26 months without you

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Ronan. Today being 26 months without you, made me want to hide in my bed all day long. Your baby sister woke me up this morning at exactly 3:23 a.m., just minutes before you died, to eat. How does she already know everything at just 12 weeks old? How did she know at that moment, I needed a reminder that even though you are gone, you are still with us at all times? She is already so wise beyond her years.

I wanted to hide in bed all day and do nothing but sleep, sleep, sleep. I didn’t. I played with your brothers, instead. I went for a hike with your Papa Jim, your brothers, Poppy and Jady girl. I decorated some trees with your bracelets like I always do when I am hiking or out and about at places I know you would love to be with us.

I’m sorry I haven’t been writing to you on this blog. It makes me so sad that I have so much going on, that it seems to take away time from my quiet time, writing to you. Days are filled with me making sure your brothers are enjoying their summer as much as possible and bonding with your Poppy sister by making her smile and laugh as much as I can. The quiet time I have to myself which is really late at night after everyone is asleep has been spent working on this book. I have been having a war inside my head with myself about it. I swear I am my own worst enemy. I’m constantly doing the second guessing, the what if it’s not good enough, what if I don’t make him proud. A wise little editors words haunt my  head… “Remember, besides having kids, this is going to be the most permanent thing you do in life.” No pressure at all. The hardest part has been figuring out where to start, but I did it. It’s kind of like jumping off of a cliff. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, follow your heart and take a huge leap of faith. I seem to be finding my words easily and so far, I have not had to go back to reference my blog at all. I’m sure there will come a point when I have to do that, but for now I seem to be doing just fine without having to reread my painful words. I know the inspiration I am finding all comes from you, so thank you once again, little man.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet tonight as I need to get some writing done for a few hours before my eyes fall too heavy to see the computer screen. I hate 26 months without you. I’m so sorry. I miss you so much that it makes me sick. I am doing my best even though I still have days where I just want to close my eyes and go to sleep for a very long time. I can’t do that to you though. We have too many things to get done here.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

xoxo

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“A little fishy just told me, just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” Talia Joy Castellano

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Ronan. I got though the 4th of July alright. Mostly just by being distracted which is the only thing that ever seems to get me through anything. I went through the motions and tried to be as “present” as I possibly could. This means playing croquet without you, baseball without you, watching fireworks without you, etc… Macy is still here and that always helps so much with everything. I only had one little sob fest melt down in front of a few people. I couldn’t help it. I was watching one of our family members, hold your Poppy sister for the first time. I don’t know her at all as she is related to us through marriage so this was the first time I had met her. She is young, sweet, and also a bereaved mom. Not too long ago, she lost her first baby girl to still birth. I was surprised she wanted to hold Poppy at all and honestly felt a little guilty about her having to be around a new baby at all. She scooped her up in her arms and just sat and held her while she smiled and cooed at her. Your Uncle Shawn was right there and said, “Do you guys have any kids?” She quickly said, “No, not yet,” while she fumbled with her words a bit. I thought to myself, “Yes you do” but I didn’t say it out loud. It’s not up to me to decide how one talks about their dead babies. I quickly looked up at her and said, “I’m sorry about your baby girl.” She said, “It’s o.k. I’m sorry about Ronan.” That’s all it took and there was nothing I could do but let the tears roll down my cheeks while I helplessly looked for someone, anyone, to wipe them away. I was mostly just looking for you. I cried for her and me and for this fucked up club that we are in that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I pulled myself together within a few minutes but not before Quinn came bouncing in the room just in time to look at my red, puffy eyes. That kid is always so aware of everything that is going on especially when it comes to my feelings. I sucked it up and got up to play in a little boys vs girls baseball game. Girls won of course:)

We spent the rest of the day together missing your Daddy and you. The 4th of July will never be the same again, much like all of these holidays. This one isn’t as hard for me as the others though and I enjoyed it as much as a mom could who has had the love of her life, ripped from her arms. Your brothers had a great day and at the end of the day the smiles on their faces are what gets me through these retched holidays without you. But it’s hard to watch the entire world celebrate a day when you are in constant pain yourself and also so aware of all the pain in the world as well. For me, the pain consists of all of the bereaved mom, dads and siblings and for all of these kids battling cancer. I now live a life where every single firework seems like an absolute waste of money. Every time a firework went off I thought to myself, “There goes another kids’ life and another parent’s broken heart.” I had a vision of what it would be like if just one year, fireworks didn’t exist on the Fourth of July and instead the money was donated to a childhood cancer charity. Imagine how much good that could do. That would sure make me smile much bigger than watching some lights in the sky. A girl can dream, right Ro?

Things around here have been busy, but in a calm and peaceful way. Poppy is still breastfeeding like mad so it still feels like I am feeding her around the clock. She is still sleeping through the night which I’m so amazed by. She seems to want to make my life as easy as possible; for the moment anyway. I’m sure she’s got some good tricks up her sleeve and I can’t wait to see all she has in store for me.

Ronan. I started this a few days ago and I can’t really concentrate on what I am saying to continue on with this post for a few different reasons. One being that Macy left today and I hated so much seeing her go. Who would have guessed that this girl who came into our life in the middle of your diagnoses, because of you and this blog, would be one of my greatest treasures in life? We won’t see each other for a few months and dropping her off at the airport this morning was just awful. We both cried, parted ways, and I hated every second of it. Macy is the sister I never had and my ray of sunshine that is never blinding to me. We all had the best week with her and I know Macy brings out the version of me, that I used to be. I miss that me and it’s nice to see her once in a while. I do wish I could see her more often, but for the time being I will just enjoy her when I’m in the presence of our Macy girl. Nobody makes me laugh and smile the way she does. I know this is the reason you chose to put her in our life. You always pick the best for me and I am so thankful for that.

The second reason I can’t concentrate is because of a girl named Talia who has been on my mind since I found out about her shortly after losing you. I’ve followed her updates, cheered from the sidelines, admired her bravery and attitude while dealing with the shitty hand she was dealt. Talia was diagnosed with that same mother fucker that killed you. She has been fighting non-stop for 6 years, developed a secondary cancer, but still she held on to that beautiful smile of hers. Once Talia the secondary cancer, I knew what the outcome was going to be, but that didn’t stop me for begging for things to turn out differently for her. I found out via social media today that things aren’t looking so great in terms of Talia getting her “miracle.” I want to scream from the rooftops, “WHY NOT? WHEN IS ENOUGH GOING TO BE ENOUGH? HOW MUCH OF THESE KIDS BLOOD HAS TO BE SHED?” My screaming from the rooftops really just leaves me bloody exhausted and drowning in a pool of my tears on the floor. When is this going to get better? When will these kids get an actual real fighting chance? You didn’t deserve this, Talia doesn’t deserve this, none of these babies, toddlers, kids, deserve this, yet it keeps on happening over and over and over all while people continue to look the other way. Ellen DeGeneres had Talia on her show and I am praying that she will do the right thing and help Talia continue to be a voice for childhood cancer.

I’m sad and scared for her parent’s. I made your brothers say a prayer tonight for Talia which really consisted of us all talking to you, Ronan. We asked you to let Talia just fall asleep the way you did. We asked you to help take away her pain. Liam asked you to help her to get to her happy place where she no longer will be sick. Quinn covered up his face and I watched as his eyes filled with tears and he buried his little head into his pillow. This is our life now. A life full of suffering for not only our own pain, bur for the pain of others as well. I know I will be falling asleep with tears on my pillow not only for you, but for Talia too. It shouldn’t be this way, Ronan and I will forever be sorry for everything.

I’m going to go little man. Your little Poppy is stirring. She must hear my tears and know that I need to snuggle into her. Please take good care of Talia and show her the ropes.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

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Turns out Maybelline Great Lash Mascara isn’t so great when you’re a bloody mess

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Ronan. Finally, I can sit down and have some time with you. I hate that I haven’t been able to write, let alone breathe lately. I’ve been so unbelievably busy that I swear by the time my head hits the pillow at night, I am out like a light. Such a change from how things used to be. I miss my insomnia nights where I used to stay up and write to you. Poppy has been keeping me incredibly busy. I forgot how time-consuming this whole breast-feeding thing is and your little sister has such an appetite that I swear I am feeding her around the clock. I know it’s what’s best for her and I love spending the time with her doing it, but it does leave little time to get things done around here. I’m just trying to soak it all in still because I know how quickly this time passes. Things are still going amazing with that little sister of yours. She is still a happy girl and is sleeping at night like a champ. None of us can get enough of her. I won’t let her out of my sight and she goes everywhere with me. She even went to her first board meeting the other night and didn’t make a peep as everyone passed her around to love on her. The amount of love for this baby girl blows me away. It’s like she’s getting double the dose from everyone due to the impact you’ve had on all of us, Ronan. She is so lucky to be surrounded by the most amazing souls. I can only imagine what an amazing little human being this will make her. Tomorrow, she will already be 2 months. It has flown by so fast and she is changing so much. She’s now doing really cute things like smiling and cooing at us all. Macy swears she can understand everything we are saying and she trying to have a conversation back with us. The way her eyes look at all of us while we are talking to her makes me think she is right. This Poppy girl already seems to know so much.

Your brothers are out of school. Normally, we would be in San Diego by now but this year we decided to take a little break. Your daddy was burnt out on it and I don’t blame him. One more year of going to the same spot where we always took you, without you was going to be too much for me to handle. I almost had a nervous breakdown last year. Too many almost 4-year-old blond-haired boys running about. Too many swimming pools without you in it. Too much of everything I pretty much never care to see again. It wasn’t therapeutic and it wasn’t healthy for me to be there last year and I have no interest in returning back to a place that I so desperately want to be the same, but it never will be the same again. So we are still in AZ. Your brothers have started a basketball camp which they love but it’s only for a couple of hours a day. The rest of our days have mostly been spent just hanging out having play dates, swimming, and they have helped me with a lot of things around here. We have our little, Rachel, in from NYC. I love having her here so much. We all do. Just another one of those amazing things to come from this blog and from you. She is our family and I love seeing her with your Poppy sister. Now, if I could only get her to move in and be our nanny;) Something tells me that would not be enough to keep our little smarty pants I just graduated NYC and now am working at Columbia University entertained. I am so proud of her and all she is doing. Macy calls her Saint Rachel because she is that amazing at 22. I feel so blessed to have come across this soul who is now a part of our family. We are all going to miss her so much when she leaves. Hopefully she will come out to Washington and visit us when we are there this summer.

That is what we are doing this summer. I am taking your brothers and sister to Nana and Papa’s house. It’s all your brothers have been talking about for months. I’ve been having to listening to them begging to go out earlier, but we had some things to take care of around here first. Believe me, I am just as excited as they are. I miss my parents and my childhood house where I always feel so safe and sound at, even under the shittiest of circumstances. It will be nice to have help with your sister and brothers. Washington is my place of peacefulness where I feel like I can actually breathe for a little bit. And no almost 4 year old blond boys exist. It will be nice to take a little break from the rat race that I often get caught up in here. I have lots of plans that mostly consist of no plans at all, besides spending a ton of time with your brothers and Papa Jim doing our favorite things like fishing, hiking, playing hide and seek until dark, and enjoying all the beauty the pacific northwest has to offer this time of year, including hopefully many days of rain. Please, please, please Washington rain gods, work your magic. I have been missing our rain so much, Ro.

We had a board meeting the other night. We have so many things in the works and so much coming up. A few top secret things that involve a kick ass rockstar. We still have not heard back on the petition to light the Whitehouse Gold for September. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I am still hoping for the best. After the board meeting, I told your daddy I would have Fernanda drive me home because I needed to spend some time with her. We had a lot to talk about and as always, it circled back around to you. I know you know how I am. I don’t let my guard down in front of many people. I much prefer to do all of my crying alone, and don’t often do I do it in front of others. There are only a handful of people who I am comfortable enough with to let everything out. I’ve never had a guard up with Fernanda which is why after our little pow wow, I could barely get my ass back into our house because I was seriously blinded by my tears and the fucking cheap ass mascara I wore that day. Remind me never to wear a different brand of mascara than I normally do. I came into the house, my eyes were black and stinging so badly from the mascara running in them, that I had your daddy in a complete panic. I ran to the bathroom to take out my contacts and wash my face while your daddy hovered over me begging me to tell him what was wrong. It’s the same thing it always is, Ronan. You are dead, I would give anything to have you back, I sometimes still don’t want to be here, because I just want to be with you, where are you? who is taking care of you? and why can’t it be me? Everything in my body still yearns for you, screams for you, begs for you in the worst way. Sometimes your daddy and I sit and bed at night and whisper secrets.

“Do you ever think Poppy has parts of Ronan?” he asked me the other night.
I quietly said, “Yes.”

“Me, too.” he said. “Is that wrong?”

I just told him through my tears, “If it gets us through this, does it really matter?”

I don’t think that it does, Ronan. She is parts of you without a doubt. Just like Liam and Quinn are, too. Many days I catch glimpses of you through your brothers and it helps me in a way. I see you in Quinn’s still sometimes with his mischievous ways. I see you in Liam’s strength and the way he carries himself so proud, like you always did. Poppy feels like you. She reminds me of you. I know you sent her to me to give me a little piece of you back. And some days I think you sent her to me to give me a lot of you back. I don’t care how whack-a-doodle that sounds. Thinking that way helps me to survive this insanely painful life without you here. I can’t tell your baby pictures apart. I can’t get over that she has the same little secret dimple that you had only when you smiled in the same exact spot. It gives me goosebumps and butterflies at the same time. I like living in this Poppyland. It feels o.k. again. Some days it even feels good.

Alright little man. I miss you so much. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams baby doll. G’nite.

xoxo

P.S. Please keep our Kassie safe while she is away on her amazing African adventure. I know she took you with her. Thanks, baby.

P.P.S. Does anybody know anybody high up at our local cable company Cox Communications?? Woody went to tour one of our Ronanld McDonald Houses here today because we are looking to help them with some of their wish list items. We would like to make some things better for the families that have to stay there. Turns out, they don’t have the place wired for cable because Cox wants to charge them full price and won’t give them a discount. Seriously? That makes me so mad. I love it when people try to make money off of people who are going through a hard time. It’s a freaking non-profit, Cox Communications. Give me a break. I might like to write them a little letter or speak to somebody who is higher up over there. Thanks, lovies for anything you can do.

xx

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A death day and an almost birthday

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Ronan. We made it through your death day the best we could. I didn’t sleep much the night before and I even had my alarm set to go off during the time that you passed away, just so I could be awake. I didn’t need the alarm because your Poppy sister woke me up almost exactly at the time you left this earth; because she wanted to eat. Of course she did, right Ro? Poppy knows what’s up. I did a lot of my crying the day before you passed away, a lot of it the night before, and still a lot of it on the awful day itself. I picked up the phone on your death day for the one person that promised to call and the one person that I would pick up for. Your Sparkly. I started crying as soon as I saw his name pop up on my screen. I let him do what he does best which is say a few things to help me get through the day. I didn’t say much, just quietly cried instead and told him I loved him. Not many words were needed by either of us.

We spent a quiet day in Sedona together by the river and in the woods. We had a little lunch and an early dinner. At one point, your Daddy and Liam ran into the store while Quinn, Poppy and I waited in the car. Quinn was changing the music in my car and a mixed C.D. that I had made, came on. The first song being, “Ronan.” He seemed so excited about it. “Oh! I haven’t heard this song in forever!” I just smiled at him and told myself to let it play while I sat in the back seat next to Poppy. It only took about 5 seconds of listening to that sweet voice and those oh so powerful lyrics before I lost it completely. Full on could not breathe, sobbing, as I wiped tear after tear away. I am still amazed at how Taylor did the most beautiful job at capturing my grief in such a way that it leaves me breathless every time I listen to your song. I love it so much, but it is so hard for me to get through. Quinn just watched as I cried, bent his head down, and held my hand. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get through that song without crying. I could see every single word play out in my head like a real life movie except it’s not a movie, it’s my life and it never gets any easier.

Once we were back to our hotel and the sun was setting, we all headed down to the creek with our 6 purple balloons and a Sharpie pen. We all took turns writing on our balloons. I’m sure it was quite the sight the 5 of us, all huddled together, writing our thoughts to you. At first Quinn only wrote a couple of things. It went a little something like this:

“I miss you, Ronan. I love you to the moon and back.”

But then he said, “Wait! I need to write more!” It ended up being a novel for as much of a novel that would fit on one purple balloon. He said some other things that I tried to read out loud, but I started choking on my tears as I read his words.

“I wish you were here. I was really looking forward to watching you grow up and play baseball and basketball. I miss you.”

Liam’s words went a little something like this:

“Ro Ro. I miss you. I am so proud of you. You are so strong. I love you.”

Your daddy wrote his words, I wrote mine, and Poppy wrote hers;). We went down to where there was a clearing in the sky from the trees and let our balloons go. Only Liam’s made it out of the trees. The rest of ours got caught up in the branches above. Liam was jumping up and down in excitement as if it were a competition. It made us all laugh through our tears. I’m sure you giggled, too.

We had to come back from Sedona on Friday because your brothers had a basketball tournament to play in on Saturday. It was the playoffs for the YMCA team that your Daddy has been coaching them on. If they ended up winning, they would play again that night for a chance to go to the finals and play next week at the Phoenix Suns arena. They won the first game. After it was over, we ended up taking your brothers and 3 of their friends/teammates out for pizza. It’s these happy moments that I see through your brothers eyes that keep me going. We all sat there together at a table full of boys and we gave them a pep talk about their upcoming game. There were a lot of laughs and the talking was non stop. I am blown away at your brothers and so thankful for what respectful boys they are. Not only them, Ronan but the little group of friends they have made as well. The table was full of please’s, thank you’s, Yes, Mr. Thompson, No, Mrs. Thompson, all coming from a group of 9 year olds. At one point your daddy looked at me and said, “How much would Ronan have loved all the boys’ friends?” So much, Ronan. They are the nicest boys, the hardest little workers, and just so respectful. I know you would have been in the middle of them, causing your little mischief and they would have eaten it up with a spoon.

Your brothers won both games today, Ronan. I looked at them before their last game and said, “Do this for Ro,” as I gave them both knuckles. They both smiled at me and said that they would. I sat back tonight and watched as your brothers played their hearts out and I know it was all for you. Liam had 19 of our 22 points. They were both on fire and so determined to play in the finals. I love watching them play this game so much. I love watching your Daddy coach them. He is amazing at he and is the reason they have become such good little players. He works so hard with them to make them the best players that they can be. It makes me so proud of all 3 of them. I remember how when you were so little and so freakishly coordinated at such a young age how your daddy would talk about how he couldn’t wait to coach your teams. You would have been such an amazing athlete. Our mini Pat Tillman as we used to say. I’m sorry buddy. So very sorry.

It’s late. As soon as your brothers game ended we headed home to get our things so we could head to Tucson. We didn’t want to spend your birthday tomorrow sitting around our house being sad. So, we are taking your brothers to a resort that has one of the biggest water slides in all of Arizona. We will let them run around and be crazy for you tomorrow. Tomorrow we will all do our best to celebrate you by doing something you would have loved. Your brothers are very excited about doing this for you. I will do my best to put on my bravest smile to get through the day. I have a feeling your little sister will help me out. She seems to have a knack for this already. She is already helping me so much just by being here and making me feel like I have a tiny piece of you back. Thank you so much for her, Ro.

Happy almost 6th birthday my spicy little monkey. I love you so much. I miss you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mum’s out there. I hope you have a beautiful day tomorrow and I know you all know how lucky you are. Please don’t ever forget that.

To all of my mom’s out there who are in my shoes…I know tomorrow will be rough and for that, I am so sorry. I wish you a day full of gentleness to just get through the day. Just getting through the day is something to be proud of. Here is a little lesson I have learned after going through something like this. Days like tomorrow will never get any easier. Ever. So on a day like Mother’s Day when it is supposed to be all about us, take this one day and stop trying to please other people. Take this one day and acknowledge your grief, don’t apologize for it, and do what it is that would make you the most happy on this day. For me, tomorrow isn’t about me and that makes me happy. I would much rather just spend the day celebrating my Ronan through the eyes of Liam, Quinn, and Poppy with my amazing husband. And you know what?? If tomorrow comes and I decide that I can’t get out of bed and do a thing, I know I am surrounded by the people who love me most in the world and they will be o.k. with that. I have learned that surrounding yourself with people who have no expectations of you, is the best way to get through these holidays that are so bloody hard now.

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Without a doubt, the MISS Foundation saved my life

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I just wish I wouldn’t have had to find them by sitting in my bed in the middle of the day, sobbing, and thinking to myself, “If I don’t find someone to help me, I will not survive this. I then turned on my computer and Googled, “What to do if your child has died in Arizona.” Somehow, that got me to the MISS Foundations page. I thank Ronan for Dr. Jo, every single day.

 

http://drjoanne.blogspot.com/2013/05/as-we-near-mothers-day.html

“This is how dreams die.” -Woody Thompson

 

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I’m not going to go into why I titled this post this way tonight because not everything can be shared. Let’s just say Woody came home and said this to me tonight for a very good reason. All I am allowed to say is screw anybody that sets out to get rich off of kids with cancer. Fucking unreal.

 

Ronan. I cannot believe your baby sister has been here for 3 weeks today. It has went by so quickly. We still have been lying pretty low and I swear it feels like I have been doing nothing but nesting and breastfeeding her since she arrived. The quiet has been good for me. Or at least that is what I am telling myself for the time being. I do miss my crazy insane I’m losing my mind days. Those days got me through a lot of the darkness. I’m sure those days are not over yet… but for now I am just trying to soak in the peacefulness that you sister has brought into our lives. We’ve had a couple of out-of-town visitors. Your Nana came to help out with things and to meet Poppy. It was of course wonderful to have her here as it gave me a chance to do nothing but focus on your sister and let myself become somewhat human again. I was exhausted not from the lack of sleep I’ve been getting, but from the physical part of your sisters birth and the toll it took on my body. Now I am starting to feel somewhat normal again and I know a big part of it is due to the rest I was able to get with your Nana in town. She took a lot of the slack off and for one full week I didn’t have to touch the laundry or cook a thing. It was heaven and so very helpful.

Your Fairy RoMo popped into town just for a day to come and see her new god-daughter. That was a magical day indeed and so special that I can hardly put it into words what it was like to see the two of them finally meet. It was like for once, something in this world without you made sense for  a split second. If I can’t have you here to meet your Fairy RoMo, having Poppy here is the next best thing. We took Poppy all over with us for the day. We had a impromptu Poppy party that was thrown together by Stacy where we sat around at a cute little restaurant and had a nice lunch. It was pretty much her first time out in the world. After that, we took Poppy to your favorite restaurant, Chelsea’s Kitchen. We sat on the patio and went gagaga goo goo crazy eyes over your sister. As I was sitting there, I was taken back to the night of your funeral/celebration of life/one of the worst nights of my life. I was holding your sister and I remembered being there after we had your services. I thought to myself, how in the world could I have come here with a bunch of people the night of Ronan’s funeral? In my white dress looking like a zombie I’m sure. I hardly remember the night except I remember that somebody went and snapped my picture with Quinn on my lap and I remember smiling into the camera. How I even was able to form a smile is beyond me. I know I did it because Quinn was right there and I was trying to act somewhat normal like this is a fucking normal thing to do. Eating Tuna Tacos with a bunch of people after my child had just died and I sat in the front row listening to people talk about about you, holding your brothers hands, without tears streaming down my cheeks because I was too numb to feel anything. And now, here I am, sitting right back at that very same restaurant while holding your sister and kissing her sweet cheeks. How is this my reality again? I wanted to vomit right there on the spot but I just sat there quietly instead doing everything I could do in my power not to cry and hide underneath the table. I let the scene of that awful night play out in my head instead.

Every time I think about you and what has happened lately it’s like my mind is back to not being able to process it. My mind automatically goes to screaming, “FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK!!!!” in my head and that’s about it. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I don’t. I always feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I took your brothers back to their therapist last week just to check in with them. Quinn did not understand why he had to go because as he told your Nana, “If I needed to talk about something, I would just talk to my mom.” That was sweet to hear and made me feel good, but I still wanted Quinn to check in with Dr. Rachel. I went to talk to her after she met with Quinn. She said that he is doing really well. That the worry brain he used to have, seems to totally be gone. He also told her that he hasn’t seen me this happy in a long time. That stung a little bit. Happy? How can that be? It almost felt like a betrayal to you, Ronan. Don’t get me wrong, I do want your brothers to see  me this way. This is the way they deserve their mom to be… but it still felt weird to hear that. I just wasn’t ready for that word quite yet. It was like swallowing a really big horse pill and doing everything I could, not to choke on it. Dr. Rachel told me she feels like she does not need to see Quinn anymore, even though she would love to because she thinks he is such an amazing little guy, it’s not necessary at this point. Liam on the other hand, still needs some time with her. He is still pretty emotional about all of this. He tends to keep things to himself more so than Quinn does. We talked about making sure she gets some time with him before the shit storm of May 9th and all the lovely dates after, follow.

Your brothers are of course so in love with your sister. It is so strange to watch them with her, thinking they were doing the exact same thing with you after you were born and how you are just gone now. They both fight over who gets to hold her, kiss on her, and love on her. They both say the funniest things about her. The other day I had an outfit on her that was too big because she is so tiny that much of the stuff I have for her is big. The little tank top she had on kept sliding down and Quinn goes, “Mom, why isn’t she wearing a bra? People are going to see her privates.” I almost peed my pants over that one. The innocence at 9 years old melts my heart like crazy. They both can’t get over the fact that she doesn’t have teeth and Liam sits there with her and tries to teach her to talk. He’ll go over and over, “My name is Liam. L-I-A-M. You’re name is Poppy. P-O-P-P-Y.” It is the cutest thing ever. I’m sure if you were here you would be doing things like coloring on her with markers while I had my back turned or taking her hair and putting tooth paste in it or cutting it with scissors. You were always causing trouble in the best way possible.

Your daddy has been doing things with Poppy like playing her guitar. The other night I was sitting in bed with your sister listening to your daddy play to her. I said, “You need to learn a Taylor song for her.” He asked me which one and said, “Not Ronan. I love it, but I don’t think I can get through that one just quite yet.” I agreed with him and immediately went to one of my absolute favorite song of hers. That one from The Hunger Games soundtrack, “Safe and Sound.” Fast forward a week later and your daddy has that song down to a tee. I remember where I was the first time I heard it on the radio. We were in Maine for the 1 year anniversary of your death. Your daddy and brothers ran into a restaurant to pick up pizza and I was sitting in the car alone. That song came on and I started bawling like a baby. I thought it was so beautiful and could not understand how I had not heard it before. I sat there thinking how much I would have loved to sing this song to you as the words resonated with me so much. Now here we are and your baby sister will grow up with your daddy singing this song to her. Once again, the next best thing to actually having you physically here with us.

Our visitors have still been far and few. Your Sparkly came by last week for a bit just to check in. I showed him your room and how different it is now. I think it was hard for him to see, but he said it looked beautiful. It was hard for me to show him. After that, we mainly just sat on our couch and stared at your sister while catching up on some things. Sometimes a lot of words are not necessary. As we were sitting on our couch he asked where your Nana was. She had gone out to run some errands for me so she was not home and I told him how she has a hard time sitting still. He goes, “Now I know where you get it from.” I just smiled at that. He then goes, “Where is your mom sleeping? In Ronan’s room?” I paused for a minute and told him yes. You see this Ronan? This is why Sparkly gets it when not many other people do. Those 3 words, “in Ronan’s room,” meant so much to me. Sometimes the littlest things mean the most and that is a prime example. Sparkly quietly said how he can’t believe how much she looks like you. Cue tears here. End scene with them sloppily falling everywhere as I said I knew. That dimple. I still cannot get over it.

That’s my update for today. I’ve started hiking/running again. I know I’m supposed to wait 6 weeks postpartum, but they don’t call me a rebel for nothing, right little man? The exercise feels good. Today has been a little tough for a couple of different reasons, but mostly just because I seem to be missing you more than ever. Throw May on top of all of that and it’s a wonder I can even leave the house and function like a normal person at this point. I’m going to go for a run to blow off some of this never ending pain. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. F U Cancer.

xoxo

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2 years ago today, I went to Hell

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Ronan. 2 years ago today, April 23rd, I went to Hell. I’ve been to Hell a few times in my life and it’s not the place that people think you go after you die and you have lived a life of sin. Hell to me is right here on earth. Hell to me are the things I have experienced while living; half alive. April 23, 2011, I went to Hell. It was your last scan day at Sloan Kettering. Fernanda was with me. I remember every detail about that day as if it had just happened yesterday. The waiting in the waiting room for Dr. Kusher to come out and read us your results. Watching my friend, Doriet, howl like an animal in that same waiting room as she had just been given the news that there was nothing left to do for her daughter, Esther. Grabbing Doriet as she walked by and squeezing her so tightly as I whispered in her ear that we would find something or someone to help. Looking at Fernanda and saying to her, “They have to walk out of here having just being given the news that there is nothing left to do for their daughter. How are they going to leave here? How can that just be it?” I had no clue that 20 minutes later I would be in the exact same situation.

Fernanda and I sat and waited. Dr. Kushner came bursting through the doors, breezing right past us. Fernanda whispered to me, “There he is! Ask him!” I watched his body movements, the way he avoided eye contact with me and rushed right past me as if he didn’t see me waiting there. I knew he did. My stomach dropped to the floor. My name was called to come back and get you as you were waking up from your anesthesia. I couldn’t wait to scoop you back up into my arms, safe and sound. You were groggy, but so happy to see me. You were upset about the bone aspirations in both of your little hip bones asking me why I let them do that to you. I rocked you out back out in the waiting room to try to calm you down. Then the sign of all signs that everything was about to come crashing down. That damn necklace. My “lucky,” necklace that I had worn religiously on every single scan day, broke in two and went falling on the floor. I watched the necklace fall to the floor in slow motion. I swear time stopped. “Dr. Kushner will see you now!” we were told. I grabbed you, Fernanda followed me, and off we went. I felt like I was walking the plank of a pirate ship with a big sword in my back, waiting to be dumped into a sea of blood hungry sharks.

Dr. Kushner was waiting to see us alright, but not in the way that I wanted. He paced back and forth like a caged animal. He couldn’t or wouldn’t look me in the eyes. “The treatment. The treatment didn’t work.” I sat there, shaking, as you played on the floor with some cars or something. I don’t remember much after this except saying to him, “O.k. well, I know you have a plan, because you said you wouldn’t give up on my child, so I’m going to go back to Phoenix, until you figure out what is next.” He called your daddy too at some point. I don’t remember what was said. I remember feeling like my legs were cement and I couldn’t get up off of the chair. Somehow I managed. I also managed to give that Dr. Kusher a hug and say “Thank you. You are a good man.” I said this to a man who was too much of a coward to give me the decency of looking me in the eyes and just simply telling me he was sorry. I picked you up and off we went, somehow managing to make it back to the Ronald McDonald House to pack up our entire life that we had created in a matter of hours to hop on the soonest fight out of there. I did none of this. I threw Coconut Water at the wall and watched it explode everywhere and I told you we were having a Pop throwing party as I sat on the floor with you and Fernanda and we let all kinds of soda and water explode everywhere as we threw it against the wall and all over the floor. You thought this was funny. I did too as I lost a piece of my mind that day, never to get it back again and I honestly don’t miss it at all.

I sat a the basement somewhere while Fernanda stayed with you and let you chase her about. I screamed and cried into the phone to our Mr. Sparkly Eyes. He could barely talk as he know nothing was going to calm me down. I remember him just begging me to get it together, so I could get you home and he promised me we would go from there. I think I said the words, “No,no,no,no,no,no,” over and over again as I could not even form a sentence at this point. Valium somehow came into play I think. The next thing I knew our 10 suitcases that came out of thin air were packed and we somehow managed to get a late night flight out of New York home to Phoenix. Again, not me. That would be the magic of Fernanda. Only she could somehow manage to orchestrate something of that magnitude in the middle of the biggest shit storm of both of our lives. Somehow we survived scan day from Hell to be plopped back to Phoenix. I remember nothing after this. I don’t remember the reunion with your daddy and how the fuck that conversation went. I don’t remember getting home to our house and explaining to your brothers what was happening. It’s as if my memory of the next few days has been erased. I guess that happens when you suffer from something as traumatic as what had just happened in New York. Part of the PTSD I suppose.

Fast forward and here I am 2 years later having survived one of my many trips to Hell and back. Here I am having spent all day today, thinking about you and what I was doing 2 years ago as I was still fighting with everything I had, to save you. Today, I spent much of the day like I have been since your sister was born. Rocking her. Snuggling her. Feeding her. Taking care of her. Listening to my head as it screams for you, but the screaming is a little less now that she is here. Wondering if your sister is you, reincarnated. Is that a real thing? I don’t know, but it crosses my mind. What if it were. How would I feel about that, if it were? Would it make this pain, any less? I don’t know. It’s because of that dimple of hers that I can’t stop thinking of this. That secret dimple that you had on the right side of your face down by your chin. The tiny little dimple that only showed up when you smiled. I think that she has it too and it is freaking me out and making my mind think insane things like, “What if this is Ronan’s way of coming back to me because he saw how much pain I was in and he couldn’t take it anymore so he came back as a baby girl…” You know me and my imagination… wild and crazy. Then there is the other little voice in my head saying, “Don’t be crazy. This is Poppy not Ronan, but she is here to save you too, but in her very own way. Her magical, special, Poppy way.” Whatever the real answer is, Ronan, I’ll take it. Because either way is a gift from you. I know this.

Your Nana is here and it has been wonderful. She is so helpful to me and I love watching her bond with your sister. She is such a good Nana. It is all bittersweet, but I know you would want it this way. You would want us to be happy as much as we are able to, without you here. Tomorrow, your Fairy RoMo is popping into town, just to take a peek at your sister and meet her god-daughter. I am so beyond excited to see her and introduce the two of them. I know it will be love at first sight. I only wished she could have met you as well. Tomorrow, I feel like she will be meeting a piece of you and it is going to be such a beautiful thing to see. Your little sister is one lucky girl to have a Godmother like her as she truly is one in a million.

Alright little man. I’m sorry I haven’t been writing, but things have been busy, yet calm. We are all truly just soaking in this little window of time with your sister as I know how fast the newborn stage goes by. She is a dream and is such a good baby. We are all amazed at how she doesn’t cry. Ever. She is the most peaceful little thing. I guess somebody must have told her how badly we were all needing a little peace in our lives. Thanks, baby doll. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams

xoxo

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That Poppy girl has saved my life

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Ronan. I forget to write about 23 months without you. I was in the hospital with your Poppy sister. It was the day after I had her. I told your Mr. Sparkly Eyes how I thought that you and your sister had planned that I went into labor on the 8th, so that when the 9th came around, I wouldn’t be so sad because I would be holding your baby sister safe and sound in my arms. I do think this is true. It was the first time that the 9th wasn’t completely gut wrenching for me. How could it be with your sweet sister snuggled up to me? She helped me get through the day. You know what comes next though. Next month. 2 years without you and I’m sitting here scratching my head saying how can that be? How can it already be 2 years since you left this earth? It doesn’t seem possible. And guess what else this year is. Your birthday is the same day as Mother’s Day. How am I supposed to get through that one? Mother’s Day is hard enough now, but the fact that it falls on what should have been your 6th birthday is just beyond anything I am capable of handling. I am trying not to panic about it all, but I said to your daddy tonight, “We need to come up with a last minute May plan, because I can’t be here.” He promised me he would, so I am trying to relax a bit about it but it has still been keeping me awake at night. I hate the month of May.

May-

Your death day

Your birthday which also happens to be the day you were cremated

Mother’s Day without you

Your funeral Day

I won’t ever love the month of May again.

I will get through it the best I can, just like I did last year. It’s all I can do just to survive it.
Everything around here is really calm and peaceful. I feel calmer and more peaceful than I have in a very long time. It’s because of Poppy. She makes me be still and quiet in a way that is not forced. In a way that I haven’t been able to do since you died. She has given me such a gift already and she is only a week old. It’s amazing the way she seems to be working her little magic on all of us. I have been doing nothing but spending my days with her, being quiet and still. Having your Poppy sister has saved me. I know to make a statement like that is a bold thing to say, but I can say without a doubt, she has saved my life. We talk about you a lot. All day long when I am rocking her in your bedroom and she is looking all around. I tell her stories about you, I tell her how much you love her and are watching over her, I tell her how lucky she is to have you as a big brother and Liam and Quinn as well. Having her in your room was a good decision on our part. Your room no longer seems so sad, empty and cold. I was rocking her yesterday and your daddy came in to check on us. He asked if it was hard for me to be in there with her. I nodded my head that it was, because it is; but there is also something comforting about it too. We still haven’t seen too many people as we are still just trying to take our time and get used to this new little life. Quinn made a comment about how weird it felt to have another person living in our house again with us. To me that just screamed how much your little life is missed by us all. How much your absence is always felt. I still get mad a lot but I find that I am not as reactive with my anger. I find myself sitting and trying to process all of this on a deeper level but I mostly just sit in disbelief that this world has to be without you. How dull and empty I know this world is without you presence. This makes me mad and sad and I want to scream from the rooftops how unfair this all is because I know you would have grown up to do such amazing things in this world. I wonder how come the whole wide world doesn’t feel this way, too. About you and all of these other kids who are dying left and right from childhood cancer.I am so thankful for the people who are now paying attention and fighting the good fight, but I just don’t understand why the whole world isn’t in an uproar over this. I guess if it doesn’t touch your life personally, it is easier just to look the other way and go about your business. That makes me sad. Nobody deserves to get cancer, but especially not children. And if they do get cancer, there should really be better treatments and options. You deserved better, Ronan and I will forever be so sorry that after everything that we tried and did for you that it death was still the final outcome. I will never stop apologizing for this.

I’ve been spending most of my days in your room. Your daddy hung a big beautiful picture of you over your bed last night. I swear I stare at it all day long. Sometimes it makes me cry, sometimes it makes me smile, it always makes me miss you with everything that I am. That will never change.

Alright little man. This is all for now. Not a lot has been going on so I don’t have a ton to write about. Please keep your Poppy sister safe. I worry about her so much already. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

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That beautiful day your sister was born

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Ronan. I know I’m supposed to sleep when your Poppy sister sleeps, but even early in these morning hours, I just can’t seem to do so. It doesn’t matter the lack of sleep I’m getting due to breast-feeding her, holding her, or obsessively watching her sleep because I’m scared she’s just going to up and stop breathing. I think at this point I’m just running off adrenalin and that’s o.k. Sleep stopped being my friend a long time ago.

So, do you want to hear the story about the day your sister was born? I know you already know it, but I’ll recap it for those who don’t. The last few weeks of my pregnancy I was miserable. Miserable in a way that I found myself begging day after day for your sister to finally get here. You know I’m not a good pregnant person at all and those last few weeks, I was beyond done both mentally and physically. Dr. Schwartz was well aware of this too which is why I got her to agree to strip my membranes to try to jump start my labor the same way she did with me for you. I went into her office on a Tuesday and she did this for me to try to get things rolling. It didn’t work. I went back to her on Thursday and once again she stripped away and I left her office hoping that your baby sister would make her entrance into the world soon; just like the way you did after I had this done. I ended up going to the hospital due to having some bleeding and pretty bad contractions had started up as well. I thought it was going to be go time, but as the night went on, the contractions stopped. I had to stay the night at the hospital so they could monitor me, but I was released the very next day. As you can imagine, I was out of my mind upset. I may be a patient person about most things in life, but the end of a pregnancy is not one of them. I also had myself convinced that Poppy was for sure going to be born dead or was never going to come out at all because clearly I had made her up in my deranged head. Once home I pretty much stayed in bed the entire weekend, not wanting to talk to or see anyone. If there was ever a time that I was “depressed,” in my life, you could say the last few week of pregnancy were it for me.

On Sunday night around 10 p.m. just as your daddy came to bed to go to sleep, I was huffing and puffing about how miserable I was and how I hated the world so I got up to do my late night laundry that I have become accustomed to. Just as I was cursing the pregnancy gods from above, I noticed a little drip, drip, drip running down my legs. I walked down the hallway and the puddle continued to slowly trickle out of me. I went in to our bedroom and said to your daddy, “I think my water just broke.” He jumped out of bed all panicked and told me to grab my stuff so we could rush to the hospital. I told him, “No way. I have to shower first. This could take forever and I’m not bringing Poppy into this world until I shower and shave my legs.” I calmly got showered, dressed, and off to the hospital we went. We were admitted right away and Dr. Schwartz was called. She ordered the hospital to start pitocin for me to get things to progress and little faster as I was still only about 4 cm dilated. By this time it was about midnight and I geared up for the night while your daddy quietly slept away on the couch. My contractions started to get pretty bad and the epidural could not have come soon enough. I could not get a hold of Dr. JoRo who was back up in Sedona as she had been with me in the hospital all of Thursday night but went home after I was released. My doula, your daddy, was just not cutting it as I screamed at him about the pain/having to feed myself ice chips because he was so tired that he could not stay up. Luckily, I had a really great nurse who helped me through everything while your daddy got his beauty sleep to prepare for the big day. Apparently labor is hard work when you are a dude 😉 I was really proud of the self control I contained as it took everything I had not to throw ice chips at your Daddy’s head while he slept away and I sat there cursing away from the pain of the contractions that were getting stronger and closer together.

It was around 5:15 a.m. that I started to push your sister out. I had your blanket on my chest and did my best to remain calm as I said your name over and over in my head. 3 pushes was all it took and your baby sister was plopped in my arms immediately. I was overcome with so many emotions that is was almost as if I couldn’t feel a thing. I just remember staring at her and whispering, “Thank you, Ronan,” in her little ear. She looked up at me with her big wide eyes that I can tell are already full of so much wisdom. Your sister was born at 5:35 a.m., 6 lbs 11 oz, tons of dark hair and oh so perfect in every way. She had one little cry as she entered this world but that is pretty much the only peep she has made. I’ve never seen a more calm or peaceful baby in my life. I spent the next few hours staring at her and in disbelief of how much she looks like you. Your daddy and I cannot get over it. I think I went 48 hours without any sleep at all. My adrenaline was through the roof all I could seem to do was stare at your little sister as I slowly let myself fall in love with her. I needed some time to process everything and needed some time to bond with this new baby girl as you know how bittersweet this is for all of us.

Dr. JoRo arrived at the hospital around 10 a.m. and stayed for much of the day. She left once your brothers arrived to let us have some private time together as a family. It hurt to see your brothers walk through that door without you but it was also such a beautiful moment, too. They were so excited and proud to meet their new baby sister. I think they were also both relieved to see that she was finally here, safe and sound. We kept visitors to a minimum just the way I said we would. I needed everything to be calm and quiet not only for me, but for Poppy as well. As the day went on, I sat and watched out our window as an unexpected rain storm took over the entire valley. It was one that was not predicted but rather it came out of nowhere. I know you are always with me, Ro but this storm on the day your Poppy sister was born just proves it to me even more. It was such an amazing thing to witness like it was our own little secret. You are such a little spicy monkey boy and I spent much of the day smiling as I watched the rain pour down out of nowhere.

Our Mr. Sparkly Eyes came by both days that I was at the hospital. The first day he just popped in to take a peek at his new goddaughter and the second day he came for a little longer to sit with me and check in with me to see how I was doing/handling all of this. He told me how I was such a natural at being a mom. I smiled and told him I knew, that this was the easy part for me. I told him how proud you would be to have him as the godfather of your baby sister and how I knew that you would have picked him and only him for this as he is the only one special enough to do so. He will be the best at watching over your baby sister for me just like the way he helped to watch over you whenever he could do so. I know you would be so happy about this. I am so honored to have him play this role in your sister’s life. It makes all of this that much more special.

We were released from the hospital 24 hours later and it took us this long to decide on your sister’s name. We had originally planned on naming her Ireland Ronan, which I am still so in love with but for some reason, it just didn’t feel right anymore. Your daddy and I went back and fourth about her name, forever. I just could not part with Poppy. I didn’t want it to be a nickname or an afterthought. It had come to mean too much to me to just let it go. Your daddy threw in a few curveballs and suggested some names like Sophia and Alexandria, both of which I love, but this baby has been Poppy since she was 5 weeks in the womb. Nothing else felt right. Your daddy and I sealed the deal with Poppy Ronan with a kiss on the lips and a smile in our hearts. I know her name would be Ronan approved. I think you would have loved it so very much. It makes me smile and it makes me happy. Poppy Ronan Thompson sounds like the sweetest thing ever and it just seems to fit her little face.

We have been home now and are all doing just fine. I didn’t spiral into that postpartum depression like everybody was freaking out about and worrying that I would. I have been a little quiet and have not seen too many people but that is not due to depression. It’s just due to the four of us trying to enjoy our quiet time with your sister and soak this all in. I’ve been staying at home with her and just trying to let myself bond with her the way that I need to. I wondered how this was all going to feel… having a new little life around to take care of. I wondered if that hole in my heart would disappear due to your Poppy sister being born. I have come to find out this is not the case and will never be the case. I feel like my heart has grown and gotten bigger, but the hole there will always remain. Nobody can fill it as it’s not meant to be filled. It is there to remind me every single day of how much I love you, how much I will always love you, and how much this will forever hurt as your absence in this world is the most painful thing that I have ever felt. This hole in my heart will remain there for the rest of my life. The birth of your sister has proven this. If she can’t fix this, it was not meant to be fixed no matter how much love I feel in this life without you here. I will live with this hole in my heart for the rest of my life and I can be o.k. with this. I am learning to be o.k. living like this. It makes me stronger and makes me work harder at everything I do. I will let my pain do great things in this life to make you proud.

Alright my little man. I am going to go. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful sister. Thank you for getting her here safe and sound. I promise to be the best mama in the world to her and teach her all about you. I can’t wait to learn from her the things I know you have already taught her. You are the best big brother in the world. We all love and miss you so much. I’m so sorry that you are not here with us. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.

xoxo

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We love our friends at TGen.

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This is going to be an awesome event for a great cause. Join them if you can!

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