others, and embrace all the beauty that they get to experience in a day, while learning never take things for granted. He will be the one helping as we push them to try harder and to become the best human beings that they are capable of. I, as there mother, will accept whatever this may be, whatever mistakes they make, by guiding them the as best I can and letting them learn by just loving them unconditionally.

I don’t re read what I write, but I don’t remember ever writing anything about telling the twins that they cannot express their fear. Am I missing something? If anything, I am pushing them to talk about their fear and whatever else they are feeling during the day. We spend a lot of the day talking about how they are feeling, what they are feeling, and I am teaching them that everything they are feeling, is normal and natural due to what we have just gone through. They cry when they are sad, laugh when they are happy, and are for the most part, are just trying to be little boys who are smothered with all the love in the world. Yesterday, when they were complaining about being cold in the ocean, not because they were scared, I made them suck it up and continue on. And I am so glad I did because you should have seen the waves they stared to ride and what a good time they ended up having. For just losing their brother, they are as happy as they can possibly be. They smile, laugh, fight, cry…. they do all the normal things that 8 years olds should be doing and Woody and I deal with it all by keeping our minds open and rules in place. We are taking this time at the beach to completely engulf ourself with each other. I feel like this is the best medicine. Not to shove therapy down their throats. What would you do? Keep them in Arizona all summer, throw them in a ton of therapy, all while they get to be reminded every second of the day that Ronan just died? No thanks, lady. I met with someone from New Hope in Phoenix who deals with grieving families for a living. She is very well-respected, educated, and this is what she does everyday and she has been doing it for a very long time. She loved the idea of us getting away together as a family, to take this time to heal, and to come back after the summer and start something together; as a family. She thought that was the best idea for us and I couldn’t agree more. This is our choice, not yours. This is working for us and as much as I may sound like I am not healing, I am. I have said before that I am broken into a million little pieces. But each day I can feel a piece being put back together and I believe a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are here, together.

As far as me calling you names for stating your opinions, that’s not going to happen. I don’t know you, so that would be totally unfair. I’ll just tell you to stick it where the sun don’t shine instead. Don’t even get me started on the not telling Liam and Quinn that Ronan is watching over them. What the hell is scary about that? If anything, while they are going through life, making mistakes and causing trouble.. if they choose to do so…. they will think of Ronan and know he would be laughing with them and right there by their sides. I am not going to turn this into a “OHHHH, you’d better not do anything wrong because Ronan “The Watcher,” will be there and he see’s everything you do.” Um, no. That is just creepy. I don’t think I’ve ever told them that Ro is up in heaven, looking down on them. It’s just been more of a Ronan is always with us, even though he’s not kind of a thing. He will forever be a part of our family and we intend to live with him in our hearts for the rest of our lives. They know he will be watching over them though. Guiding them, keeping them from harm, because now, he is their guardian angel.

So, overly concerned stranger. I probably should have just ignored your comment but I just wanted to set the record straight. We are doing the best we can and the choices we are making, are ours. All I’m asking is for a little respect and I have no doubt that mistakes will be made; but such is life. This is a learning process for all of us, but we are a very strong family. We are very strong individuals. We are going to be o.k. and we are going to heal, together. As much as I write things that are hard to read, it is my truth and I will not be denied of it. As much as I say I’m not going to survive this; I know I will because I refuse to let cancer have the final say.

The last little “proof,” that I am going to be o.k…. An email from my bestie today. She knows me better than anyone and she know what her role is right now. To love me and support me the way she always has and will always do. I love you, TT.

Just wanted to send you a note this morning to tell you how much I love you. I miss you. and how much I miss Ronan. Marisa and I got to have a little dinner together last night and we talked about him for a long time. I feel like I haven’t gotten to talk about him with people as much, they are scared to talk about it. But not me and Ris, it felt good and made us happy to remember. We talked about him as a baby, how he was a little devil, how he was the most beautiful baby we’ve ever seen and mostly how we still feel him around all the time. Marisa says she sees him in so many things that are beautiful, everyday. I told her about the hummingbird and how I don’t normally believe that but I couldn’t help it this time. I’m sending you a big hug and letting you know my heart is with you every second of the day. I’m thinking about you and Woody and the boys. I am with you in the no fear living…nothing will ever be the same. You are doing an amazing job, getting out of bed and being a strong mom for the boys. No one will ever question where Ronan got his fighting spirit. Continue to fight for each day , for him and the boys. I love you and miss you more than you know.

To everyone else who is concerned or worried. Thank you. Thank you for being worried and for good reason. But that you for doing it in such a way that you make me feel loved and not judged. Thank you for saying the right words, even when you say nothing at all and for respecting my space. I love you all so much. G’nite to you all. Sweet dreams. G’nite Ro baby. I missed you today. I missed you every second of today like I will do everyday for the rest of this long life without you. I hope you are safe.

xoxo