Tuesday -- June 30th

The boys have been going through Maddie's things a lot lately.  They found her joke box, filled with the gags she and I played on the nurses in the hospital.  We really had so much fun with the fake safety pin through the finger trick, the fart maker, the fake blood...They found her official clown nose that the Children's Hospital clowns gave her (entry Sept 12th 2008).  I put it on my nose.  You're always hoping to smell your child, to feel close.

William and Thomas went through Maddie's basket in her closet and each found a big stuffed Pikachu, Maddie's favorite character.  They each claimed one and have not put them down all week.  They give them swing rides, sleep with them, throw them into the washing machine for their baths, and take them everywhere in the car.  I think they both feel close to Maddie with these Pikachu's. Maddie took her favorite Pikachu to Heaven with her.

William asked if he could sit with my niece, Abby, in Maddie's room, and make her a necklace with Maddie's beads.  As they were sitting there, I looked in Maddie's closet.  I was looking for a particular stuffed animal.  I don't ever look in her closet.  It's too upsetting.  So, I found her pink Life Is Good shoulder bag that we bought for Lourdes.  I decided I'll use it.  I looked inside and found Maddie's strawberry lip gloss, a heart shaped pencil sharpener, and a set of gel pens. Again, I studied each item to look for fingerprints, smelled them, to see if I could smell her at all.  On any of it, the pens, the sharpener... I opened her lip gloss and traced her little finger swirl in it. I put some on my lips, hoping I'd feel her lips on mine.

William had a really rough night the other night. He rarely lets his tears flow, but they were flowing.  He said, "I just wish Maddie never got cancer.  I need her here right now."

I  took the boys over to the pool club one day last week, when we had a brief break from the rain.  They had a great time.  Inside the snack shack, is Maddie's picture, hanging over the pink butterfly I gave to the owner, Melanie. It was really hard being there without Maddie. Seeing her smiling face in the picture there felt good because it felt good to have her included at the pool, but at the same time, it's hard, because I need her here so badly.

I came home from the pool club to find a pretty bag at the driveway door.  It was filled with butterfly painted wine glasses and a bottle of wine.  Inside was a beautiful, heartwarming card, but it wasn’t signed.  I don’t know who this gift is from, and I would love to know.  If you’re reading this, would you please let me know who you are so I can properly thank you?  I love the glasses and of course, have already used them…several times!

I went for a bike ride with Heather early Saturday morning.  OK, so listen to this...at the end of our ride, Heather was up ahead of me.  After watching a dog walk by her as she rode and then come towards me, I continued to ride past it, but called up to Heather to stop.  I caught up to her and told her I thought that dog looked lost.  She said she had never seen it before.  We both turned to look at it and it was gone.  I turned back to her and looked down at the street and shrieked, "Look at that heart!"  There was a perfect heart in the pavement.  Think it was made from tar. A perfect heart. Can you believe that?!  Of all the places we could've stopped, we stopped right where there was this heart on the road.  Why did my eye catch it, and where was the dog?!!  Again, some of you may think I'm nuts, but Heather and I were speechless!  We both truly believe it was Maddie letting us know she was there with us.

This weekend my parents came up from CT., and so did my older brother, Art, and his kids, Stephen, Arthur, and Jackie, for a cookout.  I wanted to have a nice day to celebrate Michael's promotion.  Michael had no idea they were coming, so it was fun.  Michael's friend, Drew, also came by for the afternoon and so did Jeanne, Dean, and the kids.

I have a hard time seeing Jackie.  She and Maddie were the same age, the only two girls, until Abby came along.  They were going to show her the ropes.  It's hard to see Jackie just hanging out with all the boys.  She and Maddie were so silly together.

I took Art, the kids, and my Mom, down to see Maddie's new headstone.  They hadn't seen it yet.  It was very emotional.  As beautiful as her stone is, there is something very final and sad about seeing it.

I went up to Maddie's bedroom by myself and asked her to help me find what she would want Jackie to have.  I couldn't bring myself to get rid of one more thing.  Instead, I looked out the window and sobbed.  It was a very hard visit for me.  Just so unbelievable...

I looked for a rainbow as I stared out her window.  Ernie came up and told me not to worry, Maddie would send one. I went back out onto the porch to hang out.  I noticed Jeanne was waiting on a rainbow too.  Finally, there it was!  Not only one, but a triple rainbow!  It was beautiful!

This Sunday was Meghan Duffy's 3rd annual Pedal Power ride. Colleen and Frank held it in honor of Meg and Maddie this year.  We were so touched.  This event was always very special and important to Maddie.  Last year, she was so mad at me in the car because we were late getting there, and she was the one who would be cutting the starting ribbon.  We made it on time.  She also insisted we fly home from our dolphin swim trip in Florida, so we wouldn't miss Meg's ride! 

It seems so unreal that just last year, Maddie was at the ride, running around the yard, chatting with everyone and even won the dog basket raffle!  She had a great time!  I pictured Meghan and Maddie at the ride the year before that.  They both had face paintings and were so happy.  So unbelievable that they're both gone.  At one point, Colleen got very upset. We hugged and cried together.  She looked at me and said, "How do we do this Kris?"  I just said, "I don't know."  Colleen and I said that we knew the rain held off because of our girls.  They made sure we had a good day. 

William and Thomas participated in the ride.  They had a blast. The best part of all was the raffle at the end - we won the coolest bike!  It was made for the show American Chopper and it looks like a Harley Davidson motorcycle!  It's orange and really so cool.  The boys wanted to win that in the worst way.  William stood by that bike and would not move. We never win anything so I was SHOCKED when they called our name!  I let out a huge scream!  I had been praying my Hail Mary's and talking to Maddie!  Ernie said he knew Maddie would help him win that!  It was so awesome!  What a great way to end that morning for us.

Wait a minute, I can top that highlight.  Caroline, Maddie and Meg's friend, they were the threesome if you all remember, was at the ride and rode her bike for the first time, post treatment!  She looks great and she is doing so well.  I know Maddie and Meg were smiling down on her saying, "You go Girl - keep riding!"


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