A Runaway Death in a Mental Institution with a Maybe Baby

Ronan. I know what I’ve been doing. Trying to live this life the best I can, without you. This means a ton of busy foundation work, a ton of taking care of your brothers, the way they deserve to be taken care of, a ton of busy things that keep me running throughout the day. It’s how I have to be. When I need the quiet and the stillness, it’s to the inferno I go. That’s my time to be in tune with myself and you. It’s where I feel the closest to you. I might have to be taking a break from that Inferno for a while.

I know everyone has been worried since I have not been writing. I hope they are not worrying too much. Do they wonder if I ran away? To New York City like I often dream about. Or maybe I finally cracked and checked myself in a mental institution where I sometimes think I belong. Or maybe I died like I have wished for a thousand times. Is it another maybe baby? That would have thrown me right over the edge.

Ronan do you remember how we would talk about a baby and how badly you wanted one? We would talk about baby names and how you were going to make the best big brother and as soon as you got better, we talked about how we would have another baby. Your daddy brought it up with me a lot and I always just put him off by saying, “We can talk about it when Ronan gets better.” It was only really with you, that I would talk about another baby. Things with you got worse and worse and of course the baby thing was totally off my radar because all I cared about was you getting better. I still don’t know how you didn’t, how you died, and how you are no longer here with us. All of still feels like it’s not real, at times. I still sometimes wait for you to come running through the door, but you never come. The whole baby thing was whispered about here and there, and then I had that whole maybe baby thing in my head which turned out to be just that…. a baby that I thought I was having. I was crushed when I found out it wasn’t real. I made a decision at that point to never again, put that much pressure on myself about getting pregnant or maybe being pregnant. I couldn’t have the build up again only to be let down. It mentally broke me when I thought I was not capable of being broken down anymore. I had people bring it up a lot. “Do you think you’ll try for a baby?” My response was always, “If it happens, it happens.” Non chalet. Calm. Relaxed about it. I had secretly told myself in my head that I wasn’t going to be able to get pregnant because of course, I don’t deserve to feel anything but pure torture, sadness and pain for the rest of my life.

I’m pregnant. Did I just write that? Yeah. I just wrote that, which is why I haven’t been writing to you on here at all. You know I can’t write when I can’t talk about what’s really going on. I’m not good at not being able to blab about things. It all came out of nowhere really. I was a Victoria’s Secret, getting a new bra. I’d better get measured I thought to myself. I have been a 34 C since I was 18. The girl helping me got out her little measuring tape and wrapped it around me. I told her I have always been a 34 C. She goes, “You are actually a 36 D.” What? I thought to myself. What the HELL? I do NOT want to be a 36 D! I left there with my new bra and a could it be a maybe baby floating through my head. I pushed that aside and went on with my day as it was Friday and we were having your Olivia over to hang out with us. That night I thought to myself, “Weird… my period is supposed to be in the next day or two, and I don’t feel like I’m getting it.” I whipped out a pregnancy test and peed on the stick thinking it was nothing, that sometimes my period just doesn’t come anymore due to my stress/lack of appetite/exercise regimen.  So, I peed and waited. I left the room for a few minutes. I came back and looked at my test. Two lines. What??? This can’t be. I went to show your daddy. He was skeptical. O.k. I’ll test again, tomorrow. I did. And the day after that too. I got 4 positive tests and no period. I spent the weekend sleeping, a lot and letting my mind absorb the news. I’ve been so tired, that I can hardly make it through the day, without a nap. That never happens. My body is working overtime I guess. I went to the doctor on Monday, just to confirm everything. I took a urine test there too, and I waited in the little room, for the results. The nurse practitioner came in to see me. “How have you been feeling,” she asked. I told her, “Just really, really tired.”  She then goes, “So you got a positive test result at home?” I said, “I got 4 positive test results at home.” I waited for her to say something while I had a few seconds of thinking to myself, “Uh-oh. Am I back in crazy land and this is all in my head?” She looked up at me, smiled, and goes, “That’s what we got, too.” We went over a few things like how important it is for me to rest. She told me a solid 8-10 hours a sleep a night with a nap everyday. She told me how important it is for me to be eating a lot of protein. I made another appointment to see her along with my OBGYN on September 4th for an ultrasound. I got up and walked out of the room. She said to me, “Congratulations, you’re about to add to your family!” I just looked back at her and gave her a small smile. I really just wanted to say, “Well, what about Ronan? Why can’t he be here for this, too?” I got in my car and drove off not sure where I was going.

My phone rang, like it always does, when it’s supposed to.

“Hello.” me, crying.

“What’s wrong?” said the voice on the other end.

“Nothing is wrong. I’m fine. Everything is fine.” I didn’t want to tell your Sparkly this news over the phone but that’s just what happened because I couldn’t explain my crying any other way.

“I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant and I can’t stop crying. And I don’t know why Ronan had to die and now I’m pregnant and he can’t be here to share this with us.”

“Oh my goodness, darling! This is great news! I am so happy for you, this is going to be wonderful for you. You are such a wonderful mom, you deserve to have a little sunshine in your life.” He went on and on about that’s enough with the inferno hiking, how it’s time to take care of myself, and how he I just needed to rest and listen to my body. “I know this is hard for you and I know how badly you miss Ronan. I miss him so much too. I know how worried, scared, happy, sad and confused you are. I understand all of this. You know I do. But I promise you, this baby is going to be so good for you.”

I could literally hear him smiling on the other end of the phone. I let that make me happy. It’s not often I get to make your Sparkly smile because of good news. The funny thing is, he knew I was pregnant, before I did. Last week, he looked at me and said, “Are you pregnant?” I just laughed at him and said, “No, Sparkly. I’m not pregnant. And what if I can’t get pregnant? What if I’m too old now?” He looked at me and said, “Nonsense. You are only 34. You still have plenty of time.” I said, “I hope you’re right.” And of course, he was, just like he always is. That bloody soul knows me better than I know myself.

I called a few people after I found out the news. Your Nana. Dr. JoRo. Macy. I sobbed in the phone to Macy and listened as she cried with me. She told me how she knew how I was so torn about this, but how good it was going to be. How she knows that the timing of this is just perfect because she has literally watched me come back to life. I know she was so scared for me last summer. I think everyone was. She told me how proud she is of the way I am engaging with your brothers and your daddy again. How this will be so good and healing for all of us. Her talk made me feel a little better. I’ve let this all sink in, very slowly. I have to take the time to process things in a way that I never have had to, before.

I wonder a lot about if this is part of your plan. I already wonder if this baby will look like you. It will be a part of you which means this baby will be nothing short of amazing. I will let myself feel happy and excited when the time is right. As of now, I just want to absorb all of this in a delicate way by being true to what it is, I am feeling. Right now it’s a mix of emotions, and there is a sadness/happiness combined. I am trying to be true to both of those things. I am trying to be true, to all of this, for you.

I’m tired little bug. I would give anything for you to be here, with all of us. I’m so sorry you are not. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

Diamonds Are Not a Girl’s Best Friend

Ronan. Does it sometimes feel like I want to rain on everybody’s happy parade? Because I don’t. I am happy there are happy people out there. I am happy that most people out there do not know what it feels like to lose a child….. well, I may be taking the happy word a little too far, because you know I don’t know what happy feels like anymore. So let’s tell it like it is…. happy is not the right word. I am glad. Glad that most people won’t know this pain. But I really hope from reading this story, they get how lucky they are and they choose to live life a little differently. Just by knowing how it really is the small things in life, that matter the most. The sweet whispers of a child, the helping of a stranger, the butterfly kisses of the world, a child’s hand, laughter, a solid marriage, strong friendships, true friendships, loving yourself, soul mates, being kind to others, sparky eyes, and helping when you are in a position to do so. These are the things that matter in life. Nothing else.

I have some bereaved mommy confessions to make. I have a lot of them, but in order to confess them all, I would need to write a book. And maybe a good attorney to keep me out of jail. Let’s just start with a couple tonight. The one that makes me feel like such a jerk. Let’s call this one, “Confessions of a bereaved mommy who now hates to wear jewelry.” This didn’t happen until after I lost you. Until I started wearing your ashes around my neck. Until one day, I looked down at my diamond ring and got really mad. It made no sense. I did everything right. I married the right man. We loved each other. We had formed a house full of respect, love, compassion, strength and honesty. But now our baby boy, was dead. But I had the pretty jewelry. The jewelry was there, but you were not. I didn’t want the jewelry. I only wanted you. I slowly started to put all of my pretties away. Christmas and my birthday came and went. Guess what was given to me? A new pretty ring and matching earrings. Tears were cried over the gifts that I did not want. Your daddy only wanted to make me smile. But I cried instead. Take it away. I don’t want it. It’s too pretty for me to wear. And I am so ugly. Can’t you see how ugly and sad I am?? I don’t deserve to wear this pretty jewelry. I have Ronan, around my neck… I don’t need anything else. None of this stuff really matters and because life is not fair, the jewelry gets to stay and Ronan gets to die? I want the jewelry to die, instead. Your daddy insisted I keep it all. I did. I tried. I’ve worn the pretty ring and earrings once and it didn’t make me happy; it just makes me sad to look at. I put it away with the rest of my things. It came up tonight, again. I begged your daddy to take it all back. “I won’t wear it!” I told that daddy of yours. “But you are so thoughtful. Thank you. It really is the thought that counts, Daddy Woo….. but the only thing I need to wear…..is Ronan.” I’ll mix it up a bit, Ro. I’ll wear some inexpensive skull bracelets around my arms, your bracelets, or some cheap Forever 21 jewelry that is bright, but diamonds, gems, stones….. I can’t do it. I used to think diamonds were a girls best friend. I thought that, until I had my best friend taken away from me. A diamond cannot replace you. A diamond cannot bring you back. A diamond cannot make me smile. A diamond only makes me sad. I fight with this a lot. Because I know anything and everything your daddy does, comes from such a good place. So why can’t I just suck it up, smile, and wear the pretty things? I mean, really…. it could be so easy to do. If I were a fake. But that’s just one thing I’m not. I cannot suck it up and fake it with the stupid jewelry. This makes me feel like a big, fat jerk but I cannot look away from the lesson I’ve learned from all of this. Pretty jewelry, and I don’t care how much you have….. will never truly make a person happy. When everything else is stripped away, when the most important thing you’ve ever had in your life, is taken away and all you are left with is pretty jewelry….it will not mend a broken heart. It really just DOES NOT matter. It is not what is really important in life. It won’t stop the tears, sadness, emptiness, or loneliness one feels. It won’t bring back my smile or you. It is only a reflection of broken promises, hopes and dreams. It’s a facade. It is overcompensation for what was supposed to be, but never will be again.

I tried today. So freaking hard to have the HAPPIEST ROENTINE’S DAY EVER! I had some productive things to take care of. I had a meeting. I put on my game face. I did a lot of nice things, for others. I brought cupcakes to your Sharon at PCH. I had coffee with your other lovie and gave him our card. The smile it brought to his face, made my entire day. But his smile did not come with false words like most peoples do. His smile came with watery eyes and words like, “I know you are in excruciating pain…..” I know he knows, which makes my pain worse. I don’t like that other people hurt because of this. I never wanted to hurt anyone, Ro. Especially the one’s we love the most. It makes me sad.

Our new friend, Margarita, dropped off dinner because I have seem to have lost my cooking skills/desire. (Total inside joke for my Saline Bean…. (“I seemed to have lost my keeeeysssss”) I sat at our table, in your spot and opened the cards from your Daddy, then Quinn, then Liam, and finally, you. Your card sang. I could hardly listen to it because the tears just started pouring. I smiled through my tears, kissed your daddy and brothers and told them thank you.

I drew a hot bath. Your brother, Quinn is still sick and Ronan…. confession number 2 of the night…. I cannot take care of him. It’s all I’ve been doing since Saturday and I am about to crack. I think I’ve become a bad mom. I would have never had these feelings before losing you. I feel like a big weight is on my chest. I feel like I can’t breathe. I feel like I don’t want to be a wife or a mom anymore. Do normal people feel this way? Or is it just me? Have I gone mad? I think so. I must be mad. Insane. And sad. So very sad.

I tried to make it a very special day, Ro….. but all I did was think about you and Ben. Ben with the Bald Head. Ben who likes to eat sushi and listen to The Beatles. Ben who has a very sad mommy for the worst reason possible. I’ll attach Ben’s caring bridge tonight because I need everyone to send them their extra thoughts, love, prayers and whatever else you might do. I’m only sending them you, Ro. Only you.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/benpurcell/journal

Please think about Ro and Ben all you people out there, reading this. Please don’t just make this your bedtime story while you sit reading it, dripping in your diamonds or ice cream. Please do something to help us change this… for your kids, your grandkids, your neighbors, your friends, for anyone you love. Please help us change this, because as of now…. our pain is not yours. But bubbles can burst at anytime. Never trust a bubble.

Ro baby. It’s Ambien coma out tonight. I have not taken anything in a week. I have been sleeping like a baby, in your bed, without Ambien. I’ve been sleeping in my dead babies bed. I can’t believe this is true, but it is. Today was too much. Tonight is too much. I need a break. I just need a break from all the screaming, crying, laughing, T.V., conversations, vivid dreams of everyone but you. Where are you? Why won’t you visit me, in my dreams? I miss you so much. I’m so sorry, Ronan. I hope you are safe. I love you, baby doll.

xoxo

Leo Died.

Ronan. A bedtime story for you. An unconventional story. The best kind of bedtime story. Because you never got the chance to grow up and hear this story. So, I will tell it to you now. Enjoy, little one.

My childhood, Ronan. So whimsical. So unstable. So honest. A childhood full of love and chaos. But not the good kind of chaos. The kind of chaos that ends up in divorce. Because parents fight too much. The kind of chaos that makes a little girl, develop thick skin. Which I am thankful for. Which I have always been thankful for.

A childhood, where rules did not really apply. But dreams did. Dreams that were my own to create and nobody else’s. Dreams that were shattered into a million pieces. But you learned how to put them back together, one by one. Alone.  A small town. A very small town. Full of  people who all looked the same. Until one day. Until one day, this man appeared as he had dropped from the heavens above. Tall. So tall. Your Daddy’s tall. 6’7 at least. To a little girl, like me, he looked like a giant. Curly, shoulder length black hair. Coal, dark, skin. As dark as night. The whitest smile. The biggest smile. The MOST sparkling, chocolate, eyes. Well…. almost;) My first encounter with the sparkly eyes. The laugh that could have stopped the world, dead in its tracks, and would have taken anyone who was full of ugliness, and turned their soul, beautiful. A man, that took a sad little girl, and gave her a reason to smile. And laugh. And love. One of my first teachers, about life, love, and loss. True loss. Painful loss.

I don’t know where this man came from. This man whose name was Roger, but we all called him Leo. Leo the Lion. He became a part of our family. My parent’s took him in, like he was just one of us. Uncle Leo. He would show up at our house often, out of nowhere and would stay for lengths of time. He would go on trips with us. Whenever he would come, I always knew our house would be filled with happiness. It was a given when he was around. My parent’s were magically happy. It was as if had cast a spell on them. He loved us. We loved him. We were family. It didn’t matter how different he looked from us. I never even noticed. I just thought he was beautiful. And so kind. A gentle soul. Even at 10 years old, I knew he was special. That his soul was different. I was a wise little girl. I soaked up the fact that my parents treasured him. That he created a world of happiness, just by being in his presence. They accepted him, for as different as he may have been, to our small town. There was gossip. Whispers. Looks. I was taught to ignore them all. There were not many people who looked or acted like Leo in our town. I respected my parents for not conforming to the “rules.” We simply lived the way they wanted to. The way, they believed in. An honest way where they didn’t hide much. No matter how ugly it may have been at times.

One night, Leo, appeared at our house. He had driven in from the town he lived in, which was not close by. A few hours from us I think. I was so excited to see him. I remember he was standing in our kitchen, and the way he seemed to glow to me. To illuminate a light. He pulled up his shirt, to show my parent’s some sort of wound that was on the side of his stomach, and it was not getting better. He was sick but was not sure with what. I remember feeling sad, but not scared. I was more concerned and confused as to what it could be. I wanted to know how I could fix it. Or how my parents could. Surely it was nothing.  It was quickly brushed aside, and Leo made light of it. He was all about happiness and did not want to worry my parents or intrude with something that he was sure, was nothing.

Time went by. Years passed. My parents got a divorce. I saw less of Leo. I went to live with my mom. Leo was my Dad’s best friend, and I didn’t see a lot of my dad, which meant I saw less and less of Leo. A phone call one day from my Dad. Although we didn’t see much of each other, hours of phone conversations existed between us. Honest phone calls. Always brutally honest phone calls between and father and a daughter. I must have been about 15 when I got this phone call from my Dad. “Leo is sick. Leo is not getting better. Leo has a disease called, AIDS.”

“AIDS,” I remember saying. “Like Magic Johnson?” I was devastated. I knew AIDS was a death sentence.

“Yes,” he replied. “But I am going to take care of him and try to save him by taking care of him, the naturopathic way. Nobody else knows what to do.”

And I’m also pretty sure, Leo, didn’t have insurance.

“O.k., Dad. I’m sorry. Please give Leo a hug.”

Years passed by. My dad took care of Leo, for many more years to come. My Dad took better care of Leo, than he did of me. It’s o.k. I understood. It was never an issue; Leo needed my dad, more than I did.

My dad fed him organic everything. Organic juices, fruits, vitamins, meditating, everything he could do, until they could do no more. My Dad watched Leo die.

I remember being so sad. It was my first encounter with death from somebody that was not 85 years old.  I was older when he died. I believe I had moved away to Arizona by this time. My heart ached for Leo, for my Dad, who had lost someone who was like a brother to him. I wouldn’t learn, for about a year after his death, that Leo was not your stereotypical male. This was never an issue in our family. To us, Leo was just a person, who loved everyone. And what is more beautiful than that?

It took me a long time to get over losing Leo. I still miss him but I miss him in the most beautiful way. When I think of him, I can still hear his laugh, see his smile, and I am reminded on why it is so important to be true to who you are, in this life. I will never forget his sparkling eyes, and I often hope, that if there is another world, where we are reunited with our loved ones, that he is off playing with you, Ro. I hope you are great friends. Leo was my first teacher, other than my parents. He showed me what it was like to live a life of freedom. What it meant to truly be a free spirit. How to embrace my inner Inca and to not be afraid of things that were “different,” to the norm of society back in 1988, when I was just a little girl, growing up in the deep, dark, forest, of a very small town.

He showed me light in the darkest of days. I need his light now. I am searching for it, constantly. It’s as I have been transformed back into the life of a 10-year-old little girl, trapped in a life of sadness. Lost in the deep, dark forest of 1064 Harmony Drive. Without anybody’s hand to hold because the only person’s hand  that I want to hold in all of this, is yours. And you are gone. And I am here. And life is not fair.

The End. For now. But not forever.

I love you my never spicy, extra naughty, monkey boy. I hope you are playing with Leo. I hope he is keeping you safe, happy, and you two are waiting together, for me. I promise to make you both, proud. I love you and miss you, so much.

xoxo