Somedays, the littlest things are too much

 

 

Ronan. Tonight, I am sad. As in, really, really, really, sad. I suppose that was bound to happen, after the build up of the marathon, the actual marathon itself, and now it’s over. I am sad, every single day, but today I just miss you so freaking much. I had a quiet day. Those are the days when I miss you the most, because if you were here, there would have been nothing quiet about my day. I hung out at the beach with your brothers and cousins for part of the afternoon. That pretty much sucked. For as much as I love seeing Liam and Quinn, soak up every single thing that they should be, it still feels wrong to me. I am still constantly still looking for you, over my shoulder. Doing normal things, is still not easy and it still stings. Today, I tried to get lost in the ocean for a bit, on my surf board. Not even that could wash away my pain today. I stayed out only for about 40 minuets. The waves were big and I  kept getting tossed underneath the water, again and again. At one point, I got tossed so hard underneath the water that I thought I might drown; but then I remembered I was wearing my wetsuit. I may have hoped to drown for a few seconds, but my headed popped up above the surface of the water where I could breathe again. Lucky, aren’t I?

After our afternoon at the beach, I brought your brothers back up to our place. I played the role of the best mama ever. I made them dinner, sat and ate with them, did laundry, cleaned up, watched a movie with them, and tucked them both away in sleep, in bed with me. The big huge gaping hole in my heart won’t go away, today. The lump in my throat, won’t go away today. The alligator tears, are never-ending, tonight. Somedays, I get tired of being so strong. Somedays, the screaming questions of why, why, why, are unbearable. Somedays, I get tired of hearing how our story has made people, better people. Somedays, it stings to hear how much of a better mama or daddy people are, because of us. They all get to tuck their kids in at night. I do not. I will not, ever again. Where is my prize? I just want you.

I’m sad tonight, so I’m going to end this now. But I’ll leave this sad little post, with something sweet down below. A little slide show of how I got though May, how I ran a marathon, without training, and how I will continue to get through this life without you physically here with me. With the help of a lot of a lot of inspiring people out there, who remind me that I am strong, even when I think I am not.

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

xoxo

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Breaking rules, changing Holidays

Ronan. Hi baby. Another day done. Looking back on todays events, although nothing major happened, it seems like forever ago. If I were to write a handbook on losing a child, because there seems to nothing out there about this subject, one of the things I would write about is how slowly time passes by. How the hours just drag on, and so do the days, months and I am assuming years as well. By the time I die, I’ll bet I’ll feel like I’ve lived hundreds of lives. As of now, I don’t really feel like this is a good thing. I’m just tired. And sad. I think I’m also starting to realize that I don’t think I will truly be happy again. I don’t think I will ever know pure bliss again like I knew before all of this cancer shit. Before the loss of you. My life, at best, will be filled with moments of happiness here and there, but the happy that once existed before all of this will never be again. Maybe this will change as time goes on, but I just don’t see how that is possible.

What did I do today?? No clue. Woke up. Didn’t want to. Texted Liz to see if she wanted to walk down to the Del to grab a coffee. She did. Quinn came with us. We got coffee and some yummy but very bad for you pastries and sat and ate them at a table outside. A girl named Katie came up to me with her little boy to introduce herself and to say how much she thinks of you. It was so sweet. They both were wearing their Rockstar Ronan bracelets. It made me smile and my heart melt all at the same time. Everybody loves you so much. Even strangers whom have never met you. It really is amazing all the love and support that has come of this. I will forever be grateful and humbled.

After our coffee, your daddy wanted me to grab him some bagels in town. Liz headed back and Quinn went with her. As much as I love being with your brother, the time to walk alone was nice. But then something weird happened. Something that I should probably get used to, but it still annoyed me. I was paying for our bagels and I felt like a hole was being burned in the back of my neck. I glanced to the side and there sat a family. A mom, dad, and three older daughters. They were staring with their sad eyes and talking in low voices. The girls had their backs to me, but were turned around in their seats while they all gawked. I don’t know if gawked is the right word here, but I’m using it anyway because that is what if felt like. At first, I thought is was my imagination so I just went on with my business and paid for our things. I could feel them all still staring, so as a natural reaction, I glanced their way to see if it was indeed true, and not just me making things up in my head. It was true. Once they saw me look back again, their eyes fell to the floor and they avoided anymore eye contact with me. I quickly rushed out of the bagel shop after that feeling very sad. I get it. Coronado is a very small place, a mini Phoenix. I know people know about you and just don’t know what to say. I know a lot of people just choose to say not say anything and that’s fine. But just a smile would have been nice. That way, maybe I wouldn’t have felt like a zoo animal on display. I hate the looks of pity. I understand the looks of sadness, but the pity looks only make everything even more painful. The looks of pity followed by awkward silence. I’m not a fan of that at all.

I walked back to the Shores trying not to get too sad about that I didn’t have you following behind me. I pictured you running on the boardwalk, doing something naughty like stepping on all the flowers. I pictured myself chasing after you, laughing, but trying to be stern about teaching you to respect nature. As tears started to form, I saw a woman walking in front of me, carrying a Paul Frank monkey bag. The tears stopped. I smiled instead. Then I got to thinking about life and how what if everything that happens is carefully orchestrated. That woman, that stranger, was put in front of me, in that single moment because I wasn’t supposed to be sad. She was put there to make me smile and think of you in regards to something that reminded me so much of you, in the form of happiness. My head starting spinning then and I took a deep breath and thanked you.

I came back upstairs and did my best to get on with the day. I failed. I sunk into bed and fell asleep for an hour. After kicking my own ass in my head, I got up and agreed to go to the beach with your brothers and daddy. It was warm out there today. We played beach darts, football, and I snapped a bunch of pictures. After a couple of hours, your daddy and brothers headed back up to the condo. I stayed down on the beach to finish my book. I now get to read books about sadness and grief. I am looking for answers that I am never going to find. What I wouldn’t give to have some trashy novel in my hands instead. What I wouldn’t give to be completely consumed in a summer beach read. I finished, “The Other Side of Sadness.” It was actually pretty good and interesting. It talked about surviving grief and how there is no step by step guide, which I am slowly figuring out. It talked a lot about different cultures and how death is perceived differently in each one. If anything, the book was informative in that way. I got a few good things out of it. A mother talked about losing her daughter after 9/11. She said one of the things she worried about most was forgetting the memories of her. After a few years passed by, the author asked her what bereavement felt like, years after losing her.She said, “It’s a bit like a fading light. It grows dim, but it never goes out, never, not completely anyway. I find that enormously ressuring. I used to worry that someday the light would disappear that I would forget, and then I would really have lost Claire. I know, now, that doesn’t happen. It can’t. There is always a little flicker there. It is a bit like the small glowing embares you see after you see a fire dies down. I carry that around with me, that little ember, and if I need to, if I want to have Claire next to me, I blow on it, ever so gently, and it glows bright again.”

I thought this was really beautiful. What a simple, non-complex way to bring peace to your heart. I know your little light will never flicker out, Ro. But it was nice to hear it from someone else, who has lost a child. Which I have also decided, is the worst thing that can ever happen in life. I’ve honestly thought about this for some time now, trying to throw in other losses that could even come close to comparing. There is nothing. Losing a child takes the cake. Losing you is like losing a million cakes all at once. I cried on the beach today at a lot of things said in this book. I took the time to sit, reflect, and watch the oceans waves all while being engulfed in the sound of two little girls building a sandcastle right beside me. Their dad apologized for their loudness. I wanted to say to him, it wasn’t loudness at all, but music to my ears. I watched them play for a while and then was determined to finish my book, which I did. Mr. Sparkly Eyes would have been proud that I actually finished it. I was proud of myself. For something so little, the fact that I am actually able to finish a book now is a big deal. Who cares that it takes me twice as long now. I did it, felt emotions from it, and now I can put it behind me. Check mark, please!

I came back upstairs, showered and got ready to go to dinner. We went to happy hour on the island and sat in the bar with Liam and Quinn. We had a really fun dinner. There seemed to be a lot of laugher, talking, and engaging. We have talked a lot about holidays and what are favorite and worst are and why. We have decided to make up a new holiday to celebrate on Easter. Woody says we should call it Feaster and make it all about food. I agreed as long as we could worship a giant chocolate Easter Bunny and not have to dress up in fancy clothes. Liam wants chocolate covered everything, including bacon and Quinn wants to play games. Sounds like we are on the right track to turning this into a lot of fun. I think I’ve said before that most holidays seem meaningless now. Easter is one of them for us. Down with Easter; Feaster is born. I would like to take it and put your spin on it of course, buddy. We’ll have to come up with some things that you would have wanted to have. I’m imagining huge glass bowls filled with your favorite, Candy Corn. I may have some funny shirts made up to and anyone wants to come is invited. Feaster is the new Easter at our house. We will not be giving thanks to Jesus Christ. Sorry folks. That’s not the way this holiday is going to be celebrated. If you are offended, sorry. If you are cool, come over:) We have decided after losing you, Ro…. that life is too short to do things you really don’t want to do. It’s time to start making up our own fun rules and traditions as a family. The Thompsons march to their own beat and we are going to embrace that now more than ever. You earned that right, you loved to break all the rules, so that is what we are going to do. Some rules really are meant to be broken in life, only to be put back together, much better than they had ever been before.

After dinner, we walked around and the boys got cupcakes for desert. I stayed away from those due to my stomach issues. All of my favorite things, sweets, cupcakes, frosting…. destroy me. It’s as if my body is rejecting them. Oh well. I’ll take rejecting them rather than scarfing them down. At least my pants will still fit:) We came back to the condo, I got dressed for a dreaded run. It was chilly out but I did it anyway. Just 4 miles up and down the beach. I sat down for a while and talked out loud to you. I like to talk out loud to you. I did a lot of talking and crying to you. It felt good to listen to my voice say those words to you tonight, alone on the beach. After our little pow wow, I got my sandy butt up and finished my run. I showered and Quinn had asked to watch, “The Cove,” on my computer. I thought about it and said it was o.k. Why not educate him and his  young mind on how corrupt this world really can be. He’s already had the worst thing possible happen to him, he loves to watch, “Whale Wars,” so let’s do it. I watched it with him and explained this is why I have a hard time going to Sea World and swimming with Dolphins. It is one of the saddest movies ever and those Japanese “Fishermen,” need to be stopped. Watch the movie if you haven’t seen it. You will be so appalled that you will want to help expose what is going on. They are slaughtering those beautiful creatures left and right. It is beyond sicking and maddening. Especially to me now, Ro. After all the time we’ve spent watching the dolphins here, it makes me even more upset. What is wrong with people in this world?? Are they that selfish and greedy?? The slaughter of these poor innocent mammels has got to stop. How am I supposed to take on Childhood Cancer and this Dolphin slaughtering together?? I feel like it is my second calling in life. I felt that way when I first saw this movie. I am totally passionate about it and I think it is a beautiful thing for my boys to learn about. They have already learned about death in a way they should have never known, but now they can take this and turn it into nd learn how we need to respect these beautiful mammals, and how if you are passionate enough about something, that you can change the outcome. Sign me up! I’ll kick cancers ass and the japanese fisherman’s as well!! Bring it on, yo!!!

It’s going to take shit like this to get my ass out of bed in the mornings. I am planning on jumping back into boot camp next week. I need to email Tammy to tell her if I don’t have a reason to get up, I’m just not going to. She needs to be my reason for a while. Until I find a new reason. Although, waking up for her boot camps were always my favorite reasons to get up and exercise in the mornings. I hope she’ll save a spot for me:) Phoenix Adventure Boot Camp is by far, the best one in AZ. Tammy rules!!!!

Do you all see what I’m doing here? I’m slowly planning little things so that I don’t barricade myself in Ronan’s room and never come out. Ro, I can not, not, live for you. God. You would be so mad at me for my sadness and anger these past couple of weeks. You would be so mad at me for laying in bed. I’ve got to get up and do things for you. I don’t have a choice. I’m not willing to go down so easily and just die. Then what? Then everybody loses. I’m going to stay in this fucking fucked up world without you, and try to change some things. You would want this. You would be proud. As much as I want to escape into a non reality world, which means hiding in bed, ignoring everyone, not taking care of your Daddy, your brothers, our house…… I just can’t. I can’t have your brothers remembering me as that mom. They’ve been through enough already. I can do this, Ro. Just promise you’ll always be right by my side. I feel like you are, I really do feel you during the day. Please don’t ever go away, Ro. I already miss you so much.

Alright little buddy. My favorite not spicy monkey boy. I love you to the moon and back. I hope you are safe. I hope it’s a kissing day because I miss your sweet little kisses so much. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

A little hummingbird told me……

Ronan. You should have been here today with us. I forced myself to have a better day today. Forced myself up out of bed, out into the delicious San Diego sunshine, out on to the beach; armed with my surfboard. I knew the only way I was going to get though this day today, was by getting my ass kicked in the ocean. That’s precisely what I did. I welcomed the angry ocean with open arms as I tried my best to get up on my board; only to miss the curl of the wave over and over again. To be ripped under the water where the salt water stung my eyes and I choked on the bitter taste of the sea. Happiness. Torture. Hurt. Pain. I felt it today out there and I wish I could say it quenched my thirst for what I am missing in life now. But it didn’t. Not even close. But I knew if I didn’t get out, and try to live….. well, that’s not going to be good for anyone. And as I’ve said before, this is not just about me. As much as I selfishly wish it were sometimes. There are other people involved. Other little people whom I have to take care of.

After I surfed for a while, Quinn came out to join me. I put him on my board and pushed him out past the waves. I carried him out as far as I could go and turned him around to wait for the right wave to come. He missed the first one, and toppled under the water. We tried again and this time, he got up easily and rode the wave all the way into the shore. Liam came out as well just to splash around. We played out in the ocean for a while until your daddy pointed out the dead Sting Ray on the shore. We decided to come in after that. I hope I never meet one of those guys in the ocean. They do not look like somebody I would like to be friends with.  After the beach, we went up to the pool and enjoyed the rest of the summer day.

Your daddy had to head back to AZ tonight for the rest of the week. We went out for dinner and dropped him off at the airport. We headed back to Coronado and decided to walk to the Hotel Del for ice cream. Your brothers seem happy. It’s strange to watch just the two of them interact now and how their relationship is changing. It’s as if they have to get to know each other all over again. You were such a big part of them. It’s almost as if you were such a strong force between them, as you had such a different relationships with both of them. Everything you brought into this world was unique and special and that includes the bond you had with your brothers. We all feel lost and awkward. It’s hard to sit back and watch all of this. It was hard for me to take your brothers for ice cream at The Del tonight. I know you know this. I know you can feel me because at my saddest point tonight, as the sun was setting on our way back from ice cream, I looked up and there was a little hummingbird. Flying right in front of us. Quinn and Liam both started laughing and chased it. It kept fluttering away, but only to turn right back to us again. It landed on a tree right in front of The Shores and it stood still on a branch as we came over to look at it. It stood still for a couple of minutes and Quinn kept insisting that I take a picture of it. I took one on my iphone for him. This little hummingbird didn’t move the entire time we watched it. We finally walked away, and I told the little hummingbird, “Bye Ronan.” Your brothers said, “Bye, Ro,” as well. It was a sweet moment that reminds me as lonely, lost, and scared as I feel without you; that I am never truly alone.

I spent the rest of the night playing with your brothers. I caught up on a couple of phone calls that were way overdue. This whole “hiding,” thing of mine that I like to do, is hard on my friendships. Not hard in the way that I worry about losing my friends; because the one’s that have stuck around are in it for the long haul. Forever. It’s hard in the respect that I just truly miss them and the simpleness that our friendships used to consist of. Nothing is simple anymore. I’m complex and any illusions about life being easy or fair, has been ruined for them. It must be hard to be on the other side of this and to kind of be sitting back on the sidelines; watching. Watching and waiting because you don’t want to overstep your boundaries. I am aware of my little angels surrounding me though. I know they are all still there, and giving me time to grieve. I am so thankful for that. When the time is right, I will see my friends again and all of their beautiful smiles that I miss so much. I am forever and eternally grateful and thankful for the love of my friends. I am a very lucky girl in regards to them.

We finished up our night, just the 3 of us by watching a movie together. Your daddy will not be back here all week. I’ve got to find some things to do to keep everyone entertained and happy. I’ve got to be a mom, to your brothers, like I used to be without the help of anyone else. I haven’t really done this since you were diagnosed almost a year ago. It’s going to be a challenge to say the least. The things that used to come so effortlessly to me, are now the most difficult. Being a mom. Being a wife. Just being Maya. Adios to that Maya. She no longer exists. I don’t know who I am without you. I hope to find my way back someday, but as of now, I am completely lost. At the end of the day, I am just happy that I am one day closer to being reunited with you. I miss you so much.

That’s all tonight my baby doll. I’ve given up on this trying to sleep without the help of my Ambien experiment as well. The pain of having to survive the nights of not sleeping, but instead lying in bed and feeling as if every part of me is burning with pain is not something I am capable of handling. Bring on the Ambien.

I love you. To the moon and back forever and ever. Sweet dreams, my love. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

Love is enough

Ronan. Hi baby. I miss you so much. Today was an o.k. day. I slept in with your brothers and we cuddled in bed for a long time this morning, just watching cartoons. It was a lazy morning, a quiet morning, a cuddly morning. I wish I could say that these mornings bring me peace, but they do not. They just make me miss you more. They just make me want you here so badly, where things were never quiet because you were always up to something.  I was always having to look after you because if I turned my back for a second, you would have done something crazy and silly. Now, without you, I don’t have to look over my shoulder at all times. I can go to the beach with Liam and Quinn and sit quietly without having to worry about them. They are big enough and independent enough that I can just let them be. I hate this so much. I don’t want to be the mom with nobody to look after at the beach. I don’t want to be the mom that doesn’t have to worry about you eating sand, throwing sand, running out too far in the ocean. I remember those days that I had to worry about all of those thing with you and I loved them so much. I miss them so much. I fucking hate this life without you.

Laura, Kasey, Cameron, and baby Chase all came over and we spent the day down at the beach. I sat quietly for a while and it was so peaceful that I couldn’t handle it. I soon got up and played football with your brothers. I drew a start and finish line in the sand and I raced them both a bunch of times. I watched them wrestle and throw sand at each other. I watched them be boys. Boys who are having to learn how to be brothers again without you. It is such a different dynamic now. I feel like a foreigner living in a different country trying to figure out this new life. How to fit in, how to adapt, and how to survive.

After our beach and pool time, we headed up to the condo to get showered and ready for dinner. I talked the Lunds into staying with us for a day or two. We love having them here and your daddy was so excited that they said yes as he was going to miss out on seeing them due to being in Phoenix. We could really use some Thompson/Lund family time now. We ended up grabbing pizza in town and bringing it back to our place to eat. Laura and Kasey offered to watch the boys so I could head out for a run which I gladly took them up on. I have a new little route I’ve found and I’m loving it. It’s a perfect 6 miles total. It felt good and I of course talked to you a lot. I cried a lot on my run too. I wish I could think of something other than the last few hours of your life, but as of now, it is those memories that consume me on my runs. I go over and over them in my head. I go over and over what we could have done differently. This always upsets me and it is always while running that these are the things I think about. I remember every second of your death, every detail, every moment. It is as if they are frozen in time and oddly, as sad as these memories make me… I treasure them too. I talked to you tonight after my run as I was cooling off. I yelled your name, I yelled up to the moon that I loved you. I then started to cry and begged for you to let me be with you. To take me with you as I don’t want to be here without you. I want to be with you, wherever you are, together forever. I don’t want this life without you. But unfortunately, this is not my choice to make. If you wanted me with you badly enough, you would find a way to take me with you. I will wait for you, for however long it takes for us to be reunited. I know it would make you too sad to have me not be here for your daddy and brothers, but honestly Ronan, some days all I want is to be gone with you.

Your daddy arrived tonight so I went to pick him up and Uncle Kasey went with me. We stopped by your Daddy’s favorite brewing company here to refill his “Growlers.” I don’t really know what they are, except they are two huge jugs and they fill them up with different beers. I knew your Daddy would be needing a beer tonight after his had few days at work. I was happy to see him and so was Kasey. The “Bromance,” between those two continues. We came back to our place where sleepy kids awaited us, but your daddy and Kasey wanted to hang out. Being the lovely wives that Laura and I are, we happily sent them on their way to some bar on the island. It’s some guy time that your daddy really needs right now and Kasey is the best medicine for him. I hope they stay out as late as possible, drink their selves silly, and your daddy is able to let go and enjoy himself for a few hours. He deserves it.

Last night, before I went to sleep he sent me the sweetest test message. He said, “I love you. You are strong, stubborn, witty, articulate, and sexy. Night night.” That daddy of yours made this mommy smile so big. I know you know how hard things have been for us. How in the world do two grieving parents get though this, stay married, while trying to raise a family? It’s got to be the most stressful thing on a marriage in the world. I don’t know what the secret to all of this is, but we are doing it. Even on the days where I want to run away and never come back because there is too much pain and sadness everywhere I look. Even on the days that I just want to disappear, and run away to Vietnam with Tricia….. I won’t. I can’t. I guess it’s simple. It’s because your daddy loves me and I love him. Love will be enough to get us through this. Love is enough.

I have to go to sleep now baby. It’s late. I’m tired and the Ambien is kicking in. Goodnight my sweet baby boy. I love you to the moon and back. Please be safe, please be happy, please don’t cry. I promise I will meet up with you again. I cannot wait for that day to come, but I will wait for you to take my hand and come and get me. I love you so much, my little seal.

xoxo

Just you and me

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

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

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

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

Post-traumatic stress disorder

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

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

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

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

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

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

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

Symptoms

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

Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:

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

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

2. Avoidance

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

3. Arousal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxo

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

You. Simple, beautiful you.

Started this Friday, June 10th…. didn’t finish due to crashing out.

Ronan. I made it through today. By the skin of my teeth. We all woke up late and your brothers were excited for their day. Your daddy and I gave them their presents. Quinn got his first skateboard, which he is so excited about. Liam got some video games, some new Nikes, and a new basketball. All your daddy’s doing as I didn’t buy one present this year. It’s usually all me who goes crazy on them. This year, thankfully, your daddy handled everything. After they opened their gifts, I snuck out of the room and went and let myself cry about missing you for a few minutes. After my cry, I pulled it together and we all got ready and headed out to grab some lunch. We went to a BBQ place on the island and I had forgotten that I had been there before, a couple of years ago, with you. The memory was almost too much to handle. After lunch, we headed to the grocery store and picked up food and the birthday cake for your brothers. Your daddy bought a ton of fish, chicken, and veggies to grill for our pool party. After we returned from the store, your daddy prepped all the food for our BBQ by the pool and I took Liam and Quinn down to play with your cousins at the beach. They spent the rest of the afternoon and evening running, swimming, and playing.

We grilled down at the pool with your Mimi, Papa, Larry, Joan, Tiffany, Chris, Brandon, Janette and all the kiddos. It was freezing out tonight but none of the kids seemed to notice. All of the adults were frozen. Your daddy cooked up all the food while I sat over by the hot tub to keep an eye on everyone. At one point, I was missing you so much and I looked out into the ocean. Guess what appeared?? Two dolphins. I watched them for a long time and Tiffany came over and I pointed them out to her. She smiled and said it was a sign. It was indeed. I haven’t seen dolphins here yet except for tonight. Watching them I was filled with peace for a few minutes. It was just what I needed as I had a really hard day just trying to breathe today.

The rest of the night was filled with lots of laughter and love. Thank god for family and friends. We would have never gotten through today without them. Your brothers are going to be sad as your cousins return back to AZ tomorrow. They have so enjoyed being with them. Hopefully, they will find some new playmates to fill their days with the laugher and love that they so need now. It’s hard for me to give them all the playfulness that used to come so easily to me. I am trying my best, but everything is just so hard. Just getting out of bed is a struggle. I somehow manage to do it, but it takes so much effort and energy.

After we finally got all the kids out of the pool, it was after 9 p.m. We all came back up to our place for a little downtime before your cousins went home to get to bed. I was pretty restless and although it was late, I headed out and went for my run around 10 p.m. Our friends were still at our place and as I was getting ready to head out, I heard a piece of the conversation that was going on. Something about a mom. A mom who is so lucky to get to be a mom to all the kids she has. A mom who is lucky to have heathy kids. A mom who has a nice life. But this mom tends to take this for granted. This mom tends to not make the best choices. This mom likes to drop her kids off at school and come home and pass out on the couch after drinking during the day. Something inside me snapped after hearing this story. I looked at everyone in the room, and called this mom a “Stupid bitch,” and said something else that was not very nice. I don’t even know this mom, but at that moment, something took over my actions, my words, and I could not control what came out of my mouth. I ran out of our condo, tears steaming down my face, and I continued to cry for 2 miles of my run. I know what I said was not nice at all, but I don’t care. All I could think about was how lucky this mom was and she doesn’t even know it. I would give my right arm to be able to have you here, to have never have gotten sick. Hearing stories of mom’s who have all of this, but take it for granted, makes me crazy. CRAZY. Physically sick. I was overcome with such anger, jealousy, rage, bitterness, and sadness during my run. You know why?? Because I deserved you. I deserved to have you for the rest of my life. I was a good mom. Not just a good mom. But a really, really, good mom to you. I never took a second for granted. And now, I don’t get to have you anymore and there is nothing more fucked up on this planet than that.

June 11th…….

Ronan. I had to stop that post after that last night because I got myself all worked up. I’m sorry. I miss you so much. I know I tell you this all the time. I know you feel this. I still am waiting to wake up from this nightmare. I don’t even know what the hell is going on anymore. What even happened today? My mind is still in a constant fog. I think we did the usual things. We got up to say goodbye to your cousins and we were all sad to see them go. We came back to our condo, I made breakfast for everyone and cried the entire time that I was cooking. I laid back down for a nap. I got up and ran into town for a bit. I met your brothers and daddy at Mimi and Papa’s place to watch the ASU baseball game. I tried to concentrate on just being there and in the moment. All I could focus on was how different things would have been if you had been there. I pictured you running around, playing with your guys. Nothing would have been calm and quiet while we all tried to watch the game. You would have been the center of attention like you always were. I hated today and not having you with us. After the game, we had Brandon, Janette, and Cameron over again. My friend, Katie and her husband came over as well. Katie gave me a beautiful necklace she had made for me with your picture on it. I bawled when she gave it to me. It is beautiful and was so thoughtful of her to do.

It was around 9:00 p.m. and I hadn’t gone for my run yet. I was obsessing about it and somehow before I knew it, I ended up down at the beach with Katie, Liam, Quinn, and Cameron. I ran a really fast couple of miles and joined everyone else in the ocean for a nighttime swim. Thanks, K for hijacking my run tonight:). We had a blast out in the ocean, with all 3 boys, swimming in the dark. We went to the hot tub and swimming pool after. It was time I really needed to have with Liam and Quinn. I soaked up just being with them, and enjoying them. It was totally worth cutting a few miles out of  my run for.

It’s now 1 a.m. and I’m still restless. I’m hearing my mother hen, Stacy, in my head telling me that I shouldn’t have had that Coke to drink at 10:30 at night, tonight. Yeah, Yeah, Stacy…. I know. My Coca Cola addiction. My pretty much one and only vice. Everyone is asleep now. Everyone except me. I need to go to sleep. I want to go to sleep, but I hate that when I go to sleep all the thoughts that creep in and take over. I try to think about you and all of our happy times. But I mostly just cry and with I didn’t have to wake up in the morning without you. I wish I could stay asleep forever and just dream about you. I’m sad tonight. I am missing you extra much tonight, my beautiful boy. I hope to see you in my dreams. I’m trying, Ronan. I hope you know how I am trying so hard to go on. But I will never be the person that I was before losing you. And I liked that person so much. I don’t even know who I am anymore and I don’t know who I am supposed to be. All of these unknowns, keep me restless, scared, and exhausted. All I wanted in my life was simple. This is far from simple now. Simple will never exist again. Simple was so easy, so pure, so innocent. Simple was the 5 of us. Simple was bliss.

I love you to the moon and back my little monkey. Sweet dreams, Ro baby.