Wednesday-- March 31st

I usually love the sound of rain and love cozying up inside, staying warm and dry. Now I'm sick of it. It's been depressing. It's pouring rain...

Sunday was Palm Sunday. Listened closely to the talk, the Passion, about the last days of Jesus' life, leading to his crucifixion, and thought back to Lourdes. While there, I walked the Stations Of The Cross, ironically in the pouring rain. It was one of the most moving, emotional parts of my trip. Maddie didn't come with me. She wanted to experience the Holy Bath again, with a woman from our group. She loved that. I wonder if she went twice because she, too, thought she would miraculously be healed, or if she felt and experienced something so spiritually amazing that she couldn't even put into words.

The stations were life sized, bronze sculptures. They looked so real and as we walked to each station, a priest told the story, not only about Jesus' suffering, but about Mary, his Mother, who had to watch as Her son was led to his horrible death. I could truly feel Mary's pain as we walked the stations and found myself crying at times. The priest focused a lot on Mary during that walk. She had to watch Her child suffer and die, and there was nothing She could do to stop it, but She walked with Him, was there with Him, every step of the way. I felt Her pain, as a mother, and at the time, I was scared. I had already watched Maddie suffer, was there with her every step of the way, and I knew what we were heading into when we got home, but I couldn't truly fathom losing her, losing my child, not until it happened. After it happened, that's when I truly understood Mary's suffering, completely. Certainly not comparing my life to that of Mary's, or Maddie's suffering to that of Jesus', but sitting there in church, my mind wandered all over the place. The bond between mother and child, the pain of losing a child, the incredible strength and faith Mary had, my incredible experience in Lourdes with Maddie, our journey. All of it.

How did Mary do it? How did She watch Her only child suffer and die like that? How did She go on? Whatever became of her? We don't know what She was like after Jesus' death. Nobody wrote about Her grieving process. We know now that She is with Her Son, in eternal peace and happiness. Imagine what their reunion must have been like? They are together again. She is the Holy, Blessed Mother. Heaven must have lit up brilliantly when She arrived.

I pray to Mary often. Asking for Her help. I know Maddie is with Her, as she waits to see me again one day. Maddie couldn't be in better hands, although I still wish she was in my hands. I wonder if Maddie and Mary laugh together, as we did. Is Mary funny? Do they crack each other up? I'm sure Mary doesn't have a "potty mouth" like I sometimes did with Maddie when we were deliriously bored in the hospital! I wonder if they sing together and just make up funny lyrics like we did. I hope Mary gives Maddie a "leg blanky" from time to time, although I'm sure Maddie doesn't need comforting in Heaven. I'm sure she is full of never ending peace, comfort, and happiness...

Mary is always portrayed as beautiful, serene, quiet, peaceful, warm and loving. I like to think there's a really fun side to Her too! She was human at one point. Maddie would like that! Maybe Maddie's making Her laugh!

After mass, we stopped down to leave a Palm with Maddie. It's very hard when we go down as a family, which isn't too often. I usually go alone during the day, Ernie goes alone most of the time, and the boys generally don't like to go there. So, when we all go together, it's very hard. We're all there in body and Maddie isn't. It's a very painful reminder when we're all there together. It's a painful reminder any time, but when we're all together, it feels harder.

I'm looking forward to the sunny, warm weather that we are promised for this coming weekend, Easter weekend. Happy Easter!! I hope you all have a good one.

Friday-- March 26th

What a week. Just when you think Spring has arrived, it starts snowing!

Been busy this week addressing and mailing out invitations for our next fundraiser on May 22nd. I really think it's going to be a great night! We are sending out several hundred invites between 10 of us, so it should be a good sized crowd. Last weekend we all met at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, where the party will be, to check out the ballroom. It's beautiful! I didn't expect the place to be so nice, but they have recently re-done the whole hotel and it's very pretty. Again, if you would like more info about the event, feel free to email me: Thanks!

Was so tired the other night and sat down on the couch next to William. He leaned into me and looked up at my face. I thought something adorable was going to come out of his mouth, but he said, " Mom, it looks like you have little tic tac toe boards around your eyes!" Whoa, not what a lady wants to hear! Well, botox is out of the question, so I guess I better get on some kind of wrinkle cream routine! Tic tac toe boards...

Took the boys to the dentist the other day. William had to get a filling and Thomas had to get sealants. Thomas went first. It was so funny. When he came back into the waiting room, William asked questions. "Were you scared?" "Did it hurt?" "Did they knock you out?" That last question was the best. Thomas said, "What do you mean knock me out?" William said, "You know, did they have to hit you over the head with a frying pan before they fixed your teeth?" I busted out laughing and so did the two other Moms in the waiting room!

Funny story. Took the boys over to Game Stop to exchange some games. William throws his baggy of games onto the counter and walks away to "shop around" while Michael starts his game exchange. I go to pick up William's baggy and it was ripped, so a game fell down the hole in the counter where the computer wires run under the desk. So, I ask the kid at the register to see if he can reach under and grab it for me. He disappears and doesn't come back up...."Hello? Did you find it? You OK down there?" His legs are sticking out from under the counter. Then he says, "Uhhh, anyone got any soap or anything? I'm stuck!" "You're stuck?! Are you serious?!" A coworker comes around to help out on the other register since a line has now formed. The kid tells her he's stuck, she looks down and continues to ring people out. He's helpless. The manager comes out front, laughs, says he has no soap, and just kind of stands there dumbfounded. I'm thinking, "Come on! Am I being punked? Are we on a tv show?" The phone rings. I swear I thought it was going to be Ashton Kutcher on the other line! I even looked around to see where the store cameras were. So, I walk around to the kid under the desk and hand him my bottle of Purell. "Here, try this." He squeezes it onto his arm, and gets himself free! You had to be there! Only us! It was so funny, but so unbelievable at the same time. Of course, we didn't laugh until we left the store. The poor kid must have been mortified! So, the moral of the story is to always carry a bottle of Purell! You never know when you're going to need it! And to think, my girlfriends laugh at me because I'm always armed with Purell! If I didn't have my Purell, that poor kid would still be laying there under that desk, calling out for a bar of soap! Alright enough...

What else? Well, I had lunch with some special friends. Maddie's nurse Pam "Cookie," Alison, and a mutual friend of theirs that I hadn't met before. She was very sweet. It was good to see them. I was nervous to go since I hadn't seen Pam in a while, and I have been having a very hard time. I was afraid I would show up and cry the whole time. No crying at the table, we had a lot of laughs. I got in my car and cried the whole ride home. Talked to Maddie the whole ride and when I got home I parked in my driveway. I usually pull into the garage. I got out of the car and there on the ground, was a leaf with a heart in it! Maddie was letting me know she was there with us and she hears me. She was trying to comfort me. Thank you Maddie.

Went over to the middle school today, to say good bye to the Principal, Lucia Godfrey. She is retiring to take care of her Granddaughters. I always get so emotional when I go there. It's very hard. I have to work up the courage and strength to go there and not to cry. As soon as you walk through the doors, Maddie's paintings look so beautiful hanging in the hall. It's wonderful to see them there, but at the same time, it takes my breath away and breaks my heart. It's always so good to see the ladies in the front office, Mary, Janet, and Jackie. They're all so sweet and have been so kind to our family. I brought them all a pink butterfly wine goblet and a bottle of champagne, to toast with Lucia. They loved the goblets and of course, they knew why I bought them. I also visited with Maddie's 4th grade teacher, Judy Holt. Again, visiting with her is very emotional. Maddie loved her and the feeling was mutual. It was Judy who left that beautiful yellow butterfly at Maddie's site. She told me she visits Maddie often. I am so touched by that and know Maddie must love her visits.

After I left the school, I went and sat with Maddie and had a good cry. I wish I could say the days get easier, I really do, but they don't. I just miss her so very much, and I know she is thought of and missed by so many.

Have to prepare myself for the 6th grade promotion. Maddie's graduating class. Ernie and I will be there to present the gift award in Maddie's honor and I'll have to say a few words. That will be a very hard day.

Anyway, the kids will be home soon. This day flew by. We're in for a cold spell again this weekend. Nothing big planned. Just trying to catch up on house work and thank you notes. Have a great weekend.


Friday-- March 19th

Thank you to everyone who sent our family thoughts and prayers on Maddie's birthday, and sent Maddie birthday wishes on the website! They all mean the world to us.

On Sunday afternoon, despite the pouring rain, we had a gathering in honor of Maddie's birthday. We had wavered back and forth as to whether or not we could handle it again this year, and wanted to keep the boys' best interests in mind. I had talked to them several times in the days before, and they felt they wanted to have the "party" but we still weren't sure. The deal was sealed when I came downstairs Sunday morning to find William sitting in the family room at 6am. I asked him what he was doing up so early and his response was, "I didn't want to miss Maddie's party." So, I emailed the same group as last year, baked cupcakes and brownies, and we had the "party."

I put the butterfly scarf on Hope as I had promised! I tried to tie it around her head and ears so it looked like a little hair bandana, like a little girl would wear it. Thought that would be cute and funny! I thought it looked cute that way, but Hope wanted no part of that. Guess dogs like to actually be able to move their ears! So, I tied it around her neck. I know Maddie was delighted.

We didn't get the party started until around 3:30. I asked Maddie to please stop the rain at some point between 4:30-5, just for five minutes, so we could get our balloons up to her. Well, sure enough, at about 4:50, the rain tapered off. I quickly blew up the pink and yellow balloons with our helium tank, everyone grabbed one and wrote their messages to Maddie on them, and we all ran outside. As is our tradition, we kissed our balloons and let them fly together. They went up, all got stuck in a nearby tree, decorating it like Christmas tree ornaments for a minute, then all worked their way out of the limbs and flew up together! Then the rain came back! The adults all went back inside and the kids decided to stay out in the pouring rain and play. They had a blast!

I stood in the kitchen window and watched them all holding hands, laughing, playing "Red Rover," getting soaked. They all looked so big. Growing up. It was hard to watch and not see Maddie out there, but I tried to picture her there. Where she would be standing, holding hands with the girls, her raspy, loud voice chiming in to bark out some orders, her giggle...she was there. We couldn't see her, we couldn't hear her, but she was there.

Thank you dear friends for coming, for celebrating Maddie's day with us.

After everyone left, was when it got really hard. I think it was William who fell apart first. Then I lost it, then Thomas...You know, during the party, you can almost pretend it's just another party, for no reason in particular, just a get together. "ALL the kids are here, Maddie's in the other room, life is normal." When we focus on our reason for being together, sending up the balloons specifically, is when it gets real. Writing notes to Maddie on a balloon. Words you want to say to her in person. William said doing the balloons is when he got sad. After they went up, I saw him walk away, into the house. He went right up to his room and stayed there for a while.

After our "meltdowns," Michael hugged me and told me he was proud of me for not crying while everyone was here. For being able to keep in it all day. I'm so proud of him.

After a very difficult night, I let the boys stay home on Monday, her actual birthday. Ernie had to go to work. The boys slept in. I didn't sleep well that night at all. I woke up at 3:30am, reached out my hand and wished Maddie a happy birthday. Then I got up and just walked around the house.

7am the doorbell rang. It was our neighbor, Meg, with a beautiful bouquet of pink balloons and a huge butterfly balloon. She had wanted to tie them to the fence, but it was pouring rain and so windy! I kept them in the house for a bit, but a few hours later I ran the butterfly one down to Maddie and tied the pink ones on our fence. They didn't stay afloat too well in the rain but they were there for people to see just the same. Thank you Singer family!

Something very wonderful happened as I was cleaning up from the party later that morning. I emptied the juice packs out of the big tub I had sitting on the floor. When I picked them up, on the bottom of the tub was a perfect little brown heart. I looked closer and it was a perfect little brownie heart! Nothing else in the tub, not even one crumb. Maddie's favorite sweet was brownies. One of the kids must have been holding a brownie over the bin, while grabbing a drink and a piece fell into the tub. It's a perfect little heart. Can you believe it?! Just another way of Maddie letting me know she was at the party! Of course I took a picture of the heart!

Received some beautiful, thoughtful gifts in our mailbox from friends in town. You're all the best! You really should know how much your thoughtfulness truly does ease the burden. I try to stay on top on thank you notes, but if there is anyone I may have forgotten to thank, I am so sorry. Your thoughtfulness was received in so many ways.

We took the kids out to dinner for Maddie's birthday. It was better than sitting at home. We all hit the sheets early that night. It had been a long few days.

Volunteered at school yesterday. Did lunch duty for William's class (yeh, he coaxed another ice cream out of me!) and a class project with Thomas' class. A little girl in Thomas' class noticed my tattoo. This was the first time any of them have ever noticed or said anything. She asked me who put it on my wrist. I told her the "tattoo person" did. She asked me if that was "where I wanted it?" I said, "Yep, exactly where I wanted it." She said, "Will it ever come off?" I told her, "Nope, it will never come off. It will be with me forever." She told me she thought it was so pretty and touched it. I thanked her. During this whole little exchange, a little girl sitting next to her was looking at me and smiling. Secretly her Mom has one too. We smiled at each other. Knowing her Mom would not want us talking about it, I didn't say anything to her, but with a smile on her face and in her adorable little voice, she piped up, "My Mom has it too and it will never come off." It was just so sweet.

Speaking of the tattoo, I just got home from the parlor. Our dear friend, Michael Brait, just got the 12th Maddie butterfly tattoo! Michael was one of Maddie's pall bearers. We have talked about him and his family, wife Carol, and daughter Hanna, on the website. They are very special friends of ours. It's their gorgeous home in New Hampshire, where our family has stayed a few times. Michael and I went down to visit with Maddie before getting the tattoo. He hadn't seen Maddie's headstone yet and he thought it was beautiful. It was a very emotional morning and I am thrilled Michael now shares our special Maddie butterfly. I know Maddie is giddy about it!

Had a follow up test on Tuesday, to some tests I had done a few months back. This was a stomach scope. They removed 3 pollups and found I have 6 ulcers. Nothing that won't heal in time and I'm finally getting some answers. Have a follow up appt in two weeks to see where we go from here. Also been having back problems. Go today for my second PT visit. They have to fix me soon so I can get training on my bike!!

It's a beautiful day out today. Going to head down to work on Maddie's site. Get her Spring decor in full force! Enjoy this beautiful weather. Let's pray that it lasts!

Thursday-- March 11th

 I had lunch duty on Friday, for William's class. He was glad to have me there. Not sure if it's because he was happy to hang out with me or because I handed him money to buy an ice cream! At recess, he seemed very quiet and took my hand to walk me over to show me what he had written on the school wall the day before, in chalk. In pink lettering, he had written "I love (heart) Maddie." It was very sweet, but I could tell he was sad. He asked if I could take him home with me after lunch. I had a talk with his teacher and she agreed he seemed "off," so I took him with me. I took him out for an ice cream and we chatted. He was having an emotional day. Lots of things going through his mind. I was glad we got to spend that afternoon together. I think we both needed it.

Friday, late afternoon, was filled with "adventure." While playing on their new bunk bed, Michael and William fell off the top bunk (I think Thomas may have helped make that happen in some way...). Yep, first accident with the bunk bed. William hurt his elbow pretty badly and I thought for sure we'd be heading to the ER on a Friday night. Could you imagine the fun we would have? No thanks! So, we iced it, gave it some time and he seemed ok. I remember when Maddie broke her arm at the same age. We didn't know it was broken for several days, even after an initial visit to the doctor. Breaking a bone for kids is different than an adult break. They say it's not as painful for them and Maddie had such a high tolerance for pain anyway, so she was moving it just fine, but we ended up going back several days and after an x-ray, found out it was broken. She sported a bright pink cast for that break!

Saturday night our fundraiser went very well. Thank you to everyone who came out to support us. Thanks to all of you, we raised $31,000! Isn't that fantastic!? It really was a very fun event and I'm now looking forward to the next one on May 22nd. Again, if anyone is interested in attending, please feel free to contact me at for details.

Sunday night, I looked at William's elbow again and it was black and blue and swollen, so Monday afternoon I brought him into the doctor. When Dr. Fox came into the room, he asked William what the problem was. William said, "Welp, I have explosive diarrhea!," then proceeded to roll his eyes, make a contorted face, and add sound effects. Oh come on, William! Dr. Fox took him seriously and asked me how many days he had the diarrhea. "He hasn't! He doesn't! He's kidding! William knock it off!" Anyway, no x-ray, his elbow will heal.

Tuesday was a half day of school, for parent/teacher conferences for William and Thomas. Both boys are doing well in school. I let them play on the playground while I went in for the conferences, then came out to get them when I was done, only to find Thomas ready to duke it out with another boy - twice his size! Well, twice his height anyway. Weight wise, Thomas could take him! What the heck is going on here?! Dispute resolved, lots of crying, arguing between William and Thomas on the ride home...the other boy was William's friend...blah, blah, blah. Have to work on the temper with Thomas. He's really a big teddy bear, but if provoked, you better run!

Yesterday I woke up and decided to take a ride back to wear I last had the bag of Maddie's earrings. I just needed to give one more shot at finding them. My friend came with me and together we searched the whole parking lot. No luck. I am just so heartbroken about losing them and really hoped they would find their way back to me in time for Maddie's birthday. I guess I have to accept that they're gone, for whatever reason. I have a sign in my kitchen, "In acceptance there is peace." When I got back from my search, I had to take Hope to the groomer. On Tuesday, she rolled in dog poop! So gross! There was no way I was cleaning it off of her shoulder and wherever else it may have been! Then she threw up! So now she had poo poo shoulder and vomit beard! Come on, seriously! So she spent a LOT of time outdoors and in her crate until I could get her to the groomer! That was an $86 roll in poop! Hope she enjoyed it! Why do dogs roll in poop anyway? And is it their own poop or another animal's poop? Why?! Uggh...just don’t get it!

Went to visit with Maddie. Thank you to whoever left the big, bright, yellow butterfly. It's so cheery!

Michael shaved his "moustache" last night! I was so upset! Why rush it and there was not really anything to shave! Maybe a little soft fuzz, but now it's official! I was so bummed he didn't invite me in to watch and take a picture of that very big moment. He said he knew if he invited me, I would have tried to stop him! He's right!

Another half day of school today, for all three boys. They'll be home any minute.

I'll have a little time with Michael before the other two get home, so maybe I'll challenge him to a game of scrabble. Maybe he'll tell me he's too cool for that now, you know, now that he shaves and all...

Friday-- March 5th

It's March. This is a tough month. We have the annual fundraiser in honor of Maddie and her friend, Meghan, this month, and Maddie's birthday is on the 15th. It's a very emotional time. All of the months bring something different, but her birthday month is extra hard.

The boys have a new bunk bed. They love it! Ernie did a nice job building it. I stained it a really nice barn red and hung a curtain across the bottom, so Thomas has a cool little hideaway. They have so much more space in their room now. The first few nights, William started off in his top bunk, but moved down to snuggle in with Thomas on the bottom. I think he was a little nervous at first, but he stays up on top now. Of course, making the beds will be a constant challenge, but this gives them something to smile and be excited about. Michael is still loving his loft bed.

So, tomorrow night is our big fundraiser, Cocktails For A Cure. I'm looking forward to it, but as it has been in the past, it will be an emotional night. We raised $35,000. last year! I hope we can top that this year! If anyone is still interested in coming, please get in touch with me for the details. We have awesome raffle/silent auction/live auction prizes. Great food, drinks, friends. A great night out for a great cause. I bought a new outfit for the event and I have the perfect necklace to go with it. Maddie made me a very special necklace. It's a silver square, with a heart in the middle, on black roping. The backside of the heart has a note she wrote to me, "I Love You Mom." I know she'll be at the fundraiser and she'll be so excited to see me wearing that necklace. It will bring me comfort for the night.

I was at the Christmas Tree Shop a few weeks ago and a dog scarf caught my eye. It was a pink and yellow butterfly scarf. I walked over and picked it up. I thought I should buy it for Hope to wear on Maddie's birthday. Then I contemplated and had a chat with Maddie. I knew she wanted me to buy it for Hope, I could just imagine our conversation. Then I could imagine a conversation with Ernie about the spending, so I put it back! Well, earlier this week, before school, the front doorbell rang. I opened it and there was Maddie's friend, our neighbor, Molly, standing there holding that scarf! She said she saw it and thought it would be perfect for Hope! Can you believe it!? I choked back my tears and had to laugh instead. I told Molly the story and had to call her Mom too. After I shut the front door, I said to Maddie, "Yep, you're good. You are still so stubborn! Well, you got your way. Hope will wear the scarf on your birthday!" I just thought it was amazing and truly believe God allows Angels, Maddie, to work through people to get messages across. To let us know they are still with us every day.

Michael was home yesterday for a "mental health day." I took him out with me to run errands. He asked if we could buy the game Scrabble. I told him we already had it. He said, “Yeh, but ours is really old so we should get a new one.” I tried to argue that it still works, even though it’s old! I asked him if he’s going to want a new Mom when I get really old! Well, he won and we got a new one. When we got home, we had so much fun playing, just the two of us. I really enjoyed setting everything else aside and sitting with him for an hour and a half, undistracted. Michael enjoyed it too. It was a fun game.

This weather has been so unbelievable. We really need the Spring to arrive. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and maybe I'll see some of you tomorrow night!


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