Last Wednesday night, I brought two more friends to get the Maddie butterfly tattoo! Our neighbor, Patti, whose daughter, Molly, was good friends with Maddie, got butterfly #15! I was so glad she got that #. That's Maddie's birthday. She wanted that #. Her sister in law, Karen, who has followed Maddie's story, and has been so touched by her, got #16. It was such an emotional night, as always, when someone is getting the Maddie butterfly. It's such an incredible tribute. Our friends, Lynne and Anne came along. Anne had wanted one on her ankle, but was going horse riding and was told she had to wait. She can't wear riding boots for a while after a tattoo. Bummer. Lynne got her ears pierced. We went back to Lynne's house afterwards to celebrate. It was a fun night.
I have to tell you about the sky on the way to get the tattoos. It was AMAZING! It was the most beautiful, radiant pink with yellow below! It was truly a pink and yellow sky! We all saw it. We pulled over on the side of the road to get out of the car and take pictures. Maddie was definitely there with us, leading the pack! She lit up the sky in the same manner the night before, when Helena and I went to see Maureen Hancock. Since those two nights, the sky has just been ordinary, but I know those two skies were my girl!
Thomas lost his first tooth last Thursday. He was SO excited. He had been wiggling it for quite some time and even had William in on the action to help him loosen it. They took turns wiggling it. It finally fell out at school and Thomas was so excited to get off the bus and show me his little tooth box from the nurse, containing his prize! I was so excited for him. He is my last baby losing his first tooth! The Tooth Fairy visited and left him his money. He woke up the next morning, showed off his cash and said he can't wait to lose his next tooth!
Volunteered at school for Thomas' class on Friday. He is always so excited to have me there. The kids are all so cute. As I was working with a group, the kids started to ask me questions about Maddie. Just out of the blue. I am very careful and "gentle" with my answers. Surface answers. Not too deep and try to steer away from the conversation, not knowing if I should discuss or not. I'm ok with it, just not sure that they should be thinking about it during school, and I want Thomas to be able to have his own place. I do find it so amazing, how often Maddie is thought of. Later on, as I was kneeling at Thomas' desk before leaving, a little group gathered around me. One girl asked about my tattoo. I told her it was my Maddie butterfly. She loved it. They were all so intrigued. Thomas was very proud and went on and on about it and about Maddie. It was sweet when one of the classmates piped in, "My Mom has the butterfly too." Her Mom, my friend, does. Her daughter is so cute. I said "I know, isn't that special?"
This weekend, I took William and Thomas "Ghosting." You know, the Halloween season tradition of ringing someone's doorbell, leaving candy, and running, trying to stay out of sight. Michael didn't want to go. We hit our neighbor's, the Altmeyer's, first. William rang the bell and Thomas and I jumped off their front wall and ducked. William ran around the wall, slid into safety and joined us. It was a cold, muddy night. Think we were clear, until William popped his head up and the front light went on at the same time. "Stay down!" I shouted! Next we ran one house over, to the McLoughlin's. William was in front, with the only light...couldn't see a damn thing! Wack! Love when the braches get you right in the face! Did the routine again and made for home. Their front light didn't go on until we were out in the open! I screamed, "Run and duck!" Felt like a kid myself!
Michael celebrated his 14th birthday this Sunday. He was very excited. He had been saving up for a very expensive gift, a gift we said we wouldn't buy. He got up at the crack of dawn and began sniffing around. At first, we told him we didn't get it. We told him he had to earn it and wrote a phony check for a very small amount. He was so upset until the big reveal! Ahh, we got him good! We matched his $ and bought if for him. He was thrilled.
I had a very hard time on Michael's birthday. although I was so excited for him, I missed Maddie so badly. I miss her at every celebration. She loved surprising people, making celebrations fun and special. I still think of the birthday card she made Michael while in the hospital. That always breaks my heart, wondering if she knew she wouldn't be coming home for it. I watched Michael take his gift out onto the swing and sit. I thought of the two of them out there. They were always on the swings. I watched from the kitchen window and asked Maddie to "Please let Michael feel your love today on his birthday. Maddie please let him know you're with him. Please let him feel you in his heart." Dear God, I was just so damn sad. I wondered if he was wishing she was there to swing and see his new gift. Was he missing her? Thinking about her? Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't, but I sure was.
William and Thomas had CCD this weekend. They are "newcomers" to this. They both came home with an assignment to dress as a Saint for the next class, for Halloween. Thomas said, "Mom, is mustard a saint?" He has a mustard costume that he wore last year and plans to wear this year. "Is Mustard a Saint?!" Can you believe it?! "No, Thomas, Mustard is not a saint." "Oh, okay then. I'll wear the Pikachu costume." "Thomas, Pikachu isn't a Saint either!" We're going to have to work on this... Good thing they're going to CCD!
While CCD was going on, I attended mass by myself. I get very emotional at church, especially during Communion. It never fails. My thoughts wander throughout the mass, about Maddie, of course, and how the Gospel relates to me, to her, to our life, our journey. I can usually distract myself a little bit if the boys are there, but I was alone. I always fall apart and have to fight the tears during Communion. Sometimes I can fight it better than other times. To boot, I see some of Maddie's friends in church, all growing up. I see all the Moms standing in pews, next to their daughters, stroking the back of the daughter's hair...it's just too much sometimes.
I swear this weekend was Mommy/Daughter weekend. I went out shopping for boots, by myself, and there were Moms with their girls everywhere. Trying on shoes together. I watch, listen, envy. Miss my girl so very much. Went to a second store and it was the same scene. At one point, a little girl, same size Maddie was, with the same shoulder length hair she once had, was standing right beside me, trying on shoes. That was so hard. I so badly wanted to pretend Maddie and I were shoe shopping together. I always feel like I want to say, "I had a daughter..." I must stare, unknowingly, lost in thought. Wonder if people wonder why I'm staring. Really takes any fun out of shopping. I leave feeling very lonely and usually cry on the ride home.
Had some time to kill the other day and found myself wandering around the mall. I popped into one of those dollar stores and bought a Halloween mask. Nothing too creepy, just a clear, sort of old man looking mask. I wanted to buy it so that I could scare the kids for fun. Michael and I had watched the show "Scare Tactics" the other night, so I thought I would get him good! I had it all planned out and waited all day for the perfect time! So, I sent Michael up to his room to do his homework. It was dark now. William and Thomas were busy downstairs and Ernie wasn't here. I climbed out through Maddie's window (the screen was out of her window and Michael's window) and onto the roof, climbed over the roof line, to Michael's window in the front of the house. There he was, my victim, sitting at his computer...
I kept thinking to myself, what if I fall off the roof, break my leg, and nobody knows I'm out here?! Better yet, what if someone sees me out there and calls the police! I held on carefully, pressed my masked face up to the window and waited...and waited...ok, he wasn't seeing me. I thought about just popping the window up and jumping in. Finally, he noticed me, looked at my funny, walked over to the window, opened it, and said, "Mom, what are you doing?" Oh come on! Are you kidding me?! Nothin'! I got nothin'! He wasn't scared even for a second! Can you believe that?! I was SO disappointed! He said if I had popped the window open, I would've scared him. Darn!
Next, I tried to scare the other two, who were downstairs in the tv room. I went out the back deck door and around to the front tv room window. The curtains were closed so I pressed my masked face against the window again and knocked. William and Thomas both came to the window at the same time and just looked at me. They weren't scared either! Even though they didn't know it was me, they still weren't scared! They thought I was one of the neighborhood kids playing a prank.
Well, I was bummed. So much for that! I'll have to get more creative I guess. It was cute though, a few minutes later, I think William knew I was bummed and said, "Mom, thank you for spending that money on us, to buy a mask to try to scare us. That was fun."
Been working on Maddie's tree marker and think I have finalized what we would like it to say. I want it to have the "Maddie butterfly" engraved at the top left corner. It will be the same color stone as her headstone, soft pink (Mountain Rose). What do you think?
In full bloom, may it brighten the world as Maddie did! Donated by the Savoie Family, in loving memory of our beautiful Angel, Maddie.
Wednesday -- October 20th
October 16th has come and gone. It was a very difficult day, very difficult days leading up to it, and following. On the day of, I had so much to do to keep myself busy. I started the day by leaving a butterfly and pink and yellow balloons down with Maddie, sitting for a few minutes and praying to her to help keep me strong that day. To help get me through it. I came home and also put the same balloons on our mailbox. The rest of the day I spent cooking, cleaning, visiting with family. Two friends stopped by with beautiful flowers. Any time I looked at the clock and thought back on what was happening that time two years ago, I instantly tried to distract myself. I still cannot believe two years have gone by...
We went to the 5pm mass. The mass was very nice and it was so nice to see so many faces of good friends. It was special that my parents were asked to bring up the Communion Gifts. Although it wasn't a private service, Fr. Rivard made the mass special by saying Maddie's name 4 times throughout, not just as an offertory at the start of mass. That was so thoughtful of him. I went to see him yesterday with a coffee cake and bottle of wine, just as a small token of our gratitude. Thank you all for coming to remember Maddie.
After the mass, our family went down for a quick visit with Maddie. A few other friends had pulled in as well. There was a butterfly carved pumpkin that had been left by Abigail DeLuca, so it was fun to see that. Nice job Abby. Thank you! I had also left a pumpkin with a black cat face painted on it. Maddie was always a black cat for Halloween. It was a particularly freezing, windy night, so we didn't stay long.
Family came back to the house, we had dinner and just hung out together. It was so nice to have them all here. We didn't get to bed until close to 1am. I slept in Maddie's bed, and asked her for an extra warm "leg blanky." The rest of the house was filled with sleeping siblings and cousins everywhere.
Sunday morning we all went to the local hay maze/pumpkin patch/farm. The kids all had a great time running through the maze. We had a race getting through the maze and Thomas and I were the champs! Woohoo! The best part of the maze was when Jeanne and I took on the challenge of the rest of the family, to hide in the maze and see if they could find us. They gave us a three minute head start. We ran in and dove into the heavy overgrowth close to the entrance, knowing they would all think we were running out as far as we could to hide. It was hysterical. We could hear and see everyone run by us, as we kept low and quiet. At one point, William had circled back and we could hear him chopping through all the overgrowth right next to us. I knew if anyone found us, it would be him. Luckily he gave up and left.
We sat there giggling and hoping some parent wouldn't see us and report us as two wackos hiding in the maze. I think a half hour or so passed by, when we heard them all calling out for us to come out. We did it! I got up and then had to help Jeanne up. It was so funny. After crouching for so long, she was stuck! We came running out and reveled in our triumph! Of course, after a few minutes we both imagined little bugs inside our clothes and hair and couldn't wait to get home for a shower!
Next we did the pumpkin patch for pumpkins and then headed home for lunch and a birthday cake for Michael before the cousins all had to head back to CT. I was glad Michael could celebrate his birthday, which is on the 24th, while his cousins were here. Everyone left around 4.
It's always harder when everyone goes home and the door closes. That's when you're left alone with your thoughts and pain.
That night, William and I went down to visit Maddie again. It was about 5:30. When we got there, William asked if we could hang out with Maddie for a while. I said sure and he pulled the blanket out of my trunk. We sat there, under the blanket, for at least an hour, before my friend, Terri and her kids, Molly and Matthew, came over to sit with us. They live right across the street. They came bearing hot chocolate, blankets and a glass of wine for us Moms. It was really very special. I sat on the blanket with Terri and Molly and the boys ran around with glow sticks. It was now really dark and Maddie's solar butterfly lights had come on. We three laughed, cried, and shared memories on the blanket.
As we were sitting there, a police car pulled in. I stood up and walked over to the officer as he was walking towards us. When I saw his face, I said, "Oh, it's you!" This officer has followed Maddie's story and has always been so touched. He asked if it was someone's birthday. I explained what day it was and he told me that they had gotten a call to the station that there was a lot of activity going on at the cemetery, so he had to come check it out. I was actually glad he did. Glad to know people are looking out for my girl and all the others. We stayed a little while longer, then went to Terri's house for a bit and went home. William told me repeatedly how special that night was to him and asked if we can do it again. I'm sure we will.
Thank you to all who sent cards, called, brought us flowers, sent us loving, supportive emails. As I have always said, we could not get through this without you.
On Monday, before he went to bed, William asked me for a journal for him to write in. I gave him one and he took it to bed. The next morning, he immediately checked it. I asked him if he was going to write in it and he said, "No. I prayed really hard last night that Maddie would write me a note, but she didn't." He looked so disappointed. Of course, I said I was sorry that she didn't leave him a note and that she can't write us notes anymore, but that I believe she can see what you're writing to her, she knows what you're thinking, and can leave us signs. He sadly said, "Yeah, I know." Then Thomas said, "Well Maddie always used to leave us notes." She did. She loved to play school, make up games, leave notes under their pillows. She was always so fun and creative with them. I felt so badly having to send them off to school feeling sad.
I am presently working on the monument that will go under Maddie's new tree. Want to come up with the right words. It will take about a month or so for it all to be completed.
Big night for me last night. I went to see my incredible Medium friend, Maureen Hancock. I was so anxious and had been waiting weeks for this night to come. I had an amazing reading during the show and then got some private time with Maureen in the back room afterwards. She re-affirmed for me all of the signs I receive and so much more. I will share our talk with you another time. I'll just say that Maddie is amazing. She has an "incredibly special job" and she was needed. She had to go. Although I truly believe all of this, it doesn't make it easier for me to have had to let her go. She was needed here too, and still is, but knowing that she is happy and whole, and keeping busy with her many "jobs," gives me some hope and peace, and the faith that I need to keep going. I have to trust and I have to believe. I have to. I do.
Sadly, I learned just a little while ago that Irene Reilly's son, Andrew, the one I asked you all to pray for, passed away on Monday. Please take a moment to say a prayer for Irene and her family. She and I plan to meet one day soon, when she is ready. I know we will form a special bond, and I do believe that Maddie took Andrew's hand, along with his family members who have passed before him, and eased his transition back Home, into Heaven. I'm sure that when he saw her smile, he smiled too.
Tuesday -- October 19th
We need your help to get the word out about supporting a Lance Armstrong grant for the Children's Hospital Art Center. This program was so near to Maddie's heart and truly got her through her darkest days. The Art Therapists at Children's are amazing and bring so much joy and hope into the lives of the patients. It will only take you less than a minute to vote. Thank you!
It has been a very emotional time for me. I kept writing, editing and re-writing my post, hoping I could pull it all together for this special time and showcase all of Maddie's signs to us with pictures, but although I have not gotten to the pictures yet, I still wanted to get a post out. I have been so humbled by so many people stopping me and asking when I was going to post. One friend said to me the other day, that Maddie's website is an extension of her, of her life, her gifts, that people check the website every day, people I don't even know, and more than I know of. For that reason, along with my own therapeutic needs, I need to keep writing. I promise the pictures will come very soon. They have to. They are meant to be shared...
So, this is what has been going on for the past few weeks...
A few weeks ago, I drove to CT. to ride in The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp Challenge Bike Ride, with Paul Altmeyer and Dave Dimond. I was so excited to have a chance to ride for Maddie, since I couldn't ride the PMC. It was so nice to be able to show Paul and Dave the camp that we have talked so much about, and where much of our personal donations go. They were both very impressed. We walked around the campground and a few of the boys' counselors were there helping out. It was great to see them!
We got registered and pinned our Maddie pictures to our backs. I had made copies of the picture we have of Maddie at camp. I blew them up and added the words on Paul and Dave's, "In loving memory of Maddie Savoie," and mine read, "In loving memory of my daughter Maddie Savoie." In the picture she is wearing her orange camp shirt, cheering wildly at a rally. Her fist in the air, her face full of vigor! I wore her shirt that day, under my jacket.
Days like this are always emotional. As we lined up, I felt the tears welling and a lump in my throat. We stood with the other riders and listened to a quick speech by one of the Camp organizers. We were thanked for our being there, told what our donations do to help other campers, and off we went. It was only going to be a 30 mile ride, but it was almost all uphill! It was a tough ride! Throughout the ride, I smiled, shared some laughs, and had moments of sadness to myself. At one point, I was riding, very deep in thought, and a woman pedaled up next to me, smiled with tears in her eyes and said, "I love your picture. You're a great Mom." I said, "Thank you." That really choked me up and also gave me the strength to keep going.
I was struggling up one very big hill. I said to Maddie, as I always do on the hills, "Maddie push me up this hill! I need your help!" I think of her "Never, Never, Never give up..." So, I made it up this big hill and thanked Maddie. Well, at the very top of the hill was a big mailbox and the number on it was 206...that was my registered rider number, the number on my back! Come on, what are the odds!? I swear Maddie was telling me, "You did it 206, and yes, I helped push you up!" I know Maddie was with us on that ride. I truly felt her there. Aside from the mailbox #, there was always a hawk when I looked up for one. I tried to take pictures as I was riding, although that's not very safe, but God forbid I stopped pedaling - I'd never get my momentum back!
The sign that truly established Maddie's presence, was amazing!! Let me tell you about it...
At our second watering stop, everyone hopped off their bikes and walked to the bike racks. For some reason, I hopped off my bike and simply laid it where I stopped. In the middle of everyone, on the grass! After I caught my breath, I thought to myself that I better move it before someone trips over it. So, I picked it up, parked it, and you would not believe the sign on my handle bar...a perfect clover heart! Perfect! So perfect that I asked Paul if he was playing a game with me, to try to make me feel better. Of course it wasn't Paul. He was just as amazed as I was. We called Dave over and we all just delighted in our amazement. We snapped pictures of it and I carefully placed it in a tissue and put it in my bike sack. You will see the picture of it. Maddie was there and she wanted us all to know it. From then on, I knew I could finish the ride and I was going to have her on my back as I crossed the finish line.
When I did cross the finish, I clenched my fist and raised it in the air, as Maddie had done in that picture, and told her "This one's for you Maddie!"
Maddie is always with me. In times of deep sadness, she reminds me of that with her amazing signs. She picks me up and lets me know that she is not far from me.
A few days after our ride, I painted our mailbox post white and added pink and yellow butterflies. Well, a few days after that, I added black letters down each side to spell out, "We Love You Maddie" to replace our sign that we had to take down with the fence. I was pleased with my job and thought to myself, "I hope Maddie sees this and likes it." Sure enough, there was my sign. Right at my foot was a leaf with a perfect heart cut out in the middle. Again, a sure sign that Maddie is not far. You will see that picture too.
That next morning, I drove over to the high school to support the soccer team, and our neighbor Emma Piscatelli. She sold me the car wash. I was one of the last to arrive and when I got there, I said hello to Emma. I stood on the sidewalk and the minute the team started my car wash, their radio played Rascal Flatts, "My Wish." I shouted to Emma for her to listen. I had to keep from crying until I got back in my car.
Maddie is not only with me, but I know she is with her friends. She sends them signs too. Our neighbor Molly came home from school the other day and I was sitting at her kitchen table. She rain in excitedly to show her Mom the sign she got from Maddie and when she saw me sitting there said, "Oh my Gosh! Just the person I wanted to see! Look what I got from Maddie today!!!" It was her heart leaf. A heart cut out in her leaf. Just for her. Isn't it funny that I was sitting in her kitchen?
This month we also celebrated Ernie's birthday. It was last weekend. I pulled together a very last minute, surprise get together. It was very nice and as always, a fun time had by all. A source of comfort, for both of us, was that right after I told Ernie that people would be arriving soon, a hawk circled overhead in our backyard, as if Maddie was saying, "Happy Birthday Dad! Mom got you good and I'm here with you all today!"
Last week I had a very hard time by myself after the kids left for school. I had decided it was time to wash Maddie's bedding and shawl. William had asked me if he could sleep in Maddie's bed, and I told him that I first wanted to wash the bedding before any of us slept in there again. He cried and said to me, the same reasons that I hadn't done it yet, "Mom, please don't wash her bed because then her germs won't be in there anymore." I felt so badly for him. Ernie remembers that I washed Maddie's sheets after she left for the hospital, so that they would be clean when she got home, but I don't remember that. Either way, I decided it was time to wash the sheets, her blanket and her pillow cases. At the very least, I definitely don't remember washing the blanket and pillow cases.
It was time. Her room didn't smell pretty anymore. It didn't smell clean and full of little girl . It smelled dormant. I didn't like the smell. It really made me depressed. I wanted to smell Maddie's body spray, her hair de-tangler spray, fresh sheets and bedding, Maddie's smells.
I waited until the kids all left for school and went into her room. I truly had a breakdown and sobbed. I felt like I was saying good bye all over again. I can't explain it. I truly fell apart as if she had passed that very day in my arms. I smelled her sheets, her pillow cases, her blanket, Tried to get any scent of her that I could, but it wasn't there. It was gone and I knew I had to let go of that. I could picture Maddie watching me, saying, "Mom, just wash my sheets! It's ok! I'm not there and I want the room to smell pretty too!" So, I stripped everything and washed it all. Re-made the bed and sprayed her body spray into the air. It smelled pretty, alive again. It was the right thing to do. It was a huge step and I had to take it.
Then there was her shawl. That pink church shawl that had gone everywhere with us. Florida, Lourdes, Maine, hotels... Maddie had it in the hospital and I had to wash it every day in the hospital washing machine, to keep it sanitary and safe to keep wrapped around her. After she passed, that shawl was shared by all of us. We all take turns sleeping with it. It means so much to us. It meant so much to Maddie. I almost buried Maddie with it, but needed it for our family, for me. I needed the prayers that it was knitted with. It had become our family's prayer shawl, our comfort. The prayers that went in to making it, were now to be bestowed upon us. Washing Maddie's shawl was almost harder than washing her bedding...
I'm not sure why, but a week or so ago I called on the girl who had taught Maddie how to sew. She was a young girl around the corner giving sewing lessons and Maddie loved the class. I knew Maddie had left her latest project there and I was ready to get it. I went and picked it up but didn't open the bag until I was alone. Maddie made a beautiful pillow case, with the fabric I had picked out for her at Walmart, that she wasn't that crazy about. I remember looking around for the perfect fabric and thought I had found it because it was all dogs! Anyway, in addition to the awesome pillow case she made, I got a folder of her paper work, with her own handwriting answering questions about herself. One really jumped out at me. She answered the question of what was something really interesting about herself with, "I once had cancer." She thought she had it licked. This class was right about the time she developed her secondary cancer. It just broke me to read that. We all thought we were done and that life would be good...
I put the pillow case on one of her pillows on her bed. It's beautiful. It matches the bedding perfectly and just really "screams" of Maddie. I only wish I knew about it sooner, to have been able to bring it to the hospital, or at least compliment her on her awesome job. Share in the pride of it. It was so hard to see it so long after the fact...
The younger boys have both been having a really hard time. That's not to say that Michael isn't, but as I have always said in the past, I need to respect his privacy at his age, and not write about it. So, I have had to go into school for both William and Thomas over the past few weeks. William has had a very hard time adjusting to the new school, with Maddie's paintings and picture in the hallway and all of his peers asking so many questions. It has been very hard for him to focus. He thinks about Maddie much of his day and we are trying to help him focus, and at the same time grieve his loss in a healthy way. I went in and tried to answer some of his classmate's questions, in hopes of helping them all to move forward and let William focus on William and his school work. Some questions were very hard for me to handle William helped me out. It was just so surreal that only a few years earlier I had sat in that same exact classroom to share with students what Maddie was going to go through and there I was again, but now talking about what she had gone through and how to deal with it going forward, in relationship to William. SO incredibly surreal and difficult...
Thomas' class Circle Time was a little easier to handle. At that age, they all talked about their dead frogs, dead fish, etc. Very few questions about Maddie. So "funny" and interesting how kids at different ages, process death. It was tough for me to even be there, being so close to her anniv. of passing and at the end of circle, Thomas asked me to read a book that he loves about loved ones moving on and I couldn't do it. It took all I had not to cry and I handed the book off to Carolyn, the Adjustment Counselor, whom I have known as a personal friend for years.
After I left the classroom, I met with Linda Balfour, the school Principal. We talked about planting a butterfly garden out in front of the school for Maddie. So, we will draw it up and make it come to life in the Spring. Very excited about that.
Yesterday was the 14th, our wedding anniversary. Hard day to celebrate when all I think about on this date now is that Maddie was in the ICU and we told a nurse it was our anniversary. She told us to go across the street, to Bertucci's to celebrate, and that she would call our cell if Maddie needed us. Maddie was "sleeping." Feeling uneasy, but exhausted, we agreed to run across the street for a quick dinner and a very much needed glass of wine. It was not enjoyable, to say the least. I pray that one day our anniversary day will be a day we can once again celebrate for what it is...
So, on the morning of our anniversary, I went to the cemetery, with my neighbor, Jack, who is a landscape architect, and planted a tree for Maddie. The DPW informed me that they were going to plant a tree in that spot, so a while back, I asked if we could be involved in picking the tree. Well, with the agreement that we would pay for the tree, we got to choose the tree, and plant it. They will add a small stone monumental plaque, and people will know that it's Maddie's tree. The tree is a beautiful Kwanzan Cherry Tree. It is small right now, compared to all the other trees, but it will grow and beautiful pink flowers will bloom in the spring. It will be such a "Maddie tree!"
Amazing thing that while we were throwing the bagged soil into the ground, my eye caught a glimpse of pottery. I asked Jack to dig it up, so I could see what it was and it was a broken piece of pottery but on its surface was a dirt shaped heart! I kid you not. I accepted that was Maddie's sign that she was there, and loves her new tree. How or why would that piece have caught my eye, in all the mounds of dirt. Why would I even have thought to ask Jack to pull it out? I saved it.
This week also entailed me gathering and putting together cd's of Maddie's artwork and then some, for Children's Hospital. They are going to have an art exhibit of Maddie's paintings on the bone marrow transplant floor and in the lobby, at the Au Bon Pain cafe. An amazing tribute. Our family also bought and donated a Wii system to the transplant floor playroom. Maddie had donated one to the 6 North Resource Room when she was in the hospital, and she and I had talked about how the 6W floor needed one.
When Maddie and I were in on 6W, the head of nursing came around and asked us for any opinions as to how the floor could be more beautiful, soothing, accommodating. Well, of course, I was knocking on her door 10 minutes later with my list! I know, through our emails, that there have been many changes and updates that Maddie and I suggested. I hope we left a mark on that floor, that will ease the way for other families. I wonder if they still have the artwork that Maddie and I created in her window - a huge rainbow with a pot of gold and the word BELIEVE. That would be a shame if they washed away our beautiful window rainbow with the word BELIEVE, but if they have washed it off, I hope that the new designs will give other children encouragement, faith and hope to fight...
I finally had the beaded "Maddie Hope Bracelets" completed. It has taken about a year and half, but they're here and they're beautiful. I am so thankful to Karla O'Byrne, who helped me to get them into the stores in time for Maddie's 2nd Angelversary tomorrow. I truly hope they will sell, in loving memory of Maddie, with 100% of proceeds going to help other families who are battling cancer. You can purchase one at Something Special in Norfolk or Bambi's in Wrentham, or feel free to email me if you are interested in buying one at K.Savoie@verizon.net. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts...
I was able to personally give one of these Maddie bracelets, which I had promised for so long, to Maddie's close friends last night. While I was doing that, I was informed that the 7th grade, Maddie's class, had all planned, through whatever communication system they all have these days, to all wear pink and yellow today in memory of Maddie. I can't even tell you how much that touches my heart, in a good and sad way, at the same time. I am SO incredibly thankful that Maddie's friends have not forgotten her, but my heart breaks that she is not here, and it breaks for her friends who miss her so badly. I wish I could change it all for everyone. Thank you sweet friends, for remembering your friend, Maddie.
So, I think I have covered a lot but also want to add one very special favor. If any of you read the guest log on this site, you will see that Irene Reilly is asking for prayers of hope, strength and healing for her son. She received some very devastating news. Although we have never personally met Irene or her son, we feel as though we know them and our hearts go out to them. We ask that you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they seek to find a cure for her son. I mailed them a bottle of Holy Water from Lourdes.
So, this is it. It will be 2 years since Maddie passed, tomorrow. I am having an extremely difficult time. I really think I still wait for her to come home. Like I have written about before, I truly believe that your mind only allows you to accept little pieces at a time, to sustain you. After freshening up her room, I thought about how she'll love it when she gets home, and then I have to painfully acknowledge that she isn't coming home. I just need to get through this weekend. Incredibly hard to keep re-living her last days. Incredibly difficult and I struggle every minute of every day to keep my mind away from those thoughts.
I do believe that Maddie is never far from my side. She is never far from any of us. I hope the pictures that we will post very soon will warm your hearts and put smiles on your faces. One of Maddie's favorite words was BELIEVE. When you see her signs to us, you can't help but believe.
We are going to the 5pm mass tomorrow, at St. Jude's. Not a private service again, but it will be an offertory mass for Maddie. As beautiful as that was last year, it was just too painful, too much like a funeral. We will go to mass and then our family will come home for dinner. My family is all coming up from CT. I hope we will see some of your faces at mass. If you can't make it, please take a minute to remember Maddie and our family in your prayers, as we too will remember Maddie, and all of you as well, in our own prayers.