It’s a real life Poppy!

Ronan. So, in this life now without you, you know I’m not used to really good things happening. Even when really good things happen to me, they always come with me thinking the worst case scenario for what could ultimately go wrong. It’s a given in this new life without you. The one that I am left here living, where I thought you would never die, because our love and those doctors, would save you. How I absolutely knew that nobody would ever make us be apart because the love between the two of us, was so strong and unlike anything the both of us had ever known. Of course you were going to get better. Of course you were going to survive. Yet, somehow… that was not the outcome. I will never know why and even if there was a reason written out in black and white, it wouldn’t be good enough. Nothing in this world will ever be worth the death of you. But, some really amazing things are happening due to your death. It feels so wrong to write that, but it is the truth. Had you not died, the things that the world is spitting out at me, would not be going on.

I told your Sparkly the other day, “If Ronan had to die, you can make damn sure I am going to make something amazing come from it. He will change the face of childhood cancer.” I hate that it had to be you. But baby, just maybe, someday, another little boy or girl won’t have to die from this disease because of the awareness you are bringing to it. We as a foundation, are preparing the best we can for all the good you are bringing. We’ve had a fire lit under us in the best way possible. I am thanking you, our love, and the most amazing people in the world who are so touched by our love story, that they want to help us change this. I am so amazed at the way you are still inspiring so many… but I was your mama, so it’s not surprising to me at all, Ro. Your beauty and spirit lives on through so many. I am trying to find comfort in that as much as I can. It truly is what keeps me going.

I had my first ultrasound today. The one where I got to see, (insert british accent here)”Poppy!” in a picture for the first time. Your daddy went with me. We were waiting for my OBGYN. The one who delivered all 3 of you. I was nervous. I told your daddy I expected there to be no baby, or for this baby to die. Am I an awful, wretched human being for saying those words? I thought I was for about .3 seconds, but then I decided I was not. I just know the worst now, so those thoughts are a given. Your daddy said, “The baby is not going to die.” I wanted to say, “That’s what you said about Ronan,” but I bit my tongue.” We went back to the ultrasound room. I wondered if Dr. Schwartz would bring you up. I had a panic attack thinking to myself, “What if she doesn’t acknowledge Ronan and what happened?” That would have destroyed me. She came into the room, Yelling about how she needed to make sure there weren’t two babies in my stomach. The mood quickly shifted after that after she told us she knew we had been through the ringer and how sorry she was. She asked a lot of questions about how I was doing, feeling, and if I was still depressed. I told her I don’t think it’s depression after losing a child. I think it’s just a heavy grief that one will always have, but I am learning to manage it. She asked about medications. I told her I wasn’t on any. Your daddy piped in about Ambien but quickly corrected himself saying I hadn’t taken any since before Washington. So glad I threw that shit away. She asked if we were excited. I just answered her as honesty as possible. I said I was more just scared and nervous. She said she understood starting going on and on about how she knows I am going to have anxiety with this baby, times a million. She told me she would do ultrasounds on me every week if that’s what I wanted. I don’t know if that will be necessary, but I appreciated the offer. I cried a lot during my ultrasound due to missing you so freaking much. I heard Poppy’s heartbeat and I wish I could say it filled me with so much happiness and joy, but it didn’t. I am trying not to be too hard on myself. I know this is going to take time. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy. But my happiness comes with just as much sadness, too. I’m not going to pretend like it doesn’t and I’m not going to beat myself up over it. It is what it is, Ronan. This baby will be good. I know this. This baby is going to be so unbelievably loved. This baby is going to be a part of you and what could be better than that, besides yourself? I love this baby already. But it doesn’t lessen this pain or make me miss you any less. If anything, it makes me miss you more.

Poppy is real. Poppy has a heartbeat. As of now, Poppy is safe. I know in my heart, that you will make sure this baby is going to be fine.

I just finished up a board meeting. Long night. Lots of love, excitement and laugher in our house tonight. I am so lucky, even without you here. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

xoxo

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxo

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Music to my ears

I’m feeling peaceful tonight. Today, was a very good day in terms of victories for Ronan. It started off with his little words this morning, “Mom, I have to poop.” Praise the freaking lord. It’s been 5 days of him not pooping and we have been giving him Miralax around the clock. I full on had a pooping party dance after my little man did his job. Victory! He was up most of the day, although still in a lot of pain. This morning, our sweet, “A,” from the clinic came by. She sat with us for a while and Ronan normally kicks everyone out, but he was so calm while she was here. He connects with her. Playroom Kathy from PCH also came by with so many Star Wars toys and the most beautiful Star Wars quilt which I am assuming she made. Kathy, it is so gorgeous. Ronan has been playing with his Star Wars guys on it all day. Love you so much. Thank you for sharing your smile with me today. I’m only sorry Ro missed it due to him sleeping. My sweet friend, Kristen, Kati, and Olivia came by as well. It was good to see them all. The usual peeps were here too. My mom, Jim, Luke, Heidi, Liam, Mimi, Papa, Auntie Karen, Trish, Stacy, Fernanda, Gay, and Pam. Christy and Heidi stopped by too with a ton of food. I’m feeling a little braver about seeing people so I ventured outside of our room. Ronan is so loved. I’ve never seen so much love for one little boy in my entire life. It makes me feel so happy.

We have been talking to Dr. Sholler about some other treatment options. I told you we are exhausting anything possible. We are talking about doing radiation on his leg. I’m not giving up yet if there is even the smallest amount of hope. I won’t travel far with him, but if this doctor is willing to see us in San Diego, we are talking about making the trip. We may start radiation tomorrow on his leg. Anything to help him with his pain. We are not committing to anything yet, as we know what the odds are. But we are not willing to close the door just yet. Ronan wants to be here with us and we are going to continue to fight hard for him until he lets us know otherwise. I will know, as his mama, when it is time to let go. It’s not time yet.

I got out for a bit tonight. I was nervous about it but Woody insisted it was fine. I had the chance to call back a couple of people. My angel, Charisma, is flying in this weekend for a quick visit even though she is bombarded with auditions. YAY FOR THAT!!!! Both her coming, and the auditions that are coming her way. I cannot wait to see her and am so grateful that she knows how much it means to me to see her. I called back my other dear friend, Susie, who lives in Colorado. All I had to do was say the words and she is now coming in for a quick visit this weekend as well. I don’t know how much time we have left with Ronan. Could be days, weeks, months….. praying for forever. Regardless, it means a lot to me to have those two see him. It will be good for me as well. It felt good to be out, tonight, breathing in the fresh air, as I sat outside with my dear friend who brings me much peace and comfort. I even managed to eat a taco for him.

I came back to the Ryan house and Ronan has just finished his platelet transfusion. Luke and Quinn were in the room with him and we all sat around together while Luke played music from my iPad for Ronan. Luke was being his normal, very animated self, and was singing and dancing out loud. I could not believe my ears when I heard giggles coming from Ronan. He has not laughed in at least a week. It was all thanks to Luke. I about started bawling. My baby boy is still in there. As much as he is hurting, he so badly wants to come back to us. I heard it in his laugh tonight. I will never forget that moment. Luke has been such a gift to us during this time. He brings our family so much happiness, especially Ronan. He is sleeping over at The Ryan House tonight, as well as the twins. We all need to be together as much as possible.

I’m tired tonight and as I said, I’m feeling somewhat peaceful. I’m going to try to get a little bit of sleep before Dr. Maze and everyone else kicks my ass. I’m not taking my sleeping medicine anymore, but tonight I feel like I can maybe sleep without them.

Somebody posted me this comment on my blog tonight. Loved it and wanted to share. Thank you, friend whom I do not know.

I read your latest blog “the next person that tells me…” I just want to say Sorry for those of us that are inconsiderate with our words and try to say things to make us feel better before we think of how they may affect you. I share your blogs on my facebook and ask my friends to pray for you. I wear a bracelet daily so when I see it I remember to pray for you often. My heart aches for you. My sister recently lost her granddaughter and posted this comment about people speaking, I thought you would appreciate it. She added your comment to her previous post to reiterate the impact of commenting before we think about it.

Before you speak…
by Connie Phelan Iddings on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 12:00pm
“Everything happens for a reason.You were given this because you were strong enough to handle this. God has a greater plan for your child. Your child wants to go home, where he belongs in Heaven, so just let him go. At least you had as long as you did with her and you have other grandchildren, at least you can be grateful for that. You’ll be a better, stronger person because of all of this. ”

These are comments given to a Mother whose child is battling for his life and to other Mother’s and Grandmother’s who have lost their babies.

Think about it. Seriously. Stop and think about it. To a Mom and to a Grandma, there simply does not exist any justifiable “reason” for our babies to suffer and die.

I am sure that God is taking care of our babes, but when you say God had a better plan, what exactly are you implying? That we somehow didn’t deserve our children-our parenting plan didn’t suffice while millions of others did? That God handpicked our babies to pluck out of our arms because he had a better plan? God is not cruel. His plan is to bless and not to harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) I’m pretty sure it had very little to do with “God’s perfect plan.” I like how William P. Young author of The Shack puts it,

“Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t
ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”

Never tell a parent their child is better off or tell a mother that her child wanted to leave her even to go to heaven, it’s like sticking a knife in her already broken heart. We don’t want our children to suffer. No good mother does. But, to add guilt to her grief by suggesting she is being selfish for going to any and every length to help her child survive and for wanting to hold onto her child as long as absolutely possible is unforgivable.

Don’t think for one moment that we aren’t eternally grateful for every millisecond of time we were given. Whether it is a few moments, or decades it matter not, our baby is now gone. We are grateful for all the yesterdays but we still want the tomorrow’s. We want our children with us today, right now and would give absolutely anything to have them.

Don’t get us wrong, we love and are grateful for all our children and grandchildren that are still with us, as we’ll also be for those we’ll be blessed with in the future, but that does not diminish our love or desire for those lost.

Please never, ever tell a grieving Parent or Grandparent that they will be stronger, better people because of the death of their child. No one wants to benefit from the death of a child. We know you mean well, but it plants thoughts in our mind like, “What if I was a stronger and better person to begin with? Would my baby have been spared?” Is that your intention? I highly doubt it.

Before you speak, pause to hug us and think. Tell us you are sorry. Let us cry and talk as much and as often about our baby without being made to feel guilty that you feel uncomfortable. Please don’t tell us that you think it is time we move on, leave that to the well-trained therapists. Our grief may remind you that we live in a world where children die before they are suppose to; a fact you may want to forget, but we don’t want anyone to forget our babies. We also don’t want anyone else to suffer needlessly if there is anything we can do about it. Therefore, we will keep talking about our children and about their death if we think it will help someone. It is important for everyone that we do.

We know it is difficult. Believe me, we know! We understand most people have no idea what to say or that some things are far more hurtful to say than they ever realized. I tell you now so that you will know. I, myself most likely said these very statements in an attempt to comfort others in their grief and offer answers for questions we all have, that there are simply no answers to-at least for now.

I close with a statement from a grieving Mother, “I love you all as always, as long as you don’t say any of those idiotic things…to me. Even if you think them, please don’t say them. They don’t give me strength at all.”

Strength is what we need and what we need more than all is your unconditional love. Before you speak, pause and just give us your love.

God Bless, my prayers are with you continually

G’nite to you all. Ronan and I love you to the moon and back.

xoxo