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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