Baseball games and your GiGi

 

 

Ronan. It’s days like today where I’ve had so much going on and I feel like I’ve been doing so “well,” whatever that means, that I have to stop myself 10 times in a day, to close my eyes, and think about this reality of mine. It is days like today that I have to take the time, to sit back and think about your death because all of a sudden, this time that stood still for so long, seems to be flying right by me. I’ve been hearing a lot of, “Look how much you have done, already. You should be so proud of yourself.” I pause and think about this. Am I doing too much? Am I not crying enough? Am I being true to this pain or distracting so I don’t feel it? I worry about this. But I cannot stop the things that have been coming my way. I cannot stop them and what am I supposed to do, just sit back and ignore them? I can’t. That would be like throwing all the gifts you are bringing my way, in the trash. I don’t have a choice. I have to keep up with all that is going on if I am going to accomplish all the things you want me to do.

So, on days like today, where I am not bombarded with 50 things to do, I close my eyes a lot. I take a lot of deep breaths. I let myself go back to the saddest time in my life, which is when you took your last breath. I let myself feel the sadness that engulfs me and I let it be o.k. to feel this. I embrace it. I nurture it. I don’t hide from it. I have a lot of quiet time during days like today. I let myself feel alone and lost while driving in the car, looking for you in the rear view mirror. I go into the grocery store, alone. I still have to mentally talk myself through the shopping experience. I see the world so differently now. I go to the ghetto Fry’s instead of the fancy one, we used to go to. It’s much safer at the ghetto Fry’s. The people there, don’t blind me with their smiles. In fact, the people in there, are so sad looking, that it makes me sad for them. I cry in the grocery store, but not because of my own pain. I cry because I see the pain of the others around me. The man with the mental illness who is having a conversation with the pancake mix, the homeless lady with a shoe missing, the little kids that are covered in dirt and filth and their mom yells at them to put back the cereal because it is too expensive. Has the world always been so sad? And I am only now just realizing it due to the sadness I feel from not having you? You made me so happy, Ronan, that sadness didn’t exist our world. You made second of my life so happy, no matter where we were or what we were doing. We could have been in the middle of the war in Iraq, and I would have still been happy as long as we were together. Now, I’m in the middle of the war in Iraq but the war lives inside of my head and I am without you. How does one survive that? Because I hear from the outside world all the time that I am so strong. This puzzles me. I don’t think I’m strong. I think I don’t have a choice. I think I am a fighter and I love you so much, that I will do whatever it takes to change this. Is that strength? I don’t know. To me, it’s just our love.

For not having a busy day, I had a freaking busy day. I was pretty much gone the entire day and your brothers had a baseball game tonight. I almost had a panic attack, having to go back to the baseball field, without you. I never wanted to be the mom who actually got to sit and watch the entire game. I always wanted to be the mom who could never sit back and enjoy the game, because I had you to chase around. Tonight, I got to sit and watch your beautiful brothers. Tonight, I got to sit as the tears poured down my cheeks because one of the boys on the team, reminds me so much of an older version of you. He is a natural athlete who is ahead of all the other kids his age, due to having older brothers. This would have been you. Your daddy knows this too. He came over many times and put his hand on my shoulder. “Are you o.k?” he asked. I smiled my half-smile and just nodded my head as the tears poured down my cheeks. They were well hidden underneath my sunglasses and fedora hat. I did the best I could do, but sitting at that game tonight was beyond painful. I don’t think it will ever be something I enjoy again. I feel like a fish out of water. I pictured you, hanging on the fence, yelling for your brothers and being so pissed that you were too little to play, so you would have run out to┬áthe field and thrown some dirt or a ball in protest. I could hear your little voice yelling out, “Gooooo Quinny! Goooooo LiLi!” You would have been the team mascot. I am so sorry. I swear, this is all my fucking fault. I was your mom. It was my job, to keep you safe. I failed. I failed and you died and now what? Now, I am here, going to freaking little league games like everything is normal when it is so wrong. Life just goes on and baseball games, snow cones, and laughter exist. They exist to everyone in the world except the mom who no longer gets to bring her almost 5 year old, to his brothers baseball game. She gets to bring his blanket instead and hold it on her lap because he is dead. Who is in charge of this so called life again? I think I’ve said this before, but I want a mother fucking refund.

This is all I can write tonight, little one. I’m so tired. I’ve been falling asleep so easily lately due to all the going I’ve been doing, during the day. I love you. I miss you. I hope you are safe. G’nite baby doll. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

Learning how to live, half alive

Ronan. My heart is still heavy. My mind is still a mess. I didn’t cry today though. I have no doubt that my pillow will be soaked tonight when all is quiet and the memories of you trickle in. Night time is hard. I fall asleep and wish for you to wake me up with one of your famous, “Good morning, Mom!” You were always so excited for our days. Back when you were healthy I would pretend I was still asleep just so I could listen to you run to my room after you had woken up to give me a kiss and tell me good morning. It was one of my favorite things in the world. You would never want to get in bed with me and cuddle; instead you would demand that I get up to make your breakfast and wake up your brothers for school. I was always happy to do this for you. Everyday with you was the best day of my life. I can’t believe I will never have that again. I would give anything for you, Ronan. I remember how when I would take you out, how many people would stop me to tell me you were the most beautiful boy they had ever seen. I used to joke with Tricia that I felt like I was with a celebrity when I was with you. We called you our mini Brad Pitt baby. You had an impact on everyone even before you were sick just because of the beauty that people saw from the outside. They didn’t even know the beauty you possessed on the inside. I still can’t believe you aren’t mine anymore. I still don’t understand why you had to leave. I asked Dr. Maze if he thought that you heard me as I was talking to you before you went… those last few minutes when I told you it was time to go. When I told you to come with me, because we were getting out of this place. He says he thinks you did, as many people say a persons hearing is the last thing to go. I wish I would have said more to you. I wish I could have told you everything I was feeling in my heart but that would have been impossible. I know you know how much I love you. I will never get over the fact that I alone couldn’t save you. I’ll always think that I let you down because I couldn’t fix you. I know there was nothing I could do as your disease was so uncontrollable but that guilt will never go away. I am so, so, sorry Ronan. I would have traded my life a million times over for yours. I think about this every single day.

I’m not sure what just happened…. except for while I am writing to you I am of course listing to Pandora. I have it on the Coldplay playlist. Right when the tears where pouring down my cheeks, this random song came on. One I have never heard before but here are the lyrics…….

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above

Whatever. I’m still too mad to think this is anything. But I will say that the piano playing this song was pretty. I miss you so much. I know I tell you this all of the time, but I will miss you for the rest of my life. I worry so much about you. I still cannot believe you are safe and happy without us. How could that be possible? I know I took better care of you then anyone. You deserve to be with me still. Your daddy watches me and the way I sit and am still with my thoughts. He knows I am tortured. I actually said to him that we made a mistake with your treatment. We should have done this, we should have done that, we should have been more aggressive. I know I am wrong about this. Nobody knew what was to come. Your daddy talked to all the best doctors and they all agreed with what we were doing. I told your daddy we should have had you scanned after every round of chemo. Nobody would have done this for us. But this is the only way we would have known that everything was spreading so rapidly. The day of your last scans, at Sloan…. Dr. Kushner’s face will haunt me for the rest of my life. He knew you were going to die. He couldn’t even look at me, Ro. Walking out of Sloan, they all knew you were going to die. But I wish they could have told me, instead of avoiding me and my tears. I don’t think badly of Dr. Kushner at all. If I saw him today, I would give him a great big hug and thank him for all he is doing to try to figure out this disease. I guess I’m just having a hard time because I feel like I didn’t get closure with him. I feel like he owed you more than the send off he gave us. But I also get that he is a man. A brilliant man and an amazing doctor. And I am sure he feels like he failed us and that is a hard pill to swallow. I get all that. But I also get that you deserved more, little man. Because you are going to change the world of this disease and I know someday he will be telling you thank you, Ronan. I will make sure of this. You will not be forgotten by him. And someday, I hope to replace a new image of him in my head from the awful one I am left with. I don’t want to carry that around with me forever.

I drew your name in the sand tonight while I was on my run. I went for a run on the beach in the dark. It is the only way I like to run now. In the dark, alone, where I don’t have to look at anyone in the eyes and I don’t have to see all the happiness surrounding me. All of that stings so badly. I don’t know if that pain will ever go away. We used to be that family. The perfect family that had it all. We had it all because of you. Now we are all so wounded, so empty. Although I did hear your brothers laughing today. I played with them all morning. I tried to stay focused on them, but my mind kept wandering back to how different everything would be about our day if you had been with us. Nothing about our day would have been the same; you changed everything.

G’nite my little man. Everyone is asleep now. Quinn is right next to me, all cuddled up with your blanket, GiGi. I’m going to cuddle up to him now. See you in my dreams, baby doll. I love you.

xoxo

Twinkle Twinkle little star

I had the worst dream last night. It was all about scan day. We woke up and got ready to go. Fernanda was downstairs waiting for us, with coffees in hand and off we went. We arrived promptly, like always, and soon Ronan was called back to anesthesia; I held him tightly as they injected him with his Propofol, and kissed him as he went to sleep. I left him on the table and covered him up with his blanket, Gigi. Out in the waiting room I went and fell into Fernanda’s arms. Leaving Ro for anesthesia is never easy on me, especially without Dr. Maze there to be the one to take care of my little guy. Fernanda and I gathered up our things and pushed Ronan’s stroller up to floor 9 to let the waiting begin. And wait we did. For fucking ever. I think we sat for a good 2 hours. Fernanda tried her best to distract me with her her stories; but there was nothing that could take my mind off of the things to come. Soon, I saw Dr. Kusher, the man I had been waiting for. He was back doing Ronan’s bone marrow aspirations. He breezed right past me without making eye contact. This was my first clue. My stomach dropped to the floor. Fernanda goes, “There he is, let’s chase him down to see what the results said!” I just looked at her and told her no. He knew we were waiting and would get to us when he was ready. By this time, Ronan was waking up from the anesthesia. We went back to get him and my little groggy guy just wanted to be in my arms. I put on his pants and shoes and picked him up. We went back to the waiting room to wait once again, for Dr. Kushner. We sat and waited and fed Ronan some food as he was hungry. As I was getting up to do something, my Claude necklace, the one that I always have around my neck for important days; that has the tooth of St. Claude in it, fell to the ground. It had somehow come detached from the chain and I scrambled to pick it up. I picked it up and tried to figure out where it had come detached. So weird, I thought to myself, as the clasp was not broken. I did my best to ignore the St. Claude incident and told myself it was not a sign. I didn’t even tell Fernanda this which is not like me at all. I tell her everything. Soon, the kid at the front desk told us Dr. Kushner was ready for us. We were taken back to room 7 to meet with him. As soon as I saw him my stomach dropped to the floor. He couldn’t even look me in the eyes. I looked at him and said, “No no no no no no no.” His eyes were wet and he said in his weakest voice something like, “The cancer is spreading. The chemo did not work.” I clutched Ronan, sat down in a chair because I was going to pass out. I don’t remember much more. At some point, he recommended we call Woody on speaker phone. I sat there and listened as Dr. Kushner tried to explain things to Woody. I watched him as his eyes kept getting wet. At one point I asked him if he could please give me just an ounce of hope. Just one ounce… something. He looked at the floor. I went into shock and asked him if this ever gets any easier for him. I told him it couldn’t possibly ever get easier. He got up and turned his back to me. Where did the man go that said he would fight for my baby with everything he had? Because that man in front of me was nowhere to be found. I saw a coward. A man who had completely given up on my child. I somehow gathered my strength and got up. I gave him a hug and told him thank you. I told him he was a good man. I walked out of the doors to his office with Ronan running beside me. Dr. Kushner, the man I had put all of my faith into, had given up on my child and there was no looking back.

Fernanda and I walked back to the RMH. I remember nothing about getting back to our room. All I knew is I wanted to get home, back to Phoenix, asap. I curled up on my bed while Ronan ran around like mad and Fernanda buzzed in the background making travel arrangements and figuring out what to do next. I remember something being said about needing to get me Valium. I remember sitting on the floor playing with Ronan and drinking a coconut water. I remember taking the coconut water and throwing it as hard as I could across the room while I watched it hit the wall and liquid splashed everywhere. I told Ronan we were having a party and I wanted to see if my water would explode. He then took a can of root beer and poured it everywhere to make it explode like a volcano. I think Fernanda got in on the fun and dumped her Diet Coke all over the floor on a blanket on purpose. We sat and had a fucking pop throwing party because what else could we do? It made perfect sense at the time. She then spent the next 7 hours packing up our room, running all over the city to buy more suitcases for all of our shit, did laundry, cleaned our place, got me my Valium, composed an email to Dr. Mosse at CHOP regarding starting Ronan on MIBG therapy and we finally got Ronan into bed so he would settle down to sleep. Fernanda watched as I rubbed his back and he asked me to sing him “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I sang to him our song as I do every night. We all fell asleep around 2 a.m. Our alarm woke us up at 3:30 a.m. as our car was picking us up at 4 a.m. to get us to the airport. 9 suitcases checked later and we were at our gate. The flight was blurry and Ronan slept much of the way. I did too due to the Valium and Ambien. I asked Fernanda for more Valium and she told me no. I cried on our flight and watched her cry by herself in the aisle across from me. She looked like an angel. I woke up at one point and looked down at Ronan and I saw his pinky intertwined with mine. That’s how I know this is all a nightmare and none of this is true. Because his little pinky of his refuses to let go of mine, even when we are both in a deep, deep sleep. As we were getting off of our flight I hugged Fernanda tight and told her that she was the best friend I have ever had and how nobody else would have done this for me. She told me there were a million people who would have done this for me and I then told her yes, but not the way that she did. She came in, in the middle of the biggest storm of my life and attacked it head on and beat the fuck out of it. I have no idea how in the world she did this and I kept offering to have Woody fly out to help us. She looked at me like I was crazy and yelled at me “For what?!?! We can do this! I’ve got it under control!” I’ve learned not to argue with a Mexican Goddess. You will never win.

I somehow made it home, back to the cleanest house possible and to my twins and in-laws. Before I knew it I was in my bed and passed out. I woke up to my husband and 3 boys playing away. The days are blurred and I’m not really sure what is going on. I went out this morning to meet up with my Mr. Sparkly Eyes. I told him how disappointed I was in Dr. Kushner and how I am learning to lower my expectations of people because I set the bar so high. He agreed with me and also tried help me understand that he is sure Dr. Kushner feels like he failed us and is heartbroken. I told him I understood that, but all I wanted was for him to have a bit of decency and compassion which I felt he completely lacked. I just want somebody to be mad at and I know that is not fair, but I have a right to be mad at the way things were handled. Dr. Kushner had his freaking assistant call Woody today to tell him he thinks we should go to CHOP for MIBG. He didn’t even call Woody himself. That is not only rude, but classless. And this is a man that I completely respected, but I have come to find out that when push comes to shove and times turn to the darkest hour, the people who you think will be there until the end for you, can turn on you in a heartbeat. I told Mr. Sparkly Eyes that we refuse to give up and as long as Ronan is still fighting, we will fight as well. He more than agreed and promised to never give up on Ronan, told me that he, himself, is not going anywhere and all I have to do is say the word and he will be at our home to sit with me or whatever I need. I told him how I didn’t know how I was going to write this post, as I have been trying for days but lacked the words. He told me to just be honest, like I always have been. So here I sit, writing the most honest words that I have ever had to write in my life.

I had my house full of my dear friends and family today helping to get everything unpacked. Stacy, Karen, Liz, Fernanda, Heidi, and Mrs. Martin all buzzed around doing everything they could. I don’t think I’ve done much of anything except Heidi got me out for a pedi/mani and I got to see Marisa who met me at my nail salon to hold me.

What’s next? First, I have to wake up from this nightmare because I refuse to believe it is real. Ronan is running around like mad, playing with his brothers and having lightsaber wars with his favorite cousin, Luke. Once I wake up, we plan on getting on a plane this Tuesday to take Ronan to Chop to start him on MIBG therapy. This is a fairly short therapy, but intense. We will get Ronan through this. As my friend, Ed said to me, “It takes one child to change the odds.” That is the best thing I’ve had said to me all week. Until we leave on Tuesday, I’m going to do my best to get thought these next days. I’m going to hug all of my boys extra tight and surround myself with all the love I can get. As much as I want crawl up in my bed and not come out, I have 3 boys, and a husband whom I love more than the stars combined to try to remain strong for. I still have hope, faith, and a belief that Ronan will be the miracle to come out of this.

I love you all. Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers. This is not even close to being over and we will never give up on our Ro.

xoxo

P.S. If any of you ever see that angel of mine, Fernanda Borletti on the streets, at the grocery store, at school, wherever….. please wrap your arms around her and whisper to her that she is an angel on this earth. She deserves a god damn Noble Peace Prize.