Ronan. Do I even have words to write about what happened today? How can I find the words to write about this tonight? It’s taken me about 10 hours to process the phone call I got this morning. It all started with a voicemail.
“Hey Maya, it’s Taylor Swift…”
“What???” I thought to myself. Taylor Swift just called my cell phone. O.k. take a few minutes and process this. I was waiting for your Mr. Sparkly Eyes, so I sat with this voicemail for about 30 minutes, until I was done visiting with him. It was only after I was getting up to leave that I said to him, “Taylor Swift left me a voicemail earlier.” I let him listen to it. “Really? You need to call her back,” he said. I calmly said, “I will do so, when I leave here. I wonder what she wants.” He chuckled and said, “You are something else. Nobody else in their right mind would be calm about something like that.” I left there smiling with not a clue as to what was to come.
I got into my car and was headed to Dr. JoRo’s office, but I decided to pull over to return Taylor’s phone call. I was expecting to talk to her mom, since she had told me on her voicemail that she was getting on a flight to New York City. To my surprise, I was patched into Taylor herself.
“Hi Maya! How are you?” she said in that sweet darling voice of hers.
“Hi Taylor! I am well, how are you?” as if she was just another one of my everyday friends.
My calmness soon turned to complete and utter frozen shock when these words came out of her mouth.
“I wrote a song for Ronan,” she said. The tears started pouring down my cheeks as soon as I heard her say those words. But her words didn’t stop there. Not only did she write a song for you, but she wanted to know if it would be alright to preform it on the nationally televised Stand Up 2 Cancer show which is on every major network and is seen in over 100 countries. She wanted to know if she could use a picture of you in the background while she sang the song. She wanted to make me co author of the song with her. She talked about how from reading this blog and following our story, has inspired her and how amazing she thinks I am and all I am doing, to bring awareness to childhood cancer. She went on and on about some other things, which I tried to understand and reply to, but I couldn’t focus on a thing besides the fact that she wrote a song, for you. That she hadn’t forgotten about your beautiful blue eyes and our love story. One so powerful that Taylor Swift decided to write a song about it. This cannot be real. But then I remembered, this was you she was talking about. Of course this is real, because you are that beautiful and that amazing and our love is that strong. I don’t even remember what I said to Taylor as had buried my head into your blanket that I take with me everywhere and all I could pretty much do was cry and tell her thank you. How do you even find the words to thank somebody for something like this? I was a blubbering mess telling her how much this meant to me as she was helping me keep your memory alive and helping me to do amazing things. How if I had to pick my dream person to be tied to your name, it would be her because she is full of so much pure goodness, just like you.
I got off the phone and I was shaking, crying, and could not even form a thought. I called your daddy. He was so quiet after I told him the news. I yelled at him in the phone, “Are you there? Why are you so quiet?” He said he was so quiet because he was crying. He couldn’t believe what had just happened.
My day was shot after that. I picked your brothers up and let them listen to the voicemail from Taylor. They were both smiling but couldn’t wait to tell me about who got hit in the face with a football at recess. I had to act like that story was half as exciting as the one I had just told them. Good thing my acting skills are becoming better. Yeah, football story… just as awesome as my Taylor Swift story. You gotta love 9 year old boys, right:)
I have been thinking about this all day long. I am not proud of myself very much anymore because you died and that just ruins any sort of goodness that I am able to feel most of the time. Because of the whole, I was your mama, I promised you I would get you better, and I didn’t. To me, that is still unforgivable. I know your cancer was out of my hands, Ro, but you know it destroys me that I broke my promise to you. Today, I let myself be a little proud. Do you know why? It’s because of that whole following my heart thing. When Taylor invited me to her concert last year and I had the chance to spend a little time with her, I just knew she was going to do something amazing, on her terms and her time. I had so many people trying to push me and saying, “You need to reach out to Taylor Swift. See if she can help you get X,Y, and Z done for Ronan’s Foundation. See if she will donate this or that or do this or that.” I just responded with, “No thank you. I’m not going to do that.” People looked at me as if I were crazy, but asking something of Taylor, just felt wrong. I always kept it to myself why it was that I was not going to reach out to this very generous girl, who out of the kindness of her heart, invited me to her concert, only to take to time to talk about you, with me. To me, that was enough. I was so thankful just to hear her say your name out loud. That was so much more then I could have ever asked for. I always went back to, if Taylor does something for Ronan, it will be something completely organic and natural, not because she felt pressured or forced to. Not because I asked her to. I didn’t ask, Ronan. I sat back and just let the world work in the way which I have always known it would… because it was meant to be. Because I feel the best things that happen in the world, just happen naturally, when they are supposed to and when the universe comes together. I mean, I get the news that I am pregnant only to find out about a week later, that Taylor Swift wrote a song just for you?? That is you working your magic in a way that I cannot even wrap my head around. It’s been so long since I’ve had so much good come our way that I don’t even know what to do with it all.
It’s been 5 days since I got the Taylor call. I’m having to keep this hush hush for now which I totally understand. I am still in complete and utter shock at this point. The timing of all of this is really unbelievable. How the stars and the universe are just aligning at just the right time. How everything that I knew would happen, is just falling into place, naturally. The way that I always trusted in myself and you, to make this all happen. If you had to die Ronan, and I have to live on this earth without you… you can be damn sure, I am going to make something amazing come out of it. This is by far, the most amazing thing that I could ever have imagined… times 1,000,000,0000. I could not have dreamed up any of this happening, in my head. How that girl, with the most sparkling blue eyes, that remind me so much of you… is about to finally give a face and a voice to childhood cancer that it needs so desperately. Now, people will want to pay attention. Now, maybe childhood cancer will get the awareness/funding/and attention that it deserves. Now, maybe less children will die in the future due to somebody huge, stepping up and caring. Taylor Swift, just changed the face of this disease and all I can do is sit here and sob about it. But I am sobbing in a way that I never sob anymore. Because I am so unbelievably happy, Ronan. This is all because of you and our love story. One that will live on forever and do such good things in this world. All with the help of an amazing girl who just happens to be named, Taylor Swift. She could have done this for anybody, Ronan. Anybody. But she didn’t. She did this for you and for us. Because she knows and believes in us so much, that she is giving us the biggest gift that we could have ever received. The gift of an eternal love story between a mother and a child. One that will never end. One that will keep on living forever and soon the entire world is going to know about the most beautiful little boy, who changed the lives of so many because of the love he had for the short life that he lived on this earth.
I love you to the moon and back my spicy monkey boy. Thank you for all you are doing. Thank you, Taylor for this gift you have given us. I promise to make you both proud of all the goodness that is going to come.
I miss you, Ronan. I miss you, I love you and I hope you are safe.
I have a dream. A really, really, really, big dream. I’ve been sitting on this dream for a while, trying to figure out when the right time to announce it would be. I’ve been talking to a handful of people about this dream, but for the most part it’s been kept pretty hush-hush. This is one of the reasons, I’ve been so busy Ronan. I’ve been meeting with so many people for months now. Taking so many trips, having so many meetings, phone calls, and lunches. I’ve been chasing this dream of mine, trying to figure out how I can make it a reality. It all came one night, so clearly, out of the blue. Your daddy and I had been to dinner with some friends of ours. It was a magical dinner where we talked a lot about you and how things are just not changing for this disease. It was a dinner filled with, we know we can change things, we feel the power Ronan has to change this, we know our little boy would want us to do something really huge and big, to impact this world in such a big way. We both left the dinner knowing what needed to be done.
The car ride was quiet on the way home. I was trying to wrap my head around the epiphany that I had just had. I was in our bedroom and your daddy looked at me and said, “Let’s build a World Class Neuroblastoma Research/Care Center.” I couldn’t believe my ears. He took the words right out of my mouth. It was one of those moments where you know with every bone in your body, that you are married to your absolute soul mate in life. I teared up and said, “Let’s build World class Neuroblastoma Research/Care Center.” I had no clue how we were going to do it, but I knew that this was our new secret mission and we were going to figure out how to make this happen.
We started talking about ideas. It needs this, this, and this. Who can help us? I reached out to a small group of people. I was fully prepared for the, “This idea is too crazy and big… what in the world are you doing?” I got a lot of those, but they also came with sides of, “If anyone can do this, it’s you and Ronan.” I have been working non-stop on this for a good 8-months now, trying to put all the pieces together like a puzzle. They have slowly been coming together. I have a list. A very big list. I have a vision and a dream of how this center will look. To me, it is so beautiful and safe. I want to create a safe community for these families, where they don’t feel as if they are just another number. Where they know that they matter and they know they have the best doctors/child-life specialist/volunteers/nurses taking care of them. Where they know they are NOT alone. Where they have someone to hold their hand, all the way through this, even if the worst possible outcome happens and a child dies. They will NOT be thrown out into the street like garbage, never to be checked on again. I have a crazy list of crazy things that will be necessities for the care center part of this. A yoga studio! A go beat the shit out of a punching bag area! A quiet area. A movie theatre! A chapel. A theater where kids can put on plays and perform! An Art area! A kick ass play area! A garden! A music room! My list could go on and on. I WILL give these kids the childhood they are being robbed of. I will give them the life they deserve to live, but are having to live it while fighting cancer. I know I can make this world better Ronan. I know I can. I know you can, too.
This is all I have been doing/thinking about. I presented it to my board a few months ago. I think saw their heads start to spin. I quietly told them that I wanted this to be our new mission and although I didn’t know how we were going to get it done, we were going to get it done. I was told by a Master Yoda of mine, to wait to throw this out into the world. How the timing had to be just right. I had dinner with my Master Yoda a couple of weekends ago. I looked at him after our dinner and said, “How will I know when the time is right, to put this out there?” He just looked at me and said, “Maya, you will know.” I left that dinner telling myself to just trust in myself, you, this universe and when the time was right, I would know.
The time is right now. I know this because of the ways the stars have aligned and the way divine intervention is taking place. I know this is all because of you. I am ready to put this out there. I know what it is, we are going to do. I am going to create the best world possible for a child and a family diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, to be taken care of. I can take the pain of losing you, Ronan, and turn it into something beautiful. For a long time, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this. For a long time, I was so scared this pain was going to destroy me and everything I had. It was only after the idea of this center came to me, that I figured out how I could survive this. It is by being able to help others in such a way that only a mother who has experienced such a devastating loss, can do so. I can do this in a way that is so different from others. I can take all of my pain and magically spin it into beauty because of the love that I know from you. I made you a big promise when you died. You left me here, knowing I was not going to do something small. I have always known the things that I do for you, are going be huge. I have always known you would lead me to where it is I needed to go. I have always trusted in you to map out this path for me. This is what we were meant to do. This is what we are going to do. This dream doesn’t even scare me, because I know I have you behind me and you won’t let me fail.
I know how hard this is going to be, but it cannot possibly be as hard as living my life without you. If I can do that, I can do anything.
I sent out an email asking my board if they were o.k. with me announcing our new little mission. Their responses left me with tears pouring down my cheeks. One of my board members responded back with, “Just Do It!,” (taken from Nike). Then she wrote back and said, “Or as my dad says, JFDI!” (just fucking do it!) I was crying and laughing all at the same time. I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH! I love that they are so behind this! It means everything to me. I had Tricia tell me not long ago that she hadn’t seen me so excited about something, in such a very long time, as I was about this. She told me she knew this was going to happen just due to seeing my passion, excitement, and fire behind it. I loved hearing that from her. I am glad people can still see that in me. It takes a lot to bring it out.
You know those days I disappear, and I don’t write? It’s not because I have dug myself into a hole and I am hiding. It’s because in between grieving, being a wife, mama, trying to be a friend again, trying to find myself a little bit again, I’ve been working on this with everything I have. This is what I want to do for you. This is now, my ultimate goal, besides a cure for the thing that killed you and took you away from me. I will fight until I die, with everything I have, for the rest of my life for this and for you and the other kids who deserve better. I am not going to slink away or disappear. This is my life mission. This is what I was meant to do. I will fix this, Ronan. I promise.
I love you baby doll. I miss you, I love you, I hope you are safe. Thank you for guiding me in everything I do.
P.S. Dear loviest of lovelies,
I hope you know how much I appreciate all your love and support. I hope you know how much I appreciate you sticking by me through all of this because you knew with all of your hearts Ronan was going to do something amazing. This to me seems pretty amazing. This is why I am so thankful, for every dollar you have sent our way. Every penny counts. Especially now. You humble me. You make me want to shoot for the stars. You give me strength and keep me going, on the darkest of days. Thank you so much for loving me in a way that I never knew strangers could love someone. Thank you for loving my little boy so much that it makes you want to be better people. I love that so much. I know this is a big job, but I also know my Master Yoda was right. If anyone can do this, it’s us. I also know that I could not do any of this without all of you. I will forever be grateful for you all. I love you.
Also, please watch Stand Up 2 Cancer tomorrow night. It’s the one night of the year, where we can all stand up together. They are a great organization, doing amazing things.Things have to change and it’s a very powerful show with a very special message for anyone who has been touched by cancer. Thank you.