For Maddie

For Maddie. Happy Birthday Beautiful girl, you will never be forgotten.

I had only begun to dip my toe in the huge pool of the blogging world in the end of May/beginning of April. Through Twitter and Blogher I had come across some bloggers whose tweets and post made me laugh, one of those bloggers was Mama Spohr herself, Heather. Of course through her blog I found her husband Mike’s and sure enough I fell in love with them as a couple. Cute. Funny. Beautiful daughter…added bonus of being in (oh my God I’m homesick for) my hometown, Los Angeles. For about a week straight, I read Heather’s Blog every night, like a book on my iphone before I fell asleep. I read it from beginning to end. Weeping over the stresses and obstacles of Heather’s pregnancy and thrilling to the triumphs of little Maddie’s struggles and victories in the NICU, and then coming home, and back to the NICU. I was enraptured. Heather is a wonderful writer of course, and I allowed myself to indulge in the emotion of it because I knew the end.

Madeline was still here, safe and getting stronger every day.

I finished her blog, getting all caught up, on April 5th. Yup. Two days before Sweet Madeline’s passing. I wish I was making that up for dramatic effect or whatever, but it’s true.
Then the news came that Madeline had left us. Left Heather and Mike. I simply didn’t know what to do with all my emotion. I had JUST read her whole story, just experienced the roller coaster and now that beautiful little girl I had fallen madly in love with was gone. Just like that.
I didn’t post on Heather’s blog. I didn’t want to intrude, perhaps I should have but since I had just read the whole blog I felt a bit like a lurker, if that makes any sense.
Perhaps I should have told them how her story had touched me. How the pictures of her had made me smile and the stories of her sweetness and humor had made me giggle. How she had brought joy to my life through the blog. For not posting my condolences, I am sorry. I should have. Of course her passing is not about me, or my feelings about it, but about Heather and Mike and their family.

Today is Maddie’s second birthday. Would be. I didn’t ever meet her, and it’s hard to say would be. Should be.

Heather and Mike inspire me. Both of them so honest on their blogs about it all. The beautiful rememberances of Maddie and the ugly devastating side of grief. It’s brave of them to share it with us all. And so often I think ‘There but for the grace of God go I.”

So often we wonder what is the reason for all of this? Why did this happen? (lord know I’ve thought it enough about the last year of my life!)  Heather and Mike have made a huge difference in the world in the 7 long months since Maddie’s death. Through the March of Dimes they have raised a crazy amount of money in Maddie’s name though donations. And of course Friends of Maddie providing families with children in the NICU care packets, with things like an accordian file to keep all the papers in. Amazing how something like that can reduce an extra stressor on a family.

The lives of other NICU families are made better and easier because of the Spohr family. That is a beautiful testament to the love for their child. I’m certain they would trade it all for one more minute with their precious girl, since they can’t I think it’s amazing that they are helping others have one more minute and hopefully full lifetimes with their little ones.

Thank you Heather and Mike for sharing your story. Thank you Maddie for just being. You touched my heart and for the rest of my life  I will never see a little girl wearing purple that I don’t think of you. Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!