The start of many firsts without you. A.K.A. Fucking firsts. Thanks, S:)

Ronan. I’m tired tonight. I have not been sleeping well and I know it is because I am missing you so much. I don’t really know what it feels like to be depressed, but I think that’s what I’m feeling lately. I’m still going out, doing things, but my heart is so heavy that I sometimes feel like it is just gone. I don’t even feel like my heart lives inside of me anymore. It’s too heavy to carry around and I feel like when you left, you took my heart with you. I’m so sad. My tears are endless. My hurt is unbearable. I miss you every second of the day. Life is so strange without you here. We all feel it and we don’t know what to do with it.

Today, I took your little surfing brothers to camp. They both did really well but it was a cold day for them out there. I let them pack up a little early as they were excited to play with Laura and Kasey who came to see us today with Cameron and Chase. They arrived just in time to watch your brothers catch some waves. We spent the entire day and night with them. It is always so comforting to me to be with them as you know how much they mean to our family. It was a little hard today though too. Mainly because of all the time we spent with them with you. You and Cameron are so close and age and when the two of you were together, I used to dream of you growing up, being best friends, maybe dating :), but being together forever. Childhood friends for the rest of your life the way I grew up with Laura and pretty much Kasey too. I met Laura in the 8th grade. We became best friends. She met Kasey when she was 15 and they started dating. My two favorite high school sweethearts and our families blend so well together. Watching your daddy and Kasey together…. well, to me there is almost nothing better. Being with Laura, with all of you crazy kids, running about has always been one of my favorite things  about life.  To know that now that will never happen again with you, makes me so sad.

Tonight, Laura and I were sitting by the pool watching Cameron and Quinn play. Two summers ago, that was you…. “Baby Danger,” jumping off of the edge of the pool, scaring Laura to death all while I sat back and watched you and laughed. To sit tonight and watch Quinn swim quietly with Cameron, was so hard. I sat and cried and Laura just rubbed my back. I told her I just miss you and she asked if the days ever get easier. I told her no. So far, they have not. I told Mr. Sparky Eyes tonight that I don’t think time heals all wounds, if anything they just become deeper. I will be scarred for life after losing you. But I’ve got to figure out how to wear these scars with pride and dignity because that’s how you would have wanted it. I’m trying not to push myself too much as I need to let the dust settle because you left me such a short time ago. I want you back so badly, that I would trade having just one more day with you, for my life. Ronan. I miss you so much. I don’t know what else to write tonight as I am just too sad. I got a very sweet “Dear Ronan,” letter from Melissa that I am going to share with you. It is beautiful, just like she is. Thanks, M. You are so true and genuine which is why I love you so.

Dear Ronan,
I keep thinking back to Saturday, May 7th, two days before you died.  You were lying in bed, your legs were emaciated and your mamma kept rubbing them.  Ro, you were in so much pain. I thought your mamma’s hands would fall off, she never stopped rubbing your legs and little upper thighs. I laid for so long on that bed with your mamma and rubbed her back because I wanted to help her so much.  I offered to take over and rub your legs but you would only allow her to help you. She never stopped.  Your mamma went so long without eating or sleeping that last week you were alive that it was amazing she could function.  I kept buying her coconut water.  I think that was the extent of her nutrition.
I am 42,000 feet high in the sky tonight heading to Rhode Island.  
I am flying on ” A Big Jet Plane ”  Ronan, and I feel a little sad.  I am thinking about the amazing summer Dante and Alessia will experience and how you won’t live a life.  You had such a short time on earth. You were robbed of time.  As my Dante says, ” Ronan was dealt a shitty deck of cards, ” a little inappropriate for an eight year old to say but it is the truth. Your parents raced against the clock.  Time always wins Ronan, time is so unfair. Time has no respect for age, love, or hope. 
I do believe every one of us is on earth for a purpose.  I do believe your purpose is to be the beautiful poster child for awareness and funding for neuroblastoma. A horrific purpose for a family.
Do you want to talk about ignorance?  When your mamma told me you were diagnosed I had to go home and goggle it.  I placed a P where the B is located in that awful word. In August your mamma told me you had cancer, a perfect stranger at that time, and I decided I would be friends with Maya Thompson. Why not?
I brought her a coffee one day and realized immediately that I got so much more out of the visit then I ever thought possible and loved her personality and determination.  Remember how you would throw me out of your hospital room at times when I would visit?  You were so feisty!  I hated leaving your mamma but she did not mind because you were happy.
I was having horrific nightmares after you died.  It all started the day your mamma showed me your ashes while in your home one afternoon.  I told her they scared me and could not believe they were in the kitchen.  The worst nightmare was about your mamma and I in Frys Supermarket.  She was running around screaming, “where is Ronan ?” We looked and looked but we could not find you anywhere and there was a clock on the wall showing us we were out of time to find you.  I then ran all the way to the ocean and when I got to the shore I found a body floating dead in the water and it was Alessia.  I would then awake and my heart would be racing and pounding. 
The dream must have derived from your mamma’s horrific and tear jerking blog, “Where’s Ronan ?”  I read that blog too many times.  I couldn’t help it because I could not believe I watched you drink a coke on Saturday and demand those Star Wars guys be placed in good and bad categories on your bed, then visited Sunday night and then you were gone forever…………
Well, I no longer have that nightmare thank goodness.  I think it is because I finally realized where you are, right in your mammas heart and soul. 
I’m sorry the prayers did not work, I am sorry that time won and I am sorry that your parents had to go through hell to make others realize all the good in their lives.  So many people are better for knowing your sad story.
I am so lucky that Dante, Alessia, Liam and Quinn all go to school together.  We are all going to be friends forever.  We were at your house the day they left for California. I was so happy to see the boys excitement about the trip. I promised your mom she would never be “one of those moms.”   You know, the useless ones that talk a lot but never make a difference.  Mamma and I are going to keep drinking our extra hot vanilla lattes and do a whole bunch of good work.  Your mom has a team.  I have never seen one person have so many amazing friends.  I have always thought it was a blessing to have a few close friends…but not your mom…she has multiple teams of friends.  Maya Thompson reminds me of a tornado, a good one. 
I can’t wait to see what she does once she is a feeling a little bit better.
By the way, my phone still twerps like a bird.  I loved how it would make you giggle.  Your adorable giggle will remain in my heart forever.  
Thank you Ronan.  Thank you for all your life lessons and making me a better person. 
Love,
Melissa 
I’m going to end this post tonight now. I am going to try to get to sleep at a decent hour as I can feel my body shutting down due to the lack of sleep and overdoing things. Ronan. I love you to the moon and back baby. I hope you are safe. Please don’t go too far away from me. I still worry about you so much. G’nite my sweet boy.

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