I know what I want to name her…

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Ronan. Ireland Ronan Poppy Thompson is what I want to name your sister. I know I told you I’ve been having a hard time getting super attached to this pregnancy and I know the only reason for that is because of the fear that comes along with it. Not because I love her any less than I love you and your brothers. It’s the fear of death that now comes along with this pregnancy. I’ve never had this fear before, until losing you. Now I worry about it all the time. If I don’t feel your sister kick for a while, I’ll think to myself, “Oh my god, she died.” Good thing I didn’t get too attached, right? Wrong. I am not fooling anyone with this whole trying to protect myself thing. I have been attached since I found out at 5 weeks that she was the size of a Poppy seed. I already have a plan for when I am having her, and I will be induced before 40 weeks because I of course have to get her out before she dies of stillbirth, right? I was induced with Liam and Quinn at 36 1/2 weeks. I had you at 37 1/2 weeks. I know Dr. Schwartz is alright with the plans I am scheming up in my head.

Now that I am feeling your sister kick all of the time and I can feel how strong she is, I am starting to come around. It’s taken me a while, but I can finally decide on a name. Your daddy and I have had the name Ireland picked out since before Liam and Quinn were born. I have always loved it. I think it is so strong, unique, and beautiful. I have to have Poppy in there as well. I cannot give that name up for anything. It has come to mean too much to me and just saying it out loud, makes me smile. We will call her, “Poppy,” even though her first name is Ireland. And eventually, when she is old enough to decide, she can take it upon herself to figure out what she wants to be called in life, but to me, she will always be Poppy. That name will forever remind me that something could make me smile, through my darkest hours, even before your sweet little sister, set foot on this earth. That name will forever remind me of the happiness I can feel again, just by saying the name out loud. What I love even more is hearing other people referring to her, as Poppy.

“How is Poppy today?”

“Is Poppy kicking?”

“Who do you think Poppy will look like?”

Everybody is calling her by this name and I love it so very much. It makes me smile and feel a bit of happiness again. I am so very thankful for your little sister already. I know she is going to help us all so very much. She will bring us back some of the sunshine in our lives that we are all missing so very badly.

Today, we hopped in Papa Jim’s truck and headed up to the Mount St. Helens area to go sledding and play in the snow. This state never fails to leave me breathless. I still think it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We found a ton of snow and I watched and snapped pictures as your daddy, your brothers, and Papa Jim spent a couple of hours hiking up a hill to fly back down it on their sleds. I listened to their laughs and soaked up their happiness as much as I could. You would have loved today. If you would have been with us, it would have been absolutely perfect in every way. I took it easy due to my ever growing belly. No sledding for me today although I’m sure I would have been fine but better safe than sorry, right? This whole better safe than sorry thing is slowly killing me. How am I supposed to burn off my grief/anger by having to be so freaking safe all of the time? I hate that I cannot go for my long runs/hikes/ or all of those other things I used to do to help me get through this. I cannot wait for this Poppy girl to be born so I can get back to all of my night runs, etc… I am already planning on running the NYC Marathon in November if I can get in. No training required once again;)

Alright little man. I’m sleepy tonight. I sleep really well here and it’s a nice change from the insomnia I usually deal with back at home. I’m going to take advantage of my sleeping well while I can. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

xoxo

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2 a.m. Insomnia Parties With A Raccoon and A Cat

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Ronan. Everyday normal things will no longer exist in my life again. Not even a trip to the grocery store, the car wash, the bank, etc… Even the littlest things are different. I’ve been keeping myself busy enough because my life depends on it. I could easily see myself sinking into a very depressed state of mind and not getting out of bed until Poppy is born. That is why it is so important to me to have most of my days, planned out. I no longer love the luxury of not having things to do. Because if I don’t have things to do, I just won’t do anything at all and that is not a good place for me to be.

 I went to see my OBGYN a couple of days ago, just for my 4 week standard check-up. As I said before, everything with your Poppy sister looks great, but I still sat and told Dr. Schwartz about how I made the ultrasound technician check for any type of mass in Poppy’s body. She sat with me for a good half an hour to discuss how I am doing, how I am feeling, how I am dealing with all of this, and how much I miss you. I know she did not have to do this. She is one of the busiest women on the planet, but I so appreciated her taking the time to talk to me about anything and everything. She told me she would send me back to get more in depth ultrasounds whenever I wanted, she would find any excuse to send me. We have decided my next one will be at 26 weeks. She told me had you had this at birth, it would have been so microscopic that nothing would have shown up. If it would have shown up as something bigger and abnormal, they would have seen it and told me. I don’t know if this made me feel better, but I appreciated her taking the time to talk about the questions I have. She is a great doctor. After I left there, my phone rang. It was Dr. Schwartz telling me that she just got the flu shot in and she was highly recommending that I get one. I told her I wasn’t going to. She told me about the study that just came out linking pregnant women and the flu, to autism. I talked with her a bit about how I really didn’t want to get it. I would rather not put something into my body if I don’t have to. She once again, told me she couldn’t make me, but she felt very strongly about it due to how much I’m in the public and traveling. I asked Stacy and Fernanda about it. They urged me to go. I asked your Mr. Sparkly Eyes. He told me to please go and get it done. Of course I listened. I went today. Remember how I said that nothing will ever be the same again? I cannot even get a flu shot without thinking of you. I’ll never forget all the “pokies,” we had to give you after your rounds of chemo. How much you hated them. How I would hold you and your daddy would give you the shot. Shot after shot after shot. How you would scream and cry and try to be brave, but you hated it so much. My shot didn’t hurt for me today. My shot hurt for you. I’m so sorry for all you had to go through. It was so not fair or right. Any of it.
Do you know what else I’ve gotten to do the past couple of days? I went with Stacy and Fernanda to shop for your Christmas Tree that we are putting up this weekend at PCH. Of course it is a Star Wars theme. We decided this year, to do it all after your favorite guy, Captain Rex. The entire tree is going to be blue and white. Fernanda came up with the brilliant idea to find an actual mannequin and dress him up like Captain Rex to look like he is playing next to the tree. We found a kid sized one to dress up. The girls asked if I still had your Captain Rex costume. I knew where it was, but I had not touched it since you wore it on our last Halloween together. They offered to buy a new one. I told them it was o.k. We could use your little one to put on the mannequin. They both asked if I was sure. I told them I was. I can be brave. I can do this. I went and got it. I inhaled it, hoping for it to smell like you. It didn’t. I set it out for Stacy to pick up to give to Fernanda to let her work her magic. She sent me a picture of it today. It took my breath away. The little mannequin dressed up like you, looked just like you did when you actually wore the costume. I must have sat and stared at that picture for a good five minutes. I cannot believe that this is my life. That I don’t have my own Captain Rex here with me anymore to protect me. I cannot believe a mannequin is wearing my dead child’s costume. I do these things for you. Because I know you would want it to be this way. If you can’t be here with me, I will honor you by bringing your little light everywhere that I can. Including a Children’s Hospital ward where we spent so much time.
I have not been sleeping well. My internal clock has been waking me up at about 2 a.m. for months now. Last night, when I was roaming around our house, I looked outside. I saw a cat in our driveway and right behind that, a big raccoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a raccoon in Arizona before. I sat and watched it. I tapped on our kitchen the window. It stopped and looked my way. It was weird and creepy and I was so sad when this morning when I didn’t have you to tell my story to. I told your brothers. They thought it was pretty cool. Liam of course tried to tell me it was just another cat. Such a little skeptic he is. My 2 a.m. witching hour can be fun, Ro! Just throw a few raccoons my way. I then went on Google to do some research on if cats and raccoons are friends. Turns out, they are not. That raccoon was very likely stalking the cat to eat it. The things you learn at 2 a.m. I am a wealth of knowledge in all things raccoon now. I am also very productive at 2 a.m.  I would give anything to have you here to cuddle up to because I can’t sleep. I would give anything not to be waking up because I don’t have you here to cuddle up to. I fucking hate 2 a.m. 2 a.m. blows. I usually fall back asleep around 5 a.m. I need to find a hobby during my witching hours. Maybe I’ll start baking.
I saw your Sparky yesterday. He asked me why I looked so perplexed. I just told him I had a lot going on in my head, like always. We sat and caught up. I was having a really, really sad day but didn’t want to let him in on that. So we talked a lot about your foundation and a few other top-secret things I have in the works. I was wearing my most favorite Frye Cowboy boots that I have had for about 7 years. He made fun of them and made me laugh. I told him they were my favorite boots ever. He said he knew. I left there, feeling like my heart was going to explode from the pain of missing you. I attempted to drive home but had to pull over mid way so I could bang my head against my steering wheel and cry. I called your Sparkly up.
Me: “Do you think I’ll ever stop being so sad?”
Him: “Darling. Come on. Your boots were not that ugly.”
Not even his witty remark made me giggle. It was quiet. I just sat and cried into the phone.
Him: “I do. I honestly do. Not right now, but someday you won’t be this sad.”
Me: “I’m so sad all the time. Nothing helps. I miss him so much.”
Him: “I know you do.”
I sat and cried into the phone while he just listened.
Him: “Are you home now? Please get home. I will speak with you tomorrow.”
Me: “O.k.” I’m almost home.”
I got home to our empty house. I laid on our bed and cried for a long time. My face seems to be constantly wet these days. I wonder if my never-ending tears are because of how much I miss you, or all of my hormones due to being pregnant or a combination of everything. I used to be able to go days without crying. Now I’m crying every single day, sometimes every single hour. At least my anger seems to be under control. I don’t want to sit and punch things or hurt myself. I just want to sit and cry, so I do.
I’ve got to go now, Ro. Lots to do but all I really want to do is be busy taking care of you. I’m sorry. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.
xoxo
This is the Captain Rex that will go under your tree at PCH this year. Your costume. I only wish it were your body wearing it.
This is the Captain Rex that will go under your tree at PCH this year. Your costume. I only wish it were your body wearing it.

The election is over! Now, we can focus on turning the White House Gold for September and save some kids!

Ronan. I am having a hard time breathing. I can’t tell if it’s grief that is trying to suffocate me or Poppy. Either way it is making this life without you, harder than normal. I didn’t know that was possible. I spent the weekend at home, doing normal things with your daddy and brothers. The kinds of things we would have been doing, if you were still here. The things I have the hardest time doing now in life. Those simple easy things in life that I used to love so much but now I feel as doing them is harder than running a marathon. Without training. Liam was still a little under the weather. I tended to him and we went to bed pretty early on Saturday. It’s all I can do to make it to 9:00 p.m. without passing out. This growing a baby business is a lot of work. One that I am not a huge fan of. I never have been. The outcome is of course so worth it, but I have never been one of those women who enjoys pregnancy. It feels like a prison. I am trying to stay positive, but it’s hard to all of a sudden feel like you are just stuck in quicksand and there is nothing you can do to get out of it. Before I was pregnant, I had so many physical outlets that kept me sane. I could blow off steam so well with an easy breezy 8 mile run. Now I am panting at climbing a flight of stairs. So mentally and physically I am having a hard time getting out all of my grief in the ways in which I would before which may be another reason for my feeling of constant suffocation. I’ve been throwing myself into working on things for your foundation. That is saving my sanity a little bit I suppose. It is saving the shred of sanity that I have left.

Last night we had tickets to see my boyfriend, Eddie Vedder in concert. One of our little lovies, somehow got 6 front row seats where I got to sit about 10 feet away from Eddie as he gazed into my eyes and sang to me the entire night. That might be exaggerating a little bit but an over active imagination is healthy. He played our favorites. I was not the only one with tears streaming down my face as he sang our song, “Just Breathe.” I think everyone that was there with us, had them streaming down their cheeks too. I tried to fight it, but eventually the lump in my throat became too big and the tears came next. Buckets of them. I wiped them away and pictured you running up on the stage as Eddie sang his song, only the way he can. One that makes you get completely lost in another world. I, as always, was lost in the little world of yours. It’s my favorite place to be. I know Eddie had some Ronan ESP going on as next to last song was the one and only Neil Young’s, “Keep on Rocking in the Free World.” You’re telling me that was a coincidence? I know it was not. It was you working your magic in the ways that you always do. My entire body ached for you and I had flashbacks to the way you used to dance to that song. Thanks, Eddie V for playing it just for Ro last night. I know you did that for him. I could not have thought of a better way to end the night, then with that.

Today, I woke up bright and early. For going to bed so late last night, I woke up before the sun came up. I tossed and turned for about an hour before finally getting up. I had nothing of real importance to do today, but I was restless anyway. I ran some errands and went to the office. I worked through much of the afternoon on some foundation things and had about a half an hour phone interview. This one was hard for some reason. I forget what question it was exactly that I was trying to answer, but I know I had to stop myself and apologize for the sobbing that was taking place on my end of the phone. I think I remember telling the lady on the other end of the phone something about my last words to you and how I told you how sorry I was over and over again. She asked me what I was sorry about. I told her how I promised you I would save you and get you better and the fact that I didn’t or couldn’t will make me sorry for  the rest of my life. She asked if I thought you knew that you were dying. I think about that question a lot. I told her that I did not think that you did. How some of your last words to me were, “I don’t want anymore sleepy medicine.” I told her how you had to be put under anesthesia a lot and how I think you thought you were just going to sleep, but you would wake up again. I think about this so much in my head, all the time. I wonder if I should have told you that you were going to sleep forever. I didn’t. I don’t know if I should have or not. I’m so sorry you are sleeping forever and won’t ever wake up. I will forever have post traumatic stress over this. No mama should have to kiss her babies lips one last time and to be expected to live a life without kissing them again. Being a parent to a dead child is the hardest job in the world. Much harder than being the parent to kids who are alive and well. Being the parent to a dead child is the hardest kind of parent to be. I don’t think anybody in the outside world realizes this. It’s a truth I never thought I would know. It’s a truth that I will forever wish I didn’t know.

I had a board meeting last night at our new office. All of the girls were so excited. It was so nice to be able to have a space to go, that was not our own house. Our board meeting was long. A good 4 hours last night but we got a lot done as we always do. I woke up this morning with a big to do list. I got a lot of it done but by noon I knew I had reached my limit for the day. The little sleep I got last night combined with a raging headache led me to driving home and crawling in bed for a few hours. I took about a half an hour power nap but then had to get up to get some things done. Your daddy picked up your brothers from school and we all went out to grab a bite to eat as the cooking was just not happening tonight. I find myself sitting back and listening to your daddy a lot and the way he talks to your brothers and explains so much about the world to them. Once again, that bittersweet word will be used again because it is so bittersweet to hear the things they are learning and knowing you should be here, learning them, too. Tonight at dinner your daddy talked about everything from Shakespeare to the election. I watched them soak it all up like little sponges. They are so lucky to have a daddy like yours. Tonight, sitting at one of our favorite restaurants, I felt pretty lucky. Not every child grows up with a daddy like yours. So I felt lucky for that. Your brothers are amazing little boys and I know a big part of this is due to the strong male figure they have in their life. They are happy, loved, and have been through the worst, only to watch as we have survived it all. I feel like a bit of their self-confidence and security is coming back. I know this could have shaped them either direction. I am thankful that our situation has only seemed to make them stronger and have a love for our family  that is so strong because they understand how precious it is. Such hard lessons for young boys but I know this will make them stronger men. Of course you know I would rather have you here and not have to have them “learn,” any of this. I am just doing my best to be grateful for the things I have that are tangible to me, like your brothers brave little hearts.

I gotta go little man. Lots to do, always for you. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

P.S. I am not going to get into politics on here but I am so glad the election is over. I took Poppy to vote yesterday and we as a family had such fun last night watching the polls. It was a good night. I am so glad we can now focus on turning that White House Gold for September. I have faith that our President will do the right thing and make this happen. There are too many babes dying. A change has to come. I am thankful for President Obama and the Creating Hope Act. It’s time to take this to the next level and with all of you on our side, I know this can happen! Love you all, so much!

The Gold Party hosted by the lovely Charisma Carpenter!

http://www.arizonafoothillsmagazine.com/extra-extra/news/4375-charisma-carpenter-hosts-gold-party-for-the-ronan-thompson-foundation.html

Hey! You want to go on a Double-Date? And Listen to a Bunch of People, Talk about their Dead Kids?

Ronan. After trying to come to, after being emotionally beaten down these past few days, my head feels a little clear for once. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I’m pushing it again tonight as it is almost 2 a.m. I’ve stopped cold turkey with the sleeping meds due to my weekend of death that I tried to pull off a couple of weekends ago. I think Warden Woody has them locked up somewhere. I don’t dare ask where or if I can have them back. I know when I’ve crossed the line. So, here I am. Not sleeping until I am so tired from being up for so many hours, that my body and mind finally give in. It’s not happening yet, so I will write to you.

I spent the majority of today, in bed. I was exhausted from the night before. I finally got up and moving around 2 p.m. and headed to take your Nana to the airport. Your Daddy took your brothers for a sleepover at the Willets because we had something to go to tonight. I was asked a couple of months ago to be the ambassador for the MISS Foundation. I still at this point, don’t really know what that means and it doesn’t even really matter. All I know is if it is something to help Dr. JoRo, that is all that needs to be said. I would walk through fire for that woman. There was a cocktail hour tonight that I was asked to come to. So your Daddy and I got all dressed up. I asked my stalker friend, Mandy Bee;) a few days ago, if she and her husband, Brandon wanted to join us. She said they would love to. They came over here and we all headed out together. We arrived at a beautiful house in PV and there were about 60 other people there. We hung out and mingled a little bit. Mandy and I went and checked out the grounds of the house and ended up on some patio on top of a pool house. It was such a gorgeous and peaceful night. Your Daddy and her husband, Brandon, were really getting along and there was a lot of football talk so we let them be. There were drinks, food, music, and mingling. Soon, the Director, Kathy Sandler got up to say a few words. Dr. JoRo came over to stand by us. She cracked me up by shoving some food in her face and chowing it down. I love how she always keeps it real. After Kathy talked a bit, she introduced Dr. JoRo who got up to tell her story, how the MISS Foundation came about, what they do and how important it is for families who have lost children. They have over 77 chapters now, all over the world but still get very little funding. This breaks my heart. I know I say this all the time, but I know I would not be functioning the way I am, if not for this foundation. I think there would be a lot less parents in the world, who would just choose to not to live life, after losing a child if it weren’t for the MISS Foundation. They need more help, volunteers, money, etc…. to keep going. Otherwise, this Foundation may have to fold up and go away. I don’t know what I would do. I know how hard Dr. JoRo works. Most of her days are 17 hours long. She works non-stop. I will do whatever it takes to help her keep her baby up and running. It is vital to the survival of parents, everywhere. It is vital, to me.

After Dr. JoRo gave her talk, which was so beautifully sad, she came back to stand by me. I hugged her for a long time. Kathy got up to talk some more. I knew she was going to talk about us, but we didn’t go over what was going to be said. She introduced me, you, your Daddy. She told a bit about you and how you died. Then she started to talk about my blog and the writing I do. She started to read a little blurb from something I had written. Shit. I wasn’t prepared for that. I don’t ever go back to re read what I write to you and once she started reading, it was as if I was listening to her read somebody else’s words. Certainly, those beautifully sad words, were not written by me. Were they? I don’t really even remember writing them. This is what she read, out loud. A blurb from what I wrote, after Michael Dee and Sarah Love were here from Arizona Foothills.

“Michael asked how I feel about being an inspiration to others. I told him I honestly didn’t think about it because all I see is you, inspiring me. And if that turns into inspiring others, than that is such a beautiful thing. If others are ready to embark on this ride with us, I hope they are prepared to hold on tight. Because it is going to no doubt be bumpy, rough, scary, and at sometimes, it is going to feel like death. But I know the end result is going to be something out of this world. Something so different, special, and strong…. just like you. Something that is unlike anything this world has seen. Because never was there a boy, as beautiful as you, Ro. The beauty of your physical self and soul combined was so powerful and I as your mama, know this. Guess who else is figuring this out? The whole wide world. The whole wide world who wants to be a part of this change. Not only in the world of childhood cancer, but in the bigger scheme of things as well. They all know, because of you, that there is more to life, than just THIS.”

Hearing those words being read out loud, was so totally weird. I just started to cry. Dr. JoRo held me. I pulled it together but it was beyond painful. Never in my life, would I have imagined at 33, I would be sitting under a starry night, holding your Daddy’s hand at an event because one of my babies died of Childhood Cancer. This is so not acceptable. This is so not the path, I imagined my life taking. I still cannot believe you didn’t survive this. I’m still so sorry and so sick to my stomach over the fact that this has happened. Nothing will ever be o.k. again, Ronan. This life without you, is not o.k. This life without you, will always be wrong. So now, my life, this life that I get to live has now turned into a very not o.k. always wrong, life. A life where my heart feels like it lives outside of my body where people are trampling all over it, every second of the day.

After Kathy was finished talking, I had the chance to meet some lovely ladies from Raising Arizona Kids. One of them had interviewed me for a Grief article they did. She was so sweet the few times that I had spoken to her on the phone and it was lovely to put a face with her voice. She was even lovelier in person and I was so grateful that they came. The more awareness, the better for the MISS Foundation. They deserve to be recognized so much more than they are. Raising AZ Kids has been really good about helping them out with this. I will forever be grateful to them.

We stayed at the event for about another hour or so. At one point I was talking to a very sweet lady, Yasaman. She was at the Grief Retreat that I was at and came up to me to say hello and to introduce herself. I told her I remembered her. She told me she didn’t know who I was, at the retreat, but she left there not being able to stop thinking about me. She said she ended up finding me on Dr. Jo’s FB page which lead her to your story, Ro. She said she started reading and couldn’t stop. She said she things like, your story, has changed her life. She was trying so hard, not to cry. She offered to do anything for me, even folding laundry and mopping my floor. I told her that wouldn’t be necessary and I gave her my phone number instead and told her to call me if she ever wanted to have coffee. She smiled and told me she would. While we were talking, a young girl came up to me and said she was sorry for interrupting, but she had wanted to meet me all night. I asked her name and she told me. She asked if she could have her picture taken with me and I said, of course. I asked her what she did, in her real life. She seemed shocked that I wanted to know about her. It turns out, she works for a law firm and just happened to stumble upon this blog one day while she was googling Rockstar Energy Drinks. Awesomeness. She gave up her Saturday Night, to come and volunteer at this event, because put I put it out there, a few weeks ago, that the MISS Foundation needs volunteers. I felt light headed when she told me this. There are so many kind people in the world, Ronan. This 23-year-old girl, gave up her Saturday Night, just for you. I was amazed. So many great things seem to be happening. Does everyone see this, except me? I am in such a fog that I don’t really realize it, until they are right in front of my face, like Saturday night. Are people really listening? Are you coming back? Sometimes I think you are. Some days it’s the only way I survive the day, by living in a fake reality that is powered by tricking myself into thinking that you are coming back because LOVE is that powerful. Shouldn’t this be the way the world works? I think so.

After we said our goodbyes to Dr. JoRo for the night, your Daddy, Mandy, Brandon and I went to Wally’s to get a little food. I told them they had passed the initiation test and they were officially our friends. For Fucks Sake. Nice first couples date. Yes, hello, would you like to come to a cocktail party with us. An event because our child died and you can come with us and listen to all of these other parents talk about their dead kids, too! Doesn’t that sound like a normal fucking Saturday night? What the hell. That is so wrong. And awful. And sad. But you know what. It is our life. And Mandy and Brandon could not have been better company. For as messed up as it was, we still enjoyed the night and each other. Stalker Mandy is here to stay. And I am so glad. Our love for all things dark and skull like will help get me through this.

Ro Baby. You know what else?! I have been so beyond busy but your Rocking Rockstar Washington Peeps have been so busy too. I have no idea what is going on, except I turned some things over to Robin Miller and Jen Woodard and OMG. They threw together a fundraiser in about a week and had it last night. They have gotten the community so involved and raised over 3K! That is pretty impressive for throwing something together in such short notice and this is just the beginning. They are getting all the schools involved so that pretty soon, SEPTEMBER will be recognized everywhere as CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. I am so proud to be a Kelso/Longview girl. My roots will always go back to my small home town and I could not be prouder. Thank you to all of our lovelies there. Especially in this economy, to raise that amount of money, in such a small town, is incredible. You girls RULE.

Alright my not spiciest little monkey boy. I’ve got to go. I miss you so much. I love you to the moon and back. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, Ro.

xoxo

Love you, Mandy Bee. Thank you for letting me just be.

Fight Like a Rockstar

Ronan. Hi baby. I’m missing you so much tonight. But what’s new. The missing part of you is constant and is something that never goes away. The weekend is almost over. Thankfully. It was fine. O.k. Alright. I did my best. I had a lot of busy work to tend to. Busy work that I keep telling myself is going to get us somewhere. Busy work that I keep telling myself, is going to make a difference. Busy work that I know you would be proud of. If I didn’t have this busy work, I would be sitting around, pulling my hair out. I would be in the corner, curled up in a ball, in my bedroom not wanting to come out. Not just some days, but every single day.

Sunday Funday. Right? No. Sundays that I hate. Sundays that are filled with an eerie stillness that I detest. I stayed in bed until 1 p.m. Yup. You heard me. I could not fall asleep last night. I tried. I wrestled with my sadness/anger/tears, until 4 a.m. I almost punched your Daddy just because I was so annoyed that he was sleeping so peacefully next to me. I don’t know how I pass the never-ending time that exists during the night. If I am going to be a Vampire/Zombie, I am going to have to start coming up with some productive things to do, besides listening to the screaming inside of my head. I need a crazy, productive hobby. I think I need to make a “Go To,” list for the nights that I am so restless of things that I can do. You know how I LOVE a list.

I made myself get up out of bed today. I took Quinn and we ran some errands. We went to Target. Your favorite place. As soon as we were walking in, there was a lady who was in front of us who was getting her cart. She was bald. I took off my “F U Cancer,” bracelet and simply said, “I have something for you.” I gave your bracelet to her. I don’t think she even read what it said as she quickly just gave me a thank you. I needed nothing more. I hope your bracelet makes her even more mad at cancer and it makes her work harder, to fight harder, like a Rockstar. Like you always did. Like I will continue to do, for you.

Strolling through the aisles of Target today…..ugh. I cannot concentrate enough to navigate my way through that store anymore. Everything in it reminds me of you. Happy, lovely Target. Full of your Paul Frank Monkey friend, Julius. Full of your Star Wars guys. Full of your Burt’s Bee’s Coconut Soap that I used to wash you with. Full of the Slurpies that I would always have to buy you, just to get you to sit in the cart. But you never did. You would have hung on the side of the cart instead. You would have tried to ride one of the display bicycles. You would have hidden from me in the racks of clothes. Your giggles would have filled the entire store and made my heart skip a beat. They always did. Today, I took Quinn there instead. Quinn my little helper who takes on the responsibility of pushing the cart, trying to pick up the case of water for me, and who helps me remember the list of things I needed, because I left my physical list, at home. If it would not have been for Quinn today, I would come home without the little list of things we needed. I would have abandoned our cart to cry in the car instead. Thank you, for him.

After we left Target, I told Quinn we needed to go to Smart and Final. He was annoyed and wanted to know why we had to go there and why we couldn’t get all of our drinks, at Target. I told him that Smart and Final is the best place to buy Liam’s Gatorade and that they are the only place I can find my Mango/Peach Coconut Water. He tried to talk me out of going, but I didn’t listen. Oh, how very happy I am that I insisted on going to Smart and Final today. It made my miserable Sunday, absolutely amazing. We got into the store and of course we got the cart that just didn’t work right. Quinn was laughing at me because I insisted that we would just make the best of it and use the cart that only wanted to turn right. I came up with some amazing there is a lesson in everything, kind of metaphor for him. Something along the lines of working through a tough situation and making the best of it. I made him laugh when I crashed into the Gatorade aisle. I told him I was not giving up on our crazy cart, to trade it in for a new one. I don’t know what I was trying to accomplish with this at the time as it would have been so easy to just go and get a new cart. There is a lesson in everything, right? At least that is what I was trying to explain to your already too worldly/knowledgable about life, 8-year-old little brother today.

As we were checking out, I noticed the side of the counter was lined with little flyers that read, “Kids 4 Hope.” Hmmmm….. I thought as I went to read the fine print. I thought to myself, I’m sure it has something to do with anything but Pediatric Cancer. I almost passed out when I saw that each dollar donated, was in fact donated to funds for Pediatric Cancer. I asked the girl who was scanning my items, what exactly this was for. She told me you could purchase a flyer in someone’s name, for a dollar, for Childhood Cancer. I had to take a minute to absorb the amazingness of this. After a few seconds, I said, “Can I buy 50?” She looked stunned. She replied back, “50? Really? You want to buy 50 of these?” “Absolutely,” I told her. Quinn sat back, quietly observing. The girl counted out 50 little flyers and I than told her that you, my son, had passed away from Childhood Cancer. She got quiet, handed me the 50 flyers, a pink Sharpie, and some tape. She asked how old you were. I told her 3. She told me she has a 3-year-old, and could not imagine.

After I paid for our items, I moved over to the other counter where Quinn and I stood and wrote your name on all the donation flyers. I looked over and the girl who had helped me, and she was ringing up her other customers as the store was super busy. She was bawling. That in turn, made me start to cry, and your poor brother Quinn….. he did not know what to do. I did not know what to do, so I just continued to cry and fill out your name. I tried not to get angry at all the customers who said they would NOT like to donate a dollar to Childhood Cancer. It took everything I had not to pull up your picture, shove it in their faces, and ask what was wrong with them! It was only a dollar! You were worth so much than a dollar! And it’s for kids! Who in the world says no to that?!?! As I witnessed today, a lot of people. It just goes to show you how much the lack of awareness for Childhood Cancer, truly does effect the outcome. People won’t even give up a dollar. Standing in that Smart and Final today, I vowed to myself, once again, to make this change.

I went over and talked to the sweet girl that rang up my groceries today. I asked what her name was. She told me it was Ida. I told her how beautiful it was. I gave her one of your bracelets. I asked to speak to her manager because I wanted to ask him how much he knew about where this money was actually going. He came out, I introduced myself, and he didn’t know much. He went back to get the print out that the store was given for this Kids 4 Hope. I told him I was amazed that they were doing this in their store, for the ENTIRE month of October as this is unheard of due to Susan G. Komen. Everything for the month of October, goes towards Breast Cancer research. I thanked him and practically skipped out of that store today with our wobbly cart. I told Ida I would see her soon.

I came home and googled the handout I was given. It’s legit. You can read about the boys who started this, below.

Troy and Jake Paul are two Los Angeles natives who combined their passion for basketball and their desire to help other kids when they formed their charity, Kids 4 Hope.

When their mother Renee was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, Troy, now 13, began collecting bottles from local businesses and neighbors in order to raise money for his mother’s newly started charity,Racing For Hope, which benefits City of Hope. “We recycled the bottles and made $1,200,” Troy says, “and we gave the money to our parents’ charity.” But from that point on, Troy says, “we realized we wanted to be able to raise more money, and wanted to branch out and start our own charity.”

The desire to help children suffering from cancer came when the boys saw what their mother went through as she battled the disease. Jake, now 16, says they saw “how hard [battling cancer] can be for an adult, but trying to grasp a young kid going through that–I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like.”

This led the Paul brothers to start Kids 4 Hope, which, according to its website, “is dedicated to raising funds to support City of Hope’s research, treatment and special programs for all of the children battling cancer.”

In order to raise money, the boys turned to their biggest passion–basketball–and decided to create an event that would be both fun and charitable. “We wanted a way to put our own personal touch on the charity, rather than just raise money with a regular fundraiser,” Jake says, “so we incorporated something we both like, which is basketball, and made it a fun way for kids to help other kids.”

Jake and Troy Paul hope both Kids 4 Hope and its events will inspire other kids to take up causes they can enjoy also. “Of course we would love to raise money through this charity,” Troy says, “but hopefully kids can see what we do and take something they love and incorporate that into a way to help people.”

Their advice for kids looking to start charities of their own or looking to get involved in a good cause? “Find something that you’re passionate about, because it’s great to help kids, but it’s easier if you are doing something you love,” Jake advises. “The main idea is any way a person can help is positive. You are helping someone else, so do something that makes it seem like more fun than work.”

Can I kiss these two boys, please? I would like to kiss Smart and Final while I’m at it. Look at how these two young boys, took something that they believed in, and made it into something so beautiful.Well, I believe in something, Ronan. I believe in YOU. I believe that you truly are going to change the face of this disease so that someday, there will be a cure. I really needed to be reminded of this today, Ronan. That anything is possible. Well, almost anything, Ro. You know what I mean by that, baby.

Alright my lovie. I have to try to shut off this mushy brain of mine for the night. I’ve got an early running call in the a.m. I love you to the moon and back. I hope you are safe. G’nite my Babydoll.

xoxo