A death day and a birthday

 

 

 

Ronan. May 9th came and went. It was a gut wrenchingly hard day. I did my best. I did all I could do. I did not die. It was a rainy day, as it should have been. I got up, showered, dressed. I went and had lunch with your daddy and brothers on this awful, awful day. We had planned a day of hiking. Just as we finished lunch, your purple balloons arrived. 5 of them. Sent by the most thoughtful board members and little intern on the planet. The one’s who put so much thought and effort into sending us off, on this trip, that we have had gifts to open every single day that we have been gone. All things inspired by you. Things that have made us laugh, be silly, and wild and free. Things that have made us cry, like the 5 purple balloons. Who thinks to have purple balloons sent to our hotel, so we can let them go for you because they know we are in a small town, and wouldn’t be able to find them anywhere? My board members. My intern. My sisters. My family. This is why they are the one’s I trusted with your candy cart for Phoenix Children’s Hospital for your birthday. This is why they sit on your foundation board. Because they know this is not just business. This is about unconditional love, thoughtfulness, and helping when help is needed most. They know this without me having to say a word. This Ronan, is the truest form of unconditional love. This Ronan, is why after all of this, I still think I am lucky and blessed. So very blessed even without you. I know these little blessings are all gifts from you, to keep me going. Thank you so much. I don’t know what I would do without them.

After lunch, I grabbed the 5 purple balloons and hugged the front desk girl and told her thank you with tears streaming down my cheeks. One of my lovely little board members, filled her in on the reason for our “vacation.” She knew the reason for us being there. She looked at me and said, “You are welcome. Please, let me know if you need anything.” I told her I would. We headed out for our hike. We drove to somewhere that was recommended to us. I let your daddy navigate and take us to our destination. I sat, numb, and totally zoned out. I tried to let myself get lost in the beauty around us, but it was impossible to take me away from the world I live in, without you. Once we arrived, we scoped out the trails. We ran through the woods down towards the water. I carried your 5 balloons. We all stood together and each of us, took a purple balloon. Your daddy and I held yours, together. We let them go and watched them float away. We clung on to each other, and I buried my head into your daddy’s shoulders. We stayed that way for a while. Your brothers didn’t really know what to do as they seem to be pretty unfazed by everything that is going on around us. As 8 year olds should be. We went on a long hike through the woods. Every stick I saw, ever rocked I threw, every mud puddle I stepped in, was a slap in the face to me. It hurt, so much. It is so wrong that you are not here, running through that forest, with your brothers like you should have been. You would have loved every second of our family hike. It was the most exhausting hike of my life. It wasn’t physically hard. It was the mental part that I struggled with. Hiking on the day that you died, because you died, because nobody knew what else to do. Talk about a mind fuck of a day.

I heard about the storm in Phoenix on your death day, Ro. A spicy storm on May 9th that could have only been caused by you. I have no doubt about that. I loved hearing all about your storm. Nobody could believe it. The people that love you the most, could. You made it pour down on me, in Maine, and you proved your point with your spicy little storm in Phoenix as well. You are such a little badass.

I don’t remember the rest of the day or night. All I know is I went to sleep, exhausted. No Ambien needed. I have not taken that, since the first night we were on our trip. I have slept alright without it.

I have been so preoccupied with your death day, that it is as if your birthday has come up from nowhere and knocked me down so hard on my ass, that today, I did not know if I could get up. I did. I mustered up the energy to go out for a while to explore our new surroundings as we switched locations last night. A new destination was a good change of pace. We explored for a few hours and then headed back to our hotel. I had a raging headache probably due to all the crying I had done. I crawled in bed while your brothers played outside and your daddy worked. I needed to just shut down for a couple of hours, so I did. I got up when I got a text message from one of our lovies here. She was close by our little town and came by to see us. The two of us went out and grabbed a quick bite to eat. She knew I was having a hard day. She knows first hand, all too well about this life. We quietly talked about all things that two mom’s should never have to talk about. Kids getting cancer. Kids dying from cancer. The how’s, the why’s, the unfairness of it all. I spent the hour at dinner, looking across the table at my friend who has the same eyes as mine. One’s filled with so much pain, that it is palpable. But there is a fire there, too. I see her son, in her eyes, every time I look into them. It gives me strength. I left her still feeling pretty sad, but feeling better about your upcoming birthday. I left there, feeling like I could get through tomorrow, without you.

I came out of the restaurant and I had 16 text messages on my phone. FUCK. I had forgotten about the little insane text message party I had with Rita, before going to dinner. The one where I was laying in bed, sobbing, and she just happened to check in on me. The one where I said I wanted to die, and how many Ambien would it take to overdose? She responded right away with one could not overdose on Ambien, but instead they will lose all control of their bodily functions and shit themselves. Well, that sounded like a shitty plan. I would not like to do that. I then asked her the best way to commit suicide, and told her I was googling it. I was. But not because I wanted to really die; mostly out of curiosity. Rita told me she was not playing this bullshit game with me and gave me the sternest text messaging spanking I’ve ever gotten in my life. I threw my phone in my purse, forgot all about our conversation, and headed out the door to dinner. Once I saw my phone, on text message overload, I remembered what had gone down. I quickly responded that I was alright, so sorry, and I would call her in a few. I got home and called the two people I needed to check in with.

Your Fernanda was first. Ronan. Do you know what she did? It is unbelievable. I left for this trip, and I pretty much left my lovely little board members in charge of Ronan’s Day of Love at PCH. I knew I couldn’t be there, so I left the ones I trust most in this world, in charge of it. I knew they would not let us down. I know how hard this was for all of them to do; but they didn’t blink twice when I asked them. They were honored, to be honoring you in a way that meant so much to me. We have planned for a couple of months now. The candy cart, the balloons, the Star Wars characters to visit the kids. Who would be there, helping. A day of love at PCH, all inspired by you, to make others smile and happy and to forget about the fact that they are in a hospital, fighting this beast that no child should ever have to fight. I had an idea about what it is I wanted for your candy cart, but I gave Fernanda free rein to do whatever it is, she wanted. What she put together, ended up being a freaking masterpiece. I don’t know how she did it, but she did. She spent all day Friday, “Pimping your Wagon,” as she said. She had some great helpers, this I know. Thank you, all. So much. Ronan’s purple candy wagon, complete with an iPod and speakers, for the playlist I made, not to mention a secret hidden zombie underneath, is something you would have gone crazy over, Ronan. It was everything you. It was all you. I could not have done a better job myself. This is the reason, your Fernanda wears your ashes that I gave her, around her neck. Because she knows you inside and out. Because you are her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Forever and always.

I called her, I broke down and cried, I told her thank you over and over. I listened to her voice and let her put her little spell on me that she always does. The one where she calms me down and takes me away to a world where only you and I exist and she reminds me to remember this. That you are still here, with me. That you are mine and I am forever yours. Nobody else can do this for me, but her. I hung up with her feeling a little better. I had to call Rita, next. Our very long conversation can be summed up best by this.

Me: I am so fucking sorry. I should not have texted you that I want to kill myself crap. That was not o.k. I thought you knew I was kind of joking. You know me. You know I’m not going to do anything.

Her: You are a mother fucker. You are not allowed to do that to me, set the phone down, and not answer it. EVER! I did not know if you were serious or not. I thought you were really dead. I thought you were really dead, but you know what Fernanda told me? She told me this. “Listen, Rita. I believe Maya wants to die, everyday. But not by her own hands. Do you know how I know Maya will not actually do anything? Because she wears lipgloss. Because she gets manicures and pedicures. Because she puts on make-up and fixes her hair. Because this shows me that for all the pain she’s in, she has a shred of self-love left. She takes care of herself by doing these things. We can all be concerned if she stops showering and wearing lipgloss. Until then, she is alright.”

Rita and I were both in stitches. Only Fernanda could rationalize my madness by saying the key to me not taking my own life, is because I wear lipgloss. Only Fernanda, could make it make perfect sense because it absolutely does. I told Rita, I was sorry again. I truly was. I didn’t mean to make her worry. I was in a bad place and I was venting but it still was not right to do. I know I can be a jackass sometimes. I am thankful she loves me enough to forgive me. I fell asleep last night, cuddled up to your Liam. I was missing you extra much. He felt extra soft and snuggly to me. I soaked him in for the rest of the night, knowing what I had to wake up to. But it was another Ambien free night. I was a good girl, for you.

I woke up, feeling sick to my stomach. Ronan’s 5th Birthday day. I didn’t know what to do. I threw on my clothes with your daddy still sleeping and your brothers were just starting to stir. Out the door for a run I went. A little run that turned into a 2 hour run, partly due the detour I took, to sit in the middle of the forest to sob about you, and partly due to the fact that I got lost. Lost on your 5th birthday, without you. Seemed pretty fitting, actually. I ended up finding my way home, Ronan. I always do.

I made it through the day, thanks to the help of your daddy, brothers, and friends. The 4 of us had a low-key day/night. We all wore purple, from head to toe. I played Lacrosse out in the big, grassy lawn with your brothers. There spent the day laughing and giggling as they should have. I have yet to go on to Facebook but I swear it seems as people all over the world were out doing crazy, kind-hearted things for you. I am moved beyond words by just a fraction of the stories that I have heard. They fill me with a bittersweet hopefulness that I never wanted, but now it will always be mine. I will treat this as a gift. I have no choice. This life I live now, Ronan… is one filled with all things beauty and pain. They will always go hand in hand. I have to learn how to let them work together, while being respectful of one another. It’s a heavy-hearted job but it is my job to do. After today, there is the most amazing proof that I am not doing this alone. So many of my family, friends, ex friends, old friends, new friends, and strangers are in this for the long haul, too. Look at all you’ve done and it’s only been a year, sweet boy. Imagine what we will do, in this lifetime together. So many amazing things. I know this.

To everyone out there, who spent today, honoring my Ronan by being extra kind, spicy, loving, honest, brave, caring, wild and free. Thank you. So much. You are getting me through my darkest days. You are making a difference. You are making him, so very proud. I love you all. Without you, this would not be happening. It is because of your loyalty and love that this world is going to change. Thank you for believing this in your hearts and souls and for being grateful for what it is you have. No matter how much or how little because you all get what truly is important. LOVE and HEALTH. That’s it. Those are the only two things that matter in life. If you have those two things, you have everything.

One last little shout out tonight, Ronan. My lovely little board members, my intern Rissy, and sissy, Liz. I know today was so hard for all of you. Words cannot even touch how thankful I am. You took Ronan’s birthday and made the day of so many parents, kids, siblings, nurses, and staff at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. You made them smile. You gave them a good day full of warmth and love. That is priceless. You all are priceless. Thank you for all of your hard work, love and turning today into a day that was all about Ronan, without it having to be, “All about Ronan.” I am blown away at how perfect everything turned out, but not surprised. Just very, very humbled and grateful. I love you all, so much. I know he is so proud. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Alright my Ronan. I need to end this now. Happy 5th Birthday. You would have been the most beautiful 5-year-old to walk this planet. This is beyond fucked up. This is beyond unfair. I am so sorry. I made one wish for you tonight. That I of course, hope you are safe. I love you to the moon and back. I will fix this. I will make this better. I won’t break my promise to you. I promise on my life, that I choose to live. Because this living thing is a choice and I am not going to waste it. I will live for you. Until you are ready for me to be with you, once again. I love you. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

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4 Months feels like 4 Years. Thanks, Cancer. You’re AWESOME.

Ro. I can write tonight. I need to write tonight. It’s been a couple of days I think. I don’t know that I’ll be able to sleep tonight. It’s creeping up. The 9th of every month date. 3:30 a.m. will be here soon. I’ve been dreading it all week. Consumed by it. 4 months is almost here. What was I doing at this time, 4 months ago? Laying with you, while Fernanda sat and watched you so we could get some sleep together. I was cuddled up beside you, which was always my favorite place to be. I’ll bet you Fernanda was rubbing you, trying to sing, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” but she didn’t know the words, so she had to Google them on her phone. I love that story. She watched you because she knew that I needed the rest and I wouldn’t sleep if someone wasn’t keeping their eye on you.  She knew when it was her time to go and I think she left around 2:30 a.m. She kissed us goodbye and left the two of us in the room, alone together. She knew that it was time for you to go. She knew that we needed to be alone. She knows so much. I remember watching you. Your little breaths got so shallow. I remember The Ryan House nurse standing over us and how fast my heart was beating. I looked up at her and asked if you were gone. She told me not yet, but it was going to be soon. I remember thinking how unfair it was that my heart was rapidly beating, yet yours was getting ready to stop. I kissed you all over. I told you I loved you and whispered to you, “Come on baby. Come with me. Let’s get out of this place.” I asked her to go and get your Daddy. You waited for him to come in and kiss you goodbye. Then your little heart just stopped. Just like that. I go over this night in my head, at least 10 times a day. I pray that you know how much I love you, I pray that you were not scared as I worry about that so much. I still can’t believe you are gone and that I am still here, living this life, without you.
I had a mini freak out today. Panic took over after I dropped your brothers off at school. I knew I could not go home to an empty house. I went to Starbucks and sat with my computer and went through emails and paid bills. I emailed somebody at www.spirithoods.com and told them about you and asked them if they had ever thought about donating their amazing “hoods,” to kids with Cancer. I told them how much you loved yours and how many cancer kids would comment on it, but probably couldn’t afford to buy one. I asked them to consider donating some. I actually got a response pretty quickly and I was very impressed. I’m working on them and I have a feeling they won’t let me down. Could you imagine how many smiles their Spirit Hoods would bring to the faces of kids everywhere. Hospitals are notorious for being cold. Remember how much we loved wearing ours together. You looked so cute in yours. I could have gobbled you up and am sure I tried. I miss your little face so much.

One of our favorites met me for a bit today. I was a wreck, but tried my best to remain calm. I don’t think I put on a very good show. It’s fine. I have never been one to pretend with our lovie. No reason to. I talked about how this date is hard for me every month. I tried not to cry and just listened to the words that came my way. I tried to keep an open mind and to not be angry at the fact that you are not here. Our lovie sat and told me that you are not really gone, that you are everywhere. That you will never be gone. I know this deep down, but it does not take away the pain of your physical self not being here. It does not take away the pain of not being able to hear your squeaky voice or look at your beautiful face. Our lovie asked for a smile. I refused as my smile seemed nowhere to be found today. I’ll bet you I went the whole freaking day without smiling. And I always smile for our lovie. That’s how you know it was a really, really, bad day. I know you know. I know it’s on my really bad days, that you find some way to make me feel a little happy. I found that today when I went to visit my new friend, Katie, at her boutique. Her kind heart and kick ass music playlist made me feel good. I joked with her that she must secretly have access to my iPod because I swear she always has my favorite songs playing while I am in her store. Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane,” was on when I was telling her that. Oh, Tom Petty…. how I love thee. And Miss Katy…. this new gorgeous girl you have put in my life, Ro. Thank you. I can tell she is going to be a big part of this new, strange, life without you. Another one of your little gifts. Thanks baby.

The rest of the day was spent in therapy. Therapy with your Daddy and than I went off to therapy alone with Sarah. I felt like my head was spinning most of the day. Than I decided that it should feel that way, as I have many hats that I am wearing right now. I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing; but it is where I’m at. You want to hear all of the hats I’m wearing? I’ll tell you.

The Maya Hat- Trying to take care of me. Whatever that means.

The Ronan Hat- Trying to connect and still trying to take care of you. It’s all I want to do.

The Mama Hat- Trying to be a good Mama to your brothers. I’m naturally a good mom, so this is not hard. But it still takes a lot more effort than it used to.

The Wife Hat- Trying to be a wife to your Daddy. Failing.

The Therapy Hat- Sarah, Dr. Rachel, Dr. Joanne, and Dr. Beth with Liam and Quinn. FUCK. That is a lot of therapy, but so necessary.

The Friend Hat- Trying. Failing. I miss my friends.

The Foundation Hat- My busy work. Trying to get everything figured out. I like this hat. It gives me HOPE that I am keeping  you alive; even though you are gone.

The Not Slitting my Wrists Hat- Want to. Everyday. Everyday I survive without doing this is a fucking miracle.

The Grieving Hat- I’m doing this. In my way, alone. Or in the presence of therapists. I’m working hard to do this. I don’t want to stuff away any pain because it will all come back to haunt me later if I do.

So baby. What do you think about all of that? That’s A LOT of stuff. Remember back in the day, when all we had to worry about was naps and grocery shopping? That life does not even seem real anymore. I feel like I’ve been living this life now, forever. What a stupid, spoiled brat I was. I’ve got a lot of making up to do for being such an ignorant human being. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. It’s fine, baby. I’m not scared. I know you are going to help me, therefore, I can do anything. Fuck You, Cancer. Right, Ro?

My new friend, Heather, also stopped by for a visit. She is the Queen of random, surprise drive-by’s. I just happened to be home and was so glad to see her face. We sat in the kitchen today and talked for awhile. She is another one of those peeps with such an amazing heart. She always seems to appear when I need  a bit of cheering up. When I need a little kick in the ass to remind me of how strong I am. She told me that she tells someone, at least once a day, that I am going to do for Childhood Cancer, what Lance Armstrong has done for Cancer in general. WOW. What a compliment. Talk about picking a girl up, when she is down. I took a minute to think about what she told me. I started to get overwhelmed, but a calmness washed over me. I think she is right. I think she is right because I have you to fight for and the strength you give me will help me change things, in a drastic way. Everything I used to be scared of, Ro…. no longer exists. I am here, on this earth, to change things for you. Because you know that you did not deserve to die, nor does any other child suffering from Cancer. Somebody has got to take this fucker down. Super Ro to the rescue!!!!! I know we can do this, little man. Heather, knows we can do this. She lit up like a little Christmas Tree when she was telling me this today. It was so stinking adorable. It was so beautiful. It was so you.

Oh, Ro. Nice song pick tonight as I was just getting to end this post. Seriously! That just got you the BIGGEST SMILE! I love you to the moon and back, baby. I hope you are safe. You are so right, this is absolutely not the end.

THE BRAVERY

Tell me
Come on tell me what you can
Even as you wait for death your wiser than I am
Tell me what does it mean to exist
I am not a scientist I must believe there’s more than this
And I can not accept
That everything that’s real
Is only what our eyes can see
And our hands can feel

[chorus]
Not even earth can hold us
Not even life controls us
Not even the ground can keep us down
The memories in my head
Are just as real as the time we spent
You’ll always be close to me
My friend
This is not the end

I see
I can see you’re still afraid
Weathered like the silver moon, on you even fear looks good
I wish, I wish I had some words to give
But all that I can think to say
Is I’ll be with you everyday

[chorus]
Not even earth can hold us
Not even life controls us
Not even the ground can keep us down
The memories in my head
I just realized the time we spent
You’ll always be close to me
My friend
This is not the end

La la la la la
This is not the end
La la la l al la
This is not the end

I don’t care
I don’t care what you believe
As long as you are in my heart
You’re just as real as me
Maybe
Maybe even more
Someone who’s touched so many lives
can never, ever die

[chorus]
Not even earth can hold us
Not even life controls us
Not even the ground can keep us down
The memories in my head
I just realized the time we spent
You always be close to me
My friend
This is not the end

Because Kids get Cancer, too.

 

Ronan. September 1st. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. How many people out there, are aware? Not enough. Or if they are aware, they are choosing to ignore it. Assholes. If everyone was AWARE and not IGNORING it, you may still be here. I truly believe that. Was I that unaware Asshole? Totally. Do I wish I still were? If it meant having you here? Absolutely. I would give anything to have you back. You know this. I would sell my soul do the Devil in a heartbeat. It would be so much better than being trapped here, without you. But someone else had other ideas. I don’t like it, but I have to start to accept it; a bit more and more, everyday.

Otherwise, I am going to turn into that bitter mama who is mad at the world. Who has EVERY right to be mad at the world and to turn her back on everything. I don’t want to end up this way, but sometimes it seems like it would be so much easier than to continue on this fight. I know I don’t have a choice, Ro. I know I have to make a difference even when people tell me that I DON’T have a responsibility to anyone but myself, your brothers and your daddy. I know this is not true. I know I still have a responsibility to you. I have to make a difference because this is what you would have wanted. I know you want me to find a bigger purpose in this world than just worrying about if my ass looks big in my LuLu Lemon gym shorts and what to cook for fucking dinner. I know you want me to leave your mark, everywhere. I have no choice but to honor you in the biggest way I can. That means that I will fight this fight until people start to listen. Until huge companies, start to honor Childhood Cancer, the way they do Breast Cancer. Until people stop turning their cheeks because it can’t happen to them. Fuck you. It can. I hope it NEVER does. But I hope if it does, you never have to walk in my shoes because I am going blaze the trails so that Childhood Cancer does start to get the attention and funding that it deserves. So that one day, there WILL be a CURE. So beautiful families, don’t have to watch helplessly as their child dies even after they have done all they can do. The best they could have done. The best will never be enough, because you still died, Ro. I will always feel the guilt of this inside of me. I will never understand why my love was not enough to save you. It should have been. But it wasn’t because Childhood Cancer is that ugly. That real. That scary, that it can change everything in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry. If you choose to ignore it, it cannot happen to you. Bullshit. I am like a flashing, neon sign now people. If you cannot stand to hear this story, because it is too sad, than stop reading, because you are NOT worthy of knowing this beautiful love story. You are not worthy of watching the beauty that is going to come out of losing the most beautiful boy in the world. If you are strong enough to be here, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love each and every one of you. I need your help, more than ever. You are all going to help in this fight for Ronan and thousands of other children, who deserve a voice. I feel so blessed that Ronan has touched your lives, even if many of you did not know him. If you are not going to be the loudest cheerleader for me, Ro, or thousands of other precious kids who are going through this…. just knowing that you feel like I have made you love your babies, your family, friends, appreciate the little things more…. still means so much to me. Just knowing that it is because of my Ro, that you feel this way… makes me feel like I am capable of making this world a better place.

I know I have a big job ahead of me, but I feel as if my head is becoming a little clearer, more and more everyday. I feel like the fog is being lifted. I’ve stopped all of my medications. All of them. Even the sleepy meds. Cold Turkey, YO! Just because everyone told me I couldn’t do it, and I shouldn’t do it. Well, I did. I am finally starting to feel free again. I am taking Melatonin to help me sleep. I should have listened to my Mr. Sparkly Eyes at the beginning of all of this as he was always suggesting it. Of course, I had to learn the hard way. Thank GOD for Stacy and for bringing that bottle over to my house the other night. Don’t get me wrong…. my sleep is still not wonderful. I still toss and turn. I still wake up, screaming and crying for you. I am still having very vivid, and mostly awful dreams. But it’s not any worse than it was while I was on my prescription sleeping pills. And at least this Melatonin, is a natural substance. I am a fighter and I will fight though this. I refuse to become one of those moms who ends up going through something awful and becoming addicted to prescription meds. No judgement at all. I just know that is not for me. It is not the way I want to live this life. I want to feel, as painful as it may be. I don’t want to be numb.

I’m in the best place I can be, as of now. It’s not good and I know this. I know I am being hard on myself which is why I’ve named this phase of grief, the Phase of Torture. I am doing a lot of things that are not good for me. Not eating, pushing myself on my Inferno Hikes, throwing up a lot if I do eat, second guessing everything we did for you, mentally beating myself up…… But I am here, I am getting up out of bed, I am being a good mom to your brothers, I am being honest, I am going to a lot of therapy, I am feeling. I AM FEELING. I have not felt for a very long time. I was numb and in shock. I still have those feelings some days, but they are less and less.

Ro. I fell asleep about an hour or so ago, but now I am up again due to my dreams. I hate them. They never involve you, and they are always so scary, sad, and mean. Kind of like my everyday life without you now. Where are you and who is taking care of you? Who is brushing your teeth, rubbing your little back, and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to you? It’s not me. I hate this.

I’ve written to you for days now. Not being able to finish. I have too much to say, too little to say, too many scary things going through my mind, that I don’t want to say. I’m feeling tired, sad, and angry. I’m trying to do my best, to stay positive. Walking through this life without you by my side is utter torture. You spent 4 years attached to my hip. Trying to go on with you gone now, hurts so much. And some days, I just don’t want to do it anymore. I just want to be with you again. I’ll never understand, why it had to be you…. why did you have to be the one to be taken away. Who would be so cruel to do such a thing? I don’t want this life lesson. I don’t want to be grateful for all the little things because I don’t have you anymore. I just want you back. I think I may have to throw up now. We are all here, tucked away in our quiet house for the night. You are not with us anymore and everything about our lives is so different, in the most awful way. I wish I really had an arm missing, or half of my face…. anything but you.

This weekend has been a blur. Lots of family time. We had Kenny, Stacy and the kids over last night. Always good to be with them as they are like family and they just get it. They know how much we need them and they have been such amazing friends to us. I was in a foul mood, talking trash to your Daddy….. being a tough ass. I had a good talk with Stacy, who tried to reason with me a bit. There was no reasoning last night and I usually listen to her. I told her how I didn’t understand how I was just expected to go on and just go about normal things now. Like how could I possibly go on a trip with your Daddy in a few weeks? A trip. Are you fucking kidding me? This is a trip we’ve taken together for years now… and I am supposed to go in a few weeks. Is everyone on crack? This is NOT a normal year. Normal things do not exist yet. Will they ever again? No. But I need some time. I cannot just be thrown back into this life, and be expected to do things that I have done before, in the past, when you were among the living. You just left this earth. I am still here, and trying to figure out how to navigate my way through the fucking grocery store. How am I supposed to hop on a flight to Vegas in a few weeks??? It seems like a sick joke to me. I tried to go to the race tracks in Del Mar over the summer and almost had to be hauled off to the loony bin because I could not handle all the obnoxious people, smoking everywhere, in their stupid hats and clothes. And going to Vegas, during a normal year has never really been my cup of tea. I can stand that place for about 24 hours, on a good day. Can you imagine how I would freak out, going there this year…. it gives me anxiety just thinking about it. If I go, I’m going to wear a shirt that says something like, “My son just died, but let’s gamble anyway.” WTF people?!?! I just want to be left alone. I just want my time to grieve for you. I don’t want to go to Vegas, I don’t want Thanksgiving, I don’t want the weekends anymore, I don’t want to pretend like this is getting easier….. because it is not. Why is everyone acting like just because it’s been almost 4 months, that I need to be moving on, and starting to feel better. I WILL NEVER FEEL BETTER. That I can guarantee you. Do you know what a good day for me is like now? Let me just tell you. A good day now, is a day when my throat does not feel like it is going to close up and I am going to just suffocate to death. A good day is when I can actually swallow, without it hurting. A good day is when I can actually eat a meal, and keep it down. A good day is when I can put on a happy face, and check off some of the things on my shit list. I’ve come up with a new saying that I have adapted. Fake it till you make it. Yup. I’m faking it everyday that I am up out of bed and being productive because I don’t want to be at all. I don’t want any of this life without you.

Did you know Ro, that my mind is so distraught from losing you, that I cannot remember any happy memories of you? My mind cannot even go there. The PTSD is real and it is part of what I am going through now. I’ve talked to all of my therapists about it. They all agree.

 

PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

2. Avoidance symptoms:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past

Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.

I relive what I went through with you, over and over through the day. I don’t have any other memories of you as of now, besides you being sick, you dying, and the love we had for each other. I am trying to work past this but as of now, I’m stuck. Maybe that’s why I cannot dream about you. I’m stuck in such an awful place in my mind, trapped in between awful memories, and my reality, which is Hell on Earth.

I went Inferno Hiking at 1:00 today. Nobody else was on the mountain. It was nice but I hardly remember any of it. I have decided that the reason I love it so much is because it is so painful. So hot that my socks burn the bottom of my heels. It is dangerous and it is the only time during my days that I have to let go of the memory of you not being here. When I am on my run, down the mountain, I have to stay so sharp, so focused on what I am doing…. because one wrong step and it is goodbye Maya, hello broken arm and face plant into the sharp, burning rocks. Bring it on.

I know you know about my intuition that I have had my entire life, Ro. But here is just another example. As I was driving home from The Inferno today, I started thinking about the neighbors that we brought flowers to, on your Random Day of Kindness. I was getting close to their house and I was beating myself up, because when we met them, they told us about their baby girl that they had lost. Their sweet baby girl, whom never even made it out of the hospital. I knew that she passed away sometime in August and I started getting really mad at myself because I could not remember the date, and I had really wanted to put a card in their mailbox, just to let them know I was thinking about them. It’s September now, so I knew that the time had passed and I was so disappointed at myself for forgetting. As soon as I got home, I parked the car and went to get the mail. I pulled it out, I saw a letter addressed to me, from our neighbors. That is weird, I thought to myself, as I had just spent the past 4 minutes, thinking obsessively about them and their baby girl. I ripped open the letter and it was from the wife. She had taken the time to write me a beautiful letter, more about who they are, who their kids are, and how the daughter that they lost, would have been 22 this year. I started to sob. It was such an honest, beautiful, and kind letter. She wrote to me about how she had read my blog before meeting me, and that I had seemed so strong from my words. But then when she saw me, face to face, that I seemed so fragile. She gets it. She knows why I look that way. It’s because she is a mother, who has lost her little girl. It’s almost like a secret handshake that we have. She can easily see the pain in my eyes, when others cannot. Getting that letter today, reminded me that for as fragile as I am…. I still cannot give up on this life. That I cannot give up on myself. I am on to something with the way I have some of these things in life figured out. I need to listen to my instincts a little more and trust in myself that the path that I am on, is going to lead me to where I was meant to go. As much as I want to fight this stupid life now… I have too much to go on for. You are still my number one reason for living. You are keeping me alive, Ronan. You will take me when you are ready and I just need to trust and believe in that. It is the only thing I trust and believe in anymore.

I’m going to go baby. This has turned into a novel. I hope it even makes sense. I love you so much. To the moon and back, forever and ever. Sweet dreams little one. I hope you are safe.

xoxo

This made me laugh. I will take a laugh wherever I can get it:)

 

“I’ve got nothing!”

Ronan. The love of my life. My baby doll. I missed you today. So much. As soon as I woke up, I hopped in the shower. Your brothers were still asleep and I let them stay that way until it was their turn to shower. We had a big day planned for us today. No sitting around the condo, breaking up fights, listening to them saying they were board at the beach. After we gathered up our things we headed off of this island, with a pit stop at Starbucks, of course. Venti Vanilla Non Fat Latte for me please. Two tall Black Iced Teas for Quinn and Liam, with extra sweetener. I also grabbed them some bagels for our road trip and we were off! We headed to Newport, which is about an hour and a half North of Coronado. The boys were happy in the back, watching their “Smurfs,” DVD. Apparently, the SMURFS are making a comeback in major way and your brothers have caught the fever. You started watching it during the last trip to Sloan. You were just starting to get into it. I used to love the SMURFS when I was a kid. They are so cute and blue and there is always some sort of trouble going on. I love that they are trying to bring it back. Liam and Quinn watched their DVD of it for the drive out there. We arrived to Newport around noon and parked our car and Chris was waiting for us. The boys were so excited to see their cousins. We walked down a lush filled hill with a really cool tunnel that you have to go through and out on the other side was this gorgeous beach, a few shacks to eat at, and tide pools galore. Our version of Heaven. Which is why you were with us today in your dolphin form. More on that later.

I threw down our things by Tiffany and it felt so good to see her. To just sit and catch up on things. We talked a lot about you, of course. We talked so much at one point we had no clue where Quinn and Lanye had gone. Turns out, they were way down the beach looking for crabs. Liam was right in front of us, down by the ocean with Bo; digging a hole to China. Between the tide pools, hole digging, wave jumping, boogie boarding, and body surfing….. those kids kept busy for 6 hours straight. It was so much fun to watch them and I cannot tell you how much it meant to be surround by family today. Family like that is just so good for the soul. All the kids get along so well together and I love to watch the interactions. It’s such simple fun, being out in nature, being a kid, with nothing to worry about. It’s how a child’s life should be. One big thing about losing you Ro, is how I am trying to protect any innocence that Liam and Quinn have left, fiercely. So much of it was taken away when you died. It’s important for them to do things like this today so they can understand that life will go on, life will be happy, life is still simple and innocent when you cut out all the bullshit and just get to the roots and the core of it all. Like seeing who can catch the most crabs without getting pinched. And even if you do get pinched, it will be o.k.

As we were packing up our things around 6 p.m. a bunch of dolphins came swimming by. They are everywhere this year. Wonder why:) We packed up everything, got the kiddies in the car and headed up to Chris and Tiffany’s hotel to finish the night off with swimming, pizza, and salmon for dinner. The kids swam and hot tubbed for 3 hours. We finally pulled them out of the pool around 9 p.m. Everyone was tired after our very happy, busy day. Happy, busy is a good thing for us now. Thanks again, Chris and Tiffany. Such a beautiful day for all of us. The little bugs fell asleep in the car about 20 minutes before we got home. I was looking at them in my rear view mirror. So sweet, so tired, so little. Yes, I’m using the word little on my 8-year-old giants who will soon be taller than me. But really. They are only 8. That is so young and it is easy to forget that because of how mature they are. Seeing them both crashed out in back of my car really pulled at my heartstrings tonight. So vulnerable and beautiful. They have been through so much and are still so amazing in every way. I am so lucky to have them. As we parked our car, we ended up getting home around 11, the boys were so tired but they both got up and asked what they could help carry. I carried most of the stuff but let them both carry some little things. I know how important it is to them to feel like they are helping.

As soon as we got into the condo, Liam went right to his bed. I tucked him in and told him how he was my favorite son and how I was so proud to be his mom. I told Quinn the same thing to as I tucked him in and I said it to you, as well Ro. You are all my favorites and I am beyond lucky to be your mama. As I was driving over the Coronado Bridge and I started to freak out about losing you and how easy it would be to just drive my car off of the bridge like I so often fantasize about….. Something clicked. Mother Fucker! I am truly not crazy. As much as I feel like I am and I think I am going to go insane….it’s just not going to happen. It’s very simple actually. I am a sane person, who has been put in an insane situation, and now I have to figure out how to deal with it. There will be no “Thelma and Louis,” dramatic car scene, no jumping off the Coronado Bridge, no overdose of drugs, unless you call coconut water a drug…..  Like a good friend of ours used to say to Woody,  in regards to a friend they had….”He’s got nothing!” Well, that’s me. “I’ve got nothing!” I’ve got nothing except a parent’s worst nightmare coming true, and a sane chip programmed in my head that will keep me safe. Damn. I’ve always wanted to try that Thelma and Louise car jumping off a cliff scene. Maybe I should just go and rent the movie  instead.

OK Ro. Time to tuck you in. Twinkle Twinkle my brightest star. I love you to the moon and back. Forever. I hope you are safe.

xoxo


I’ll follow you into the dark

Ronan. Hi baby. I miss you so much. This morning I woke up late and so did your brothers. I didn’t fall asleep until about 3 a.m., so we slept in until around 9. I don’t know what exactly happened this morning. Actually, I do. A couple of things. Your daddy called. He was upset. He said he had awful nightmares about you all night long and did not sleep well. His dreams of you are always the same. He dreams of the two of you playing together, and you are so happy. But then you die. Hearing your dad’s voice today shook me to the core. He was so upset, which in turn, upsets me.  I then got on the internet and I was obsessing over Neuroblastoma stories, treatments, doctors, etc…. It was like I was in a black hole and could not come out. Even though you are gone, and your little life could not be saved, I sit and obsess about what we could have done differently. It’s pure torture, but I also find the need to educate myself as much as possible. I cannot get this Dr. Sholler out of my head either. After an hour of reading, I was in a bad place. I came out of my room to make your brothers breakfast and the fighting between them started up. I lost it. I mean, completely lost it. I started bawling in front of them, telling them how I could not handle their fighting today. I told them how it was not fair that you just died, and how they need to be so thankful that they have each other and LIFE, as you didn’t have a choice to live life anymore. I told them, as I was hysterically crying, that I was so sad about losing you that I don’t even know what to do anymore. Uhhhh… maybe a little too heavy for 7 year olds, but today, I couldn’t calm myself down. I think I scared them and I know it upset them to see me so upset. They both ended up crying and wrapping their arms around me and telling me they were sorry. We sat for a while and cried together and talked about how much we miss you and how much we are all hurting. I told them how it is good for them to cry, how I understand that they are boys and they are going to fight, but today, I needed them to cut me some slack. Today, I just could not emotionally handle the fighting that I know is a natural part of being brothers. But today, I just needed a break. They gave it to me and after we cried and I got them settled down, I had them sit at the table and do some writing and workbooks. I mainly did this so I could get in my phone call with my therapist, Sarah. I closed my bedroom door and as soon as Sarah picked up, I was a blubbering mess. I don’t remember much about the beginning of the conversation, but I ended up calming down. I think she even got me to laugh about a tee-shirt we were joking I was going to have made. In fact, I know she made me laugh which is why I love her so much. She has that same dark sense of humor that I do. I eat that stuff up. It works for me. We talked a lot about you, of course. She told me how it’s like I’m living in a paradox world. I couldn’t agree more. That is so how I feel. We talked about your old soul, as we are both convinced that you are one. She thinks I am one as well and we both think that I have known you in a past life. I have no doubt that we have been together many times before you were born, Ronan. It is why our bond is so strong. After my talk with Sarah, I felt better. She pulled me out of the hole that I was ready to bury myself in today. I got off the phone with her and got Liam and Quinn ready to head out to the Padres baseball game with your Papa Charlie, Uncle Larry, and all of your cousins. They needed a day out and the baseball game was the perfect place for them.

Your Mimi Kay asked if I wanted to head over to Fashion Valley with her. I said, of course and we spent the day together. We had lunch and shopped a bit. We had a good talk about you. She told me how Papa dreams about you all the time and how you always have your hair. Mimi says when she dreams of you, you are still bald. I told her how I don’t dream about you. She said she is sure that I do, that I just don’t remember it. I hope she is right. Not dreaming about you is really hard on me. I would give anything to see you, even if it is only in my dreams. That is the best it is going to get for the rest of my life. I don’t even know how to comprehend this. How can you really be gone. How can only being able to dream about you ever be enough? It won’t be, but it’s all I have now, Ro. So please, come and see me and let me see you. I’m not scared and I miss your face so much.

After my day out with Mimi, we returned back to Coronado. Your brothers were on the lawn playing baseball with your cousins. I put on my running clothes and ran a fast 6 miles. After my run, I went and played baseball with everyone. It was sweet and fun but it also hurt. All I could do was picture you playing with us. You are always missing from everything we do and it is so hard to go on with everyday things like playing a baseball game. You would have been proud of the ball I caught in the air that got Liam out. You would have been proud of the way that I thought of you when I caught that ball. I think of you in everything I do. After the baseball game, we borrowed your cousin, Layne, for the night for a sleepover. I told you the quietness of having you gone is eerie. Having someone around to play with your brothers is good for us. The louder the better. It makes them happy and seems to help them. It helps me too. The quiet scares me and is something that I am not comfortable with.

If I could have any wish in the world, Ronan, it would be for you to come back to me. Please. I’m begging you. I don’t know what to do without you. I feel dead. I don’t think I’ll ever feel alive again. I know I have your brothers and I know how lucky I am to have them, but that still does not make the pain any better. How can I live without you? Is this whole thing even real? I said today to Sarah, I feel like I’m on that show “Lost.” Is this what Purgatory is like? I feel like I am trapped between heaven and hell and there is no escaping. All I want is to be with you. I cannot believe you are not here for me to kiss, to hold, to watch you grow up and play sports, to take care of when you are sick. I can’t believe just 30 days ago, I gave you a bath after you died and then had to leave you behind in a room as your body was carried out. I cannot believe the last words  you really said to me were to “Stop being sad, Mom!” That’s it. That’s all I get? It’s not good enough, Ronan and I don’t know what to do. I need you to guide me and to tell me that I can get through this because as of now, I don’t even want to. Everything hurts too much.

I’m sorry for unloading on you, little man. I talked to Doriet tonight and she is in the same place as I am. I hurt for her so much too. Esther passed away May 6th. You, May 9th. Two of the most special old souls that have ever existed. You two have brought us together and I know it is because you and Esther are together now, watching over us. You two will take care of each other just the way Doriet and I will take care of one another. By talking about you, loving each other, and going on because of the love we have for the both of you. Somehow, baby. Somehow I will get through this.

I love you Ronan. I love you to the moon and back baby boy. Sweet dreams.

xoxo

The ocean didn’t swallow me whole

 

 

 

Ro baby. One of our favorite movies is on. “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” This is the first time I’ve watched it without you. Quinn is sitting next to me, eating a sandwich I just made for him. It is late but we are still awake. Daddy and Liam are asleep out in the other room. Quinn and I wish you were here with us watching our movie. You used to crack up at it, which in turn would make us crack up. There is none of that now. Watching this movie will never be the same again.

Did you see us today? I sat and wondered if you were watching us. I wondered if you would have been happy to see me smile. I smiled today while I watched your brothers play in the pool with their cousins. They laughed a lot and there was a lot of wrestling and horsing around. They looked so happy. As I watched them, I was overwhelmed with a mixture of happiness and sadness. It made me happy to see them so happy, but it also made me sad. How can they go on, how can the laughter continue without you? I know it is a beautiful thing and I know it doesn’t mean they miss or love you any less. But it still felt wrong to me. Will it always feel this way, Ro? I hope not. I hope someday I will learn to feel happy again and not have to sit and second guess it and not have to feel guilty about it. It still feels like I am betraying you.

I spent the day with your brothers. We enjoyed the sun. I went boogie boarding in the ocean. I ate a bit for you too. I tried to soak up the time with your brothers. I am watching them form a new kind of relationship now. They seem to fight less and love more. They seem to be aware of how lucky they are to have each other. They seem to be developing an understanding of how precious life is and how we have to make the most of everyday. They are being respectful and there is less sass and chaos. We are getting them back into a stable routine which they are thriving on. I know how important structure is, how important our family time together is to them. I know how much they have missed it. I’ve missed being able to give it to them too. I won’t say it feels good, because nothing feels good yet. But it gives me a purpose in life which I really need right now. Knowing that I have to work hard to help them get through this is something I feel so lucky to be able to do.

I went on my nightly run on the beach tonight. It hurt and I ran hard. I ran with a lot of anger tonight. Guess who I was angry at tonight? Everyday it is somebody or something different. Tonight, I directed my anger towards Dr. Kushner. I know, so not fair and so pointless. I know he is a good doctor, Ronan but I am pissed about the way he ended things with us. It wasn’t right and someday I am going to write him a letter and tell him all of this. I wrote it in my head tonight on my run, but I don’t have the energy to sit and have it out with him now. The way he sent us off, without even giving us a proper goodbye; I’m sorry it just doesn’t sit well with me. And why didn’t he look me in the eyes, Ronan. I don’t care how badly he felt; the fact of the matter is he wasn’t the one who had just been told in not so many words that there was nothing else that could be done for you. Nobody was hurting more in that room than me. He just sent us on our merry way and had his freaking assistant call us the next day to tell us he thought we should go to Chop. That will never be enough for me and it will never sit well with me. He owed you more; he said he would fight for you and not give up. He did give up and that is not right. Someday Ronan, I will fix this. I will make sure he never forgets you and I will give him another chance to make things right. I know he has this in him and although it may seem so pointless, it is not to me and I know it is not to you. I need closure in so many ways and this is one of them.

Did you see me after my run, Ro? It was such a long and dark run tonight. I still had so  much energy running through my body so guess what I did?? I went down to the beach, threw off my shoes, my hat, my shirt and ran into the black ocean. I swam in that deep, dark ocean until I could now longer breathe. I waited for it to swallow me up, but it didn’t. So, I swam out as far as I could and let the strength of the waves carry me back to shore. I did this for about a half an hour. The beach was empty, the ocean was mad, and I screamed and cussed at it until I physically could do no more. I told the world to fuck off for taking you away from me. I told the world that I was going to kick it’s ass. I told the world a lot of things tonight. After my swim, my mind calmed down a little bit. I think it was the physical exhaustion that kicked in and did it. I did it for you tonight, Ronan. I swam in that dark ocean because I am lucky enough to be alive and I am lucky enough to be able to do something like that. You will never have the chance. So tonight, when I jumped into that water, I took you with me. I wasn’t scared because we did it together. I wanted you to feel the coldness with me. I wanted you to be able to do it too. Everything I do in my life, it will be with you. I will always take you with me, Ronan. Just you and me, Ro. Just like you used to always tell me. You’ll be with me everywhere I go and with me in everything I do. I promise you that.

Alright my little monkey. That is all for tonight. I hope you are safe. I hope you always feel the love surrounding you. There is so much of it in the world for you. I miss you so much. Every second of every day. G’night my love.

Hello you lovely peeps. I hope you are all well. I just wanted to add a little something tonight before I drift off into my restless sleep. As much as I try to keep up on all the comments on here, I can’t. I try to do my best and I love what you all have to say. I checked them first thing this morning which I normally never do and something was written about how a certain person wished the lesson I would have learned through all of this is that there is no such thing as the perfect family. That there is no such thing as having it all. This remark has bothered me all day. Who is it who decides such a thing? To me, perfection can have a million different meanings. To me, I know what the perfect life was because I had it. To me, the perfect life was very simple. A roof over our heads, two parents who are madly in love with each other; who created a very safe and loving environment for our 3 heathy boys. I am living proof that the perfect life can and did exist until Ronan got sick. I now look around and I see all of my beautiful friends and I know they all know that they have the perfect life due to what we have just went though. I know they are all so thankful for the “imperfections” that they deal with on a day-to-day basis that mean nothing because they have a healthy family. My world would be shattered if I didn’t believe that a perfect life does still exist for some people. I have no doubt that my definition of perfection will now become different because Ronan is gone; but I still feel so very lucky. For going through such an awful thing, I look around and see perfection in my husband and my twins everyday because they are full of love and health. After looking up the definition of perfection, I still stand by what I say. It’s sad to me that somebody wishes the lesson I would have learned from all of this is that perfection does not exist. A better lesson for me to have learned through all of this would have been to open up my heart and embrace all the love that surrounds my family. To open up my mind to a world full of imperfection and to try to make a difference. To just be me, which is all I am trying to do to get through this thing called life. Perfection does exist and I had it for 4 blissful years. I will fight for the rest of my life to get pieces of it back here and there because that is what Ronan would want. He would want me to fight for the perfection that existed in our family. He would not give up on me and I have a slew of the most perfect friends who are here to help me achieve this. Perfection is real, perfection can have many different meanings. Perfection to me means not taking a thing for granted and living with the most love in your heart that you are capable of. It means stopping at nothing to get it until your heart is fulfilled in the way mine was when we had Ronan in our family.

I love you all; even the one’s on here who try to knock me down because lord only knows why. It’s not going to happen. I have a message to send and a job to do and if you’re not with me, or you just want to say hurtful things, then please stop reading this. I’ve done nothing except love and fight my hardest for a little boy who deserved so much more than what he was handed in life. If this offends you for some reason, I’m sorry. This is my life, my feelings, and my Ronan.

That is all for tonight. Love and blessings to you all.

xoxo

The oldest definition of “perfection”, fairly precise and distinguishing the shades of the concept, goes back to Aristotle. In Book Delta of the Metaphysics, he distinguishes three meanings of the term, or rather three shades of one meaning, but in any case three different concepts. That is perfect:

1. which is complete — which contains all the requisite parts;
2. which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better;
3. which has attained its purpose.[4]

Hellllllooooo Philly!

I’m not scared yet. Is that weird? Because at this point I should be scared shitless. And I don’t need to point out the obvious for you all to know what it is I should be scared about. Maybe it’s because I’m too numb, still in too much shock, or in deep denial. But I honestly don’t think those are the reasons for my being fearless. I still have this insane feeling in my heart that Ro is going to be fine. Maybe every parent whose child is diagnosed with cancer feels this way. It’s survival mode perhaps? Whatever it is, I’m not going to question it and I am going to embrace it as much as I can. I’ve questioned so many things today. Why Ronan was chosen for this journey in the first place, but most of all why he has to fight so hard through it. He is fighting like I’ve never seen a person fight before in my life. I know this is a big part of why I can’t give up yet. As long as Ro is fighting, I will not stop fighting for him. How could I? Any parent put in this same situation would do the same thing 100% guaranteed. To give up now would be so cowardly. I have never been a coward in my life and I am not about to start.

Today was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever had in my life. Fernanda picked Ronan and I up to go to the clinic at PCH. I cannot tell you how good it felt to be back there. Dr. Maze came to see us while we were waiting and I got to watch my friend and see the pain in his eyes. He puts on a very bad poker face even though he tried his best to give me his famous smile and everything is going to be o.k. look. He left after a few minutes and looked at me and told me he was sorry. I just sat and gave him a smile as that is all I could do. After he left, I sat and thought for a few minutes. I have no shame when it comes to telling him the things that come rambling out of my head so I sent him a short text that just said something like, “Please don’t tell me you’re sorry. I cannot have you give up on Ronan too.” He then replied that he would NEVER give up on Ronan and that is not what he meant. He just meant he was sorry that Ronan is in pain as it breaks his heart. I felt better after that as that man has been with us through this from day one. I know he will not give up on Ronan because he gets it. He knows Ro is different no matter how hard this is getting and he knows my child has the spirit of something that is unlike anything on this earth. Dr. Maze is not going anywhere and more mother fucking doctors should strive to be more like that man. Enough with the egos and the ” I am GOD” attitudes. Enough of this cowardly bullshit. Not naming any names, of course. That would be much too easy. Dr. Maze also knows Dr. Mosse and took the time to send her an email in regards to us. He thinks the world of her which is so very comforting to me. He is very good judge of character and the fact that he respects this woman so much, means everything to me.

We were soon called back to the clinic room where we sat for a while and Dr. Eshun, Ronan’s primary doctor at PCH, came in to see us. Another prime example of an amazing doctor who is full of compassion and heart. We sat and talked and the things we talked about were not easy; but not once did he break eye contact with me. That is HUGE in my book. It is a sign of respect and just pure hearted goodness. I asked him hard questions and he answered as honestly as he could. He gave me his warmest smile even though I knew he was sad. That mans smile could melt a room. I thanked him for being so kind to us and told him how much it meant to me that he had the courage to talk with me the way he did. He supports our decision and understands where as parents, we are coming from. I’ll bet he is the most amazing father. I can tell that about him. He takes all of this personally and has tried to guide us as best he could. We will always be thankful for that.

While Dr. Eshun was in the room, our social worker Marcia came to see us as well. She has been so supportive of us from day one as well. I’ve always known she was a special lady but today, she kind of blew me away. She was so hopeful and so supportive of what we are about to take on. She told me what a good mom I am and how proud she is of me. It felt really good to hear from her as I respect her so much. Her eyes were filled with so much light and love today and I know she believes. She believes in miracles and she believes in Ronan. She believes in our love as a family and believes he can do this. She is still standing by our side and is not going anywhere either. I am so thankful for this.

The next person I saw was, “A.” This was probably the hardest person that I had to face. I’m not sure why…. actually I am. It is because I am completely in love with that woman and I wanted nothing more but to come back to her with the most amazing news…. I did not want to come back to her this way. She sat with me, hugged me and held my hand for a long time. We talked about really tough things. Things that I think about on a daily basis, but I cannot go there yet. A is logical, realistic, and matter of fact. But this is why I love her so much. I know she is only telling me the things she is telling me because she wants to make sure I am as informed as possible and that I have thought about everything, every possibility, every outcome. She does this for me because of the love she has for our family. All that bullshit about doctors not getting personally involved with their patients is bullshit with A. She is fully invested and proved that by the way she ran out to our car today to chase us down to give us one last hug and kiss goodbye. Nobody at fucking Sloan would have done that for us. I think I may have set the bar a little too high with them. Don’t get me wrong, I still think they are one of the best hospitals in the nation. But they will never compare to my little PCH and the kind of quality care we get there. Today, I felt like I was floating on a fluffy cloud with all of my favorite people waiting for me with open arms. As shitty as the circumstances are that we were back, it filled me with the love that I have so been missing.

Dr. Maze also came back to see us again and say goodbye. We will see him soon and Ronan asked after he left if he could come with us. I told him I didn’t think so, but this time we won’t be gone so long so we will be back to see him soon. He smiled and told me that made him happy. Little love bug.

While I was waiting in the isolation room with Ronan as he ended up needing platelets and blood, I saw the woman who walks on water to me. Dr. Adams. I hesitated to chase her down but Fernanda was like, “Are you crazy?! You know that woman always makes you feel better!” Did I forget to mention that “Nanda,” as Ro calls her sat with me all day long? My darling, F. I don’t know what I would do without her. Actually, I do. I would not be getting though any of this and would be curled up in the fetal position somewhere. Anyway, as I was getting ready to chase down Dr. Adams I looked at Fernanda and said, “I can’t see her, my entire ass is hanging out of my pants!” I’ll have to back up the story on this one. I forgot to mention that I was wearing this pair of pretty thin seersucker pants today and when we first went to the clinic and I was getting Ronan out of the car, I dropped my cell phone and bent down to pick it up. I heard a big, “Riiiiiiipppppp.” WTF?!? I turned around to Fernanda and said, “Did my pants really just rip and is my ass cheek fully exposed?” Indeed they had. The only thing I could do was laugh and roll with it. I spent the entire day pulling down my tank top to cover up my bum as to not expose anyone to the beauty of my milkshake maker. You know, my favorite booty song…. “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” Yup. I fully brought my milkshake to the clinic today and I don’t think Woody would have appreciated it if any boys came to my yard. Fernanda, of course had the problem solved as she had another pair of jeans with her. I threw those on and went down to see Dr. Adams. I peeked around the corner and there she was. I waited for her to see me before I approached her. She had no clue we were back and it took her a minute to register it was me. She looked at me for a few seconds and goes, “What are you doing here. I did not want to see you back.” I calmly explained the situation to her and she teared up and pulled me into a room. She hugged me, held my hand and locked eyes with me while we discussed everything. And I mean everything. She kept telling me that what matters now is the care that I am giving to Ronan, which is 100% my complete love and strength, but I also needed to let him know that we are all allowed to be sad because none of this is fair or right. She was 100% supportive of trying this MIBG therapy. We touched a bit about how his cure rate is now becoming slimmer and slimmer. I told her I knew all of this but I didn’t care if there was a 5% chance that he could beat this. I wasn’t giving up yet. She told me she knows what good parents we are and we know what is best for Ronan at this point. I don’t think I’ve said this before but just being in her presence almost scares me; but in a good way. I swear to god I’ve known her in a past life or something and I also swear to god that she is seriously an angel walking around on this earth. She has such a presence about her and is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever come into contact with. When I am with her, it is as if she gives me the strength that seems to be surrounding her at all times. She has a very strong aura about her. I feed off of this and I actually felt really calm around her today. I always feel calm and at peace when in her presence.

We had our sweet Patty taking care of us all day. She is not even a nurse to me anymore; she is my friend. She sat with me, cried with me, laughed with me, and helped me with Ronan as much as he would allow. She helped me out to my car and carried all of our things. It was so nice to be back home today and I was so glad Patty was the one taking care of us.

Um, yes, hello. I could write a freaking novel tonight while on this red-eye. I should be sleeping but I have too much buzzing around in my head and to much to talk about today. I’m getting so sleepy but I want to touch on this woman Joanna who emailed me today and her email said please call me, I promise I’m not crazy. What the heck, I thought so I picked up the phone and called this lady who lives in Toronto, Canada of all places. Instant connection. She told me the most amazing story about something she had just experienced and swears it is a sign that Ronan is going to be o.k. I believe her. I cannot go into details because at this time, I am seriously about ready to pass out. This stranger picked me up off my feet today when I needed it most. We talked about fate, the timing of all of this MIBG therapy as if we would have started this any later…. Ronan would not be eligible for the antibodies that come after this due to a time period. She said maybe Dr. Kusher kicking us to the curb was a blessing in disguise because now we will start this therapy and if we get the response we are fucking praying our asses off for, Ro will still be eligible for the antibodies. We will cross that bridge when we come to it, but you all know I love a good fate story. Fate and hope are what I’m hanging on too.Thanks Joanna, for reaching out to me. It meant the world to me today.

Also, I am learning such lessons from a little 10-year-old. Not really lessons, but more like what it means to see this through the eyes of a very wise child. Mr. Luke Ashworth, my heart will forever be yours. Ronan’s cousin has been such a blessing to us. He loves my Ro so much and Ro loves him just as much. Luke gets all of this, as he is wise beyond his years. He looked at me tonight and goes, “Promise me you’ll never give up.” I looked at him and said, “Luke, of course I will never give up. I promise you that. I will never give up on Ronan.” We had our moment and I will never forget it as long as I live. He thinks about Ronan so much and is so worried about him. It takes a very special boy to be so concerned about something like this. I am so proud to have him as a part of our family.

This is all I can do tonight. Long enough for you all? Geez! Blabber mouth city could not shut up tonight. Adrenaline I guess. I’m in mama lioness fighting mode. One more thing I want to  mention…. Thought-out all of this I find strength in so many places, but one person in particular is always on my mind. It is someone I never knew, but he is one of my idols; Pat Tillman. I have called Ronan our mini Pat Tillman since he could walk. I often think about Pat and how strong-willed he was and just what an amazing man and role model he is to our family. We all worship him. I think about his strength and bravery and I channel this by thinking about him when I think I can no longer go on. He helps me put back on my fuck you cancer boots and continue to fight. I know if he were here and in a twist of fate, he were to meet Ronan, he would never give up on him. I feel like he is one of our angels watching down on Ronan wherever he is. Ronan reminds me so much of him… just the little I know of him from reading some books that have been written about him. One in particular by his mom. The things he did as a child are so similar to the spirit the Ronan embodies. So, Mr. Pat Tillman…. thank you for being the definition of what it means to be a real man and to fight for what you belive in no matter how many people tell you differently. You will always be a hero and a god in our eyes.

G’night my lovies!!!!!!! Or G’morning I should say!

So proud to have you all by our side and I will never get tired of saying that. You mean so much to us. CHOP here we come. Dr. Mosse, I have faith in you; I’ve known this all along. NOT GIVING UP. Who could give up on a fact like Ro’s?? Only the UGLIEST of souls.  And we don’t allow ugly souls on this blog.

We are here. We made it. I have not slept in 24 hours which is probably why my post was a little “hyper.” Adrenaline. In a turn of events, Ronan’s pain in his legs that he has been having, which has been horrific, is not bothering him at the moment. As soon as we stepped off the plane, he started smiling and told me he loved me so much. He has not complained once since we arrived to our room. I have a good feeling about this Philly place. I sent Dr. Mosse an email at 6:30 this morning telling her we had arrived, we were at her mercy, and would do whatever it takes to get Ronan started on this treatment as soon as possible. Not 10 minutes later she emailed me back saying no child should be in pain and that they will move his treatment from next week up to this Thursday. Now that is an amazing doctor. Talk about class, compassion, and heart. I knew this about her from the first time I met her. This is our time now. Things are falling into place and I am going to keep holding on to my belief of that. As Tricia dropped us off at the airport tonight and hugged me tightly she whispered, “Bring our baby home.” You bet your ass I will, TT. I promise you that.

Time to try to get some shut eye; although it looks like Ronan has other plans as he has set up a whole battlefield of Star Wars guys in our bed. Love my little fighter so much.

I hope you all have a beautiful day.

xoxo

Twinkle Twinkle little star

I had the worst dream last night. It was all about scan day. We woke up and got ready to go. Fernanda was downstairs waiting for us, with coffees in hand and off we went. We arrived promptly, like always, and soon Ronan was called back to anesthesia; I held him tightly as they injected him with his Propofol, and kissed him as he went to sleep. I left him on the table and covered him up with his blanket, Gigi. Out in the waiting room I went and fell into Fernanda’s arms. Leaving Ro for anesthesia is never easy on me, especially without Dr. Maze there to be the one to take care of my little guy. Fernanda and I gathered up our things and pushed Ronan’s stroller up to floor 9 to let the waiting begin. And wait we did. For fucking ever. I think we sat for a good 2 hours. Fernanda tried her best to distract me with her her stories; but there was nothing that could take my mind off of the things to come. Soon, I saw Dr. Kusher, the man I had been waiting for. He was back doing Ronan’s bone marrow aspirations. He breezed right past me without making eye contact. This was my first clue. My stomach dropped to the floor. Fernanda goes, “There he is, let’s chase him down to see what the results said!” I just looked at her and told her no. He knew we were waiting and would get to us when he was ready. By this time, Ronan was waking up from the anesthesia. We went back to get him and my little groggy guy just wanted to be in my arms. I put on his pants and shoes and picked him up. We went back to the waiting room to wait once again, for Dr. Kushner. We sat and waited and fed Ronan some food as he was hungry. As I was getting up to do something, my Claude necklace, the one that I always have around my neck for important days; that has the tooth of St. Claude in it, fell to the ground. It had somehow come detached from the chain and I scrambled to pick it up. I picked it up and tried to figure out where it had come detached. So weird, I thought to myself, as the clasp was not broken. I did my best to ignore the St. Claude incident and told myself it was not a sign. I didn’t even tell Fernanda this which is not like me at all. I tell her everything. Soon, the kid at the front desk told us Dr. Kushner was ready for us. We were taken back to room 7 to meet with him. As soon as I saw him my stomach dropped to the floor. He couldn’t even look me in the eyes. I looked at him and said, “No no no no no no no.” His eyes were wet and he said in his weakest voice something like, “The cancer is spreading. The chemo did not work.” I clutched Ronan, sat down in a chair because I was going to pass out. I don’t remember much more. At some point, he recommended we call Woody on speaker phone. I sat there and listened as Dr. Kushner tried to explain things to Woody. I watched him as his eyes kept getting wet. At one point I asked him if he could please give me just an ounce of hope. Just one ounce… something. He looked at the floor. I went into shock and asked him if this ever gets any easier for him. I told him it couldn’t possibly ever get easier. He got up and turned his back to me. Where did the man go that said he would fight for my baby with everything he had? Because that man in front of me was nowhere to be found. I saw a coward. A man who had completely given up on my child. I somehow gathered my strength and got up. I gave him a hug and told him thank you. I told him he was a good man. I walked out of the doors to his office with Ronan running beside me. Dr. Kushner, the man I had put all of my faith into, had given up on my child and there was no looking back.

Fernanda and I walked back to the RMH. I remember nothing about getting back to our room. All I knew is I wanted to get home, back to Phoenix, asap. I curled up on my bed while Ronan ran around like mad and Fernanda buzzed in the background making travel arrangements and figuring out what to do next. I remember something being said about needing to get me Valium. I remember sitting on the floor playing with Ronan and drinking a coconut water. I remember taking the coconut water and throwing it as hard as I could across the room while I watched it hit the wall and liquid splashed everywhere. I told Ronan we were having a party and I wanted to see if my water would explode. He then took a can of root beer and poured it everywhere to make it explode like a volcano. I think Fernanda got in on the fun and dumped her Diet Coke all over the floor on a blanket on purpose. We sat and had a fucking pop throwing party because what else could we do? It made perfect sense at the time. She then spent the next 7 hours packing up our room, running all over the city to buy more suitcases for all of our shit, did laundry, cleaned our place, got me my Valium, composed an email to Dr. Mosse at CHOP regarding starting Ronan on MIBG therapy and we finally got Ronan into bed so he would settle down to sleep. Fernanda watched as I rubbed his back and he asked me to sing him “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I sang to him our song as I do every night. We all fell asleep around 2 a.m. Our alarm woke us up at 3:30 a.m. as our car was picking us up at 4 a.m. to get us to the airport. 9 suitcases checked later and we were at our gate. The flight was blurry and Ronan slept much of the way. I did too due to the Valium and Ambien. I asked Fernanda for more Valium and she told me no. I cried on our flight and watched her cry by herself in the aisle across from me. She looked like an angel. I woke up at one point and looked down at Ronan and I saw his pinky intertwined with mine. That’s how I know this is all a nightmare and none of this is true. Because his little pinky of his refuses to let go of mine, even when we are both in a deep, deep sleep. As we were getting off of our flight I hugged Fernanda tight and told her that she was the best friend I have ever had and how nobody else would have done this for me. She told me there were a million people who would have done this for me and I then told her yes, but not the way that she did. She came in, in the middle of the biggest storm of my life and attacked it head on and beat the fuck out of it. I have no idea how in the world she did this and I kept offering to have Woody fly out to help us. She looked at me like I was crazy and yelled at me “For what?!?! We can do this! I’ve got it under control!” I’ve learned not to argue with a Mexican Goddess. You will never win.

I somehow made it home, back to the cleanest house possible and to my twins and in-laws. Before I knew it I was in my bed and passed out. I woke up to my husband and 3 boys playing away. The days are blurred and I’m not really sure what is going on. I went out this morning to meet up with my Mr. Sparkly Eyes. I told him how disappointed I was in Dr. Kushner and how I am learning to lower my expectations of people because I set the bar so high. He agreed with me and also tried help me understand that he is sure Dr. Kushner feels like he failed us and is heartbroken. I told him I understood that, but all I wanted was for him to have a bit of decency and compassion which I felt he completely lacked. I just want somebody to be mad at and I know that is not fair, but I have a right to be mad at the way things were handled. Dr. Kushner had his freaking assistant call Woody today to tell him he thinks we should go to CHOP for MIBG. He didn’t even call Woody himself. That is not only rude, but classless. And this is a man that I completely respected, but I have come to find out that when push comes to shove and times turn to the darkest hour, the people who you think will be there until the end for you, can turn on you in a heartbeat. I told Mr. Sparkly Eyes that we refuse to give up and as long as Ronan is still fighting, we will fight as well. He more than agreed and promised to never give up on Ronan, told me that he, himself, is not going anywhere and all I have to do is say the word and he will be at our home to sit with me or whatever I need. I told him how I didn’t know how I was going to write this post, as I have been trying for days but lacked the words. He told me to just be honest, like I always have been. So here I sit, writing the most honest words that I have ever had to write in my life.

I had my house full of my dear friends and family today helping to get everything unpacked. Stacy, Karen, Liz, Fernanda, Heidi, and Mrs. Martin all buzzed around doing everything they could. I don’t think I’ve done much of anything except Heidi got me out for a pedi/mani and I got to see Marisa who met me at my nail salon to hold me.

What’s next? First, I have to wake up from this nightmare because I refuse to believe it is real. Ronan is running around like mad, playing with his brothers and having lightsaber wars with his favorite cousin, Luke. Once I wake up, we plan on getting on a plane this Tuesday to take Ronan to Chop to start him on MIBG therapy. This is a fairly short therapy, but intense. We will get Ronan through this. As my friend, Ed said to me, “It takes one child to change the odds.” That is the best thing I’ve had said to me all week. Until we leave on Tuesday, I’m going to do my best to get thought these next days. I’m going to hug all of my boys extra tight and surround myself with all the love I can get. As much as I want crawl up in my bed and not come out, I have 3 boys, and a husband whom I love more than the stars combined to try to remain strong for. I still have hope, faith, and a belief that Ronan will be the miracle to come out of this.

I love you all. Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers. This is not even close to being over and we will never give up on our Ro.

xoxo

P.S. If any of you ever see that angel of mine, Fernanda Borletti on the streets, at the grocery store, at school, wherever….. please wrap your arms around her and whisper to her that she is an angel on this earth. She deserves a god damn Noble Peace Prize.

You must have been a beautiful baby

Ronan’s counts are still rising. He had a great day. I came to the hospital this afternoon with Liam and Quinn. The 9th floor blocked off the playroom for us so Ronan could play with his brothers. We stayed in there for about 3 hours and the boys played their little hearts out. The twins then left with Woody to go back to the RMH so Woody could shower and get some work done. I stayed with Ro for the rest of the day and evening. We played out of our room most of the day, and walked the halls shooting people and playing in the playroom. Ronan took a red marker today and colored all of his arms and said it was blood from his battles. Pretty much anything goes in the hospital as far as I’m concerned as long as he is having fun. I gave him a good bath afterwords in a little tub of water on the floor. He’s all clean now and just fell asleep as he didn’t nap today. Woody is on his way back here to stay the night so I can have some time with L and Q.

We have some scans set for Friday and Ronan will be discharged after that. They keep changing the set of scans we are having but as of now, I believe it’s the CT and Bone Marrow on Friday and the MIBG next week. That is the last I heard from one of the doctors earlier today, but that could always change. I asked New York Miss Macy if she could take Liam and Quinn for a few hours on Friday so they don’t have to sit in the hospital with us and wait. She happily agreed and I know the boys are going to over the moon about spending some time with her. It will be so helpful to us to have them off somewhere having fun, rather than sitting in a hospital.

So anybody that knows me, knows that I have been obsessed with taking pictures my entire life. Just a hobby that brings me much happiness and always has. Taking pictures of my kids is definitely my favorite subject. I have over 11,000 pics on my iphoto… so to say I’m obsessed is an understatement. All of my pictures on my iphoto are now defined to me as, this was our life before Ronan had cancer and this is now our life after. Sad but true.  Going back and looking at pictures before all of this is painful to me and makes me break down in tears. Every picture of Ronan before all of this makes me sick to my stomach as I would have never in my life have imagined this happening to him. He was such a gorgeous baby…. how can he now have cancer???  I sit and look at all of our pictures before all of this and we were such a happy family. We have so many beautiful memories and we were so blessed. I get so angry that all of that has been taken away and we have to work so hard to now find our happiness in the hardest of times. Today, as I was pushing Ronan’s asspole around the halls as well as trying to carry his gun, Star Wars guys, and his Crayola markers that he called his “Missles,” I was overwhelmed with anger. I caught a glimpse of him walking down the hall as I followed behind and he almost tripped over all of his lines. He looked back and goes, “Mom, I can’t carry my tubies and my guns.” I wanted to punch a freaking wall. It makes me sick that my 3-year-old has to worry about tripping over his lines. I am also pissed because Ronan has his 4th Birthday coming up and all I wanted was for him to be home. Instead, we will have to celebrate it in the hospital. All he wants to do is go back to Phoenix and he tells me at least once a day that he is never going to get to go back home and be with his brothers. I tell him that is not true, but no matter how much convincing I try to do, he argues with me and does not believe me. In his head, he thinks we are going to stay in New York forever and he thinks he is never going home. So much for a little boy to try to understand. Too much for a little boy to try to understand. As happy as he is, I also know that he is worried and sad and there is nothing I can do to take that away no matter how hard I try. That is my venting for the evening. I feel a little better now. Not really, but I am trying to convince my self otherwise.

I left the hospital late tonight and came back to RMH with Liam and Quinn. We went down to the common area and worked on some of their homework that their wonderful teacher, Mrs. Martin sent with them. I cannot tell you how good it felt to sit and help my boys with their homework, like a normal mom. After we worked on homework for about 30 minutes, we played the board game Operation. I have not played that game since I was a little girl. We had so much fun playing it together tonight. We are now all snug in bed and Liam and Quinn are watching CSI. A bit mature for them, but they both say they love it. My 7 year olds are now going on 30….. They are growing up way too fast:( Makes me sad.

Tomorrow is a new day. One more day closer to getting Ronan out of the hospital. Cannot wait to see Miss Macy tomorrow. Cannot wait until Friday, when we can bust Ro out of there and all be together outside of Sloan. Sweet dreams, my friends. Thank you for checking in with us. Have a beautiful day tomorrow.

xoxo