They say with time the bad memories fade, and I suppose in some ways, that’s true. I can’t immediately conjure up the smells of the hospital room unless I try (and I don’t). The flashbacks are still intense, but the sharp edges have dulled. I can no longer describe the way the room looked in detail.
I’ll never forget the looks they all gave me. The faces of the transport team, the same ones that had taken her to UCLA the day she was born, were stricken. I begged them to save her like they once had. They were so sad…so sorry. Their eyes reflected my pain.
I’ll never forget the sound of the doctors’ voices, discussing the “event,” as they called it, right on the other side of the curtain that had been drawn for our privacy. Talking about the patient’s “failure to respond.” Talking about my daughter.
I’ll never forget holding her in my arms, and how much heavier she was than just three hours earlier. The fluids pumped into her body had added heft.
I’ll never forget the vacant look of her half-closed eyes.
But I’m forgetting her smell.
I’m forgetting how she touched me.
I’m forgetting our routine, and the way we’d spend our days.
I’m forgetting how it felt to hold her in my arms, and how soft her skin felt against mine.
I’m afraid that soon all my memories will just be photographs.
I’m afraid I am forgetting her.
Heather, don’t be afraid. There’s no way that you will ever forget those things. The bond you shared was unbreakable. You’ll always know those memories, her laugh, her smile. All of it. It’s all there, you just need to reach into your subconscious and pull it forward. Much love x
Totally agree with Becca! I could not have worded it any better. Love is never forgotten! xxxz
I’m no expert but I think maybe the things you remember in your heart are the ones that matter most. The love never fades, but I’m glad the bad memories are starting to. xoxo
Serena from Italy says:
Don’t be afraid, you will always remember her and the love you shared. Memories fade, ’cause life goes on, and other things happen, and it is impossible to remember everything… but this doesn’t mean you love her less, or that you’re going to forget her.
You’re writing this blog to remember, and it will always help you to keep those precious moments in your mind (and heart). I do the same, I try to write, or record on video the funny things my daughters do, ’cause I’m sure I will forget them if I don’t fix them on paper, or on video… It’s how life goes, it’s not only you, so don’t feel guilty, and keep on writing, to remember, and to share with her sister your memories of Madeline. She was loved, a lot, and this is a wonderful thing to remember.
This post hurt to read as tears streamed down my face. The injustice you….my friends went through on that day are unforgivable in my eyes, with the hurt almost just as profound. Perhaps if you wrote all of your memories down, you would somehow capture what you fear will be loss?
Maddie is your first born, the 1st love of your life (besides Mike)…you won’t forget her Heather…just as I won’t b/c of the way you and Mike have so graciously described her in such details to us. I feel like I knew her, touched her little hands, hugged her little body, saw joy in her precious face and in a way I feel like I knew her…I did….because of YOUR words – I DO know and love her!!!
Oohh my dear friend….Maddie is You….she is your heart and soul. You won’t forget her….just like even when you thought it was impossible, you didn’t forget to breathe. You will never forget her.
Thinking of you so, so much this week, Heather Spohr. Love you fiercely.
Oh Heather! My heart is breaking all over again for you!!! But agree with what the others have said~you will never forget… Maddie is a part of you, is ingrained in your, engraved on your heart and soul. When you least expect it, a scent will suddenly flood you with her; a sound will remind you of her; sunlight on water will become the light dancing in her eyes. There are too many reminders in this world to ever let you forget. And thank heaven for those pictures and videos! Those vivid reminders. And hold Annie tight in your arms and remember her big sister.
Thinking of you and Mike and your extended family with so much love and tenderness this week. xoxo Mary
I have nothing helpful to say, I’m sorry. Just know I’m thinking of you and your family, just like all the other people following your blog. I’m sorry those good memories are fading. Wish I could help you remember.
She will always be with you…
Surprisingly, as Annie gets older and gets to each new phase, you might also find it harder to remember the little things like with Maddie. It’s frustrating but it’s okay. You will find Maddie’s touch or even other little things along the way in others and it WILL help you remember all the things you are wanting to remember…I promise!
Thank God for this blog, and all the memories perfectly captured, so you could never forget. Been thinking about you. XO
I don’t think you will ever forget. And you have this blog, photographs, videos, friends, and family to help you remember.
I am so deeply saddened by your loss.
My grandmother was the most important person to me when I was growing up – she passed four years ago. I know what you’re feeling, Heather – I’ve never had to face the pain of losing a child (no parent should ever have to) but I, too, worried about losing things. Her voice – her touch – how she did things. I used to beg my cousin to give me a copy of my grandmother singing happy birthday that she had accidentally saved. Now I find myself remembering her in little instances – surprisingly when I need those memories. I caught myself doing an impression of her the other day with my cousin accidentally – and we laughed. WE LAUGHED. It was as though she was coming through from the other side, wherever that is, and telling me “yes, laugh. I love you laughing.”
You are also so fortunate that you have kept such amazing records of your children growing up. You have videos of both amazing girls and photos, and you have so many friends and family that you have all touched. She will NEVER be forgotten by any of us.
Ashley Tinius says:
Couldn’t stop the tears reading this post. I am so sad for you, Heather.
Barbi Emel says:
You’ll never forget the important things Heather, much love to all of you!
Like the others have said, love is never forgotten. I noticed yesterday my purple rose bush is FULL of buds and should bloom by the end of the week. I stopped when I noticed all the buds and smiled thinking of Maddie. I always call this rose bush my Maddie Bush. Thinking of you and your family this week. Sending HUGS.
Thinking of you all. This post, as many of your posts about Maddie do now, brought tears to my eyes. You will NEVER forget Maddie–she is a part of you and Mike forever.
I am so sorry Heather. I have no words for the amount of pain that you are in. I can’t even pretend to know.
I do know that this girl who lives in a little town in Kansas is sending up thoughts and prayers for you and yours.
Momma Lioness Michele says:
My heart aches for you. Your daughter is always with you. I think of you, Maddie and your family everyday…but especially this week. Sending love from NY.
I’m sorry Heather…just know people from far away are thinking of you and your family…
Your heart will never forget. The love you have for Maddie is as strong as ever and your heart will always remember that. We won’t forget her either because through you and your words we remember her.
Thinking of you and Mike today and hope you will feel Maddie’s love all around you.
I’m so, so sorry. No parent should have to worry about this. I hope it helps to look at photos and videos of her, and to talk about her with those who know and love her too.
Wishing you peace. I’m so sorry.
Oh, Heather, you will never forget her, your heart will always remember. Love and hugs.
I’ve never lost a child, but I do relate with forgetting memories…. I’ve been struggling with forgetting things about my mom, who passed away four years ago. The other day I came across a sympathy card someone sent me after she died and they had written “She had the cutest laugh.” It hit me that I don’t remember anymore what her laugh sounded like. I cried for a long time that evening.
In February of this year, my husband’s dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was very close to him and it was like losing my own dad. Now I’m afraid of forgetting things about him, too. I saved the last voicemail he ever left me and I can’t delete it because I don’t want to forget what his voice sounded like.
I guess the point I want to make is that I understand the hurt that comes with forgetting. It makes me angry and sad that some of those good memories I have are getting hazy around the edges. I try to remind myself that even if smaller things fade from my mind, I will still remember good times, happy times, and the love I had for them. I’ll never forget that.
You are in my thoughts. Much love to you and your family.
Love and Hugs to you and Mike this week.
It’s hard to know what to say to you during this time. All I can say is that you are loved and cared for by the people here and Maddie will live on in so many people’s hearts (especially mine) forever because you shared her so lovingly and openly. The memories you have will be with you forever and the ways you shared about Maddie here will live in my heart and mind forever.
It hurts so much to read this — how much unfathomably more to write it and live it. I can’t say much, just that it is impossible to remember everything forever, no matter how fierce the love or intense the desire to keep the memories sharp and fresh. This blog is a testament to your enduring love. I’ll be thinking of you guys and of Maddie so much this week.
Oh, Heather. Even though time is not only dulling the pain a bit, but dulling the details, too, you will never, ever forget her. Your love for her is what will keep her with you forever.
(((big squeeze hug))))…
my heart hurts for you! much love and many prayers for you this week!
I don’t believe you’ll ever forget her. My heart & prayers go out to you & Mike.
You won’t remember every little thing, but you never will forget her. I haven’t. It’s been 22 years today since my 6 month old daughter died. Your vivid description above brought me back for a moment to the ambulance ride where I heard them describe “the patient” as being in full cardiac arrest, to the moment the doctor came to tell me she was gone, to the walk down the ER corridor – seeing my inlaws coming toward me still not knowing what had happened, to holding her in my arms for the last time. I still recall how heavy she was also, 22 years ago. Dearest Heather, you will never forget her entirely. Cherish those pictures and memories that you do have. They will never be enough. Grieving with you today, Spohr family.
ohhhh Heather. My heart cries for you.
I don’t think you will ever forget your sweet girl – and neither will any of your readers. Just today I saw a little girl in the store and I thought, “wow, her hair looks just like Maddie’s hair.” And, I never had the privilege of meeting Madeline.
Pressing the ‘Alt’ button and the number 3 created a heart, but from what I see above it comes out a question mark… nice.
Now, you know my intent was simply a heart because I don’t have the perfect words and I wish I could give them to you.
I have nothing to say that could ever truly be of comfort. Just know I’m thinking of you.
I am so very sorry you had to lose your little girl, I hope she visits you in your dreams every so often so you can remember the details….
Cindy Thomas says:
Oh Heather you will never forget her!
A mother’s bond is unbreakable. Your blog and if you have written in a journal can also keep the memories for you to look back on. Praying for you.
I keep thinking of a poem about this very thing, but I grasp for a name and author, and I fail. So I’ll have to use my own, inadequate words.
I can’t say I know about your sorrow. It’s unimaginable to me, what it’s like to survive that kind of loss. More than that, it’s terrifying. Just thinking about it, I had to reach out for my child, and hug her hard, wanting never to let her go again.
Yes, you are forgetting her some. It’s inevitable. But what’s important, that you loved her, that she loved you, that when she smiled her whole face lit up, and yours in response, how it felt good when she reached for you, how you could kiss that lovely face all day long, you won’t ever forget. That there is a spot in your heart that she occupied and occupies still, and that can never quite be filled, you won’t ever forget (unfortunately so).
As your life grows – as it will grow still, as it must – and your heart expands to make room for new loves, new experiences, new sorrows, there always will be a spot there for Madeline. Always. She will never just be a set of photographs. Only that I can promise.
I wish I had words. Sending you much love.
A blogger I follow intermittently, Dr. Smak, recently wrote of how her memories and connections to her son are losing vibrancy as well. Her 4-yr-old died in February 2009, of cancer (originially diagnosed at age 3, in October 2007). Her husband offered her an observation that you *might* find comforting:
“Just because you miss him less now doesn’t mean you loved him any less then.”
Your memory, poor organic meat-computer brain that it’s housed in, will always be fallible. But you won’t forget how you loved her, and you’ll always know that she knew she was loved.
sending much love your way. your beautiful daughter lives forever in your heart.
Oh Heather, you’ll never forget her, you know that. It’s just that time does fade some things, and allow others to remain strong and vivid. The most important thing, the love you have for her, will never, ever go away….
I hope it helps even a tiny bit to know that so many of us who never met her are remembering her every day.
Megan @ Fiterature says:
You won’t forget her – and when things get fuzzy, you have your husband, your parents, your friends, and your writing to fill in the gaps. You will NEVER forget Maddie – you are her mama.
Things will fade in time, the pain will ease. But you will never, NEVER forget your daughter.
Sleping Mom says:
Wow, my heart sort of just stopped for a second after reading this. I can’t even imagine the emotions you’re feeling. This reminds me of the beginning of a book I read (completely not parent-related) called The Shadow of the Wind. A boy lost his mother at about age 4, and as he grew with each passing year, he woke up at 9 years old terrified because he couldn’t remember his mother’s face. The memories were there, but he realized that time was slowly erasing the memories he had of his mother. Even reading that book sent chills up my spine because we always think of our loved ones so vividly, what with seeing them often. But it’s a completely different story when we can’t see them anymore. Hang in there, I wish you all the best.
A mother’s worst fear is your reality and it sucks! My heart aches for you every time I read a post about your precious Maddie! Someone once told me that the time we spend on Earth is just a tiny fraction of the time we spend after we are gone…you will be with her one day and until then I just hope you have the strength to make it through each day and live for HER.
you are her mom. you will never forget her. you might forget little details, but you will never forget how much you loved her. you might forget HOW she smelled, but you will remember that she smelled wonderful. You might forget what her hair felt like, but you won’t foreget that you loved playing with it……you won’t forget.
You will never forget the love. You will Never forget your beautiful daughter. Sending a special prayer your way.
Love never fades. It grows old with you.
Heather, you will never, ever forget Maddie. I’m so sorry.
I’m so very sorry that you had to ever go through this.
I’m so sorry you are hurting. Sending you lots of love this week and always.
Alexandra :) says:
Are these the things you talked about that you didn’t want to say out loud before, Heather? Thats what I thought. I wish there was something I could do or say to make this better. I can’t promise you that you won’t forget anything because I don’t know that, and I can’t help you keep the good memories or make the bad ones go away. So I’ll just say I’m sorry and I hope the best memories stick and I’m thinking of you
no, that is something else.
Alexandra :) says:
Oh, I’m sorry.
it’s OK. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.
I can only send you cyber hugs and I probably don’t have anything all that great to say it’s all been said before and I am not a word person.
Hugs to all every single day.
I read this passage once in a blogpost written at a website for bereaved parents. I did not write it, and I’m sorry I can’t tell you the name of the author (I copied it down in a haze) but I still cling to it for comfort, when I feel like I am forgetting:
“My heart panics, but when it catches up with reality, everything becomes clear: she is still with me, she is still gone. No more, no less. Wherever I put my heart and my energy now, it is because of her and what she has made me. She can’t possibly be left behind.”
Even though everyone is different, I can offer a ray of hope in the form of my amazing mother who still has her memories of the one day she spent with her eldest daughter before she passed away. That was 35 years ago. It’s a horrible journey and I’m sure parts of your brain are trying to protect it from the pain but love always wins. Not only will you remember all the important stuff but you will continue to be able to express it in a way that includes Annie in her sister’s life. I have faith!
Linda Campbell says:
I have nothing profound to say other than that I’m so, so sorry. My heart breaks for you. xo
I feel so sad for you. I don’t believe you will ever forget your sweet Maddie. She lives in your heart; her spirit lives on in everyone who loves her.
Coming from a stranger my words may not offer you much comfort. I last held my son 6 years ago, he passed just as he was born. I went from the hope that he would be saved to the depth of despair that only a few know. I never got to hear his cry, laugh, voice. And I only have a few pictures that a kind nurse took for us there are days that I too worry that I will forget him. What he looked like how, he felt in my arms, his scent after the doctor herself cleaned him for me. Days like this take me right back to the dark place where I cannot see the light but I have found that if I sit quietly and close my eyes and just float I can feel him. Feel his heartbeat inside of me and the way he fit so perfectly in my arms. You will never forget Maddie, never. She is in you and in the frantic moments you think you are forgetting but just stop and breath and she will come back to you.
My heart just breaks for you both and I will be thinking of you this coming week wishing and hoping that your good memories can get you through.
I don’t have the words to help you other than to say; I am so sorry for the pain you are feeling.
Sending hugs, really really big hugs.
Oh Heather…. big hugs. I love that photo. What a sweet, sweet girl. Reaching out and sending you a big hug
the memories will fade and the hurt will dull but you will NEVER forget your sweet, sweet girl. She will always be a part of you and Mike and Annie. She is with you forever – you are a family of FOUR
Time is a grieving person’s best friend and worst enemy. Best friend because it dulls the pain, allows you to laugh and experience a little bit of joy and normalcy again. Worst enemy because it moves you further and further away from the one you love.
I lost a baby. I feel her everywhere: in the air, in the sky, in the trees, playing next to my sons, eating with us at dinner, sleeping next to me at night. When I start to feel the distance of time, I try to focus on the fact that she’s still here, in my present and not just in my past. She’s not here in the way I want her to be, but still here nevertheless. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but it helps me.
Thinking of you and your family this week.
Christina Wilson says:
My very best friend in the universe passed away five years ago this month. The very week she died I wrote a small blog about how scared I was of forgetting her. Five years later, I can truly “remember” if I try. Even the smell (of her home). None of it is as sharp as before, but that includes the pain (when it comes to a daily basis). I miss her so very, very much. Sometimes the forgetting is hard to bear – especially since it was one of the very first things I was terrified of in those first days. Her impact can and never will be forgotten, though. How she changed my life…..how she changed the lives of those around her. How her son is the person he is, at 10 years old now – because of her. I’ll never forget how I felt about her – and how she made me feel – even though I may forget some of the details. Even five years later, I can say that with certainty. I still can’t conjure up our memories without tears coming to my eyes. I hope that doesn’t change – because I want to “feel” it. Love to you.
I wish there was a way to keep the good, happy memories and forget the dark, painful ones. I wish Maddie was physically with you and Mike.
I am a twice bereaved mom and I have the same fear of forgetting. (I do wish I could forget the ambulance and hospital part of it all). I think that is why I have not completely put away either of our sons things.
Maddie will always be with you. I wish I had the right words to say. Sending you peace and hugs.
You love that sweet little girl so much, she will never be forgotten. And by sharing her with us, we will never forget her.
Heather – when I read your blog I am always struck by your honesty. Your times of weakness and of strength. These posts – that give us a glimpse of that day – always shock me and make me realize how little I truly understand what you are going through. My grandmother lost her 18 year old daughter (my namesake). And she never got over it. She told us all about her and showed us pictures and gave me her pointe shoes and I felt like I knew her. My grandmother did smile and laugh and tell happy stories about her. And she cried and certain dates triggered tough days for her all of her life.
(I want to speak openly here and I truly hope that it doesn’t offend and if it does please say so. I tend to lack a filter at times.)
The day to day details of raising a young child fade for all of us. My heart hurts a little at how fast my 8 year old is growing up and how I wish I could just feel her sweet little baby hands on my chest again. I can’t imagine, though, having to miss those details and not get to experience what comes next, Heather. I hope that you allow yourself (as it seems you do) the freedom to feel and grieve as you need to because really, no one knows what you have been through. I hate that those memories are fading for you. It’s really, truly, just not fair.
I think of Maddie often and she is part of countless people’s lives now. Sending so much love.
Katie Allison Granju says:
I’m afraid too.
You will remember Maddie forever. You will meet people that remind you of her, her voice, her smell, everything. My grandmother lost her second daughter to Leukemia when her daughter was 3, it was 54 years ago. My daughter is 3 right now, and my grandmother just recently met her (I won’t get into why), but she played with my little girl all day and when we were getting ready to go home she said “thank you for letting me spend the day with Sherrie(her daughter), Layla(my daughter) has her voice, her personality, even her smell.” Now she reads Sherrie’s baby book with Layla and listens to Layla’s voice to remind her of Sherrie, and she doesn’t have movies to help her remember. Maddie is ingrained in your heart and she always will be, even when some of the little memories seem to be gone, she will be there.
Sending you love and hugs, always!
My heart aches as I read these words. I cannot express the sadness I feel for your loss. For 3 years, I have kept you and your family in my thoughts and your beautiful Maddie is alive in all of our hearts! Sending you lots of love as you move through this incredibly difficult time.