OFFSTAGE: The Story Behind Taylor Swift’s Song for Ronan

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Ronan Thompson’s mom Maya was taking her sons’ picture for Christmas cards in August 2010. She noticed that one of her toddler’s eyes looked a little off. She took him to a few doctors and eventually got some very bad news. He had stage-four neuroblastoma, a cancerous tumor that develops from nerve tissue. He died eight months later.

And all along the way, Maya Thompson has been blogging . She has a section called “How to Live Like a Rockstar.” One of her tips is, “Please stop to enjoy the music in life. By blasting the music you love, the loudest it will possibly go, while having an insane dance party with yourself or your kids. They will love you more for it.”

As far as sad blogs go, hers is heartbreakingly sad. But in a good way, if there can be something this good that comes out of something so bad. Because it caught the attention of Taylor Swift, who ended up writing a song, titled “Ronan,” that she performed at the Stand Up to Cancer telethon on Friday (Sept. 7).

In her blog, Thompson writes about what it felt like to get that phone call from Swift telling her, “I wrote a song for Ronan.” In what is essentially a letter to her son in heaven, Thompson tells Ronan, “She talked about how from reading this blog and following our story has inspired her and how amazing she thinks I am and all I am doing, to bring awareness to childhood cancer. She went on and on about some other things, which I tried to understand and reply to, but I couldn’t focus on a thing besides the fact that she wrote a song for you. That she hadn’t forgotten about your beautiful blue eyes and our love story.” And then, “I don’t even remember what I said to Taylor as I had buried my head into your blanket that I take with me everywhere, and all I could pretty much do was cry and tell her thank you. How do you even find the words to thank somebody for something like this? I was a blubbering mess telling her how much this meant to me as she was helping me keep your memory alive and helping me to do amazing things. How if I had to pick my dream person to be tied to your name, it would be her because she is full of so much pure goodness, just like you.”

It goes on and on from there, but with every word I type, I just cry harder and harder. So please read her entire blog, remember Ronan, live like a rock star, download the song “Ronan” and encourage everyone you know to do the same.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.