The summer of the Dolphins

Ronan. I’m not sure what I have written in these past few posts. I think they have been a little dark, scary, and sad though. I’m sorry. I had a better day today. I promise. I tried my best. We took your brothers for lunch and were deciding on going to the Zoo or to play football. They chose football. You would have loved it. You were missed by everyone. It still feels so strange, it just being the four of us. Not right at all. But we made the best of it that we could. After Football, your daddy and Liam went to run some errands. Quinny and I hung out here. As soon as they returned, I had a craving for Pinkberry. Quinn and I hopped in the car to drive to downtown San Diego to pick some up. As I was texting Liz to see if she wanted any, she told me to come over to the bench that she and her mom were sitting on, in front of the El Camino Pool. I parked and walked over with Quinn. Liz started to tell her mom to tell me what they had figured out about all the dolphins we have seen. Karen said no, not in front of Quinn. I sat and just watched the ocean. About 5 minutes later, Quinn spotted the dolphins. Liz started crying. Karen and I held her as the tears rolled down her cheeks. I wasn’t aware of what they had figured out, but I knew it had something to do with the dolphins, Ronan, and me. It has been a strange dolphin summer. Every time I am out by the ocean, they just appear. Liz told Karen tonight, if they appeared when I came over to sit down at the bench,she was going to freak out. They appeared and that is when she started to cry. I knew why. We all know why, Ro. It is your sign to me that you are o.k. That you are happy, playful, and loved….. wherever you are. When I tried to get out to the dolphins on my paddle board the other day, as soon as I got out into the water, they all disappeared. It was weird. The second I was coming back into shore, they appeared right behind me, where I had been moments earlier. It’s like you are telling me, you can see me, but you can’t get too close. You will see me again, but it’s not time yet. You still want me to know you are here, you will always be here until we are ready to go off in our own little world together. I cried on that bench today too with Liz. She then went home and looked up some dolphin symbolism. So beautiful.

Dolphins seen in Christian art are symbolic of resurrection. Some artists utilize the protective, stabilizing, compassionate demeanor of the dolphin as a message of wellbeing to the pure of heart. Some artistic renditions speak of dolphins transporting the spirits of the faithful to Christ’s side upon leaving their physical bodies. Also in Greece, the dolphin is a compatriot of both the god Apollo (sun) and the goddess Aphrodite (moon).This is a key understanding because the dolphin meaning is connected with themes of duality. It has to do with the dolphin being both fish and mammal. It is both of the water, and an air breather. Ergo, dolphin symbolism talks to us about “being in two worlds at once.” Poseidon (Greek), Neptune (Roman)
Themes of kingship, rulership, authority, strength, dominion, freedom, intelligence, compassion and fatherly protection over the entire kingdom (sea).
Eros (Greek), Cupid (Roman)
These gods contribute dolphin meaning of: Love, friendliness, playfulness, sensuality, desire, exploration, curiosity, attraction and joy.
Dionysus (Greek), Bacchus (Roman)
These deities underscore the dolphins ability to uplift, and carries themes of joviality, freedom, wildness, abandon, creative self-expression. The term delphi is noteworthy as the Greek word for dolphin is delphis and its derivative, delphys means womb. This incorporates more lunar and feminine attributes to the dolphin scene. In Celtic animal symbolism, the dolphin as a highly honored creature as it was seen as the protector of sacred wells and sacred water. The dolphin, to the Celtic mind, is the watcher of the waters, and the guardians of all things water-associated. Pirate lore also hails the dolphin as a symbol of protection.

From my love, LIZ::::::: I know you’ve want to see Ronan in your dreams, but I swear… these fucking dolphins, Maya. My mom said when you guys were talking by the pool yesterday, they were there the entire time. I have no doubt in my mind they are the sign you’ve been looking for. I hope you can sleep better tonight knowing that Ro is always ALWAYS by your side. Love you so much.

I do believe this. It’s happened too many times for me not to. I can’t think of one time that I have not been out by the beach and not had them be there too. At the exact same time I am. I know they don’t just hang out there all day and night. It’s a sign indeed. A beautiful sign from my baby boy. Thanks, Ro. You know I needed that, especially after my hard couple of days.

I took Quinn to Pinkberry tonight. He is my little sidekick. Stuck like glue. He is sleeping between your daddy and I with you GiGi on his head. Just like the way you used to sleep with us after you got sick. I miss watching you sleep. I miss you squeaky voice so much. I’ve got to figure out how to get through this without you, Ro. I’ve got to “flip the switch,” as my friend says. I wish it were that simple, that easy. I need a better attitude?? I need to not miss you so much?? I need to find things to occupy my time?? Are those the answers? I don’t know. I hate the unknown. It’s days like today that I am happy that I got out of bed before 9 and I did my best to play with mommy role that feels so unnatural without you. But I did it. Sucked it up and did it.

I got a random text from my little 17-year-old airplane pal. I have not heard from him in forever. He said he was having a bad day, he is lonely, and he is tired of the drama with girls. This made me smile. Not to take away anything from what he is going though at 17, but what wouldn’t I give for those problems. He told me at 17 he just wants someone to share his life with. I told him the only people he needed to be sharing his life with at 17 are his friends and figuring out what truly makes him happy. I told him it could be a lonely journey, but it will be worth it. How if you take care of yourself first, everything will just fall into place. I told him how I understood, how at 17 I felt very restless and wasn’t really sure what I wanted out of my life so I took the time to leave my town and just focus on me. I never looked back. I told him how I have learned the very hard way how precious life really is, how I will forever be destroyed because I don’t get to watch you grow up. I told him that he, Bryson, has everything, right in front of him. My advice to him was not to let the petty things get him down, to take this time and live his life for him and nobody else, travel, get out of Utah, read books, run, play sports, study, fall in love 10 different times, make mistakes, learn from them, and then make them all over again. I think he liked what I had to say as he told me that I had just made his life sound 10 times more exciting. Glad I could help:) You are a good kid, B, so you will be just fine.

OK baby boy. Ambien nights are here. I love you to the moon and back. You are my heart, my soul, my everything, forever. Nothing can take that away. Sweet dreams, I hope you are safe.

xoxo

Game over! I lose, you win! Bring back my baby!

Ronan. Hi my baby. I have not written in a few days. I’m sorry. It’s hard for me to write when your daddy is here and your brothers do not go to bed until super late. I’m not sure what we’ve done. The usual, except these past two days have been really hard on me. Struggling with a lot of things I guess. Panicking that we are coming back to Phoenix soon. I don’t know how I’m going to walk into our empty house without you. How I’m going to go back to our life without you. I’ve done a lot of crying. A lot of screaming. A lot of this cannot be my life. But it is. Nothing can change that.

I remember feeling o.k. just a few days ago. I remember laughing with Liz as we decided to rent paddle boards and take them out in the ocean. We somehow managed to get those monstrous beasts in my car. One stuck out the sunroof, the other one out the back-end of my car as we drove though town with my trunk open. We broke just a few traffic violations. Once we got to the beach, we put on our sunscreen and took our Orange and Lime Green Zinc sunscreen on and wrote “Ro,” on one side of our cheek, and a big star on the other. I told Liz that it was our way of taking you with us and you would protect us from Sharks;) Genius idea. We took Liam and Quinn out with us first, somehow managing to get them past the break of the waves. Quinn was on my board with me as I swam us out further into the ocean. I crawled up on the board with him as I listened to him tell me how we were out too far, how he didn’t like it, how he was scared. I validated all of his feelings but also explained to him that he needed to take in a deep breath and just look at nature and the beauty of the ocean. I talked to him about how important these experiences were in life, because if you don’t take chances trying new things, the beauty of things will never be discovered. He listened to me, but didn’t seem to buy much of it. I paddled him back into shore, and he played on the beach while I went back out into the ocean. I fell in love with paddle boarding or Sup boarding as most people call it. It’s a lot harder than it looks and I was told by a friend, that you are supposed to learn how to do it in the Bay first, then move on to the ocean. Oh well. Go big or go home, right? It was a really peaceful experience although I did get a lot of bumps and bruises. I think Liz may have almost broken her foot due to a wipeout from a wave. Auntie Karen is convinced she needs an x-ray. The thought of just watching her live life and doing something new makes me smile though. I have learned the very hard way just how precious life really is and it makes me so sad to know that you will never be out there paddle boarding. It helped to have Liz there. And also, the dozen of dolphins that appeared. Liz kept saying what a great day it was. I couldn’t have agreed more.

Yesterday, I woke up early as I wanted to have a productive day. I know what happens if I don’t get myself tasks to do or something to wake up for as that is exactly what happened today. I got up before anyone else, I ran to Chula Vista to the car wash there. It is the one I used to always take you to. I got the car washed and on the drive home, I started to panic. The pain and memory of being there without you was just too much. I called Tricia and cried to her, screamed to her how I just wanted you back. How scared I am to go on without you. How I don’t want to. I sat in my car after I got off the phone with her and sobbed for 2 hours. I talked to Doriet for a good half an hour. We talked about you and Esther and how hard of the time we are both having. We seem to be in a very similar place. I talked to Mr. Sparkly Eyes. He did the thing he is best at which seems to be calming me down with his stern, yet compassionate words. He ended the conversation by telling me to get my ass out of the car and inside the house. I listened.

Once inside the house, I showered and tried my best to pull it together for the sake of your brothers. I put on my best “I’m dying on the inside, but smiling on the outside,” act. We went to lunch. I ate my half of sandwich. I threw it up. We got in the car and drove to the Del Mar race tracks. Bad idea. We acted like the perfect family. Somebody in line, waiting to bet, commented on how cool it was that we took our boys to bet on some horses. I just smiled. We went outside and watched a couple of races. My head was spinning. It seemed as if everyone around us was smoking. I couldn’t stop obsessing about it. I finally looked at Woody and said to him, “Look at all of these people, smoking. Why are they doing that?” He just shook his head. Everywhere I looked, people were drinking, laughing, all dressed up. Life was going on. How could it be? How can all of those people, just go on like you are not gone? How do they not all know about you?? I made us leave after about 45 minutes. It was all I could take. Once we got back to our condo, I told your daddy and brothers that I needed a little quiet time. I went down to the pool and sat with Auntie Karen for a couple of hours. I sobbed to her about you. I talked to her. She is worried, she is sad, she is hurting, she is missing you. She sat and held my hand and told me how I can get through this, how I will get through this, because I don’t have a choice. I told her I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. She talked about how that isn’t what you would want, how that wouldn’t be honoring your life. I told her I knew, but all I want is to be with you. She said that she thinks you are always with me. I still wonder where you are. After my day of crying, I somehow managed to get back upstairs and I put myself in bed. I popped an Ambien at 8:30 p.m. Lights out early for me, which I never do.

Guess what time I got out of bed today? 2:00 p.m. Bad mommy. I couldn’t do it today. I slept and cried and slept and cried. I held on to your blanket. Your daddy tried to pull me out of bed. I told him I hated him. I told him he promised me you wouldn’t die. I told him to bring you back. I said a lot of mean things that I shouldn’t have. I am human. I make mistakes. I am sorry for my words, as I didn’t mean them. It is as if I am turning into this person who is going to let cancer win. I’m spinning out of control into a world that I don’t want to be in, but I don’t know if I have the strength left to fight it. I’ve fought this since the second you got sick. I’m tired. Am I going to have to fight this hard for the rest of my life?? Will I ever feel normal again?? Will there ever come a day that I can just do something so simple and sweet like enjoy the sweet San Diego sun without feeling like a knife has just been ripped through my heart when I see families with their 3 boys, riding bikes around the island??

Today, after your daddy pried me out of bed, I got up and showered. We headed out for a movie. Captain America. I was restless. Quinn didn’t like it. I took Olivia and Quinn to the bathroom in the middle of the movie. We didn’t go back to our seats after that. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t concentrate, my mind kept wandering to places it shouldn’t be. The 3 of us walked around Fashion Valley instead. We met your daddy and Liam at P.F. Changs for dinner. We colored a Kitty Cat for Liz and sent her a picture of it. I engaged as best as I could. I played a game of scrabble with Liam on my phone. He beat me. I was happy to let him;)

Once we returned home, I slipped out for a much-needed 8 mile run. I ran at a fast pace…. 8:08 tonight. My whole body hurt but I didn’t care. I don’t care. Whenever the pain sets in I think of you. I think of you and all that poison they put into your little body. I think off all the surgeries, the bone marrow aspirations, the pokes, the prods, all the things that caused you pain. You pushed through it so I will too. I talked to a friend tonight about you. He told me everything I already know but I need to hear it. He told me how it is unacceptable to lay in bed all day, how it is unfair to Liam and Quinn. I know he is right. I will try harder tomorrow. We only have a little time left here. It is important that we make that time special. I don’t want them ending their summer going back to Phoenix with memories of me not getting out of bed. That is so unfair to them. Do you want to hear the saddest thing yet? Quinny, your 8-year-old brother, thinks it’s his job to take care of me. Quinn. I was in bed tonight, reading and he was walking all around, putting things away, asking me if I needed dinner because I didn’t eat. He asked if he could make me a sandwich. He asked if he could bring me a water and then did and opened the bottle for me. He put away my camera that was out of its case. He finally laid down by me with his iPad. He said he wanted to write to you. This is what he wrote:

To Ronan today we went to see a move to see caption america i love you ro from Quinn

He also wrote this:

Good Night ronan I love you from quinn to ronan

As I read it he laid his little head down on my arm. I whispered in his ear that you love him too. 3 seconds later, I felt warms tears dripping on my arm. They were his tears. I grabbed him, held him, told him how sorry I was, how I would do anything to bring you back. I sat and we cried together. I told him how important it is to cry about you, how healthy it is for us because we cannot keep it bottled up inside. I told him how proud I was of him. He soon fell asleep in my arms. The angle of his face tonight from where I was watching him, looked exactly like you Ronan. I see a lot of you in Quinn all of the time. It makes me smile. After Quinn fell asleep, I tried to join him, without my Ambien. FAIL. I slept for maybe an hour, but tossed and turned. I just had to pop one about 20 minutes ago. Here we go, coma induced sleep. It’s not good for me and my dreams are fighting to come out. I have remembered a couple of them. I never get to see you. I’m always talking to people and they are always saying how sorry they are that you are gone. I’m always the mom who lost her son. I can’t be that mom for the rest of my life. I have to make something bigger come out of this so I won’t get overshadowed by that title. Tomorrow will be a better day, right?? It has to be. I’ve got to get out of this bad place that I am in. Like Doriet said to me, we have 2 choices, to either live this life, or not. And if we do decide to stay, then we have to live it to the best we are capable of. Laying in bed all day is just not the answer. So if that won’t work, then what will? That is what I have to figure out little man. I need your help more than ever.

I know I am going to need deep, intensive therapy when we get back. So is your daddy and the boys. I’ve got to deal with this stuff head on or else it is just going to fester and get worse and worse. I am ready to start working hard to save myself. If I can save myself, I feel like I can save everything else that needs to be saved. I might actually be able to go on as a wife and mother. But that’s not going to happen if I don’t start doing some seriously deep grief counseling. This will become my job for a while. I’m so pissed I want to punch this computer screen. I don’t want this job. I want the job of taking care of you, Ronan. JUST FUCKING COME BACK HERE ALREADY! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! THIS EXPERIMENT IS OVER. I FAILED. I FAILED BECAUSE I AM HALF A HUMAN BEING, WIFE, MOTHER WITHOUT YOU. YOU WIN. PLEASE JUST BRING HIM BACK TO ME!!!! I scream these words all the time. I have decided that I am not sane anymore. Hey, at least I’ve got that figured out. At least I’ve got that going for me. Lock me up and throw away the key. I don’t care.

Ronan. I’m sorry if I’m making you sad by being so sad. I would never want that. I hope you still believe in me and know I can still do this. But mommy is going to have more bad days then good for a while. At least that’s what they say. Seems to make sense. I’m sleepy now. I miss you so much. I love you to the moon and back my favorite not spice monkey boy. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, Ro. Please visit your brothers in their dreams tonight. They need you.

xoxo

New York Miss Macy and the Candy Store Girl

Ronan. Hi my baby. Nighttime is here. The stars are out. Everyone is asleep. Slumber party in my bed. I hate the time between now, and when I actually fall asleep. It’s too quiet, too calm, too still,  and too lonely without you. It’s the time when my heart feels the heaviest and my mind is so restless. Thoughts of you being gone fill my head and cannot be stopped. It’s as if my mind is screaming that you are gone, but my heart refuses to believe it. I cannot fully accept what is the truth, as true as it is. The magnitude of life without you is too much to take. This is a big part of why I write to you. I write until I can take no more, until I am so tired, that my mind and body finally give in and sleep comes to me. I have no idea how I am getting through this thing called life, especially with the lack of sleep that now consumes me. Somehow, I just keep on going, trying to do my best to ignore everything that is telling me to stop. I want so badly to stop being strong. I would give anything to have you back and to float through life, without knowing this pain. Who the fuck decided this was my lot in life? I want a refund.

All I can say is thank god for New York Miss Macy. I was this close to jumping off our balcony today. Ok…. not really, but she could not have come at a better time. Your brothers and I need a distraction and some laughs. She provided both of those things today. As soon as she arrived, there were hugs all around. We got her settled in and decided to walk to go and get some lunch. We took her to Burger Lounge, where and we all had lunch. Afterwords, we stopped at the candy store to get some treats. The same candy store that has toy pistols and rifles handing on the walls. All I wanted was for you to be with me so I could buy you one. I imagined you running down the street with us, shooting everyone. I stared at them for a minute and caught myself starting to get choked up. I am so glad for what happened next as it has kept me giggling all night. I watched this scene play out like a movie. Let’s call it: “New York Miss Macy and the Candy Store Girl.” Ready……scene….. ACTION!

– Maya goes to the register to pay for her candy and the grouchy teenaged girl working, gives her the total bill with a scowl on her face. Maya watches as New York Miss Macy is standing next to her and takes a couple of pieces of candy out of her bag, before paying, and starts to eat them. Maya watches as the Candy Store girls eyes glance over to New York Miss Macy and a look of annoyance comes over her face. Maya thinks to herself, “Is the Candy Store girl really getting mad because Macy is eating a few pieces of her bulk candy before she pays??” She decides it is only her imagination as isn’t it a given that you munch on a few pieces of candy before you pay when you go into a  bulk candy store?? Not 3 seconds later, the Candy Store girl looks at Macy and goes, “I’m going to actually need you to PAY for that candy, BEFORE you eat it.” Macy, whom is clueless as to what she was even doing because it is just second nature, looks up and goes, “Um…. what?? Yeah, o.k.” Maya is trying to hide her laugher. Macy pays and we scurried out of the store. As soon as we exited, we burst into laughter. Macy goes, “Wait, did I really just get reprimanded for eating a few pieces of my candy by a 15-year-old girl? What is she, the candy police???” This is so something that would only happen to Macy. It made for a lot of laughs tonight.

After our candy store incident, we continued on our walk back to our condo. As we were all 4 walking back, we were looking out at the ocean. Dolphins appeared. We stopped to watch and ended up climbing down some rocks to sit on the beach for a while. We watched the dolphins and played in the sand and water. We ended up having a sand and water fight because sometimes in life, it just makes sense to do silly things like that. It made perfect sense tonight. You would have loved every second of it. At one point, Liam and Quinn were in the distance, playing, just the two of them. It was surreal to watch and I felt as though I was having an out-of-body experience. I will never get used to it just being the two of them, without you injected in the middle. Nothing is right anymore and nothing makes sense. As we were walking back, I got a text from Danielle. It was if she had read my mind from a few minutes earlier as her wording was almost eerie. Something along the lines of how she wants you back so badly for me that it hurts. How you are the light, the finishing touch, the pistol that keeps me alive. She then ended it with, “Fuck. I hate life.” Danielle is one of those people in my life who just gets it. She gets everything. She has a lifeline to my soul and to yours. Her words brought me comfort, for as sad as they may be; they are always true and real. She takes the time to really sit and think about all of this that we are going through and when we do talk about it, I feel as if she is living inside my mind because she says everything that I am thinking. We have a very strong spiritual connection. Thanks, D. Miss you much.

Now that Macy is here, I was able to get in my run tonight. I was totally unmotivated and dreading it. I almost didn’t go. The little voice in the back of my head would not have shut up if I didn’t. I knew this so I headed out the door and ran a fast 6 miles. It actually ended up being a really good run. I’ve missed the pain and release of running these past few days. I broke my record on my NIKE iPhone app for my fastest 10k. Guess I was feeling it after all. I returned feeling better and hopped in the shower before we started movie night. The boys and I decided that we would introduce Macy to one of our favorite movies, Ro. “Zombieland.” She had never seen it and it had her laughing within seconds of turning it on. The more I watch that movie, the more I love it. Seriously, Top 10 favorite movies of all time for me. She loved it too. I knew that during all that laugher, one thing was going to get to her. That one line that will forever cut like a knife. “Take away a man’s son, and you’ve truly given him nothing left to lose.” I watched her wipe the tears from her eyes. I’ve decided that I would like to live in Zombieland because this normal life without you is for the birds. If I have to live without you, I would rather do it by being a badass and killing Zombies than living in this painful life that now exists. At least I would have a lot of things to take my anger out on, besides myself and the nobody who answers to me. The nobody that is to blame, the invisible being that took you away. Somebody should have to answer to me and to explain why. I hate that nobody can give me a reason for this because there should be a reason. If you had to be taken away, I want to know why. And I don’t want to spend the rest of my life trying to figure out why this happened to you, but I don’t know how I can ever come to peace with any of this unless I have somewhat of an answer. Gee, fuckwad. Thanks for the fucking journey that I now get to figure out in life. Thanks for taking my beautiful life and smashing it into a million pieces. I HATE YOU.

But I love you, Ro. I love you to the moon and back. I am still here, despite my pleas to you. I’ll stay here for as long as you want me to be. I know I have to help change the way of this disease for you. Everything I do in my life will be for you. Everything I have done in my life since the birth of you and your brothers, has always been done by putting you all first. I was so happy to do this. It brought me such happiness. Now, I have to go on and continue to do what I have been doing for so long, which is being a mom; without you. I will continue to do this but I will never stop feeling like I have a limb missing. As well as a big chunk of my heart. This is permanent. These scars are not going anywhere. I don’t know how people say they fade either. If anything, I think they just get worse. They are for me anyway. To each his own.

I love you baby. I love you so, so much. I miss you every second of the day. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

                             Family Forever

New York Miss Macy, Quinny, Mama Maya, and Li Li

The Saddest Hour

Ronan. The night is finally creeping in. Another day done without you here. The days still drag on and on without you, no matter how busy I keep myself. We all woke up this morning and I walked into town. Your brother, Liam, has swimmers ear so I had to pick up his prescription. When I returned back to the condo, your brothers were all ready to hit up the beach. We packed up our things and headed down to the beach. We took a big bag of your little Star Wars guys with us and decided that we would build them a fort for you. Liam was in charge of the “bad guys,” area and Quinn and I were in charge of the “good guys.” It was so hard for me to keep it together for your brothers while we did this today. You would have loved it so much. I took pictures for you so you could see how it turned out. We had fun doing this together in your honor today. Or as much fun as we could without you being here with us.

After the beach, we headed to the pool. It was really nice out today so we played in the pool and the hot tub for a couple of hours. Your brothers are missing you so much. They get so board with each other and without having you around to play with. My entertainment pales in comparison to the way you would have entertained them for hours. I did my best, but they were soon ready to come back up and they were tired from the sun. The rest of our day slowly went by and Mimi and Papa called to see if they could take your brothers to the movies. They both wanted to go and this was a good chance for me to have some quality time with your Daddy. Your brothers left with Mimi and Papa and your Daddy and I went out for our date. We sat at a little restaurant in Coronado for their Happy Hour. So much for that. Happy Hour should have been called  the Saddest Hour because that’s what it turned into. I sat with your Daddy, and pretty much cried the entire dinner. We talked about you the whole time, went over again and again, what we could have done differently. I told your Daddy how much I worry about you and I can’t stop thinking about where you are. The whole time I kept thinking in my head, how I was your mommy and I couldn’t save you. I was supposed to protect you and I will always feel like I failed you. I was supposed to keep you safe, baby. But there was nothing I could do and I’ll never understand how that wasn’t enough. How our love for each other wasn’t enough. Wasn’t anybody listening? Couldn’t they see how much we loved each other and deserved to be together for the rest of our lives? Who would be so cruel to take that away? The love we had for each other was so powerful I was sure it was going to save you. The love you had for me was the same….. something beyond this earth even, Ro. Where are you?!?!?!?! Why did you have to go?!?!?!?!? I will never stop questioning everything, Ro. I will beg for you to come back for the rest of my fucking life.

I didn’t eat much at dinner, but instead I sat and watched how sad your Daddy is too. At one point, the waitress came up to us while my tears were pouring. She quickly walked away. I wondered what she thought I was crying about. I am pretty sure she thought something like a failed marriage, an affair, one of us losing a job. I’ll bet you in a million years she would have never guessed my tears were for you. My tears were because our beautiful boy just died of cancer. Our reality is just too awful to be reality. I still can’t believe all of this and I swear I am still waiting to wake up from this nightmare.

After dinner, we came back to our place but it was so nice out we decided to go on a walk. We walked to The Hotel Del and then down to the beach. We climbed up on some rocks together and looked at all the crabs crawling about. Your Daddy was looking out to the ocean and all of a sudden, a fin appeared. The next thing we knew we were watching a bunch of dolphins jump about. One of your little signs, baby?? I’ll take it, but it still doesn’t make me miss you any less. I grabbed your Daddy from behind and wrapped my arms around him as we stood for a long time together and watched them play about. It was peaceful and I wished so badly that we could just be that normal, happy, couple that we used to be. Back when you were here and we had nothing to be sad about. Now, we will be branded for life as the couple who lost a child. Sadness will always be a part of our togetherness. All innocence we once had will never be again and therefore, we as a couple will never be the same. Will we come out of this stronger? I don’t think we have a choice. We have to as we have too much to lose if we do not. But the sadness that now exists in our world hurts so much, Ro. Nights like tonight though are important to the both of us. Grieving about you, together is something I haven’t been ready to do yet but I can slowly feel myself coming around. I can’t do this all alone and I feel like I can heal better by letting my guard down a bit. As much as I want this wall up, keeping everyone out…. that isn’t going to do anyone any good and I really need to stop just thinking of myself as there are other people hurting just as badly as I am. Your Daddy being one of them. The bottom line is, he needs me and I need him. I need to be better about remembering that as it is very easy to get wrapped up in my own little world where nobody else exists except me and my pain for you. Sometimes I prefer it that way, but this is not healthy. I will try harder for you, baby. For our family.

After our date, we came back to our condo and I slipped out for my run. UGH. I was so not feeling it tonight but I pushed through my 6 miles at a sluggish pace of a 9 minute mile. What the heck is that?? I’ve been pretty consistent with my 8:23 minute mile. Tonight was brutal. At one point, I wanted to stop and walk but I heard you in my head so I refused to stop. Thanks for that extra push tonight when I needed it most. The rest of the evening was spent playing with your brothers and Daddy. We played PS3 together… something I don’t do very often but it ended up being pretty fun. We played Call of Duty: Black Ops. I was on a team with Quinn and we beat your Dad and Liam. There was a lot of laughing and I think your brothers were surprised at my mad shooting skills. Never underestimate the power of your mama… video games and all.

This is all for tonight my love. Until we meet again, hopefully in my dreams tonight. I love you, Ronan. Forever and Ever. Just you and me, baby. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

Just you and me

Ronan. Just another day without you. I wish I could tell you that I am o.k. But, I’m not. I’m just sad. I’m swimming in a sea of sadness and am barely staying afloat. This morning, I took your brothers to surf camp. I sat and watched them for the 3 hours and pushed them as they both complained about the ocean being too cold, etc….. I was the mean mommy that told them to suck it up. My tolerance for their complaining today was at an all time low. At one point, Quinn came in and didn’t want to go back into the ocean. He wanted to stop surfing for the day. I brought up you and how hard you fought for every second of your life. I talked to him about life and how important it is to not give up and to keep fighting. I told him how you would give anything to be living still and if you were having a hard time at something, that you would have never have given up. But life is not fair and now you don’t get to run around, never taking no for an answer, all while pushing every limit, every boundary that came your way. You were just born different from most people, Ronan. Your daddy and I say it all the time. You had a fire and such strength in your soul. That’s  why we were so convinced that you would beat your stupid fucking cancer. I’ve never met a boy stronger than you and I still can’t believe that everything ended so quickly.

After my “get your ass back into the water,” pep talk….. but in a much nicer way, Quinn finished up his class. I don’t know if I’m pushing too hard, but that’s just the way it goes. Your brothers need to learn a little something about fighting to become the best people they can be. To appreciate everything that they are able to do. To never take a second of life for granted. I have no tolerance for whining and complaining anymore. I know what it’s like to watch a little boy go through treatments for cancer and how you never once complained about anything. Except for missing your brothers and just wanting to be home. Complaining about things in our life now just won’t exist anymore, unless it has to do with missing you. That’s the only thing any of us should every complain about. Anything else can be fixed, problem solved, or worked through.

After the boys’ surf lesson, we hit up the hot tub and than came up for lunch. Liam crashed out for a nap, Quinn rested as well and I took my surfboard and headed out for a couple of hours. It was cold, but I welcomed the angry ocean with open arms today. It felt good to be out there and I got tossed around a bit. Coronado is a great place to learn how to surf and the quiet time out in the ocean, when I paddled past the waves to think about you, was nice. After I surfed, I came back up to the condo and hung out with your daddy and brothers. Later in the evening, we went out to our usual spot so your daddy could cook up our dinner. There were a bunch of dolphins out in the water this evening. We spotted about 5 or 6. They were so beautiful and I of  course thought of you. I was than overcome with anger and thought to myself that it was bullshit that a sign from you, had to come in the form of a dolphin. I don’t want any signs…. I just want you. Back with us, the way things should be. I tried to be happy about seeing those dolphins tonight, but it only made me sad and miss you more. You did leave me a lot of signs today, which I am thankful for. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, Ro. I love all your little signs, but it doesn’t make me miss you any less. Sometimes it hurts more.

After dinner, we came back up to the condo and although it was late…. 9:30, I headed out for my run. (sorry Mr. Sparky Eyes) I promised him I wouldn’t run late at night anymore, due to an encounter I had with some creepy man a few nights ago; but I had to go tonight. It’s the restlessness in me that never goes away. I ran 7 miles…. all the way over to the Coronado Bridge and back. It felt good, it hurt, and I of course thought about you a lot. Sometimes, when I am thinking about you, it hurts so bad that I cannot even cry. I was thinking about being at The Ryan House with you and I felt like I was going to stop breathing as I still can’t come to the realization that you are gone. I think I have Post-traumatic stress disorder. For real.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you’ve seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may occur soon after a major trauma, or it can be delayed for more than 6 months after the event. When it occurs soon after the trauma, it usually gets better after 3 months. However, some people have a longer-term form of PTSD, which can last for many years.

PTSD can occur at any age and can follow a natural disaster such as a flood or fire, or events such as war, a prison stay, assault, domestic abuse, or rape. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in the United States may have caused PTSD in some people who were involved, in people who saw the disaster, and in people who lost relatives and friends. These kinds of events can produce stress in anyone, but not everyone develops PTSD.

The cause of PTSD is unknown, but psychological, genetic, physical, and social factors are involved. PTSD changes the body’s response to stress. It affects the stress hormones and chemicals that carry information between the nerves (neurotransmitters). Having been exposed to trauma in the past may increase the risk of PTSD.

Having good social support helps to protect against PTSD. In studies of Vietnam veterans, those with strong support systems were less likely to get PTSD than those without social support.

People with PTSD re-experience the event again and again in at least one of several ways. They may have frightening dreams and memories of the event, feel as though they are going through the experience again (flashbacks), or become upset during anniversaries of the event.

Symptoms

People with PTSD re-experience the event again and again in at least one of several ways. They may have frightening dreams and memories of the event, feel as though they are going through the experience again (flashbacks), or become upset during anniversaries of the event.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:

1. Repeated “reliving” of the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity

  • Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
  • Recurrent distressing memories of the event
  • Repeated dreams of the event
  • Physical reactions to situations that remind you of the traumatic event

2. Avoidance

  • Emotional “numbing,” or feeling as though you don’t care about anything
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Less expression of moods
  • Staying away from places, people, or objects that remind you of the event
  • Sense of having no future

3. Arousal

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exaggerated response to things that startle you
  • Excess awareness (hypervigilance)
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Sleeping difficulties

You also might feel a sense of guilt about the event (including “survivor guilt”), and the following symptoms, which are typical ofanxiety, stress, and tension:

  • Agitation, or excitability
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Feeling your heart beat in your chest (palpitations)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • PalenessYup. That pretty much sums me up. Except for the paleness, but that is only due to the sunny Cali weather:)

I thought about the lecture I was going to get from Mr. Sparkly Eyes about running so late at night and thought about how I would tell him that I was sorry; but fear is a word that doesn’t exist in my vocabulary anymore. I have already lived through the thing I was most scared of in my life. So now what? What else do I have to fear? Nothing. Of course, I worry about your brothers and Daddy, but when it comes to me… I just don’t give a fuck. I’m not going to live my life being scared of anything anymore because I know whatever else is thrown my way, will be nothing compared to losing you. So , I will run my runs when I want, say the things I feel, swim in the ocean at night, and not be scared. It’s actually very freeing and liberating. To live a life of not being scared of things is how all people should live, otherwise what’s the point? Before all of this, I don’t know if I would have ever taken up surfing, because I was scared of sharks. And forget about running the dark. I used to make up things in my head to be scared of. Well, I’m done with that. At 33 years old, after losing you, I’m done with fear. I’m going to live my life the way you would have lived yours. Head on, embracing every adventure and pushing the limits for the most beautiful outcomes. I will live my life this way for you, because I know as an adult, this is the way you would have grown up to be. Life would have been scared of you.

I came home to your daddy and brothers watching a movie and soon Quinn was ready for bed. We came into our room and as soon as we turned on the T.V. guess what was on, Ro. “Zombieland.” One of our very favorite movies that we used to watch all the time. That’s where you got the saying, “Just you and me,” from. Another one of your little signs. That was one of our favorite things to do in the hospital was watch that movie on your iPad. Quinn watched it for the first time tonight and laughed a lot. It’s a little mature for him, but he has had so much of his innocence taken away that I let him watch it anyway. We cuddled up and watched it together. I held him extra tight for you.

We say goodnight to you every night. Do you hear us?? I hope you do. I’m going to say goodnight now baby. We have an early camp tomorrow again, hoping those brothers will pick up a little more passion and zest for the opportunities that they are given. I just want them to be thankful for being on this earth everyday, with 2 parents who are so broken, but are somehow managing to make this summer as good as it can possibly be. It’s a lot of work, but as a family, we have to do this. For all of us. I know it is what you would want.

I love you little man. I love you to the moon and back. As I was running tonight, I stopped and blew a kiss up to the moon and said, “I love you, Ronan.” I hope you heard me. Life is so precious and I know it doesn’t’ seem like it now, but I am not going to let it swallow me whole. I promise I will start living it again when I am ready. But ready is not now, and I don’t know when it will ever be. I need more time to pass between your death. I still cry all the time, but mostly over being with you that final night and saying goodbye to you. I still tell myself it just can’t be true. You were true and all I wanted was you. Forever. What am I supposed to do without you my little bug?? As of now, I don’t want to do anything except survive and not totally fuck up your brothers with the crazy shit that goes though my head. All I can do is be present for them and do the little things for them that I know mean so much. I will deal with them first, and myself later. I can wait. The damage done to them cannot be undone, which is why when we get back to AZ, therapy will become a big part of our lives. I have to be proactive about this and it is something we are going to have to do as a family, together.

I also forgot to tell you a funny story from last night. I took Quinn to dinner, on a date. We had finished up and we were walking out of the restaurant and there was a family of 5 sitting on the bench and standing up, smoking. I was holding on to Quinn’s had and I looked at them, straight in the eyes, and said, “Smoking causes cancer,” and kept walking. I thought Quinn was going to fall over. It’s like I have no censor anymore and he wanted to know if we were going to get into trouble for saying that. I said for what, “For speaking the truth? Ronan got cancer because he didn’t have a choice.” The fact that people in this day and age, take it upon themselves to smoke, knowing what the risks are, pisses me off. I’m sensitive to this, especially now. I wanted to say, “You should get cancer, not my 4-year-old child who didn’t do a thing wrong in this world.” You make the choice to suck on those freaking cancer sticks, then suffer the consequences. My child had to suffer for not a god damn reason at all except for bad luck. If anyone deserved to live, it was you baby. I will never stop thinking that. This whole things turned out so unbelievably wrong. For everyone involved. Everyone misses you Ronan. Even though you are gone, you are still changing lives. I promise you, a cure for this will be found before I die. I know I made you a lot of promises, but I promise to keep this one. I owe it to you and all the other little babies out there. Give me some time. Some time to mourn you, but when I feel ready….watch out cancer world. You’ve fucked with the wrong mommy and baby team. You are going to be sorry, but it will never be sorry enough for having to lose you over Ro. I will be sorry about that everyday for the rest of my life. Your fire now burns in my soul, you live with me, in my body. I know you may go away now and again, but when you want to come home, I know this is where your soul rests. I feel you all the time.

This is all for tonight my little monkey man. I love you to the moon and back a million times over. Just you and me, baby:) Sweet dreams. Go and visit some of your favorite people. Nighty Night baby boy.

xoxo

“Take away a man’s son. You’ve truly given him nothing left to lose.” Quote from Zombieland

I miss you. But I smiled though my tears for you.

 

 

Ronan. Hi baby. Missed you today. I woke up your brothers early. Well, early for us since we have been lazy beach bums sleeping in on most days. 8 a.m. was early for us today. I was tempted to let them sleep in as they looked so cozy and sleepy. They had to be at surf camp at 9 a.m. though, so waking them up was necessary. They so did not want to go. The both of them have been complaining that I signed them up for surf camp since I told them about it a month ago. Too bad, so sad, is what I basically told them. They kept insisting that they were not going to like it. I told them they wouldn’t know until they tried. It’s all week from 9-12. I got their cozy little buns out of bed, dressed and fed, and we headed down to the very cold beach this morning. They put on their little wetsuits and before I knew it they were off and running into the water. Most parents just dropped their kids off. I stayed and watched, took pictures, helped them and even got my sweats soaking wet as I was helping a little girl named Brooke, get out into the ocean. She was sooooo cute that I couldn’t resist. It was the best 3 hours I’ve had in a very long time. I was surprised how much I enjoyed just sitting and watching them and I was so impressed at how easily they picked up on it. Especially Liam. He really took to it and was really far out in the ocean with the instructor. He surfed up until the 3 hours were up. I am so proud of both of your brothers. They ended up loving it and can’t wait to go back tomorrow. I saw you while I was watching them. Those two little dolphins I saw the other day were out really close to Liam. I told Quinn it was you watching over Liam, to make sure he was safe in the ocean. He smiled and agreed with me. Thanks for that today, baby.

After the surf lesson was over, the boys were freezing so I took them over to the hot tub to warm up. Your daddy came down and brought down lunch to BBQ. We spent the next couple hours at the pool and the hot tub. After that, we headed back up to the condo. The boys were wiped out, but Quinn really wanted to rent one of those Surrey bikes that are in front of the Del. He has begged for weeks. Liam had no interest in going, and Woody had to work, so I headed off with Quinn to rent our bike. We rode all over the Island and ended up the school here. Quinn got a big kick out of my crazy driving and jumping the curb with our bike at the school. He was cracking up and I explained to him the importance of doing “boy,” things like that. I told him if you had been there, you would have made us do it over and over. In your honor, we took our Surry bike and jumped the curb 4 more times. We laughed the every time. It made me miss you so much, but it felt good to laugh with Quinn. I could tell the day meant a lot to him and it meant a lot to me as well. When we finished with our bike, we walked over to the Hotel Del to get him some ice cream. After our big day out, Quinn came back here and 20 minutes later, he was passed out cold. He slept for a few hours and woke up starving so I took him to get dinner. Liam, once again did not want to go. He is such a little homebody.

I have not had a day like today in a very long time. One where I almost enjoyed myself. Spending time with your brothers, watching them do something new, is the closest I’ve come to almost feeling happy since you left us. Happy, but I missed you a lot too. I know those two things will go hand and hand for the rest of my life now. I’ll always picture  you with us, in everything we do. I know today, you would have been out on that beach with me, with your boogie board, watching your brothers and mad that you couldn’t be out surfing with them. You were always trying to keep up with them and I was always amazed at how well you did. Your fire and zest for life was something I have never seen in anyone in my life. You took everyday by storm and that is something that I miss doing with you. Together, we were unstoppable. I miss having you everywhere with me so much. If you can’t tell, I have a  new little shadow now and his name is Quinn. He is stuck to me like glue and I am really trying to embrace him as much as possible. I can feel myself reconnecting to your brothers again, but Quinn is working extra hard to be by my side 24/7. Liam is so independent, that he is happy anywhere and has been spending a lot of time with your daddy. They are such similar creatures. I love watching the two of them together.

That is all for tonight my little monkey. I’ve got to try to get some sleep as we have another early day of surf camp tomorrow. I miss you more than words could ever say. I love you to the moon and back, baby. I hope you are safe. I still worry about you so much. I would give anything to be able to kiss those sweet little lips of your.  Sweet dreams, Ro.