The seventh was a tough day for more than just Mike, Annie, and me. All the blog posts, tweets, emails and texts showed us that it was a tough day for people all over the world. We truly felt all your love and support. Closer to home, it was obviously also hard for Maddie’s aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My mom sent me an email that she wrote “blog-style” (she said it was easier to get her feelings out that way, and I definitely understand) that made Mike and me cry. I asked her if I could share it since so many of you express love for Maddie’s entire family, and she said yes.

I was never much of a crier. Occasionally, I would cry a few tears at a sappy movie or sometimes a touching story on the Today show, but overall, I just didn’t cry a lot. When I got married, when I had my twin babies, I was filled with joy and happiness, but no tears. Maybe it was the way we grew up. When my older brother was diagnosed with Leukemia, he spent an entire summer before he passed away, on the couch, unable to do chores around the house. I’m sure he had a lot of pain and if he didn’t cry, then how could we with our petty aches and pains?

When he passed away, my Mom never cried in front of us. She wanted to be strong for us, we were all so young and there was so much more upheaval going on at that time. My parents were also divorcing and she was trying to have some sort of “normal” in our lives. What my mother must have gone through, being so strong for us and being so devastated inside. Her courage, love and devotion for her family was amazing. But at the funeral mass for Tommy, I remember standing by my aunt who was crestfallen, tears streaming down her face. I had never seen an adult lose control and sob so much and it really unnerved me. Adults were always supposed to be “in control” and that image stuck with me my entire life.

That all changed the day Maddie was born. It was such a rocky beginning, we weren’t sure she would make it. I came back to my house about a week after she was in the NICU and had a big meltdown. I’m so glad my husband was there to comfort me and give me the support I needed to keep going. I tried to always be strong for Maddie and for Heather and Mike. It is hard to see your parents cry, so I didn’t want to add to their stress levels, so I tried to keep my tears at bay. Fortunately, Maddie did flourish and came home, one of the best days of my life. She was such a loving, good natured child, I can’t emphasize it enough. She woke up happy and went to bed happy. She barely cried either, what a trooper she was, and she set the example for all of us.

When Maddie passed away, everything was different. I was completely blindsided by her passing, I was so in the future stage, seeing her life unfold, showing her how to bake cookies, see snow for the first time, trips to Maui and seeing her build sandcastles. I couldn’t believe she was gone, it was devastating..and since that Tuesday, for the past 365 days, I have cried for Maddie. In the shower, alone in the car, at night before I go to sleep, doing the most mundane things, I cry. Some days are deep sobs, others are just quiet tears. Each tear a reminder of the deep love I have for my sweet Maddie. ….365 days and counting…