Below is part two of Aileen Ramones’ guest blog about her son, Aaden. If you missed part one of this guest blog series, you can read the post here.
Just Keep Swimming – Aileen Ramones
As the new school year is upon us, I wanted to share a letter I wrote Andy, my oldest son and Aaden’s twin brother last year when he was starting kindergarten. I can’t believe he’ll be starting first grade in a couple of weeks. Losing one child to cancer, you are always left with a fear for your other children. But if anything, when we lost Aaden shortly after he turned 2 – it made me reconsider how to approach life. Cancer already took so much from us, that we should not let it take our lives too… living in fear, means not allowing us to live fully.
Written on 8/19/14
Tomorrow you are starting kindergarten, at a new school and somewhere you will be spending a lot of time at. And probably like most moms out there, I am feeling anxious, nervous, and a little emotional…not only for you, but for myself.
When I was carrying you and Aaden in my belly, I was so blessed because it was then; I thought you both would always have each other- an instant best friend. I knew that because I could feel you move, tumble, kick, and probably hold hands in there. You came out first and Aaden followed 2 minutes after. You were named after the nicknames of both your grandfathers, your dad’s dad Andrino, who goes by Andy, and my dad Florencio, who went by Andy (derived from Andres, my maiden name) while he was in the Navy because his real name was too hard to pronounce.
As you both grew older, you loved to play, laugh, eat, sleep, cry, dance and sing, together. You had pillow fights, shared a love of sweets, and still held hands. And then when we lost Aaden, I really worried about you. I thought about; who would you play with now? Do you miss him? Who would share in the same moments and milestones with? Did I mention, I was worried about you. Remember in Finding Nemo, when his dad was so nervous and worried about him starting school? That was me. Every fever, bump, or bruise, you got scared me. I was so cautious about letting you do things because I was just scared of losing you too. When your baby brother Adam arrived, I felt a little better. I believe Aaden had a lot to do with bringing Adam to us. With Adam we got to feel how it was to raise a child normally, without cancer and its effects. Without living in and out of the hospital and having to be separated from you for such long periods of time. You weren’t alone anymore. I also knew too, that with my fear, I wasn’t letting you fully live. You have been such a smart, respectful, well-mannered, and laid back boy. You are so sweet to Adam, such a great big brother, very patient and loving. I know now, I never had anything to worry about.
Which bring us back to my feelings about tomorrow, I am back to being Nemo’s dad, on that first day of school. Instead of telling everyone about your smaller fin, I feel like I have to say, “be gentle, his twin brother died of cancer.” Again, not meaning to but limiting who you are. You are a strong, smart, & funny little 5 year old. Most importantly, you are an individual. I know as your mom, I will always worry about you, even when you’re married with your own kids. But tomorrow I’ll do my best to let you swim up to the top. I’ll let you go and grow as you embark on this next phase of life. We’re all rooting for you. Aaden too! So enjoy your first day of kindergarten Andy. Smile, laugh, play, make new friends, learn, and most important, live. Just keep swimming …I promise to, too. Love, Mom