I did my family a disservice in yesterday’s post. They talk about Madeline often, and I know they miss her with all their hearts. I was just sad that, in our first gathering together since her service, no one mentioned her. Including me. I do realize that the onus of talking about her lays on me and Mike. And I understand that no one knows how to act or what to say for fear of upsetting us. I have the same fears you all do. I don’t want to be a downer. I don’t want to upset the people that are also missing Madeline. I don’t know how to act or what to say most of the time, either.

But I do know that I want to talk about Maddie. Talking about her makes me feel better, I don’t want anyone to think they can’t mention her. If we don’t, it’s like she was never here. And she was here. She was here, and she mattered so, so much.

I will tell you the one thing I don’t like, the one word that makes me cringe, the only word I just can’t say or write. I prefer the term “passed away” instead of the word that starts with D that means the same thing. You know, it rhymes with “head.” I know I’m picking a tiny bone, but I cringe every time I hear it or read it. So yeah…just avoid using that word around me, and we’ll be golden.

My friend Christi sent me a text today sharing a memory she had of Maddie. It was a moment that I didn’t witness, part of a larger memory of a fun lunch the three of us spent together. Little stories of only a few words can make such a difference in my day. At the moment her text arrived, I was sitting in the car crying over what could have been. After I got her message, I was smiling over what was.

It’s amazing what a life preserver words can be. In so many ways.