Rain, rain, don’t go away…and please don’t let Poppy be born dead.

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Ronan. It’s the middle of the night and I can hear the rain. It’s pouring down outside. I just went to check on your brothers and in doing so, I have to walk by your empty room. I peaked inside. Nobody was there. That reality never gets any easier for me. I think I ended up losing my shit yesterday. It was really triggered a couple of days ago when I came home in the middle of the day from somewhere and I walked into our quiet house. I had been working at our kitchen table and I had left a bunch of packages on top of it, right where you would normally be sitting. As I turned the corner to our kitchen, I thought there was somebody sitting in your spot. I thought it was you. I imagined it was and how I would react. I imagined scooping you up, kissing you all over, crying tears of joy, and saying over and over that I always knew you were really coming back. This image has haunted me for days now. I was out all day yesterday, being productive and came home after a long day of trying to be a part of this world. That’s when I lost my shit and could do nothing but pace our house, crawl in my bed, and cry for hours on end. Your daddy came home to see me in bed. I had gotten a text from my mom friend, Sarah, asking if I was going to support group tonight at Dr. Jo’s. I told her no, that sitting around listening to everyone talk about their dead kids, was not a good place for me. Especially as of now, due to the life that is growing inside of me. Support group is hard anyway but it’s even harder to go being pregnant. Sarah said she selfishly wished I was coming as she was wanting to see me. I wanted to see her as well and her partner, Rae Ann. Noah’s mom’s. I sent Jo a little text to ask if she was leading group. She said she was and she could see me before hand as well. I threw on some appropriate clothes (pants included) and hardly said 2 words to your daddy as I headed out the door with my tear-stained cheeks and blood-shot eyes. Our house was screaming at me and I could no longer take it.

I got to Jo’s a sobbing mess and told her what was going on. She sat, asked me some questions, gently reminded me of all the stress/crap/petty fucking stupid fucking shit/insane pretend problems that normal people have that I don’t understand anymore that I’ve been trying to deal with and understand/the fact that I’m about to have a baby/ and how your two years is approaching. No wonder I am freaking the fuck out. She knows these next few months are going to be hard. May is right around the corner, you know. I just sat and cried and talked when I could. Before I knew it, it was time for group to start. I had decided to stay mostly because I just wanted to be with Noah’s mom’s. It was a pretty full group. It went a little something like this. Stillbirth, me-cancer, stillbirth, stillbirth, stillbirth, 8-month old unknown cause of death, 3-year-old just stopped breathing, 8th month old-can’t remember, still birth, still birth, murdered child, 8 month old again. Of course you know why I think Poppy is going to be born dead. Because I live in the world of childhood cancer and still births. I talked a little but was mostly too upset to even tell your story. Support group never gets easier. The death of your child, never gets easier. It’s not something we will ever overcome. It’s not like AA, where we can recover from our disease, start over, and live a clean, healthy life. Our disease never goes away. I think about this a lot, especially when I am in a group setting like tonight. How the world is so accepting of people who are trying to recover from alcohol or drug abuse. How there is so much love and support out there for them over something that is a choice for most people. I understand that being an alcoholic or abusing drugs is an ugly, powerful disease in life, but most people, not all, make the choice to do these things. None of us parents, made the choice for our kids to get sick and die, yet there is so little love and support out there for us. Society doesn’t want to acknowledge us, Betty Ford doesn’t fit for us, the government doesn’t care about us. So where do we go and what are we left to do, to get through this?

In my dream of all dreams, after I get this care center built, I want to help Jo with one of her little dreams. That is creating a safe place, almost like a rehab for these parents to come to that have lost a child. A safe place for parents to come, with the proper counselors and proper kind of compassionate care that they so need. A place where bereaved parents can try to process their grief before being shoved out into the cruel, harsh, happy go fucking lucky world again where everyone has a living child, except for them. A Betty Ford for bereaved parents in a way. I would have went to a  place like that. I think it would have helped me a lot in the beginning. Oh, people wanted to send me away alright. But it was only to a mental ward where that shadow would have haunted me for the rest of my life because I’m sure I would have been given a permanent  diagnoses of bullshit that would have followed me around forever. This is a path of life that we as parents, will never get off of. There is no changing our course. There is no bringing our children back. We are stuck here, forever. It’s like the ultimate prison where we as parents have done nothing wrong except for love our kids with everything we have, yet we are serving a life sentence for a crime we didn’t commit. (well, unless you are someone like Casey Fucking Anthony, then you should rot in hell a.k.a. a real jail cell for the rest of your life)

There is no place for parents to go so we are all forced back out into a world that does not exist for us and we are expected to be o.k. Hey, our kid or kids just died but we’ll get over it, right? Life just goes on and we are expected to be strong because being strong is the only choice we have. It’s wrong. We all need a break from being this strong once in a while. Being this strong can be torture at times. Bereaved parents need a safe place to go where their children are remembered and they can take a break from being strong for a while. As much as I think support group is great, a tangible place where parents could go to for longer period of time than an hour a month, would be so much freaking better. Add it to my list of big dreams. It seems so obvious to me and I don’t understand why it doesn’t already exist. I guess it’s because Dr. Jo hasn’t done it yet and she is the only one fit for this job. Someday, I promise this is going to be a reality and I will do whatever I can to help her with this.

I have to run today, Ro baby. I have an interview in a few minutes. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Thanks for the rain last night.

xoxo

I am in love with your sister and her hicupps

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Ronan. I have no idea what I did this week. Not only do I have grief brain, I have pregnancy brain to go with it as well. It’s amazing that I can even drive a freaking car. I feel foggy, heavy, sad, tired… this is NOT depression, P.S.

It’s hormones, grief, and pregnancy. And no… I do not need medication. Nor will I ever need medication for my sadness which is just that. Sadness from losing you. My sadness will never go away and I am o.k. with that. It will forever be a part of who I am. I will deal with my sadness in ways that work for me and no pill will be required. I have been daydreaming a lot. About popping this Poppy out and being able to be free again. Free to go running. Free to go hiking. Free to blow off some of this crap that I have been holding in due to not being able to exercise the way I want to or need to. It’s the only thing that makes my head less foggy. I have been missing my running and hiking so very much. That is the time I feel closest to you. When I am connecting with nature and myself. It’s a good thing that this pregnancy is coming to an end because I am about to burst not having the outlet I am so desperately craving.

Most of my week was spent playing catch up with some things and taking care of your brothers while trying to rest up a bit. Your daddy has been the best helper, as always. I am slowly getting ready for your Poppy sister. It is still one day at a time with all of this as I am being very careful about trying to only buy the things we will need right away. I’ve been making Fernanda so nervous about everything that she just went ahead and ordered Poppy’s crib for me, and didn’t tell me until after! Leave it to her to just take things into her own hands. I couldn’t possibly love her more. I sat with Stacy yesterday and went over a list of things I do not have, but will need. Things such as diapers, burp cloths, bottles, a boppy. I ran to the mall today to exchange something and talked myself into going to Pottery Barn Kids to look at some bedding. Your baby sister needs some sheets. As soon as I got in there I was so overwhelmed. I snuck back to take a peek at what they had. I am so indecisive that I almost had a panic attack. I was walking past the counter and the sales lady goes, “Do you need help?” I just politely smiled and told her no. She then goes, “Have you registered?” I just laughed and said, “No, I have not.” I knew I was not getting off that easy and sure enough she goes, “You look like you’re about to pop and you have not registered?!” It was obvious that not only was not registering a sin, but that I had 3 heads as well. I just smiled and walked off. I was not about to explain our situation and how I had tried to register for baby things, but could not even get past the first few things that I was going to register for. I found myself back looking at the boy stuff and all the new Star Wars stuff they have gotten in. I was so sad as I ran my hands across the new Star Wars sheet set and thought how I would have totally bought those sheets for you. All I wanted to do was crawl into the Pottery Barn bed, pull the covers over my head and never come out again. I practically ran out of the store after that. Fuck that place.

I came home and finished cooking up the best meal ever for your daddy and brothers. My short ribs and mashed potatoes. It felt nice to do something nice for all of them. They have been taking such good care of me. Your brothers are the best little helpers around. I knew I wasn’t going to be home for dinner so I wanted to make sure they didn’t have to eat out, again. They were so grateful and thankful for the home cooked meal. I skipped out shortly after they left for basketball practice to go see Dr. Jo.

I spent a couple of hours with her. I’ve been trying to spend more time with her, talking about everything now that I have slowed down a bit and have more time. It feels good. As we were sitting there tonight, Poppy kept thumping me in the same spot over and over again. I said to Jo, “Feel this. What is she doing?!” Jo came over and felt my stomach. After a minute she goes, “She has the hiccups!” OMG. Cutest thing ever. I don’t remember ever feeling you boys have the hiccups in my tummy. The thought of this little baby girl, hiccupping in my stomach, pretty much made my night. I spent the rest of my time with Dr. Jo going over a lot of things and now I am so beat I think I have no choice but to end this and pass out now. I cannot possibly form another thought. Our sessions are always a lot of work and always exhaust me. Your brothers are in my room with me and I am going to snuggle up to them. We all miss you so much.

I love you, Ro. I miss you so much. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, little man.

xoxo

Cancer is a whore. My friend, Robyn, told me so.

 

Ronan. I am tired. Living this life without you is exhausting. I hardly remember the days when I used to think you wore me out due to your never-ending energy. I used to think taking care of you was a lot of work. Well, let me assure you, taking care of a dead child is 100 times more exhausting. It is 100 times more exhausting than the temper tantrums, throwing up, crying, teaching, arguing, potty training, bathing, feeding, reading, singing, playing, snotty noses, laughing, loving, and all the other beautiful things that come with raising a child. Taking care of a dead child is 24 hours of pure and non-stop torture that on days like today, leaves me feeling more exhausted than running a fucking marathon.

We are still in Washington. I do well here. It’s no secret. My heart is not in AZ. I won’t live there forever. There will come a day when I will leave. Your daddy knows this. He is on board with this. He will go wherever we decide to go, as a family. I’ve already thrown out a few places as options. It’s a decision we have both made. My heart does not belong in that state. It never has. I have only a couple of things keeping me there, as of now. But those couple of things mean too much to me to leave. As long as they are there, I will stay there. I’m not saying what or who they are, but I know you know. Because you’ve always known. Right now, we are there because it is where we need to be. Because right now it is what is best for Liam and Quinn. I can put myself aside for the sake of the two of them for the time being. I can sacrifice myself for those boys’ no questions asked. But Phoenix leaves me feeling restless and chaotic. The only peace I get is when I am hiking up a mountain in 110 degree weather. That tells me right there, that there is a problem. I know what my main problem is… that being not having you anymore. But Phoenix only seems to add fuel to the fire. I can make due for now. I can be thankful that we have your Nana’s house to come to so that I can have a little peace and quiet. I can be thankful for things like rainy summer days, scratches from sticker bushes, muddy feet from exploring the never-ending rivers/streams/ponds that surround us… I can be thankful that your brothers have this place to come to, to experience childhood the way it should be. Simple, calm, and beautiful. You don’t get much more beautiful than this state. I have always thought so. It makes the 8 months of rain, totally worth it. But I am also a big fan of the rain so I may be biased. I am an even bigger fan now because I feel like my body and soul are in a constant state of rain due to all of my tears. It’s nice to not wake up to the blinding freaking sun every single day. The mornings here are damp and foggy. The air is clean. The sun comes out just in time to kiss my lips for a few hours and then it goes back to sleep. My heaven.

I’ve been doing a lot of playing with your brothers. So much playing that we are all 3 falling into bed and we hardly have the energy to say goodnight to one another and you, before it’s lights out. That never happens in AZ. It’s been a constant stream of baseball, board games, swinging, basketball, and Papa time. That Papa time is my favorite time of all. Your papa and I took Liam and Quinn to Mount St. Helen’s yesterday. The world that I watch Liam and Quinn slip into around him is magical. It’s one of my favorite places to be. The laugher and adventures are endless. He is the youngest 72-year-old that I have ever known. It’s like I’m watching 3 kids play whenever I am with him. He was one of your best friends and vise versa. He misses you so much. Yesterday, when we stopped to explore a little bit, we were throwing some rocks into the water. There were a ton of sticks and wood pieces floating around. The kind that you used to make your papa load the back of his truck up with. “More papa, more!” you used to yell to him. We would always bring home 10-20 pieces of wood and sticks for you. Your papa found a really good one yesterday and said, “I’d better get this one, for Ronie.” “Ronie, Ronie, Macaroni!” he would often sing to you. I just looked at him and said thank you. What I really meant was thank you for being the best step-dad ever. For being the best papa ever. For being the best friend to my 3 boys. For never forgetting you, Ronie, and for never being afraid to talk about you, sometimes like you are still here. I know how hard this has been for him. He loves you so much. He would have traded places with you, in a heartbeat. I know he is constantly asking himself why you and not him. We all are baby boy; we all are.

I think about you all the time. I told your Sparkly that I swore I think about you, 24 hours a day. He said he knew. I know he knows this because he thinks of you everyday too. He misses you. I have been thinking about a lot of things lately, trying to give myself some peace of mind which won’t ever happen, but I need just a sliver of it, to get me through this. For me to say that I 100% know where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing is something I am not willing to eat up on a plate of bullshit. Hello! Am I the only crazy one out there, who will admit this?!! NOBODY REALLY KNOWS where you are, Ro baby. WTF! I can fully respect what people believe… but I am so tired of hearing, “Oh, hello… I am 100% sure of where Ronan is. He is safe and happy and he is where he should be. ” Fuck off people. That is not the right way to approach me. Why don’t you just be honest and say, “Oh, hello… I don’t 100% know where Ronan is, but this is what I believe.” Thank you. I can deal with the “I believe part.” I don’t have a problem with the “I believe part.” I won’t even tell you to fuck off. I will politely smile and tell you thank you, instead. I just want some freaking honesty. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so. Unless you are officially hanging out in heaven, with Ronan, dancing on clouds and then you get to come back here and tell me about it, and put it on a DVD for me to watch…. I am not going to 100% be sure of anything. That’s honest. That’s real. It fucking sucks but I am not willing to sugar coat the life and death of my child just because it makes other people comfortable.

I know what I think I believe. I know what I think I don’t believe. I know that I am still learning and growing, but no matter how angry I get, I still have a shred of faith that I hold on to. It’s dear to me no matter how different or how out of the norm it is. I don’t like normal. I grew up with a dad who used to mediate on top of compost piles. Is that weird? Maybe to some. It wasn’t weird to me. It was his way of teaching me to love nature and the world around us, but mostly to connect to ourselves, our hearts and our spirituality. I know that my beliefs are ever-changing and ever-growing. What I believe today, may not be the same, tomorrow. I find that fascinating and it makes me proud that I have the strength to question everything out there when I could easily just believe in it all, instead. If I want to question if the sky is blue and the grass is green, that is my business. Nobody has the right to try to take that away from me. Not even God himself.

I found a picture of you today, Ronie. I don’t know if I’ve ever called you, Ronie, on here, P.S. Which is weird… because I used to call you that all of the time. Anyway, it was your preschool picture. The one where I can vividly recall the day so well which is unusual for me due to not having much of a memory anymore. You are so beautiful. I put you in one of your favorite orange shirts. Your hair almost matched it in the picture as the color of your hair was so unusual. A copper color almost. Blonder in the summer, but copper was the true color of that mop of hair of yours. I stared at that picture for a long time, before tears sprang to my eyes. I sent a couple of text messages to Dr. JoRo and to my new friend, Robyn. I haven’t really talked about Robyn yet because it just hasn’t been the right time. It’s only been within the last few weeks that we have started to get to know each other. Even though we have more in common than I would like. We both have dead babies thanks to that fuckwad, Neuroblastoma. We met at the NB conference in Austin, Texas. We went out afterwords as a group and I quietly sat back and watched this girl who continued to crack up the entire table with her witty comebacks, smart mouth and silent gun shooting laughter (because she says no sound comes out when she laughs so she shoots guns with her hands instead) Ummmm… who is this girl and can I please be her friend? I got to know her story a bit. I later learned that she not only has one dead child, but two as she had twins after her son, Ezra, and one of them, Price, died due to complications from a very early delivery. It took me a while to wrap my head around this. Wait, two dead babies? Her? Not possible. Not this drop dead gorgeous, funny, young thing sitting right in front of me. Not this gorgeous creature who looks like she is about 19, but has the pain in her eyes of someone who is 3 times her age. But she looks happy. And she can laugh and be carefree and funny! All of the voices in my head were saying, “Whoa. What’s wrong with you? This girl is alright. This girl can function in the normal world. And she has 2 dead babies! Why can’t you?” I left Texas being totally intrigued by this Little Miss Robyn thing. Our friendship has now developed over a series of Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Texting love. I told her that it had to be the two of you, you and Ezra, who are the one’s making our friendship blossom. Because you know we can help each other, through this. I truly think this is the case. Now that I’ve gotten to know Robyn a little better, I can see that she still hurts so badly from losing her babies. That I know she thinks about them as much as I do you. That will never change. Things will never be alright or better. They are just different. And somedays, different can be o.k. and you can still smile and laugh, but the pain never fades away. As she puts it, it moves from your skin to your bones. It never goes away. I sent Robyn that text below tonight. She called cancer, a whore! I told you we were meant to be friends!

I think we are going to make a good team, me, you, your daddy, Robyn, Ezra and her husband, Kyle. I kind of think that Neuroblastoma, doesn’t really stand a chance. I am sorry that any of us have to know this life. I wish it wasn’t this way. Robyn says to tell you, “Hey,” though. Thank both you and Ezra, for helping us find each other. Please be sure to get into some trouble together. I’ll bet you are the best of friends.

I’m ending this novel here tonight, Ro baby. Much to say still but my eyes are red, blurry and sleepy. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. I am always so sorry. Sweet dreams, baby boy. And of course it is now pouring down rain with a side of extra angry, thunder and lightening. Thank you. I hate being apart from you, just as much as you do.

xoxo

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