Monday-- May 17th

Feeling so down, so heavyhearted. Just need to "talk."

Been missing Maddie so badly. Just can't seem to keep myself together. I don't know if this fundraiser planning, her class graduation, the weather, the 19 month anniversary, are all contributing, or if it's just the way it is. It just gets harder. I know we're all heavy hearted and just feel her loss so strongly.

I was home alone with Michael for the weekend. Ernie took the other two camping. Michael and I tried to stay busy and we did some really fun things together. Went on a bike ride, went shopping for new sneakers and clothes, rented a movie. It was so nice to spend time with him, but we were both down. We both did our best to stay "up."

I know Maddie knows I'm struggling and I know she's working hard at helping me. I was shopping for an outfit the other day and cried in the dressing room. When I came out, there was a pink and yellow butterfly backpack hanging on the hook that caught my eye. I went over and touched it, held it. I thought about buying it, maybe giving it to my niece, but I didn't. I just took it as a sign and put it back. Then I walked around the home section and found a picture. It's in black and white. It's a mother's hands, holding her infant's feet in her palms. It reads, "What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love becomes a part of us." It was written by Helen Keller. Again, I took that as a sign. Maddie was trying to let me know she was with me. I bought the picture.

Driving home, I was so upset. Same roads I drove with Maddie over and over, back and forth from the hospital, through Medfield. All the memories. I missed my girl being in the car with me. Our laughter, our silly singing game, everything. Our routine stop at Friendly's. As I turned onto a street, there was a landscaping truck up ahead, backing into a driveway, so I had to stop. Right where I stopped was a heart cut out in the pavement. Huge groove, perfect, huge heart. Someone, I assume a little girl, had colored it in with sidewalk chalk or paint, but it was dark pink, on the ground right in front of my car. I saw it and knew immediately Maddie had made it so that I stopped there. As I sat and looked at the heart, I realized what was playing on the radio. It was, "Love Is Unstoppable" by the Rascal Flatts! I just smiled and thanked Maddie. She really had been working hard throughout my shopping trip and now, to comfort me.

Just as I got to my street, I was composing myself for the boys, and you won't believe what song came on the radio. It was, "Bringing Sexy Back" by Justin Timberlake! Well, that one made me laugh! I pictured Maddie's silly face, us singing and bopping our heads.

Michael decided to bring Maddie's computer chair up from the playroom and put it on his bedroom. He likes the chair but of course, the fabric was pink. So, I took it apart and reupholstered it in blue. That was very hard to do, to cover her pink. Ernie had a hard time with it too. He was the one who took her shopping for that pink chair. It came out good and Michael is happy with it.

William asked Ernie if he could have Maddie's fishing tackle box. He came excitedly bounding up from the basement with it in his hands last night. It's pink and purple, but he doesn't care. I know that was very hard for Ernie, even though he didn't say it. That was something he and Maddie shared. Their love of fishing. Her hooks and all are still in the box. I recently read one of her writings. It says something like, "Fishing, fishing, oh how I love fishing! I will remember every single fish I ever caught!"

6th Grade promotion coming up. Handed my neighbor, Molly, an envelope this morning and asked her to bring it to school for me. I knew I couldn't do it. It was my note for the promotion day program, you know, where you write a congratulatory msg. to your child. I wrote one to the class from our family, wishing them all the very best. I should be writing one to Maddie. I so desperately wanted to write one to Maddie...

So, it has been a very hard time. I keep thinking, "OK, if I can just get through this next "event," I'll be ok." Then you "make it through" and the next event is just as hard, if not harder. There is no finish line to grieving, to this unbearable pain and loss. My thinking now is, "OK if I can just get through this next day, I'll be ok." That's all we can do. Just keep getting through one day at a time.

Thank you for "listening."

Thursday-- May 13th

I've been trying to keep busy. I've had a lot going on with our fundraiser coming up, and keeping up with the boys. I made notes to myself so I could catch up on the website...

During school break, we didn't do much. I did take the boys into Boston one day on the train to have lunch with Ernie. Michael went in with his friend Drew and his family earlier that day and we caught up with them on the train ride home. My sister, Jeanne brought her two along and we all met up with Dean too. It was nice to sit in the park and have lunch. The kids loved chasing all the pigeons away. Being in that park brought me back to the days of working right there in town. We'd eat lunch at that park several days a week. I also thought about the day I brought Maddie into the city for a fun day together. We laid right in that spot, on the grass, watching the clouds form shapes and talking about the homeless people who were sleeping in the sun nearby on the grass. She always felt so badly for the homeless.

The rest of the break was spent with a few play dates and really just hanging out at home. Ernie couldn't take any time off of work. We had some really nice warm days so the kids spent a lot of time outdoors, which was good. On one of the warmer days, I left the boys with Michael for a few minutes, to run down and visit with Maddie. As I was leaving, I passed her pal, Molly's house. Molly was out in the yard with a friend, running through the sprinkler. I beeped and we waved to each other. I got so sad. Maddie would've been right there with her and it was really hard to think about that. Still is, as I write this weeks later.

I've been working on fixing some things up around the house and starting to clean up the yard and get it ready for spring flowers. Ernie decided we need to take our front fence down. He was going to do it over the school break but I talked him into leaving it up a little longer. It has gotten so rotted so it's not worth painting it, and doesn't look very pretty, but I hate the thought of tearing it down. The boys heard us talking about it and Thomas asked, "If we take it down, where will we hang our "We Love You Maddie" sign? That sign has become a permanent fixture with our house. We'd have to figure something out. I don't think anyone wants to part with it.

The boys have been keeping busy. Michael is still playing lacrosse and practices one evening a week and has a game on Sundays. He is learning a lot and was lucky to get placed with such great coaches. It's fun going to watch the games. Never knew how exciting lacrosse was.

Thomas is loving TBall. The town had the opening day parade a few weekends ago and a good chunk of the town came out for that, and marched from one part of town, down to the fields, through the streets as the fire trucks lead the way, blaring their horns. It was a nice day.

The boys are getting so big. They had their physicals last week. I brought them all at the same time, thinking it would be easier. What a scene that was. All 4 of us in that tiny room. Michael's the size of a young man now, and William and Thomas were jumping all over the place. All three of them got into their patient robes and William and Thomas could not stop cracking up. Thomas came out from behind the curtain, and said to William, "Oh little boy, do you like my dress?" Then the two of them went on and on. They played with all the instruments and had fun striking each other in the knee caps with the mallet to see whose legs had stronger reflexes. Michael sat quietly making his own wise cracks and took a few turns with the mallet. I stood in the corner taking deep breaths! Then Dr. Fox came in. We all had a nice chat and Michael was given his own room for his exam.

The result of the exams - William and Thomas are trending into the "obese range!" You should've seen their faces when they heard that! Looking at them, they're certainly not obese, but according to the chart, they are on the bigger side. Dr. Fox talked about eating healthier, getting more exercise, and less screen time. You know the riot act. That was quite the conversation for the ride home. I told them how when I'm on lunch duty, I notice the kids don't eat any of the healthy food their Mom's pack. In fact, a lot of them don't eat much of their lunch. They throw away so much food. I told them it's probably because they eat a lot of junk at home and Thomas said, "No, maybe it's 'cause they're in love with you. They're too busy being in love with you that they can't think about eating their food!" Isn't that funny!?

Michael on the other hand has thinned out and gotten taller and is now in the "athletic" range on the charts. He was very happy about that! He looks great!

William and Thomas are just hitting the stage that Michael has been in for a while now. You know the stage where anything Mom says or does is mortifying to them. So, as William and Thomas were standing for the bus at the foot of our driveway the other morning, I stood on the stoop in my big full length, pink bathrobe. William saw me and yelled, "Mom! Get in the house! Get in the house now! I don't want my friends to see you like that!!" I told him I was coming outside to do my morning stretches, then proceeded to do jumping jacks on the front lawn and wave to passing cars! I told him I do that every morning! He was so mad at me, but as he turned away, I could also see him fighting a smile. So, I gave up and "hid" behind the screen door until the bus came. Now I'm "not allowed" to go outside unless I'm in "my day clothes" and God forbid I drink a cup of coffee or be seen eating a bowl of cereal on the stoop! "I don't want my friends to see you eating!" "Oh, that's right! What was I thinking?! Mom's don't eat. We just feed everyone else. Sorry William! Won't happen again!" Back in, behind the screen!

The other day I came home from the store with all three boys and we walked in to find that Hope had exploded all over her crate, through the crate, onto the floor...The most nauseating dog diarrhea poop (putting it so mildly) you have ever smelled! SOOO disgusting! Are you kidding me?!?! I had only just shaved her fur and shampooed her out back the day before!! I had to have Michael lift the crate up with me, chuck it out the back door and spent over an hour cleaning everything up, all the while, gagging! Sure I cursed as well (out of earshot!). Hosed the dog down, shampooed her. Fun, fun afternoon. Amazing how quickly everyone who wants the dog - disappears - when it comes to taking care of, and cleaning up after the dog. Hello? Where are you guys? Yep, very interesting...

Had a yard sale a few weeks ago. Didn't advertise and it was freezing out so I did all that work for virtually nothing. The kids did, however, rediscover some toys throughout the clean out process. Michael decided he likes his DS again. At one point, he went into Maddie's room to take her DS out and connect to it to play a game. I felt so anxious as he was going through her things. I wanted everything left the way it was. I took her DS from him for a minute, held it tight and tried to smell Maddie on it. She played it constantly, especially in the hospital. I was so sad he took her game cartridge out. She was the last one to put it in there. Which one was it? What was her score? He couldn't understand why it was upsetting to me. It just really was. Later, William went in and took her money out of her wallet, and asked me if he could have it. I took it from him, put it back in her wallet and told him no. He asked what we were going to do with it and I told him I didn't know, but one day we'll know what Maddie would want us to do with it, but until then it stays in her wallet.

My heart just races and I feel very anxious when her things are moved around. I know it brings the boys peace to go in there and be with her things. I don't know what it is. I just feel very "protective." Very anxious. As if it has to stay exactly the same for when she comes home? She hated when her things were moved. I'm sure now she wants them to go in there and enjoy. I guess I just need to let go.

The boys have been writing a lot of notes. William came home with one for me two days ago that said, "I love you Mom. You are so fun and helpful. Love William." It was so cute. Thomas came home with a beautiful note the other day, It read "Dear Maddie, I love you and I miss you." He insisted I put in down at her site, in their box of notes to her. I am always finding notes to Maddie or drawings of her in their backpacks.

As I was laying down with the two boys the other night, Thomas rolled over and I heard him whisper, "Maddie, when will it be summer?" They think about her, write to her and talk to her every day. I do too.

I went to school to visit Thomas' class on Friday, for a Mother's Day Tea Party. He was so excited for days leading up to it and when I walked into the classroom, he stood up and shouted, "Yeah!" It was a very cute gathering. All the kids were so proud to stand up and read their short little poems about their Moms. We all received beautiful handmade puzzle piece pins. Thomas out a bug shiny pink gem in the middle of mine. I love it.

Mother's Day was very hard for me. I went down to visit with Maddie and left her a heart balloon and as always, a pink and yellow one. I went back a little while later and they had blown away. It was so incredibly windy that day. William and Thomas were with me and they both agreed that Maddie had taken the balloons. Along with the pin Thomas made me at school, I wore the one Maddie made me years ago that says "#1 Mom" for the day. We had missed church that morning, so after we visited with Maddie, I took William and Thomas into the church and we knelt at the statue of Mary, said a prayer, and wished Her a Happy Mother's Day.

The boys gave me all kinds of cool gadgets. An automatic hand soap dispenser. you know, the kind you just wave your hands in front of? Yeh, I've never seen them wash their hands as much as they have been since getting that! Think it was for them more than it was for me. Some other cute things and then an incredibly special one from William.

A few weeks ago I had taken the boys into Stop & Shop. William found a crystal "Mom" trinket in the florist section. It had a butterfly sitting on the word Mom and on the bottom says, "I Love You." he asked me that night if he could buy it for me with his own money and I told him no thank you. He didn't need to do that and he put it down. Well, a day or so before Mother's Day, now two weeks later, he asked Ernie to take him back to the store to get it! He remembered it! When they got there, he couldn’t find it. Ernie said he worked so hard at finding one. He went to Customer Service and described it and then went to the woman in the florist. He described it and she searched high and low and they found the very last one! I can only imagine his face! He was SO proud when he gave it to me! I love that! It is so special. So much love behind it!

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day! I hope we'll be seeing a lot of you at our fundraiser next weekend, to support of PMC Team, Pedals For Pediatrics! Cocktails For A Cure - Maddie's Mission of Hope - "Never, Never, Never give up!" Saturday the 22nd, 6-12pm, Mansfield Holiday Inn. Please email me if you would like to attend so that I can get the invitation to you. Thank You!


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