I remember the first time I saw the episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where Buffy’s mom died. I was sitting on the couch in my friend Lauren’s apartment. Her roommates and boyfriend always teased us for watching Buffy. They couldn’t get past the silly title, and didn’t understand why we’d leave Margarita Tuesdays early to rush home for a new episode. But that week, they trickled in while Lauren and I sat crying on the couch, and instead of going to their rooms they stopped, watched, and cried with us.
It was February of 2001, and it was easily the most carefree time of my life. I was done with college, but still living with all my friends as they finished their final semester. I hadn’t lost anyone close to me, and the horror of 9/11 was still half a year away. Yet, I was still so very affected by the episode. It was so well-written and directed (by Joss Whedon, the creator of the series), that I remember thinking, “I hope this isn’t what it’s like to lose someone.” But I left it at that, because I could. It was a TV show, not real life, and I had, at that point, avoided the horror that Buffy lived that day.
After Madeline passed, my life became a series of odd camera angles, zoomed focus and isolated sounds. People stood in front of me, but I would only see the tops of their heads, or their earlobes. The morning we went to Forest Lawn to finalize funeral arrangements, I threw up all over myself. Instead of cleaning it up, I watched the vomit slowly soak into my clothing. When we picked up Maddie’s urn, I couldn’t hear a word the funeral director spoke over the sounds of the children playing outside.
During one of my many bouts with insomnia I remembered the episode where Buffy’s mom died. I remembered that the entire episode was devoid of music, and the sounds of “normal” life were accentuated. I remembered Buffy throwing up, and the camera lingering on the paper towel soaking up the liquid. I remember the camera angles, which had seemed so jumpy and asymmetrical at the time. I remembered the scene where Buffy had to tell her sister that their mom was gone, and her sister’s screams of disbelief and horror, and I flashed to the sounds Mike and I made when the doctors stopped trying, and the sounds my brother made when he arrived at the hospital after.
I’ve come back to this episode again and again. It obviously affects me in an entirely different way now. I see the interlude where Buffy imagines her mother surviving, and I cry because I have done that a million times. I can see Mike and me chasing Maddie at the park, and we’ll say in passing, “someday when she’s older we’ll tell her about that scare she gave us.” And just like Buffy, I have to pull myself out of that alternate reality into my true reality, just to be shocked and jolted all over again. I see Buffy being polite to the emergency workers, and I remember how I went around the PICU like a robot and thanked every nurse for trying to save my daughter.
The moment in the episode I come back to the most is the scene where Buffy’s friend Anya has a breakdown and cries out:
I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens, how we go through this, I mean I knew her and then she’s, there’s just a body, I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead, it’s stupid, it’s mortal and stupid, Xander’s crying and not talking and I was having fruit punch and I thought that Joyce would never have any more fruit punch and she’d never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever and no one will explain to me why!
And one of their friends says, softly,
We don’t know. How it works. Or why.
And we don’t know with Maddie. We don’t know why just three days before, we were at the park watching ducks, at a birthday party, at a dinner just the three of us, and then just three days later she wasn’t there. I don’t know why she CAN’T just get back in her body and not be dead and it IS stupid and I wish with all my heart I understood how it works and what the point of it all is.
It may seem funny that I am relating my horror to a television show (although if you know me or have read me for a while, not funny at all). But it’s something that has been in my head for quite a while, and it’s time to let it out so maybe I can stop thinking about it. I write to work things out and let things go. But if someone who has seen this episode reads my post and says, “OH. I get it,” that’s OK, too. Because it’s the closest thing I’ve seen on TV to capturing what it’s like to lose someone.
Backpacking Dad says:
I do get it. And when I rewatched that episode a couple of months ago I thought of you. And I’ll think about you every time.
.-= Backpacking Dad´s last blog ..A Critique of Pure Parental Instinct. With apologies to Kant. =-.
Night Owl Mama says:
.-= Night Owl Mama´s last blog ..BLOGHER 2010: Doing Something For Me and My Blog =-.
I’m in solidarity with you again tonight in missing Madeline. I am in tears again tonight reading you work your “things” out. This is how I came to love you. To love her.
You are so, so brave and strong, Heather Spohr, even when you don’t feel it; ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel it, in the odd angles and the slow-motion moments.
The present I mentioned to you months ago, I’ll just have to spill, is a CD. A letter in music. I “wrote’ the first one to you before I knew about Binky. Since then there have been three other versions. I’m not a tease. My final draft will make its way to you soon.
No one can explain why or understand why. It just sucks beyond belief. You are in my thoughts and prayers
I remember watching this episode back in 2001 when I lived in the UK and I HOWLED my way through it. And I LOVE the fact that you can connect something as primal and painful as your raw grief and find a tv show that whilst not making sense of it, asked the questions that we do ask.
It’s what makes you so much wiser than me, yet so damn real at the same time.
Sending my love across the ocean.
And yes it IS totally stupid.
.-= Seraphim´s last blog ..Rory’s Garden. Part 2. =-.
I wish you had no reason to try to understand the why…
Love and hugs…
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Lounging around =-.
Adventures In Babywearing says:
Wow. It makes SO much sense. But I’m so sorry that it does.
.-= Adventures In Babywearing´s last blog ..At least I am wearing undergarments. =-.
Kate in NZ says:
Keep on writing. Keep on telling us about it. Some of us get it, some of us don’t yet, and hope we never have to get it the way you do, but we’re always here with (virtual) hugs and support. As always, love to you all.
.-= Kate in NZ´s last blog ..Football =-.
I do get it…each and very word and feeling.
.-= Childwoman´s last blog ..Protected: One more time =-.
Dear sweet Heather,
I have never watched any Buffy episodes but as always your words are so very poignant, so very moving and you have such an amazing ability to bring the reader into your world. I had a lump in my throat as soon as I started reading today’s post, my tears started falling as I read the part about the sounds you and Mike made when the doctors stopped trying. O dear sweet Heather, my tears are continuing to fall for you and Mike as I type this. I can’t even begin to imagine the sheer horror of this situation, I can’t believe that you and Mike had to go through this and I can’t believe your precious, beatiful Maddie is no longer in your arms. O dear sweet Heather, you are such an amazing lady, so very strong and so very courageous. Yet again, thank-you for your writing today and thank-you for sharing these thoughts with us. Its such an honour for me to read your posts. I hope your writing is helping you to work things out and to get things out. I continue to learn from you every day and I am here supporting you and loving you from afar. You are always in my thoughts.
Wishing you a peaceful day.
With love always
your friend, Erica in Luxembourg
This was a very well written post. I’m sorry you understand so much about that episode. The thing that strikes me most is also that 3 days prior she was fine. It’s just not fair. She was taken so fast andwithout warning! We miss you Maddie.
.-= Candice´s last blog ..Walk This Way, Talk This Way =-.
I have been reading your blog for months and, like so many others, have come to love Maddie. Like so many others, I cried and cried when I read that she was gone. I wish with all of my heart that I had something to say that would be helpful. All I can say is thank you for sharing Maddie and know that you and Mike and Binky and Maddie are in the thoughts and prayers of so many people around the world.
I get it.
At WIlliam’s funeral one of the only things I remember is what a mum from school (who I hardly knew) was wearing and how she caught my hand as I walked towards the front of the church. Weird and vivid.
I wish with all my heart that you never had to write this post, let alone experience it. One thing that always strikes a chord with me is your ability to express your grief so openly. It helps me deal with my own in ways you can’t imagine.
Thinking of you daily, and sending lots of strength and love your way.
.-= Noelle´s last blog ..20/100/5000 Contest =-.
Oh my God. … Well, I’ve never seen even one episode of Buffy, but I’ve heard of it. But I don’t have to see the episode you wrote about to realize what it must be like to see it….to see it when you can relate to it, because your writing is so real. Reading this post sucked the air out of me. You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again and I hope you know that it is so true and everyone who says it knows that it is true: You are an incredible woman. (((hugs)))
Maya sent me a message about Madeline, back in April. I was on a beach camping holiday, having fun with my family. Suddenly, everything just stopped and I didn’t understand anything. I searched and searched that whole stupid caravan park … I wanted to find something purple. I told Dave why, and he helped me look.
We couldn’t find anything. The sky was grey and all fucked up. I looked down at all these butterfly shells … opened one … and they were all a deep purple colour inside. They were everywhere, Heather, all over that beach, down here. I just had to look.
I took some home … the best-looking one sits on my office table and I am going to give it to you when I meet you next year.
I never met Maddie IRL, yet feel such a sense of loss and ache. Can not imagine what you and Mike must be feeling and remembering, day in and day out.
Thinking of you heaps. XOX
catherine lucas says:
It’s kind of easy on television and in books. You go back to the first episode or the first page and all is new and beginning again.
Sadly enough, real life is not that way. It would be swell if it would be that way though… If only we could write and plot our life…
.-= catherine lucas´s last blog ..Ferrets and Pink rabbit ears… =-.
I get it. I lost my dad in 1996 and when I saw that episode of Buffy the night it aired it was like reliving his death and the days afterwards.
It helps to know other people get it too.
i vividly remember that episode … even though i wasn’t an avid watcher of buffy. i remember bawling all the way through it as well.
i’m sorry that you have to know it in real life.
we’re here to listen … sometimes that just makes things easier to know that there are people on the other end. listening.
.-= jen´s last blog ..fix it friday … =-.
I remember that episode. I cried then for Buffy and Joyce, and I cry now for you and your Maddy. I get it, now.
It get it. The day before we lost my God daughter; she was FINE! Playing in the bath tub, screeching with joy, smiling, giggling, laughing. She woke up almost throwing up. I don’t why my good friend rushed her to the hospital…mother’s instinct perhaps?? When she called me at 4:00 a.m. that morning hysterical, I thought to myself as I comforted her “Sshhh, it’s okay, she’ll be just fine”. And the thing is Heather….I believed that with every being. Babies don’t die….God wouldn’t do this.10 minutes later, the phone rang again. I eagry answered it while I was despearately getting dressed to meet my girls up at the hospital. I’ll never ever forget the voice on the other end. The one that went from being hysterical, untouchable, heart broken…..inconsolable to…Nothing. No emotion. No tears….just engulfed with shock, numb, “She went to be with Jesus now please post it for me….I can’t, I just can’t”she said to me, as I collasped to my floor and sobbing.
As we near our 1 yr anniversary, I still can’t believe our baby girl is gone. The one who was born with a heart condition but was still PERFECT. A baby girl’s whose surgery got canceled 3 times b/c there were no beds in the ICU and our girl wasn’t “sick” enough for the cardiiologists to FIND the room. I couldn’t believe our girl had an echo 4 days before she passed away…and it was FINE….no reason for concern.
Too this day I can’t understand why my prayers weren’t strong enough to make this bad nightmare go away, especially for my good friend. I remember feeling such a tremendous amount of guilt as my friend and I fell into each other’s arms, sobbing desperately trying to make sense of this all. Maybe if I were more religious God would have listen? And how dare I comfort my friend and try to make her believe her daughter would be “just fine: when slipped through our fingers just 10 days after the last surgery was canceled. 13 days after we had a BLAST taking all the kids – including our Angel to the zoo. 1 day before she was giggling, screaming with delight, giving out wide open mouth, sloupy beautiful kisses. I couldn’t understand and too be honest, I still can’t.
I was upset with God for a very long time….more than even my friend was. Infact, if I was being completely honest, I’m still not 99% sure if I have forgiven him yet. Why did he chose for my friend to call me that fateful night when she didn’t call her sister, mom,or, best friend? Why weren’t my prayers answered or even heard as I fell to my knees that morning in between all 4 phone calls praying with every bit of my being,
Today your post made me weep because I do get it and it sucks and to this day it still hurts like salt being poured into a a raw cut,
So…do I understand how you can relate so profoundly to that one show and how I hurt for you and with you. I’m glad to are ready to talk about it. As I sit here with, tears streaming down my face, I come to the realization I have NEVER really told anyone all of this before,
Thank you Heather for helping me deal with my own sadness, hurt, and sorrow. Thank you for sharing, Hopefully now we will both have a sense of closer even from a srtanger friend from a totally different country wraps her virtual arms around you and whispers – You are not alone….I GET IT!!!
Sorry this post is so long!
Sending you love, hugs and Support.
This sounds EXACTLY like a comparison I would make if I had ever seen a TV show with such a vivid accound of mourning a close relative and then experienced something similar and/or even worse. No need to feel silly!
I didn’t watch that episode of Buffy but I think I understand what you’re trying to say.
.-= Bec´s last blog ..Life with a turdler – Part 2 =-.
I know I can’t relate to losing a child but I have lost my two fathers (dad and stepdad) within a year and a holf. One was sudden and one was from cancer. I remember standing in the aisle of walmart and getting toilet paper and thinking wtf my dad will never do this again and he will never do anything again. I am sorry yet again that you and Mike are dealing with this such pain.
Buffy is one of my favorite shows and those lines and actions in the episode touch close to home. Its so awful that Maddie will never play again and I am sending all the hugs and prayers I can.
I do get it. I saw the movie Stepmom a couple of months after my dad died. The scenes where Susan Sarandon’s character says goodbye to her children on Christmas morning made me completely break down. I didn’t understand how these fictional people were able to say goodbye and the only closure I would ever hope to get was at a funeral.
I remember my dad had had the flu for about a week and my mom took him to the hospital on a Saturday afternoon. I remember we were goofing around before they left. He smiled at me as he walked out the door. A few hours later he died.
I have never experienced the loss of a child so I won’t say I completely understand. I understand the agony of grief and the only solace, if any, I can offer you is that it does get easier to face every day. It may take a long time but it will get easier.
Keeping you, Mike, Maddie and Binky in my prayers.
That episode has always, always haunted me. I lost two people close to me when I was younger, and one of the deaths was sudden and unexpected.
Even so, that episode was still more of a cautionary tale. As a writer and director, Joss has an uncanny ability to capture moments that are painfully true to life and the human experience. No one wants the human experience he captures in The Body.
I remember where I was for 9/11 and…heh… when Michael Jackson died.
But what what is most vivid to me is the experience and horror of being up in the middle of the night and reading about Madeline passing.
It’s still disbelief. Every time I see her picture.
I wonder if Joss lost someone close to him, or if he’s just one of those natural born storytellers.
Please keep sharing your story, even when it’s hard and jarring and silent, with awkward angles.
And when the soundtrack of life comes back, know that we haven’t forgotten.
.-= Maria´s last blog ..weekly winners – aug 8-15 =-.
“tell me WHY” (complete with the voice crack at the end of the WHYYYYYY)
Challenger. 9/11. Madeline Alice Spohr.
When my dad died I was silent for weeks. When I read Maddie died I sat on my couch and screamed and screamed from some place in my gut I didn’t know existed.
.-= Dawn´s last blog ..Serenity Now Sunday – August 16th, 2009 =-.
When my dad died I didn’t get the weird focusing or angles, but I kept waiting for him to just come back. Even now, sometimes like this week on our extended family vacation, I keep waiting for him to walk thru the door as if nothing ever happened or he’s been on a long trip.
Thank you for sharing, I cannot imagine how difficult this road is to travel.
.-= VHMPrincess´s last blog ..holy moly – PANDORA! =-.
I dont know you and came across your blog months ago and now I read it every couple of days. I too often wonder WHY? , although whys don’t come near what you are asking. I’ve always been told to not question God that he has reasons for everything. I believe this, but some days it sure does make you wonder WHY?
I pray you have a healthy happy baby and you Mike have lots and lots of happiness. Know that someday you will see Maddy again.
Just a thought but my favorite uncle was just diagnosed with lung cancer and they have given him about a year. I was laying in bed one night and got a big smile on my face. I had just thought that when he passes he will be seeing Meam, my grandmother, his mother, and this brought me great comfort.
Maybe in someway it is something to think about and will bring your comfort as well.
Oh Heather. How I wish there was an answer to the whys. Hugs to you.
I’m a huge Joss fan, and I know that episode backwards and forwards. He really hit the nail on the head with it, didn’t he?
.-= Laurie´s last blog ..12 of 12 – August =-.
It’s 4:30 in the morning and I sit here alone in my room, crying. I want nothing more right now than to give you a giant hug, of which I already owe you a few, and say nothing. Nothing I can say would make a difference. No words could convey how I feel, or what you could possibly be feeling. I cry because anything I’m feeling could only be a fraction of the pain you have felt.
Heather, I’m always thinking and praying about you. I hope see you soon.
I’ve watched that episode several times. I know exactly what you’re talking about.
And in all honesty that show rocked! I own the entire series on DVD.
.-= Neena´s last blog ..New Digs =-.
I do remember that episode. I can’t say it was one of my favorites as it made me cry the whole time, but it was extraordinary. I wish I had a little band candy for you and your husband – to give you some time to relive that period in 2001 and escape the reality for a while.
Midwest Mommy says:
I have never seen that episode. My mom is a huge fan. I think I am going to add this to my Netfix list. Hopefully it’s not a long wait because everyone from here is adding it too
.-= Midwest Mommy´s last blog ..Cause I’m cool like that =-.
Oh, I remember this episode all too well. And perhaps even better, I remember Buffy’s words just a few episodes later: “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.” Those words have been a touchstone in my life. God, it sounds so stupid to say that, because it’s JUST TV. But it amazes me, and always will, that a show so many dismissed as being fluff or adolescent contained so much humor and pathos and capital-t Truth.
Thinking of you and Mike and Maddie and Binky.
.-= Lauren´s last blog ..The name itself sort of funny. Just. FYI. =-.
Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
You express the complexities of grief with grace and clarity. As I can see from the above comments, so many of us connect with your words. Thank you for including us, and speaking out for us when we can’t find the words.
Hugs to you, Mike, Binky, and of course Maddie.
.-= Lynn from For Love or Funny´s last blog ..How to terrify your kids… =-.
I remember that episode well. I thought it would end up being one of those long dream sequences at the end. How perfectly surreal it seemed, too dramatic…and then you lose someone and realize that Joss Whedon is an amazingly astute man. My thoughts are with you.
.-= Julia´s last blog ..Daily Grace =-.
It’s strange how that episode has affected people. I remember when my dad woke me up several years ago telling me that my mother wasn’t breathing and to call 911. I swear to you, the only thing I could think about as I was dialing the numbers was the episode where Buffy’s mom died. It was literally ALL I could think about, how my life was about to become like this one-hour TV show. And yes, I remembered Buffy laying the paper towel down over her vomit. Unlike the T.V. show, my mom lived, but I guess that particular episode has sunk into the subconscious of a lot of people.
I am thinking about you as always.
.-= Deborah´s last blog ..Sunkissed =-.
I get it Heather, I can SO get it, tomorrow (the 18th) will mark 19 years since my dad passed away. Everyone thinks the pain goes away and leaves, but it doesn’t, it just gets easier to deal with as time passes. You become not the screaming, howling, bereft person you were, you never go back to normal, and you always, and I mean ALWAYS miss that person. I was only 9 when I lost my dad, and even though tomorrow is the day, I am already sad and emotional, my dad missed me doing everything: graduating from jr. high, high school, college, my illness, meeting my hubby, my wedding, he has 4 grandchildren from my brother and sister he never met, he has my 2 children who he never met, one of whom is named after him, and I miss him so so so much, that it seems unreal, and after all this time. I know you hear this alot but I want you to know that what you are doing, expressing your grief is SO normal and SO good, it needs to come out, i STILL have times when something about my dad’s death just all of a sudden flows out of me, it is all a part of the healing process, and you are SO brave to do it. Love and prayers.
Another Heather in Canada
Sometimes it is T.V or a movie or music. For me it is music. It is like a sixth sense in a way. Makes total and complete sense.
.-= Susan´s last blog ..Holy Scrap, Honest Scrap =-.
I didn’t watch Buffy but my mum and brother were avid viewers and I remember my mum telling me about this episode and telling me that my strong, 22 year old brother cried. TV, books, movies, etc often help us get through real life things, they aren’t reality but sometimes they seem darn close and help us figure our stuff out.
When my dad passed away I remember how weird the world felt, how I noticed things I wouldn’t really notice otherwise but couldn’t focus on the big stuff. When I think back to that day when my mum called to tell me about my father’s sudden passing I remember some pretty weird things but I cannot remember a single actual word from my conversation with my mum.
Hugs to you and as always you are in my thoughts everyday.
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..Is It Time For #2? =-.
I totally get it. I had a very bad thing happen in my life…and somehow, and episode of freakin’ Felicity captured exactly how I felt. EXACTLY.
xo from CT,
.-= amanda´s last blog ..weekend. update. =-.
That was a powerful episode. And I totally get it. I hope you’re starting to find your way through this all, and that the shards of glass that are always around you right now are getting maybe just a little less sharp.
I think for those of us who haven’t lost anyone by the time we are able to connect with characters in movies/tv, it really does bring it home. I hadn’t lost anyone close to me in 29 years of life until my best friend suddenly dropped dead at 34 years old. (blood clot from a surgery no one knew she developed) I find myself in disbelief, even more than two years later – that I won’t be seeing her EVER again. That she won’t watch her son complete elementary, middle or high school. It’s so hard to understand that – she’s. just. gone. Now when I see scenes involving characters I have a connection with, it is almost unbearable. Wishing you success along the path you’ve been forced to follow
I am still so sorry that you and Mike have to go through all of this. This was a powerful entry, and I’m always amazed by your ability to share your pain with all of us in such a vivid manner. Your strength is inspirational, whether you feel strong or not, and Maddie is an inspiration as well.
.-= Jen´s last blog ..On the road again… =-.
I have been more than lucky to never has lost anyone close to me. This post reminds me of a specific scene in Steel Magnolias (do yourself a favor and don’t watch it) .
The movie is about an over protective mother, M’Lynn Eatenten (Sally Field), and her daughter, Shelby (Julia Roberts) who is a diabetic.
Shelby dies soon after giving birth to her first child due to complications of her diabetes, and M’Lynn’s life is shattered. Leaving the funeral with her friends, she walks away and cries and then one of her friends asks how she is doing and she replies:
I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m FINE! I can jog all the way to Texas and back, but my daughter can’t. She never could. O God, I’m so mad I don’t know what to do. I want to know why. I want to know why Shelby’s life is over. I want to know how that baby will ever know how wonderful his mother was. O God, I want to know why! Why? Lord, I wish I could understand!
I sob every time but it is an artificial pain because I have never lived through something like that. I can’t even imagine the pain, the horror of losing a loved one never mind your sweet, sweet Maddie. It doesn’t make sense, it never will.
.-= Shirley´s last blog ..The Blueberry Bush =-.
I’ve seen Steel Magnolias many times, although not in the last few months. But I know the scene, and I know the words Shelby’s mom speaks.
I completely and totally “get it.” I just wished we could make it all make sense…
I loved this post, because other than KNOWING EXACTLY what episode you are talking about…. i love that your thoughts and feelings are being worked out through this blog. You need to let it out. We are all here to listen.
Love you always.
.-= maya´s last blog ..Blog It Forward To Fight Hunger =-.
(((HUGS))) to you today Heather.
The 27th of this month will mark 4 years since my Dad died. He lived 50 wonderful years and I miss him with every ounce of my being. I know that my pain is different than yours. It is unnatural for a parent to lose a child first and I won’t pretend to understand entirely.
I ache for my Dad’s bear hug daily. I do know that over time the emptiness gets more believable and as time goes on you begin to accept your loss a little more but it never gets better or easier.
Eventually talking about that night helped me to cope, but for the first year, every conversation and day went by in a huge blur. Everything was either in slow motion or went by really fast. I was trying so hard to be the rock for my Mom & sister that on the one year anniversary of his death I had a break down and finally began to grieve for him.
I think that your writing is helping you in your grieving Heather. It is your outlet for your pain. I think it’s a beautiful thing that you are able to put pen to paper, so to speak, and share with us as much as you do.
I can relate to that Buffy episode entirely and I don’t think it’s “funny”. I often find myself examining shows that deal with the loss of a loved one and seeing if the writing is even close to real life. Some, like Buffy, hit it spot on and others, well, they miss it by a long shot.
As with every day, I am thinking of you, Mike, Maddie and Binky and sending thoughts and prayers your way.
Trisha from Florida
I do get it, and I have seen it. You all are in my thoughts today and every day. God Bless.
Courtney in New York
.-= Courtney´s last blog ..What do I want to do? =-.
As a devout fan of Buffy and also as a mother I understand and at the same time have as little answers as you do. I hear you though and can easily see how nuts and disorganized the world must look to you without your precious Maddie. I am here, listening, and like everyone else whose lives you touched, thinking about you daily.
.-= Connie´s last blog ..The List 1.6 =-.
One of the things that struck me when I first saw that episode was how raw it was. It was so real without the background music. And it showed how different people deal with their grief, the characters didn’t react the same way, which was also so real. Joss outdid himself capturing the pain of the moment.
I won’t pretend to understand how you feel. Everyone’s grief and situations are different. I do think that episode showed what is the same in grief, that unrealistic, everything jagged and isolated. How you see the world is just different.
Another beautiful post, and a beautiful little girl.
.-= Chrissy´s last blog ..The big day =-.
I know I do not really understand how you feel but I can imagine and I have cried for you many many times. I think of you daily and send you good vibes to help you through this time and to help you find a way to live.
Hang in there Heather, so many people love you and maddie.
.-= Angie´s last blog ..Death =-.
I loved watching Buffy. I totally remember that episode. I remember I sat there with tears rolling down my face, just as I am now. Hugs to you Heather.
I wish I had the why answers for you…I can’t imagine how debilitating the nagging questions must be.
I got my neighborhood March of Dimes package in the mail this week. I will be sending out letters to my neighbors asking them to support the March of Dimes…I will do so in Maddie’s honor.
I get it. I don’t understand completely, but I get the feeling. I was 17 when my mom died suddenly of a heart attack, there were no warnings no hospital visits, just one second she was there and the next it was just a body. We had plans for that weekend, the next week, and later that month. I was two months away from graduation and five months away from leaving for college. Seven years later there are still days that I think “what if”. Days that I still daydream about an “alternate reality”. I’m so sorry for your loss and I wish there were something more I could say to make it better. I know there’s not so just know that you’re not alone.
The crazy thing is I was just replaying this exact episode over and over in my mind over the past weekend.
I get it. I get what you’re saying and am glad that you can relate on some level to the episode.
Praying for you today.
.-= Dulce´s last blog ..Grandma Pavey =-.
I remember that episode.
Reeling, swirling and gray. Gut-wrenching.
Each of your readers carries a piece of your pain and longing – but it is nothing compared to the pain in your heart.
The light looks different now, not as bright, without her.
Hugs to you and Mike . . .
Anyone who’s lost someone special gets it.
I get it.
I just hope someday we get the explanation.
cindy w says:
I never watched Buffy (just the movie with Kristy Swanson, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t count), but I think I get what you’re saying.
Big hugs to you.
.-= cindy w´s last blog ..chicken curry, British style =-.
I’ve never watched Buffy, but everything you describe is exactly what I’ve been going through since my dad died in July.
Why? Where? What if we’d tried…..instead?
I did the things like staring at tops of heads and not hearing what was being said because I was just trying so hard to get through the moment, second by second, until I didn’t have to act and react and be social. I just wanted to sit and try to pull my head together.
Like if I had long enough to sit uninterrupted and just think about everything, carry through with my thoughts, I could maybe figure it out.
Heather, I can’t even think about what if it had been my child instead of my dad.
Much love to you and Mike.
There are only a few things that bring people closer together that I can think of… birth, death, and good television.
I get it.
Thanks for sharing your experience, because you’ve given me an understanding to so much that I felt was unresolved in my own life.
.-= Stefanie´s last blog ..Moments =-.
I had a similar experience when my Mother died. While we new her death was coming, we had no idea it was so imminent. She was in the very last stages of dying when I got in to see her on a Saturday morning. I knew I needed to be there, but the pain of seeing her that way is something I don’t think I’ll ever get over – honestly, I don’t even know if I’m capable of getting over it.
If it had been my own child instead of my Mother, I think they would’ve had to bury me with her. That you’ve made it this far with such a burden is a testament to your strength.
*Hugs* from NC
I always think of the cemetary scene in Steel Magnolias, a silly movie in a lot of ways, but the speech Sally Fields gives is so real and so raw and so on point with the thoughts and questions that go through our minds when we suffer loss.
I think you just go with whatever works, whatever it takes to help you get through the day, even if it’s a TV show about teenage vampire slayers,
.-= Jill´s last blog ..When the kids are away, the mom will… dye her hair? Really? That’s all you’ve got? Lame! =-.
I was a Buffy fanatic, and have all the seasons on DVD now. I recently watched that episode again, and cried threw the whole thing. I can’t pretend to understand the magnitude of the loss you and MIke feel. I do believe very strongly that someday we’ll get the why’s and how’s, and til then, I’m praying for your family and sending hugs your way.
Sara Joy says:
Oh, I get it.
As a former Buffy addict and a momma who had to say goodbye to her baby I SO get it. It’s so strange to me that the experience can be so similar, and yet to different for all of us. But i completely relate to seeing life in odd clips and angles and hearing things all odd and reacting in strange ways to things when you know what you should be doing.
And I hate that either of us ever has to have a clue what that feels like. I wish it could all just stay on TV.
.-= Sara Joy´s last blog ..Under the Influence =-.
I too didn’t get that episode. At all. Until my dad died…. I still love buffy to this day. I’m glad my husband gets it.
Have you watched steel magnolias? The monologue given when shelby dies by her mom…. I thought of you the last time I saw it…. there are no words…
I think of you, Mike, Maddie, and now Binky every single day, hoping that my good thoughts might bring you a little bit of peace.
I have been suffering from insomnia recently, and I often find myself on your Flickr page in the middle of the night, looking through your photos of beautiful Maddie. Getting to know this special little person through your eyes is a privilege. Thank you.
.-= Kate´s last blog ..Obligatory "Getting to Know You" post =-.
That is just what it is like: this disassociation with reality. Almost a psychosis (my Dr’s words, not mine) where you leave reality. Where you throw up because your emotions are too strong to be contained inside, so strong they make you sick. Where you see and hear but can’t understand what the words say. WHere everything seems like you’re watching through a video camera.
This is just what it is like.
Mary @ Holy Mackerel says:
I think you nailed it right on the head, all of it. And it’s anything BUT stupid to relate all of this to a tv show. It’s not stupid at all, because it makes total sense to you, and that’s all that matters.
And I can so relate to all that you’ve said. Although I haven’t lost a child, I’ve known many parents who have. The closest I’ve come is losing both parents, and that has been awful enough, so I can’t even imagine…
Take care. And know that I’m always thinking about you.
So I was visiting my very close childhood friend in Livermore yesterday…and we got to talking…I told her about you and she was like “yeah, I know about her daughter and I’ve read some of her blog”. She is a nurse in a PICU in the bay area who deals with preemie’s and she was part of a March of Dimes walk and head heard about your story before their walk. It was awesome and totally weird that even though we hardly get to see each other, we had YOU in common…That is so weird! She was like “how do YOU know her”? Weird….your story has touched so many, I’m honored to know you…
Yes, I get it. That episode aired shortly after my father died.
The other one that I really loved was an episode in the first season of ONCE & AGAIN, when Lily & Judy’s father died. They went through the coping with death, and the funeral, and now they had to take care of their mother… for my situation, it was accurate and still makes me cry.
Be strong- like an Amazon.
Which you are.
Thank you, as always, for sharing, Heather. This is another beautifully written post.
I get it. I get it. I get it. Deep down inside at that achey awful level of understanding that a parent can have of the horror, the pure horror of losing a child. Losing a parent was bad enough. I can’t fathom losing a child. We all wish we could put her back for you and Mike. We wish it real bad.
.-= Lisa-Jo´s last blog ..Ten =-.
Aunt Becky says:
Oh Heather. Jesus. I’m….just. Jesus. I know.
.-= Aunt Becky´s last blog ..But Never Broken =-.
Lisa from WV says:
Shedding many tears for you today and still praying for you and your family.
I haven’t watched, and probably won’t ever watch, the Buffy tv show (although, completely off topic and off mood, I love the movie).
I am sure there will be other movies that will remind me of you, that will help me understand, as well as I can from outside, where you are.
The other day I got a new CD for my son. In the middle of that CD is a version of the song You Are My Sunshine – a song I’ve always liked because it was so bright and cheerful.
This particular CD included a verse I hadn’t heard before.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away
The other night dear, while I was dreaming
I dreamt I held you in my arms
But when I woke, dear, I was mistaken,
And I hung my head and I cried.
Just typing this is starting my tears again. I haven’t been able to hear that song, to play the CD from start to finish, without thinking of you and of Maddie, and trembling a little at the thought of waking up in the night and having my son be gone.
Not a day passes without me thinking of you, whether it’s a glad or sad thought. Someday I hope we can meet so I can tackle you with all the hugs I’ve been saving up, and share some giggles – and tears – if the moment is right.
.-= Della´s last blog ..I suppose you really ought to know… =-.
Marti from Michigan says:
I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but never saw that episode for some strange reason. If you want to cry and get some grief out, and tears are very healing, watch the movie “Steel Magnolias.” She lost her daughter too.
HUGS coming your way.
I’ve seen the movie many times, I’ve never really been a fan, but that monologue has always stuck with me.
Marti from Michigan says:
There sure are a lot of difficult movies to watch out there. When I was grieving my baby all those years ago, I watched as many as I could to help me cry. It did help. “Ghost” was another tear jerker, as well as “Titanic.”
Thanks for responding to me, I still pray for you guys and think of you often. **HUGS**
I hate death. I hate that Maddie’s not there.
I never watched Buffy. However I still get this in a way.
I think that we relate to television shows, because most of us, when something horrible happens, haven’t ever dealt with it before.We look for ways in which to understand how we feel and what we think. I don’t see a thing wrong with it.
.-= Issa´s last blog ..Thank you Julie & Julia =-.
Heather, I so sorry that you have to feel this pain. I can’t say that I now the exact pain that you feel because I’ve never lost a child. I lost my Wonderful Dad to cancer 10/15/05, there is such a hole in my heart from that loss that can never be filled again. My dad had always wanted a grandfather clock and after putting in 35 years at his job he got one and he gave it to me for my house, it’s beautiful and I love to hear it chime. I’m not sure how long it was but not long I had to make a trip out of town when I got home the clock had stopped because I wasn’t there to wind it, that broke my heart I sat and cried for hours and as I sit here writing this I’m crying now it was like I had lost a part of him all over again. That same clock has stopped at other times since then and it still upsets me but not as it did then. I don’t really know why, but he had given it to me and I knew how much he always wanted on for his self, he would come over to my house sometimes and just run his hands over the body of that very clock. This clock will always hold a special place in my heart and home. My dad loved children and would sit under the shade trees and watch my granddaughter play before he passed with the biggest smile on his face, so I would like to think that he is sitting under a big beautiful shade tree watching your beautiful Maddie playing.
The pain will never ever leave but you learn to live with it.
I get it. I watched the episode a few months ago. For the first time, it was a few weeks after a friend of ours was killed in a freak accident. A totally healthy man who left behind his wife and two babies…and the thing is. Joss Whedon did a great job. I too am teased for loving Buffy but I think the show was important and about love and family and sometime kicking some ass because we all want to kick ass like Buffy.
Losing someone is weird camera angles and it is doing something and thinking, they’ll never do this, they’ll never see this, they’ll never be here again why?.
I get it….I do. and it sucks.
.-= brit´s last blog ..Weekend Rundown =-.
Can I just tell you how much your post touched me today??
My mom’s name is (was) Joyce..she died in 2001 after a long, brave battle with breast cancer.
I will be thinking of your post all day…
dear sweet heather…i am so so very sorry you have to feel this pain. i do not know what you are going through, i can’t imagine what you are going through. but i am here, listening, and wrapping you in hugs. and sending you and mike and maddie so much love, every day. xo
april in NJ says:
I loved Buffy and how well I remember that episode. Your post has brought it all back almost line by line. I’ve never experienced a deep loss so I don’t “get” it and I dread the day that I do. But I’m sorry that you’re getting it, have gotten it. Death is a mystery… I mean we know it’s part of life… but only when we’re old, right? That’s what 99% of us believe. But… from your experience and some other posters… I guess it can happen at any time. It’ll never make sense… but I guess it’s not supposed to. Hugs and love from NJ.
I also get it. And I remember that episode. I was a devoted Buffy fan. That episode made me cry too, and it’s the same thing for me – I watched it, I cried, I was sad…but it wasn’t my reality. Granted, I lost my grandparents, but that’s different. I mean, it’s a loss and it hurts and I cried and I was miserable. But they had a fabulous life. I still watch shows and cry when someone dies, but then I can change the channel. I can wish myself away from that. I hope to never live it. But as you have shown, reality changes SO quick!
Oh goodness yes. I saw this episode before and after my mom and sister died. It is spot on in image, sound, feeling – I’d say “pitch perfect’ if the whole damn thing wasn’t so imperfect.
Heather, Keep writing! I get it! I lost my Dad when I was 13 and that started it for me. Then my grandma, my niece (who was 1) and 2 of my brothers and in 2004 my mother. She was sick for 3mos before she passed, and every June – Aug. I’ve had to relive it all over and over. Some days I still say I gotta tell my mom something and just wish I can pick up the phone and tell her. Instead I talk out load, so that she can hear me! It sucks and it’s stupid! Sending you hugs! XX
I don’t say this lightly, but you and Maddie have changed my life. I am a mother of 3 small children and since finding your blog, and reading every day without fail, it has shook me to my core. Almost every time I find myself crying, for you and with you. My mind attemtps to find unity with what you have gone through, but obviously cannot because I have not gone through the hell you are living. But each time, I get even close to thinking about what it must be like, the overwhelming feeling of destruction in my soul is far too much to bare. And then I think, good God what must she be living through. Now I know and I am so crushed that you are having to live in *this* reality.
Heather, You are quite possibly the strongest woman I have ever encountered. You grieve with such grace, you live with such love and you give with everything you have. You are a great example for all of us.
Much Love and Big Hugs, Jenn in CA
My fiance made me watch that episode when my grandmother died. What struck me was the silence that filled that episode, and how perfectly the little things in life can be dumb-founding when you are in shock.
I can’t say I can see Maddie, because I don’t have magic powers. But I do know when I picture her, she is laughing that delicious laugh and plotting to bring you the happiness and love to you and Mike and Binky rather than the dumb-founding moments.
.-= Rachel´s last blog ..The One Where I (Might) Offend 2 of My 3 Readers =-.
Maria Delgado says:
Thanks for sharing this.
.-= Maria Delgado´s last blog ..AUGUST GIVEAWAY BLOGROLL! =-.
I had the same reaction Rachel (@10:30 a.m.) had– the silence in that episode was so profound. The episode, as a whole, really does get what it’s like to experience a profound loss. I’ve never been able to watch that episode again, frankly.
There’s no way to ever, ever understand it. I’m so sorry, again, for your terrible, incomprehensible loss.
.-= J´s last blog ..Quick thoughts on a Friday morning… =-.
I remember that episode, too. I remember the feelings I had watching it – how awful it was. Few TV shows can make me feel like that.
Hugs to you.
Lindsay from Florida says:
I think I get it. I never watched Buffy, but I loved Charmed (what some refer to as Buffy’s rival show, lol). Every time I watch the episode where two of the sisters lose their third, I cry. I’m one of three sisters myself, and I’m sure I’d be as devastated as the actresses portray their characters to be.
But, for who knows what reason, I’ve been lucky so far. I don’t personally know the pain of losing someone younger than a grandparent, and I am so incredibly sorry that you do. It’s not fair, it does not make any sense, it’s not “right,” and there is no explanation possible that could make me feel any other way. I’m sorry, Heather.
SEe, told you. People get it.
I understand and get it and you did this brilliantly, Heather.
My husband and I are rewatching the whole Buffy series and we’re getting towards the end of Season 5. Haven’t gotten to this episode yet, but I know it’s coming and I remember it.
It’s a brilliant show indeed. I’m so sorry you had to find out first-hand how spot-on that episode was.
Oh, and your writing is astounding.
.-= Katherine´s last blog ..Who are you and what have you done with the real Bill O’Reilly!??! =-.
Oh, Heather, that sounds just awful. I’m so sorry you have to go through this every day.
Have you read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion? She lost her husband and talks a lot about how her “magical thinking” helped her get through the first year.
I have never watched Buffy, but I feel exactly as you described. I lost two close friends ten years ago. The last year (I guess because of the 10 year anniversary) I’ve told them it’s time to come back. They’ve been gone long enough….too long. We had so many things to do. They’re missing so much….and we’re missing them so much.
Hugs to you!
Yup. That’s it.
You are a wonderful writer.
I’ve never watched, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and I’ve never in my life lost someone close to me, but; when I saw the series finale of, “Dawson’s Creek” where the character Jenn dies: “I was bawling like I knew her.” I am not going to pretend that I know what you’re going through or that I can even phantom the PAIN that you and your husband (and family & friends) are going through because I can’t. I just want to say that, “I’m sorry.” And I know those are just two words and no words could ever make anything better. But I’m saying them anyhow. I’m sorry for your loss (as cliche as it sounds).
I lost my mom at a young age a few years ago and can relate to the feelings you described. I wanted to post the lyrics to a song in the musical Wicked, which really touch me.
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend… ( you can change it to daughter, mom, etc.)
When I was pregnant with my daughter after my mom passed away I had strange thoughts like, “How can I grow another human being, but not create my mom again?” It is a struggle to lose the closest people in your life. I wish more than anything that your sweet Maddie was here.
It’s funny, I have actually thought about that episode of Buffy several times recently and also keep going back to Anya’s words. It is, in my opinion, one of the best written episodes that was made.
Although I have not yet experienced the grief associated with the loss of a child, it is a reality that I will have to face in the not so distant future. I guess you could say that I’m taking the long path on a journey that no mother should ever have to face. When my little girl was born there was nothing that could have prepared us for what was in store. For the first 4 years of her life, other than a slight speech delay everything was as it should be. When she turned 4 she began having some myoclonic seizures and what was only a few very quickly turned into so many more. One week before her 5th birthday we were given the words that no parent ever wants to hear. “your daughter’s condition is fatal, there is nothing we can do” Nothing can prepare you to find out that your child will not get to grow up. We were told that things would get bad, very quickly and in the 1 ½ years since her diagnosis we have watched in horror as the once pint sized peanut with a larger than life personality has faded away into a mere shadow of her previous self. And, although I can still lay kisses on her sweet head at night there isn’t a moment that goes by that I don’t long for what was. I would give anything to have her tear apart my pantry and torment her siblings, to hear her say mom and ask for more stories at night. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t wonder why it has to be this way, why they can’t just “fix” her, how our little girl could go from being so healthy and active to completely dependent upon us for everything. The understanding never comes, there is no way to wrap your brain around something so incomprehensible. Life has taken on a surreal quality as we try to cherish what we have for the moment, cling desperately to the pieces that are left, because we know that all to quickly they will be gone to and there will only be memories.
Sorry that this is so long, I just wanted to let you know that although I do not know you, I think you are an amazing person and truly appreciated the candour with which you share your story. Thank you, your words have helped me in so many ways. You, your beautiful Maddie are in my thoughts and prayers.
Patty B says:
I have never seen this episode, but now I will search every store and purchase every old episode of Buffy until I find it. I identify with just about everything in your post. When I first read that Madeline passed away, I thought back to my own experience and wondered if the sounds, words of sympathy from physicians and family members were similar to what you went through. I, too, remember the day my first-born daughter passed away, and remember what the room looked like and what people said to me, but I don’t remember how I sounded when I was told she was gone. That part is permanently on mute for me. I had thought maybe it was because of how much time has past – 19 years, but I guess not after reading today’s post. I know I’ve said this before here, but I’ll say it again. You will never get over it, but some day, you will be able to get through the days better and that one moment won’t completely define your life or Maddie’s short life. God Bless and stay strong.
I understand exactly what you mean. I was in fourth grade when my brother died, but I remember very vivid images of the day. I remember the soggy taste of my coco pebbles, i remember my father’s voice in many different tones than I’d ever heard, I remember feeling cold air as I talked to my mom as she stood in front of the fridge. But the thing I remember the most was this strange awkward, moving-in-a-circle- around-each-other hug my mother and I did. I picture it in my head, over 10 years later, as the dance Chip and Dale always did when they got excited. Our hands were on each other but our arms didn’t touch. There was no other contact. My mom was panicked and I didn’t know what to do and then she sent me to my room and I sat on the floor next to my bed, playing with paper dolls until a neighbor picked me up and took me to their house so I wouldn’t see the ambulance come. I had no idea what was going on, but all day the world ad his air of vividness, and I was just aware of everything. I still can’t decide if it’s a blessing to remember or to forget.
.-= Misty´s last blog ..side note =-.
Your post made me cry; it was so beautifully written. I’ve never seen Buffy but I’ll have to check out this episode. My father passed away almost 3 years ago… it was so very traumatic… and I was the one who told my brother he was gone… I’ll never forget the sound he made. My dad had been sick — he had pulmonary fibrosis — but wasn’t “really sick” until 2 weeks before he passed. I remember watching the Adam Sandler movie “Click” when he “flashes forward” and finds out his father had died… it was such a poignant seen for me. Another poignant show was Sex and the City, the one where Miranda’s mother dies.
I think of your beautiful Madeline often and have recently become a “Friend of Maddie’s.”
I usually proofread before I hit “send”… I do realize that I used the wrong homophone above… I meant to say “scene”… I’m still feeling emotional from your beautiful post.
I totally get it.
I sit here crying for you, Mike and your Maddie.
And I cry for me. I just lost my best friend to cancer. I cry for her 3 little ones who have no mother now…
And that’s it. We don’t know how it works or why.
Sometimes that satisfies me and I am as ok with it as I can be. And other times it just pisses me off.
I get it. I felt this way after losing my Aunt quite quickly and shockingly unexpected; the aunt who was more a mother to me than my own-and she was quite young to die. When I re-watched the season finale of Six Feet Under again, it hit me like a mac truck all over again.
Yeah; I keep hearing this, “I get it,” and it is so strue. I, too, get it. I have lost many people, but the best friend I ever had died four years, two months and 29 days ago and I still get hit like a truck with her passing, over and over and over again. I haven’t seen the show, but the feelings? Yeah, I get that.
I totally get it. Buffy is a fantastic show and Joss Whedon must have truly lost someone to be able to make that episode. I wish you didn’t have to know that same pain. I am going back to watch that episode today and I’ll think of you and Maddie. It doesn’t make sense that she is gone. It just doesn’t make any sense at all.
I get it. I love the show and cry everytime I see that episode.
I woke up one morning to my same old safe life and went to bed that night the next day with everything sad and changed. It is stupid and unfair!
.-= mythoughtsonthat´s last blog ..A Day For New Shoes =-.
it’s not funny. not even remotely. i remember thinking and asking those same questions when my beloved grandfather died unexpectedly many years ago. i don’t know how we go on. especially the parents. i think about you often and send all the uplifting feelings and hope and good thoughts i can muster in your direction. i hope, maybe, you can feel it at least a little. ((hugs))
.-= MommyNamedApril´s last blog ..Manic Monday… Snippets. =-.
As my breasts leaked milk, I just sat there and watched my shirt become soaked. Everything seemed to go in slow motion, yet went so fast.
It still feels like a dream, make that nightmare. One minute she’s fine, the next she’s dead.
This description you shared is perfect. Seriously perfect Heather. I wish that you didn’t have to know this pain.
I still think of what my life would be like if she were here. She’d be starting 1st grade this year. Unreal.
.-= Kim´s last blog ..Help with my KIDS! =-.
Heather, I get it. My 3 year old cousin died very unexpectedly just over 4 years ago. He became brain dead due to an accident, and his parents chose to donate his organs.
There was an episode of Grey’s Anatomy this past season where a little boy is brain dead and becomes an organ donor. I fucking howled.
He was not my son, so my pain has no comparison to yours. But I do know what it’s like to walk out of that hospital room and know that you’ll never see them again. To know that they will never go to kindergarten, high school or college, fall in love, get married, have babies of their own. It’s not fucking fair.
We usually do a Buffy Marathon during every summer… Besides Anya, the scene that breaks me is telling Dawn. There’s that moment when she looks in the classroom at Dawn. Those are the moments I remember- the freeze-frame of what I was doing before I was given the news.
I’ll never understand.
I love you.
I’ve lost people I loved, but not yet anyone really, really close.
My husband, though, he lost his father to a drunk driver two years ago. A healthy 54-year-old is coming home from work like he does every day, and then suddenly he’s lying in his car in a field. That whole week afterwards was just like that Buffy episode. For me, at least. He wasn’t my dad, but he was close. And my heart broke for my husband, too. I had to wake him up at 2:00 in the morning to tell him the news. So I get it, as much as I CAN get it. When I first saw that episode, I had to pause it over and over again to collect myself. My husband, too. It brought back all the feelings that we thought had healed because it was so, so REAL.
I can’t imagine what it has been like for you to lose your Maddie. She was so beautiful, and she seems so sunny in all the videos you’ve posted and all the stories you’ve told about her. Since I’ve started following your story, I’ve stopped complaining about my own baby so much. I hug her more tightly, spend whole afternoons just watching her play. I know this is probably no comfort to you, but I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy the enormous blessing I’ve been given, instead of whining about her teething or waking in the middle of the night. So, thank you for that.
.-= wallydraigle´s last blog ..Safety is overrated. =-.
I haven’t sent you a note in weeks but I’ve thought about you, Mike, Maddie and more recently, Binky everyday. Today on my drive home from work I told myself I would drop you a line today.
Just so it’s said aloud, I celebrate sweet Maddie’s life everyday. I think about her smile, the sound of her laugh (generously shared with us by you via this blog), and the way her beautiful eyes widen and her face turns very serious when pronouncing “Woooow!”
Heather, I get it. I really do!
.-= Patty´s last blog ..My sweet little lady… =-.
That episode had me bawling. I won’t pretend to get it, because by some stroke of luck or *something*, I haven’t had to. Yet. I lurk on your blog every single post, and rarely comment, b/c I don’t even know what to say. We had a scare with our daughter, and it just doesn’t compare. Just know that not a day goes by that I don’t think of your family, and my heart breaks a little each time.
.-= Megan´s last blog ..T-minus 12 days… =-.
I get it.
While I have never lost a child to death (has to be the worst pain as far as grieving goes if my parents are any indication :(, I have lost my beloved brother to suicide and my favorite, most loved and cherished friend/aunt to cancer. Within one short year.
It was completely overwhelming and so painful. It took me some time to get over and to be honest never will.
Just keep on taking it day by day, all you can do really. All the best to the two (soon to be three) of you. As always my thoughts are with you and your journey.
Yes. I get it.
Jayme Q. says:
I haven’t seen that episode of Buffy, though my sister used to watch it religiously. I do get it, though. My dad passed away when I was 16 and I’ve been reliving those moments a lot lately — the way you hear the rest of the world continuing with you, but you can’t figure out how they can all go on when your loved one is gone. And I kept thinking that he was going to call on the phone, tell me it was all a misunderstanding. I still imagine alternate scenarios, where things end differently.
((Hugs)) to you, heather. i, too, wish we could answer those questions.
we all cry with you . . .even thought we admitingly don’t exactly know how you feel.
you have a way with words
8+ years ago i lost 2 friends (23 yrs old and 22 yrs old) – 1 in the WTC and 1 from cancer and i spiraled down into a deep depression . . . . i can’t even begin to imagine what losing a child must be like . . . and i’ll be honest with you – i hope i never do.
i’m sorry you are going through this and i hope you find some strength in sharing your powerful words and in the fact that as short as it was, you seem to have given Maddie a really good life.
Heather, I continue to be inspired and touched by how you are managing to navigate the polarity between the joy of Binky and your grief over Maddie. Life has truly put you in an emotional place that so many of us can’t even begin to comprehend or understand… and you are doing an amazing job of getting through each day with such a continuum of emotions. I am so glad that your writing offers you an outlet for sorting through things. I hope you know that in doing so you offer us, your readers and friends, not only the opportunity to care about you and your family, but also the chance to sort out our own “stuff” as we read your words. I am a better person for “knowing” you and the pieces of life that I see through a new “lens” thanks to you. Thank you for being an inspiration and sharing your thoughts and feelings with all of us… and for being such an amzing example of what it means to survive in the face of loss and grief. Your words have a “ripple” effect that touches us deeply…
I forgot to add that I am so very sad to know from so many of the comments psoted here that so many people have experienced such profound grief… my heart aches for all of you. I appreciate your stories not only for the courage that each of you exhibit in telling them but also for making it through each day with the grief that you carry in your hearts and souls. I also need to add that, again, such stories make me count my blessings and hug my loved ones a little more often and a little more tightly… thank you for the reminders of how truly fragile life can be.
dysfunctional mom says:
I can’t say “I get it” because of course, I don’t, but I understand what you’re saying here. I remember when I was very young, our neighbor died, and my mom kept saying “But he was JUST HERE LAST NIGHT!” It’s so hard to fathom that someone is here and then they’re just…gone.
.-= dysfunctional mom´s last blog ..Weekend Wrap-Up & Stuff =-.
I never fail to choke back tears when reading your touching words.
I can’t say that I ‘get it’. I have never lost a child (I’m not yet a mom). I have lost people close to me, and it’s amazing the things you connect to – it’s TV for me often. I didn’t watch Buffy, but there was a Grey’s Anatomy where George’s dad died, and he was in so much pain, I was already crying when he said to someone “How do I live in a world where my dad doesn’t?” (or something like that) I sobbed … that resonated with me knowing the pain I’d felt when I’d lost loved ones. That, I got. Pain is universal. No one can know what it was like to be Maddie’s mom and love her the way you do. But you are not alone … lots of us strangers are pulling for you, praying for you and sending you good thoughts from all over.
Thoughts are with you, Mike, Maddie and Binky.
I get it.
My husband and I had a hard time watching that episode. His father had just suddenly passed away the year before. And it was EXACTLY the way we had felt and reacted, etc. I agree with you–best show about death and its effects on everyone.
I am so sorry you have to go through this. Often I think of you (and others with similar losses) and feel like Anya. It is so unfair!
that episode kills me everytime I watch it.
.-= Casey´s last blog ..day 7 =-.
Jennifer Dawn says:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was always a guilty pleasure (okay, maybe an obsession) of mine, and I agree, that episode was one if its best (if not THE). I have yet to go through the level of grief you have gone through, or Buffy went through that day, so I am ignorant to the true feeling off loss (as you were when you first watched the episode). But that episode always effected a little more than all the others and I never wanted to be in Buffy’s shoes.
I’m so sorry you are able to relate to this episode the way you do. It’s not fair, and I guess we’ll never understand “why”.
.-= Jennifer Dawn´s last blog ..imeem =-.
Miss E says:
I so wish I knew, too, friend. SO much. xoxo
.-= Miss E´s last blog ..So Excited! =-.
Already mentioned, but I’ve always felt this way about that cemetery scene in Steel Magnolias. My dad passed away when I was 11, and that scene has always come closest to representing how I felt then. It’s just too horrifying to put into words.
.-= Alicia´s last blog ..strange things are afoot at the circle k =-.
Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom says:
I’ve not seen the episode, but I can imagine from your poignant post what it must have been like. I try my best to avoid tv like that these days. I still replay the day my father died 6 years later – how he had just been at my house helping me hang pictures, getting the call, not being able to make it to the hospital before it was all over, seeing the expression on a mans face as he overheard me tell my husband over the phone what had happened. I can only imagine how your grief is compounded with the loss of a child.
I am still not very good at talking about it. Somehow it helps me to read your posts, though I never make it through with dry eyes.
Big hugs, Heather
.-= Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom´s last blog ..Recipes for vegetables that grow like weeds – Part 1 =-.
Joss Whedon has a way with heartbreaking moments. Big (hugs) to you.
.-= Rachael´s last blog ..Behind the Library =-.
That episode is so hard to watch, because it is so accurate. I remember hearing my mom cry like that when my grandfather died. I remember thinking about Anya’s upon hearing about a plane crash last summer with many of our friends on board. I love BTVS, but I can’t watch that ep anymore.
I get it. I’ve lost my mother. Many a nights I dreamt that she had faked her death so my brothers and I would financially be helped out…and in my dream I would recognize her in her “new” identity. I knew it wasn’t true. I knew my mom was gone….but it is how I coped.
I think you are doing a GREAT job of coping! Remember to take it day by day.
Hugs to you, Mike, Binky, & Rigby
.-= Dawn´s last blog ..Coming to Terms =-.
Heather, You never let us get away with thinking, “what a shame.” Your words have made the loss of Maddie so real to all of us. I understand just a small portion of what you must feel and it is almost too much to bear.
You need to write a book! Your painful thoughts captured me. You are a talented writer! I am sure I would throw up on myself at that exact moment if I lost one of my girls. Thank you for sharing your pain and honesty. I admire you so much for all you are dealing and with and you move through each day.
I remember that episode, since I’m a huge Buffy fan. I’ve watched all the episodes more than once, except for that one since it was so painful. And I get it. I’m sorry for what you have to go through each and every day.
I have watched that episode more than once… I am a huge Buffy Fan as well. Funny how we can make such a connection to a television show… but it is so meaningful. I cry each and everytime I see it. She is so strong but so vunerable. So human… so real.
You nailed it. That episode is exactly what it’s like to lose someone. I’m just so sorry you have to keep reliving it.
FWIW, I used to dream all the time, when I was in my teens, that my mom hadn’t really died. I would run into her at the grocery store or some other odd place and I would ask her how it was possible for her to be standing there and she would smile and say that she was still alive and then I would wake up feeling a mixture of sadness and relief. Eventually the dreams stopped. I think it’s your mind’s way of working through the grief.
.-= IzzyMom´s last blog ..Thanks for Nothing, Big Corporate Robber Barons =-.
I think Buffy is one of the most realistic shows ever made. Except of course for all the monsters.
I really hope that Joss Whedon has a chance to read this post.
.-= marty´s last blog ..To my dance partner =-.
Heather, this post was so beautiful…I too, get it. I am an ardent Buffy fan and was, back in 2001, when I first watched this episode. At the time, my mother was battling terminal cancer and I knew, as I watched it, that at some point in the near future I would be faced with my own mother’s death. Up until that time, I truly had never seen death portrayed in such a realistic and non-melodramatic way – without music, profound speeches or wise words, expected emotional responses, etc. I wept when i watched it, and was haunted by it. However, in a weird way, I feel like it somehow prepared me (albeit in a small way) for that moment the next year when I did lose my mom. We had kept her at home, and my dad and I were sitting with her. She was unconscious, her breathing uneven. I had noticed her nail polish was chipped, and so was repainting her fingernails, when my dad and I could hear a slowing in her breathing. My father and I looked at each other, and then she took a couple more breaths then…nothing. That moment, when she stopped breathing, has never left me. The fact that one moment, in one breath, she was alive and there and with us still, and the next she was gone from us, completely and utterly (I knew and felt this) was so strange…There is a physicality to death (the event itself, I mean) that I had never understood before, but that Buffy’s “The Body” captured so well. I know my experience does not compare to yours. I had my mother for 30 years, and losing a parent is a much more natural experience than losing a child. I am a mom for the first time, with an infant son, and my heartbreaks when I imagine your loss and how I would feel if it were my child…I just wanted to share why that episode resonates with me as well (I’ve seen it and thought about it many times since, and cry every time), and send you my best wishes…
You’re right, that episode (The Body) is absolutely amazing; and that moment when Anya – who is new to mortality, after all – breaks down is the pinnacle. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t tear up at that point.
Great post, Heather. I’m praying for you and your family every day.
.-= wordygirl´s last blog ..Dear Gwen: Month Sixteen =-.
I get it. Boy, do I get it. Tara’s explanation to Anya (That we don’t know how, or why) left me bawling even harder than Anya’s exasperation.