Sometimes I worry that when I write about my grief, all of you roll your eyes and go “we get it, ugh.” And I’m so lucky that for the most part, all the comments and emails I get are so kind and loving and supportive. You all buoy me, you really do.
And then I’ll get the comments and emails that say, “I pray you get better for Annabel,” or “poor Annabel, having to grow up with a mother who can’t get over it,” and other sentiments with the same theme.
As if grief is a disease with a cure, and the death of a child is something a mother should just get over.
I don’t know what some people expect – that I will just never think about Madeline again? That I won’t miss her, or wonder what she’d be doing at that very moment? That I’ll just pretend she never existed?
I will do my best to make sure my grief for Madeline will never negatively impact Annabel’s life. Ever. And anyone who thinks it will is flat-out wrong.
I don’t deny that my grief does affect Annabel. I touch her more, kiss her repeatedly, hug her extra, play with her longer, and tell her I love her constantly.
So for those of you that worry about what kind of parent I am to Annabel, let me put your minds at ease – I am a kick-ass parent. My daughters are loved to the ends of the universe and back, and they know it. And if I am lucky enough to have another child someday, he or she will know it too.
Prayers and love and hope and laughter are always welcome here. But you don’t have to pray over how I’ll raise my perfect, spunky Annabel. Don’t worry, she’ll be just fine.
Hi Heather, as a long time reader I am really surprised that anyone could even think that your grief could affect Annabel in a negative way. It is so obvious from your posts and photos that Annie is a very happy and loved child and that you do the amazing job of raising her that way while still grieving for Maddie. I am constantly amazed by your strength and courage and love (and the same goes for Mike).
Thank you for sharing the good and the bad with us.
All the best, Rike
Agree with this 100%
Agreed here too! You rock as a mom to both your girls. You exude love for your girls.
Not everything in anyone’s life is always sunshine and rainbows, yet we manage to raise happy healthy kids when we put them first. And that is what you do. Annie is a lucky little girl to have you and Mike as parents and she has her sister watching over her.
Kelly Merritt says:
My thoughts exactly. You guys are amazing. Those people are obviously not reading the same blog I am.
Ditto, in your shoes I would crumble. You’re both amazing parents.
Completely agree!! You are obviously a terrific parent – with or without your experience with mad die that’s what you were and always will be!!!
Yes, this!!! My thoughts exactly…. Through your pictures and words (and videos!) anyone with half a brain can see that Miss Annabel is one of the most loved babies on the planet. Amy little girl (or boy) would be lucky to have you as their mommy. I am so grateful that your daughters both get to be loved by someone as amazing as YOU!!
Well said Heather. You are and ALWAYS will be a great mother. And you NEVER have to get over losing Maddie.
I could not comment on the AZ posts, because my heart ached so for you & yours. Words fail me with raw emotions, sometimes.
Your words, well I am sure many times insufficient, paint a clear picture of your grief and loss. I am glad you have this method to let some of the pain out.
Your photos of Annabel convey what a loved and lovely child she is. Her security in your love is evident in every shot. Your words and stories do too, but in words you can safely reflect on the what-ifs and what-should have-beens.
No one is born into a family without some history, some baggage, some underlying issues that impact their parents style of parenting.
As I wish, and knowing how futile it is, that this isn’t the back-story your family was dealt with, I also, at some level, feel for the children of the people so “compelled” to comment on your choices. How sad for those kids to grow up in families so impacted by hate, self-centeredness, and the sure knowledge that their way is the only acceptable way to imagine things.
No matter if you had Annabel or not, you’d grieve for Maddie all the same. You are not taking away from Annie, you are adding to her life in that you are letting her know who her sister is.
Grief doesn’t go away. It lessens over time, yes. But it’s not like a bad cold, and one day you wake up and think, “I feel so much better!” You have good days. You have bad days. Mike has good days. Mike has bad days.
I don’t know. I stink with words. But overall, I think from my non-professional view of you, a person I only know from this blog and your FB, that you are handling this quite well. And *I* appreciate your honesty. I have referred more than one friend to your blog when they have lost a baby. I am sad to do it, sad for you and them, but in a sense grateful you are here.. because you’ve helped many understand this a bit more through your honesty!
Well said, Heather. You’re amazing.
I think you’re very right in categorizing those comments as misguided. And it’s unfortunate that people fail to realize that you’ll never “recover” or “get better.”
I’ve not only lost a child; I grew up as the child of a mother who had lost a child. And to be honest, I don’t believe that it’s possible for a mother’s grief to leave her other children unaffected in a negative manner.
My mother was devastated — obviously — by the loss. And while it wasn’t like she moped around or anything, there was always an underlying sadness; a piece of her was missing and that was always evident to me, from a very, very young age.
As a child, I always felt a bit helpless when it came to my mom. I felt sad for my mother. I felt inadequate at times; like I wasn’t good enough; like I could never bring true happiness to my mother. (I now realize I was right.) I also felt a very tangible “something’s missing” feeling, though like Annie, I never met my sister.
My mom’s grief most certainly affected me in a negative manner, though she tried her hardest to prevent this.
The thing is, I can’t imagine it being any other way. Just as you said — what can a parent do? Forget about the child? Just stop grieving one day? Impossible.
Based on my own experiences, I believe that no matter how hard she tries, a mother’s grief will profoundly affect her other children, and it will affect them negatively in many ways.
But I can also say that my mom rocks. Like you, she’s a kick ass mom; the mom we all want to be.
And sure. Her grief had a very negative impact on me as a child. But it didn’t ruin me by any means — it was just one of many difficult life experiences. Nor did this make her a bad mother. Her grief also impacted me in many positive ways, and I learned a great deal from her grief.
I just wanted to share my perspective with you. I hope you’re open to the possibility that despite your every effort, your grief may very well have a negative impact on Annie at some point in her life.
In my opinion, it’s unavoidable. (And extremely difficult to accept.) But it’s okay because in addition to the negative impact on Annie, that grief will also bring many good things to her. She’ll grow up with perspective, with an example of what it means to live with grief and the inevitable losses in life, with an example of true strength.
Well said, Em. I’ve often wondered about what you wrote above; what its like for a child of a parent who lost another child once they are old enough to be aware. Thanks for that perspective.
Heather, it always boggles my mind that people feel compelled to pass judgement on the lives of others, especially in a forum like a blog where the rude commenters obviously don’t know you personally. And I think its clear whomever said those misguided words has never been in your shoes. Otherwise, they’d know “getting over it” is no more possible than hugging the moon.
well, I look at my mom and my aunts and uncle. They lost their brother. And they tell me that they never felt impacted because of their mother’s grief. They had their own grief over their brother, but they never felt their mother’s (my grandmother). She’s my role model
I would think that you absolutely brought your mom true happiness – Annie makes me so happy, I can’t even express it properly. But LIFE has made it so we can’t be truly happy as a whole – does that make sense?
Anyway, I totally get what you’re saying, and I SO appreciate you commenting!
See, I think it’s hard to put these things into words, but I can try….
I think the key in my situation, at least, is the fact that I never knew my sister. I think it would be very different had I known my sister.
The grief I have for my sister — whom I never met — is a very unique kind of grief. I’ve come to realize that it’s not grief for an actual person so much. While I do have my mom’s stories about my sister, photos and a handful of videos, I never knew her. It’s hard to grieve a person you never knew.
As an adult, I’ve come to realize that I grieve the possibilities that were lost — I lost out on having an older sister (I’ve always wanted a sister; I ended up with a younger brother. *LOL*) and the relationship that I might have with her today. But as I said, it’s a very unique kind of grief; to grieve someone you’ve never met and only imagined.
For those reasons, most of my grief is actually directed toward my mom — in part, because she’s more tangible to me. I grieve for my mom’s loss (especially now that I’ve lost a child as well.) And while I know I’ve brought my mom indescribable happiness and according to her, I “saved her” and gave her reason to carry on at a very difficult time in her life (she told me all this as an adult), I’ll forever feel that same twinge of helplessness that I felt as a child.
My mom will never be completely happy, because the piece of her that is my sister is missing from her life. She will always be profoundly affected by Bethany’s death; she will always have that sadness and grief. No matter how hard I try, or what I do, I can never change that. But it’s in my nature to *want* to change that. My mother is so awesome and I love her so much. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wished that I could take that grief and pain and underlying sadness away from her — bring her true happiness — at least for a moment. But it’s just not possible.
Anyways, it’s complicated and I’m not sure I’ve explained it properly, but I tried!
I really really appreciate everything you have said – our back and forth has helped me SO much!
I hope the following words will speak to you…
Please Be Gentle
By Jill B. Englar
“Please be gentle with me for I am grieving. The sea I swim in is a lonely one and the shore seems miles away. Waves of despair numb my soul as I struggle through each day.
My heart is heavy with sorrow. I want to shout and scream and repeatedly ask ‘Why?’
At times, my grief overwhelms me and I weep bitterly, so great is my loss. Please don’t turn away, or tell me to move on with my life.
I must embrace my pain before I can begin to heal. Companion me through tears and sit with me in loving silence.
Honor where I am in my journey, not where you think I should be. Listen patiently to my story. I may need to tell it over and over again. It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss.
Nurture me through the weeks and months ahead. Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable.
A small flame still burns within my heart and shared memories may trigger both laughter and tears.
I need your support and understanding. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. I must find my own path.
Please, will you walk beside me?”
It’s very clear that you have many walking beside you every day as you share your journey with us! You give us all hope that we too could possibly survive such enormous pain should we ever be forced to do so. You’ll only be a better mom to Annie because you have Madeline ever present on your journey with you!
My grandmother lost her oldest son when he was a teen. My dad was 10. She never grieved for him; she pretended like he never existed. She has always been unhappy and bitter.
To say this impacted my father is an understatement. He really doesn’t understand emotions. Grief scares him. His father recently died, and I saw him cry for the first time.
When I read your blog, I wonder how things would be different if she had been able to grieve. I wonder what he was like. I wish she was able to speak of him the way you speak of Maddie.
In reply to Ee:
See, I’m not so sure when you say she “never grieved for him.” It sounds to me like she grieved very, very deeply for her son.
I think it’s *very* important to remember that everyone grieves differently, and it’s not always in the healthiest of ways.
Personally, I’ve lost a child. I’ve gone through phases where I simply could not talk about my daughter. It was just too much, overwhelming in knowing that she was gone. I worked through that with several years of therapy, and I can now talk about her with certain people.
Same with photos — I cannot deal with photos of my daughter taken during “everyday” life. I have some beautiful studio shots that I display prominently in my home. But I cannot look at photos from everyday life (i.e. photos from a trip to the beach, a picnic, her after a messy dinner, etc.) — just too overwhelming. I just break down.
Granted, I’m working through this all in therapy. But you have to remember that years ago, therapy was limited to the mental ward.
Had therapy *not* been available to me, I wouldn’t discuss my child either. But I worked hard because I *wanted* to overcome this, but the process of working through it is *extremely* painful.
I guess my point is this: grief has many different faces. For instance, the grief’s manifestations in my life are very different from grief’s manifestations in Heather’s — who finds solace in the photos and talking about Maddie.
Plus, you can never truly “know” another person’s experience. Perhaps your grandmother felt the need to be strong for her family, perhaps her definition of “strong” did not involve crying, losing control due to emotion, etc. Perhaps talking about her son was just too much — it was certain to make her break down. Therefore, she avoided talking about him because she felt the need to be “strong.” It’s just one possibility. But it wouldn’t mean her grief was any less (or non-existant!)
We need to be respectful of this difference in grieving styles. And we must be careful to avoid passing judgment. Grief has many stages and those stages occur at different times for different people. Each person’s reaction to grief will be unique.
*steps off soap box*
Sorry ’bout that. I just get a little nuts when people assume that an inability to talk, view photos, etc. equates to the absence of grief. I hope I’ve helped you understand a bit. It’s all very hard to explain.
katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
Dang…what’d I miss? I can’t believe someone actually made a comment like that!
You are the most awesome parent that I know. Both you and Mike. I just want to put on the boxing gloves and go at anyone who dares to say differently.
People say stupid, insensitive things. Sometimes, they are said without malice. Truly, just people not knowing any better, not knowing they are being hurtful. And then other times…they are said just to be cruel. Those are the people you just have to wonder about. I mean…just sad, pathetic people who obvious lead sad, pathetic lives.
Oh Heather. I’m sorry someone said those things to you.
My friend’s oldest son would have been 9 years old yesterday, but he passed away in a car accident at the age of three. Yesterday was his birthday, and you know what? His family celebrated him, as they do every year. He has an older sister who he lived with for 3 years, and now he also has two younger brothers who had never met him because they were born after he passed away. Those siblings might not get the chance to be raised with their brother, but they are being raised with his memory. He is a part of their family and will always be. There is no “getting over” Kyle, and there is no “getting better” from his death. It is something that his parents live with every single day. They think about him every single day. And you know what? They are awesome parents every single day.
Anyone who reads your blog…anyone who knows you in person…should be able to see what a happy baby Annie is. And how well she is loved and taken care of. And how you are not wallowing in self-pity or depression. And how you are not neglecting Annie in any way. And how that baby is loved and played with to the fullest. All those Spohr Videos starring Annabel…I mean, come on! Talk about a FUN and functioning family!! YOU are IT!
To say “poor Annie” about anything is just so stupid. Just really, really cruel and stupid.
I don’t understand the negative people. All I Know is I LOVE to read your blog as every aspect of it is REAL. The Good and the bad, the happy and the sad. No one is perfect, and no one is happy 100% of the time. I think by your and Mike’s blog post that you two are doing a fenominal job at raising your kids and I can’t get enough of the Amazing Annabel videos and Rigby too. lol. Keep doing what you are doing cause you inspire me and I am sure many others.
OOHh Sweetie!!! What a bunch of Dumb Asses!!! I find your post to be so upsetting! I can HONESTLY tell you, that has NEVER, EVER entered my mind. In fact, I would feel AWFUL if you acted like Maddie never existed but I know you would never do that b/c as much as it’s a cinche, it’s true…LOVE NEVER DIES!!! And, we ALL know how much you LOVE Maddie AND Annie!
As for kids growing up with a disease, well….my kids DO have a sick mommy. They know it, see it, feel it and live it. As much as I cry, regret, wish, pray I will never let my illness influence their childhood; I would be crazy to think otherwise. OF COURSE IT AFFECTS THEM. I am their mommy and they love me, just like Annie loves you. Do I wish it were different? Of course, but it’s life Heather….it’s MY life – just like remembering, grieving, longing for and LOVING Maddie is YOUR life. It is what it is.
I did have to smile when you said how you shower Annie with love b/c I do the EXACT same thing with my kids and now that they are older, they do the same with me and EACH OTHER! People ALWAYS compliment us on how much empathy they have for others and how loving they are to people they love, not to mention the kindness they show to everyone.
I’ve come to realize (and I sure hope you do too), b/c my children are growing up with some adversity, it doesn’t defy ANY of us! In fact, as my own therapist says, “Think of it as a life lesson/GIFT in compassion, empathy and love”. I think that is exactly the same qualities you are teaching Annie with your love and grief for Madeline.
It’s simple…LIFE IS NEVER PERFECT – for some us it’s down right cruel but it’s what one chooses to do with those circumstances that makes the difference.
B/c of Maddies passing, Annie will grow up learning empathy for her mom and dad who are maybe sad one day. She will know love, not only b/c you shower it upon her but also b/c you love Maddie and Annie will be HUMBLE!!! She will get a life lesson many kids don’t get, and that is to cherish life and appreciate EVERY day with the ones you love. So often people who have not face adversity, take that for granted…and rightly so, they honestly don’t know any different. She will also learn courage and the art of giving through “Maddie’s friends” and “The March of Dime Walk for Babies”. How can ANY of that be a BAD thing?!?! How can ANYONE have the need to pray for Annie b/c of THAT?!
Of course Annie is affected but it doesn’t and it ISN’T a negative thing and she is NOT damaged by it ! You ARE a great mama Heather, and Mike is a GREAT dad. I see it in your pictures but also in your actions, your words….your eyes. I am proud and honoured to know you and I would trust you with my own kids (and believe me… I do NOT take that lightly).
By loving Maddie, you are teaching Annie how to love unconditionally….and that Sweetheart…that will NEVER, EVER be a bad thing!!
I am so sorry that you get those comments. I am even more sorry that there are people in the world who really feel that way. How do you “get over” the loss of a child? Why would you want to, if “getting over” was akin to pretending she never existed? You and Mike lost a huge part of yourselves when Maddie passed. Of course that impacts you. I also think it will impact Annie. She is a second child missing her first born sister. I think she will also frequently wonder how life would be different with Maddie there, just like you. I think it is a natural state. “getting over” is completely unnatural.
Anyone who really reads and understands your words knows that you are a kick-ass mother. Honestly, when I read some of the things you and mike get up to with your girls, and particularly when I watch your funny videos, I hope that when the time comes, my boyfriend and I will be as good as you two.
There are so many well articulated comments here that say everything I wanted to say. So just add this one to the list of your supporters! Keep doing what you do, because you are truly an inspiration to so many parents, including me.
(Oops, computer user malfunction)
I read your blog just about every day, and you continue to amaze me with each post. You’re lucky to have the outlet for the grief, happiness, fears, and love that come with raising a family and experiencing a loss most of us can not relate to, via this blog. Sure, we love when Mama Spohr is revelling in toddlerhood- you’re a funny bitch. But what draws me in is your unflinching honesty about ALL that life presents to you and Mike. Never stop what you do (especially the nifty hair tricks); I know you will always love Maddie and cherish her indescribably, but I also know you do the same for that beautiful chub monster Annie. You rock, girl.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe the grief and difficulty life throws at you. To call it a curveball is a gross understatement. But you are awesome. You are strong, and confident, and not only an amazing mother and wife, but you are a tremendous role model for thousands of women who read your blog and gain strength and resolve from all of the powerful energy you put into the world. You have given the world an enormous gift by putting yourself out there, and all of your realness and life that comes with it.
I hope that when I have children, I can be the type of mother you are – awesome, ass-kicking, honest, and a true role model.
Oh sweetie, pay them no heed… Annabel is LUCKY to have such a wonderful mom!!
I find you very balanced and optimistic… Hey, my children are alive but even I, sometimes, find it hard to breathe or am in a panic, just thinking that my boy has special needs and how hard it was to get pregnant, stay pregnant and deliver him alive… I think it is normal, but people who never have gone through it, just won’t understand (I have lost two babies before they were born as well).
BTW Annabel is such a hoot!! And I still think she looks like Mike (but she definitely reminds me of Maddie too!)
I never knew you or Maddie, but I came here to support you after her passing and stayed to watch Annie grow. I love to see Maddie in posts! I can only imagine what it feels like to lose a child (I have two myself) and I wouldn’t wish for you to “get over it,” ever. I just can’t believe the coldness those shrews try to fling at you over this! Just imagine that we are all around you guys and are your shield. You have enough to deal with, let us fight this battle for you.
Heather, how awful some people can be… you will be teaching Annie about LOVE when you teach her about Maddie. She is so lucky to have you, you have the strength of a lion. Don’t let anybody tell you different. You have survived the worst thing on earth, and the fact that you choose to LIVE every day is a testament to how wonderful and strong you are. Please don’t let stupid people get you down. Annie is SUCH a lucky girl to have you. All of us carry burdens, as did our parents. Your children will learn how to be strong from you and Mike. We love you.
mary c says:
Well said!! You do kick ass! Good thing those people haven’t gone into cardiac arrest, because its pretty hard to fix a cold stone heart.
Heather, don’t let a few foul smelling people ruin your day. They just have nothing better to do! I think that you are a great mommy! Have a great day with your family!
VERY well said, Heather! It’s so easy for those who are not bereaved parents to judge!
I’ve also never understood why people think we wouldn’t think of the child we have lost. I think about my son as much as my girls. The only difference is that I don’t get to see him at the end of each day. Bottom line is, he’s still an important part of my life and always will be.
Especially as more time goes on, people get more uncomfortable when his name is brought up (do you find this?). I guess i’m the only one thinking about him that much?
And people would then try to redirect me, “You have the girls to think about”….yeah, that’s true, how does that change my right to think about the son I gave birth to? It’s like I would forget if you remind me about my girls? They miss him too, but like you, I don’t let this loss negatively impact them.
Who cares what these people think–you know who matters in your life, and it isn’t people who don’t get it.
Peace and love to you and yours
I’ve been reading this blog for a very long time. Never, not once, has it even occurred to me to worry about Annabel. I see children getting slapped in Target, people out in the world calling their little ones “stupid”, kids who are not dressed warm enough. I don’t understand how anyone could think that your love for Annabel could somehow be diminished by your love and grief for Maddie.
Well i write to you from the other side of the world, i don’t know you or your family in person but i follow your blog since Matt Logelin referred to the story of your beautiful Maddie. i dare say that you and Mike are wonderful parents to your daughters and you write wonderful descriptions of your everyday life and feelings. and you are wonderful because you are real. maddie will always be missed and Annie and other future kids of yours will be loved and cherished as well.
Pay those people no attention. They have no clue. You are doing a wonderful job. My brother died 8 years ago. My parents will grieve his death for the rest of their lives. I would think it very strange if they didn’t.
You are a kick-ass mom and Annabel is a kick-ass kid!! Anyone that thinks any less obviously doesn’t know you!! One day I hope to smother my “future” children with the love that you show your beautiful girls!! Love you to pieces!! XOXO
Objectively speaking, it is hard for those who have not had this experience to see that you are *not* dwelling on Maddie because the words of grief *are* consuming. That is the reality of grief. Some days are better than others to be sure. But you have a blog that lets you express it and it’s natural for people to presume things from the outside looking in.
I will say that it’s been difficult for my other kids to know there was someone before them whom they never saw, touched. Though they would never admit it to me, they have no real connection to that sibling as I did to my child.
You just have to do what you need to. Forget what others think they know. You will all be just fine!!
Jenny Greene says:
Ignore those assholes. They’re attempting to take the pain and hurt in their own lives and push it off on you, as if you don’t already have enough.
Grief is not negative. It’s love in it’s rawest form. So you just keep hugging and kissing that sweet Annabel. She’s a lucky, lucky girl to have you as a mama.
See, I’m not sure they’re assholes. Everyone is calling these commenters “assholes” and “idiots” and negative jerks.
Perhaps I’m just pollyanna-ish, but I don’t view those commenters as negative or assholes. I imagine they probably have very good intentions and they only want for Heather to find happiness. To wish one could be free of profound grief and sadness and to *expect* it are two very different things.
They don’t understand. They’re misguided for certain. But I don’t view them as assholes, or filled with negativity. I think they’re just a bit uninformed.
Hopefully, Heather’s post and a healthy dialogue can inform them!
I agree – most of them are full of good intentions. But believe me, there are people who DO mean it to be negative. Thankfully, they are in the minority (and I rarely put those sorts of comments through, although I read their emails).
Tracy Y. says:
All anyone has to do is look at a photo of your beautiful Annabel and see the twinkle in her eye and the happiness that she RADIATES to know what a KICK ASS mama you are!
Mary Ann says:
It always amazes me how stupid people are. Seriously, if you don’t have something positive to say then keep it to yourself. Heather and Mike you are the most amazing parents and Annabel is lucky to have been born into your loving extened family. How sad that people have to comment on your emotions. My neice was born six months after I lost my father. We were all still greiving, and crying nearly every single day. She is now almost six and the happiest most carefree child I have ever met. She helped us more than she will ever know, but our feelings never affected her. She was the one who gave us our smile back. I’m sorry for the jerks that feel the need to leave negative comments on your board. I know it’s hard to ignore them but you should, they haven’t walked in your shoes. Thinking of your sweet family and hoping the next weeks fly by with only happy memories.
As someone that has actually seen you interact with your family, you are a kick ass mother. Like for real. The videos and photos you post of Annie and Mike are the real deal. You always have her with you, and you just love on her so much.
Annie is so lucky to have you as a mother. Anyone would want you as a mother.
You and Mike ARE amazing, wonderful, loving parents to your girls! May you always know how deeply your story has affected me and so many others. I will say it till the ends of the earth – you are an inspiration to all and Madeline, your precious, beautiful girl is a beloved treasure to us all. Every November and April my heart aches for you and I pray that you feel the warmth of everyone’s love for you and your family.
I’ve never commented but read everyday. All I have to say is WOW, some people… You ARE a kick-ass mom and we see how much Annie is loved every single day.
You are a kick ass mom! I am inspired by your words and strength!
Jill Sarven says:
YOU GO GIRL…well said to that…how anyone could even suggest that you would do that..they haven’t sat and laughed or cried with you on your blogs…. Great mommma to TWO beautiful girls….
have a GREAT DAY
Jill Sarven aka Preschool teacher…….. you brighten my days…
It’s VERY obvious from your blog that you are a kick ass parent – to both of your girls. The people who write crap like that are… (Charlie Sheen ruined it)…. trolls. If you didn’t talk about your grief, they would be criticizing you for forgetting about Maddie and getting over it too quickly, they are just the types of people that look for negativity in the world, and you are so right to say that they are misguided. You are awesome and brave for sharing yourself with the world, and I’m sorry that sometimes that results in having to listen to people being cruel. There are a lot of us who admire you and send nothing but loving prayers your way!
Momma Uncensored says:
it is no one’s business how you deal with grief!!!
of course you love the belle and are a good mother.. you are still a person made up of mixed emotions and moods like the rest of us.
shame on someone writing you comments that evoke pain and suffering.
Word! Big hugs from me to you and big ass whoppings to those who just don’t get it.
My mom lost her son, born before me, about 35 years ago. She thinks of him constantly. We grew up knowing we had another brother looking over us. Maddie is and she will continue to.
Anyone who writes those things and thinks your grief is impacting your daughter is crazy! This frustrates me so bad! You are a mother grieving a daughter and while I do not know what it is like to be in your shoes I’m betting these people who write this inconsiderate comments do not either! Ugh!
You are a wonderful mother to both Madeline and Annabel! I would like to think that the people who write these comments are not like the majority of people who read your blog and want to support you!
Erin W says:
I’m shocked that people would actually say those things!!! The nerve!!! There always has to be a few rotten eggs doesn’t there? Just know that isn’t the opinions of 99.999999999% of us. You ARE a great mother to two beautiful daughters!!!!!
ATTENTION TO THOSE CRITICAL OF HEATHER: Until you have walked in Heather’s shoes, you cannot even begin to fathom the heartbreak that she and Mike have endured. They will not and SHOULD NOT ever stop talking about Madeline. Her life is something that should be celebrated.
I think you are a great mom. You are absolutely hilarious.
Very well stated, Heather. I am so glad you put those people in their place. Who are they to judge how you deal with grief. I’m sure that they have never been in your shoes. Maddie should never and WILL NEVER be forgotten. I can’t imagine who would think it would be better to move on. You seem like an amazing mother to both of your girls!
I disagree with Em, I lost my first child and had 2 more. My kids are just about grown now – 18 and 15 and I would bet money that they did not feel the impact of my grief. Maybe at times they did on his birthday or the day he died but overall, they are happy, well rounded kids. They talk about him, about how cool it would have been to have an older brother, what he would have been like etc…but please don’t feel that it will negatively impact Annabel. She will be just fine! Your a great mom!
Kawaii Nail Art says:
I think Annie would be affected more if her parents pretended that Maddie never existed. Having an outlet for your grief is much more healthy. Ignore them. They are blessed to have no idea what grief is.
Kim Hartman says:
I have only tears reading this.
I lost my son’s identical twin when he was 7.5 months gestation, I had to carry both for the term that I could make it….33 weeks.
People have actually said to me, in the colic year…..”Aren’t you glad you dont’ have two?” I know your pain, in some fashion, and I bow down to how you are raising your girl with the bright memory of her sister, as it should be. We talk about our lost boy, our Jonathan alot…and that won’t change. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder how life would be different for ALL of us, had he survived and been growing up with his brother.
Your entire family is loved, know that.
Keep on doing what you are doing, it’s obviously working MAGICALLY.
UGH. People are so stupid. I’m so sorry.
Amy Collen says:
The famous one I got after having twins (and after my sweet Noah died) was, “Hey at least you still have Sam.” People amaze me sometimes.
@Kim and @Amy – I also lost my first born’s identical twin during gestation and carried both to term. We named our lost son Noah also. To this day I hate the word “twin.” And I hate the comments about “at least you still have Brandon” or “can you imagine how hard it would have been to have two?” I try really hard to take the high road and believe they have good intentions when they say these words. But here I sit a little over 5 years later and it still hurts. We had another child 22 months later and I often wonder if my littlest man would have been conceived if Noah had lived. And it’s hard to live with that kind of grief twinged with guilt. We do talk about Noah every night and his is the first ornament hung on every Christmas tree, right in the middle, in front. We do the best we can with the cards we are dealt. It’s really no one else’s place to say what is or isn’t right. And it’s hard to know that we (all of us) are the ones who must be patient and understanding and forgiving when we’re the ones also grieving. (I don’t know if that makes sense but I hope it does.) @Heather – you know you always have my support, even if I don’t always comment. I stopped by today to specifically comment because of Meghan’s post about motherhood.
It always amazes me that people feel they have the right to judge anyone’s particular situation in life. It is DUMBFOUNDING that someone feels it’s appropriate to judge how you grieve the STILL FRESH loss of your daughter. And really people, do you not see the pictures of Annabel? Do you not watch the silly video? Do you not read the loving words that Heather writes about her younger daughter. CLEARLY this little girl is loved.
One of the many reasons I continue to read you Heather is that you are so real! When you write about your grief my heart aches for you and it makes me more patient with my own girls. Your writing serves as a reminder that nothing is promised to us. Thank you for your “realness”.
People make me so mad sometimes. I’m tired of telling people that that kind of thing is something you NEVER get over. My sister lost her baby at 23 weeks, and even though we don’t talk about it (as is her wish…everyone grieves differently, I guess), it obviously made a huge impact on the whole family and it will never be something that any of us will just “get over”. She carried her second child to term a year later, but I couldn’t believe some of the comments people made. “Oh this one will make her forget about the other one” and “I’m glad she had another child so soon after the first one, to make up for it.” Absolutely heartless.
Because of you, Annabel will grow up loving Maddie (and it’s obvious that she already does).
I’ve never worried about Annabel. You are a kick-ass mom. Please don’t let jerks censor your comments. Your willingness to share your grief with us gives us all perspective on our lives and gifts. I find it so strange to love someone I’ve never met–but I do. You are amazing.
Heather, let me apologize on behalf of anyone who said such things to you. Because you deserve an apology for such idiocy.
Anyone who reads this blog knows you are a wonderful dedicated mother. Anyone. We can all see how loved A and M BOTH are. You are mother to two children- but one is not physically present. I cannot imagine it, my friend, and I think you are doing an absolutely amazing job.
A is damn lucky to have you. And she is very lucky to have Maddie. You are straddling two worlds here- one with a living child and one without, and you are doing a remarkable job. Don’t let anyone elses comments or viewpoint tell you different.
You ARE a kick ass mother, Heather. To both of your girls.
Much, much love,
Heather, it appalls me that anyone would suggest based on everything that you post here that Annabel is “suffering” in any way. It is so clear to everyone how much you love that girl, and while your grief for Madeline will impact Annie’s life who is to say that is a bad thing? She will ALWAYS know not only how much she is loved but also how much her sister is loved. That is important.
Your grief is yours, no one can tell you how to live it. And certainly no one should judge you for feeling it.
The “sayers of nay”, they’re screwed up. You do rock! Annabel knows it. Mike knows it and the readers who dig you know it.
Rebekah linton says:
You don’t have to ever get over losing your child. You don’t ever have to get over your grief. If anything, I think that remembering Maddie and expressing your feelings about her, your love, remembrance, and grief will show Annie how to have feelings that are genuine and real. That is something that is not seen often in our society. Mean people suck. You, Mike, Annabel, and Madeline are gonna be just fine.
It brings a smile to my day to read your blog. I think you are an amazing mother….
You tell ’em Heather!
although I read your blog everyday, I admit it’s usually through google reader and so I don’t see any of the other comments. Even if I click through to comment myself. To think someone could even begin to say those things to you is disturbing. I think we all know from reading here about Maddie & Annabel, what kind of mother you really are and it’s the kind of mother that many aspire to be.
Your girls are your heart and soul and we know that. At least I do. I’m glad you don’t feed into the bullshit that gets sent to you because that is exactly what it is.
much love, heather. xoxo.
Jaime Maynard says:
Soooo here you.
In fact, I was so familiar with this post I had to blog about it myself to open the floor to all the other loss mama’s who follow my own blog. People mean well, really they do, but unless you have lost a child yourself, it’s so very impossible to understand. It’s also so very hard to find the right thing to say.
Jessica Harrison says:
Heather, you are a KICK ASS MOM to Annabell. I can’t beleive someone would think otherwise. Don’t you worry about those people! There are plenty of us that know otherwise! I can’t imagine the grief you feel over losing a child, nor do I ever want to know. Keep your head up! Love and hugs!
Heather – I don’t typically comment, but I read your blog every single day without fail. You inspire me so much in the way that you parent. I am not sure how anyone who reads your blog could ever think that your parenting is anything but stellar. My husband has even started reading your blog because he loves to read the funny ways that you, Mike, and Annie interact. Most of all though, I love your honesty. The fact that you are honest regarding your grief can only make you a better parent. That grief will never leave you, however by keeping Maddie’s memory alive, Annie will always know about her wonderful big sister and how much she loves her.
Well said, Heather.
Your love for your daughters shines through your writing. It’s obvious how lucky your girls are to have you as a mommy. Anyone who thinks otherwise sucks.
XOXO from GA,
People are so afraid of grief, especially grief over losing a child, that they are ignorant about it. They think that if we experence grief, it is one dimensional. I have tried to explain that I have grief but it does not mean I don’t also have joy. Of course, I blog more about my grief, because I don’t go around talking about it so it is a place I can do that. If people think the blog is a representation of your every thought, they are just not thinking clearly.
I’ve been a reader for a long time, but I don’t usually comment..however, I can’t keep quiet about this one. How dare anyone say/imply such a thing! I can’t imagine the horror of losing a child and the way you deal with it is amazing. It SHOULD be a part of you every day…to think that it wouldn’t be is absurd. You are the wonderful, kick-ass mother you are because of both of your girls. Good for your for not doubting yourself!! You are an amazing person and I love that you share your life with us. Thank you!
Jana A says:
Wow. I’m never surprised by what dumb stuff people say anymore. But I do know this. We know heartache. We know how short a life can be, unfortunately. We know more than most people, how to cherish those moments. And more than anything, we’re better parents to our subsequent children for it. I’m so sorry somebody said that to you, Heather. (((hugs)))
You are the BEST mommy to Maddie and Annie! Other people who think anything less are ignorant. Your grief is your own and the way you work through it is your own. Just because you have grief doesn’t mean you are less of a mommy to Annie. There are thousands, if not millions, of readers that support you, Mike, Annie and Maddie! We love you Spohrs and only want the best for each of you!! You rock Heather as a mommy, daughter, wife and friend!!!
Jenni Williams says:
Your grief was the reason poor Annie was formula fed, no? Giving a newborn substandard nutrition so Mom can get doped up is NOT the kind of parenting I aspire to- sorry.
There are no words.
Lauren Bonk says:
Wow. Classy, Molly. Classy.
Molly, I pray that you never have to experience what Heather went through. You are not a perfect parent. You are in no place to judge.
Heather is exactly the kind of mother I would aspire to be (when and if I have kids). I know I’m not the only one, so, button it, molly.
You must be joking. Yes, Annie was formula-fed- so are LOTS of other babies. Annie is healthy, and ultimately better off because Heather chose to be proactive in dealing with her grief, rather than let it consume her.
Oh, for crying out loud. Seriously?
“Poor Annie”?? Clearly anyone who is not able to breastfeed (or *gasp* choose not to!) should not be allowed to have children. Where is CPS when you need them?
Are you also one of the people that thinks earthquakes and other natural disasters are God’s way of lining the world up with your perfect world order? WTF?!?!??!
My son was formula fed for reasons that I don’t have to justify, and he is awesome. Stick that in your crack pipe and smoke it.
Seriously – where do these people get off with their Judgy McJudgerPherson Pants? If you so despise the formula feeders and other less than perfect people, why are you trolling parenting blogs? You are bound to be disappointed, because I do not think anyone has turned out the perfect kid or parenting style.
You’re kidding… right?
Many people formula feed for a variety of reasons. I have a friend who had to switch to formula because her postpartum depression was so out of control that it risked her life and the baby. Once one medication and with help from her doc and therapist, she leveled out.
She was taking meds… not crack. Geezus
You’re right Molly. When my body stopped producing adequate supplies for my daughter, and when she refused to nurse, I should have just let her starve instead of feed her substandard nutrition.
Man, I wish you were around seven months ago.
*hugs for you Heather* You ROCK
*rolls her eyes at the above* sheesh
Heather’s decision to formula feed Annie was the right one for her and for Annie.
I couldn’t produce enough milk to feed my daughter. She was screaming in pain in the hospital because she was hungry. So, Molly, just how rotten of a parent does that make me that I chose formula over starving my daughter to death?
You really should go find yourself a glass of water to wash down your foot.
People like you, with your holier than thou attitudes and judgments make me sick.
Until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes you have no right to judge anything they do.
Not only classy but also very brave to attack someone anonymously. Karma’s a bitch, “Molly”…that’s all I’m going to say.
Wow. Just, wow. What an ugly comment. I would hope that in the year 2011 we are all a little wiser to the fact that while all babies do need to be fed, (a) there is more than way to accomplish that in a way that works best for both mom and baby and (b) not everyone who doesn’t or can’t breastfeed is a clueless moron who simply doesn’t want her boobs to sag. “…so mom can get doped up?” You must be kidding. Catch up or shut up, Molly. Actually, both would be good.
No amount of breastmilk can make up for a mother whose soul is full of uglyness and lack of compassion for a fellow human.
All I’m saying is, go Donna. I think you nailed it!
Very well said…
I love Donna. And I don’t even know her.
As a mom who STRUGGLED every day with both postpartum depression/psychosis AND with nursing, I literally drove myself CRAZY to nurse my baby for 15 months. Success with breastfeeding, right!? Yay!
Wrong. I WASTED 15 MONTHS being a less-than-happy mom to both of my girls due to jerks and idiots with comments like yours.
And I’m an Ob-Gyn NP, so I know the benefits of nursing better than most moms. NOT worth it for me.
As I said to Heather on Twitter:
Molly is teaching her children to be judgmental and intolerant. THAT’S a bad mom.
amy d says:
Wow, you are so misinformed Molly. You should take your holier than thou attitude and judgement to a different blog. You aren’t welcome at this one.
I’m sorry for being an asshole- really. I do think that every baby deserves breastmilk but that’s an opinion that has no place here. My exhaustion got the best of me and I’m sorry for being judgmental and hurtful. Inexcusable and it won’t happen again. My little ones do deserve a better example.
there’s a rhyme and a reason for everything. may your comment do nothing more than open your mind to other’s rhymes and reasons. we’re all different. take care of yourself and your kiddos, get some rest and keep being the best mother you know how to be.
And your judgment is nothing ANYONE aspires to, Molly. How many mothers must give formula simply for post-partum depression? How dare they be depressed and require medication so they may be functioning, good mothers at the expense of breast feeding?? I am sure all mothers who choose formula make the decision easily and with no regrets. Shame on you.
Clearly Molly is not of sound mind otherwise she wouldn’t be making such hurtful and insensitive comments. Yes Molly, you’re a bitch.
Kristin (MamaKK922) says:
Doped Up???? Really Molly??? Cause Heather was shooting up Heroine? Or snorting Coke? She was taking medicines to help her be the best mother possible to Annie. And if that means she had to formula feed then so be it. MANY babies are formula fed so what they grow up just fine. Stop your preaching and move your troll behind along. And Annie is perfect!!!! And to claim she is a BAD parent for formula feeding people like you with your breast feeding propaganda make me sick substandard nutrition. Unless you don’t feed your baby at all you are a fine parent. And yes I breast fed my children but I HATE you Breast feeding is the only way people!
Veterinary Student says:
My parents gave me nothing but formula when I was a baby and I’m as healthy as can be. I’m 5’10”, and I’ve always been at the top of my class in school from kindergarten through my professional curriculum. Oh, and I bonded with my parents just fine. There is nothing “substandard” about a mom knowing that getting help for herself is one of the best things she can do to be there for her child.
As someone who did not breastfeed her child for a number of reasons, I find this comment ridiculously insulting. My son never received a drop of breast milk and is a smart, funny, loving, healthy, caring child. My mother did not breastfeed me or my sister and we turned out just fine. We love and dote on our children and teach them right from wrong, which clearly is something you fail to understand.
Amy Collen says:
I guess being an inconsiderate, rude, person is the kind of parent you aspire to be, Molly. Nothing like inflicting a little pain on wonderful caring people who reach out and inspire others, raise money for charities, give NICU supply bags to hospitals, and tons of other wonderful things.
Oh yeah, and I FORMULA FED both of my boys!!! Both are thriving healthy loving individuals.
Go pick on someone else there Molly. Better yet, keep your negative opinions to yourself.
Amy Collen says:
Just read your last comment too, Molly. Let your comment teach a lesson. Now go be the best parent you can be, get some rest, and maybe get some help. It sounds like you might need it.
I feel SO sorry for your poor children who have to go through life with you as their mother. What a terrible example, and the reason our society will never never triumph over hate and prejudice. I hope your kids’ father is around to raise them better than you ever will.
People like you, Molly, make me sick. Substandard nutrition? Really? You are the kind of breastfeeding mom that gives the rest of us a bad rep.
And by the way, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to medicate. It must be nice, though, to be perfect like you. Just for the record, I’d take being a child of a medicated person over having a judgmental bitch as a mom any day of the week. Formula and all.
And hey, guess what? I breastfeed my 15 month old exclusively. It doesn’t make me any better than any other mom. BUT, I can tell you that I am a better mom, wife, friend, you name it, because of reading this blog.
Heather, you rock, girlfriend!
At the risk of playing Devil’s Advocate, I am sure that most of the contributors to this conversation would also like their children to grow up knowing how to graciously accept apologies AND to avoid throwing insults even when they’re deserved. I always think that using insults sends the message that you’ve run out of constructive things to say and that sure isn’t the case with the uber amount of smarts amongst these readers.
Molly made an incorrect assumption that was also hurtful. People rightly put her in her place. She has apologised. That doesn’t excuse her but since she’s accepted she was wrong, let’s hope the insights shared guide her in future judgments and not sour the effect by calling her names. After all, who wants to correct their behaviour if nobody gives them credit when they try?
Karen, you took the words right out of my mouth. I am always bewildered to hear/read/see people standing up to insults by throwing insults… fighting ignorance with ignorance. It’s not hard to call Molly’s attention to what she did wrong without stooping to that level. We don’t need to create more ugliness in the world, especially on a blog that was created because of something as beautiful as Maddie.
Allison Zapata says:
seriously? you are a fucking bitch, Molly.
Right on. Am so glad you agree, you ARE an awesome mom.
As my parents would say, good on ya (in a posh brit accent
Things like that are generally said by people who have no idea about the actual situation and how grief really feels. Honestly, I read your things and think, Holy cow I wish I (bolded and italicized!) could be that cool of a parent! As someone else said, you do what you need to do. No one except you can decide what’s the “right” way to do any of it.
Remind me not to make you mad. I think you’d totally kick my ass. I’ve got the height, but I’ll bet you’re wily.
It’s terrible that someone would say something along those lines, and downright stupid when anyone reading your blog can see 100% how loved Annie is. Still, sometimes I think about commenting on posts like your one from yesterday but stop myself out of concern that I may unintentionally say the wrong thing. I never, ever have rolled my eyes and thought “not this again” and it’s hard to believe that any of your readers would, so please don’t worry about that. If anything, writing about it seems healthy. If it helps even a teenie bit, do it. We’re all here to support you!
You are indeed THE best Mummy there is and such a wonderful, loving, caring, funny, silly Mummy to Maddie and Annie. Maddie and Annie are surrounded by so much love and postive energy. You and Mike are inspirations to us all. Your girls are so lucky to have you as their Mum and your readers are so lucky to be able to read how you parent your girls. Thank-you!
Sending you lots of hugs from afar
I just don’t understand what people expect. Maddie IS your child JUST as much as Annabel is! How do people just expect you not to grieve for her? She is your daughter too, and you are an amazing mother to both of them. Please, please don’t feel like you need to explain yourself for the way you grieve for your daughter. Everyone does it differently and anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t deserve the explanation.
I adore you and I think you’re EXACTLY the kind of mother I hope I can be to my children someday.
My brother passed away the year before I was born. Being the living sibling has never negatively affected me at all. I never felt like I was born to “replace” him or anything (not that I ever could!), nor have I ever thought that my Mom loves me any less than she loves him.
Look at the matching smiles that both your girls boast in their photos. You’re obviously a kick-ass mom!
And to those people I would say Suck it!
I think one of tue greatest gifts you cam give Anabel is showing her that you are human. And grief is one of the most raw human emotions. Hiding it from her will only show her to cage in what is real and I do not think that would be any bonus for her. I think your strength is beyond words and the way that Madeline’s memory is alive in so many “strangers” is the sign of a pretty amazing mommy.
Jenn Rosenberg says:
Sending lots of hugs from VA and from my two sets of twins. The kids love watching the videos of your girls.
I would hope that they don’t realize how they sound, as you are clearly a wonderful mother and Annabelle knows just how beloved she is, as does Maddie. The fact that you are not a puddle of jello everyday is a testament to your strength, as anyone should know that grief and loss never goes away but that you are able to be such a wonderful parent in spite of it, proves you are kick ass (not that you need to prove it to anyone) Hugs!
Someone that can say anything negative has obviously never been in your shoes or anyone else’s shoes that have lost a child. I am like alot of yourother readers and kiss my girls more everyday and do no yell over spilled milk as life is so precious. Please know that for every one negative comment you have millions of others who would like to take some of your pain away.
Mean people suck!
If I can be half the mother you are, I will consider myself a success. You rock and Annabel will know how deeply loved she is and will also know how much Maddie means to your family as well. That? Is perfect parenting.
VERY well said Heather!!! You inspire me to be a better mother and I have never once had any concern for sweet Annie….who btw is ADORABLE!!!!! You my dear are a rockstar. Keep up the good work!! Lots of Hugs from Montana
I just wanted you to know that I have never worried about your ability to parent Annie when you talk about your grief for Maddie. I think it’s quite telling of anyone that thinks that. Apparently they have never dealt with a close loss and don’t understand the grief you feel and that you still have the ability to parent Annie. I have never lost a child but I did lose my dad 8 years ago and my grandpa just a a couple of months ago and my children still see the grief I carry for these two amazing men. It doesn’t mean I can’t be a great mom to them. Honestly, I feel quite the opposite. I hope that in seeing the deep love I have for two people I have lost, as well as the love that I have for them, that they too will understand love and also that they too will know it’s okay to grieve someone long after they are gone. Losing someone doesn’t mean we forget them or ever “get over it” but we deal with it and our lives continue, just different than they were before. I’m sorry that you have to deal with such misguided (and I can imagine quite frustrating) comments.
If you can, just ignore those comments. People often say insentive things with the best of intentions. You should never apologize for grieving.
People only get a sliver of what your life is really like every day. Don’t let negative comments get you down, you know you are a good mom.
She’s beyond “just fine” – she’s wonderful and amazing, just like you.
Leigh Elliott says:
I don’t understand why someone would love comments like that. They don’t know what you are going through. You love your Maddie and miss her and a very big date is looming up ahead. It’s a lot to process and feel. Anyone that cannot support you and respect that isn’t worth it and does not belong here.
There is a lotta love here for you, Mike and Annabel. Remember that 99% of the people here are loving and kind and sadly the 1% that are trolls have nothing better to do with their time than be a troll.
Wow.. people always amaze me with their cluelessness… (Is that a word??) Annie is SOOOOO lucky!!!!! In many ways, but she is also lucky in that her parents will never ever take her for granted for 1 second, how many kids can say that.
Well said Heather. If only the negative commentators were half the Mother you ARE!!!!! It shines through my screen.
Its hard for me to understand why people seem to feel they must tear down a place that is so full of love, hope and community. I wish that it wasn’t one of the apparent price tags attached to blogging and being public with your life and your experiences. That said, I don’t think it detracts one bit from what you do in this space. I know you blog for yourself, to give yourself that outlet to process and work through your feelings, but you do so much more than that here. You help connect people, you show others that it is OK to grieve honestly. You’ve taught me a lot about how to be a better friend to my friends who have lost someone they love. You’re one of those who has contributed so much to that sense of community that we all feel online.
The comment that was made only demeans the commenter. You — and Mike too — are lovely parents, lovely people. The Annabel I see in your pictures and videos and in your words is a child who will never doubt for a moment that she is loved, that she has parents who will be there with her and for her every step of the way. Annabel also has parents who will keep the memory of her sister alive for her in a way that will help her know who Maddie was and always be able to have a connection with her. That’s a special and loving gift to give to your daughter. To both of your daughters.
Jenni Williams says:
My mouth just dropped to the floor! Are you shitting me? If anyone reads this blog they know Annie lives a very loved, fun, happy life. There is no doubt that your grief changes the way you parent. It makes you value every second you have and express your feelings more. I think on many levels Maddies loss did that to all of us. I know I kiss my kids more, I get over stupid little stuff faster, I take a million pictures and freeze those little moments I never want to forget. You never get over grief, it shifts who you are forever and that is not a bad thing.
People who leave those comments have no idea what it is like. They don’t know the pain of losing a child. They don’t know the absolute silence that fills every space of your life when your only child is gone. They don’t know the overwhelming joy and fear that comes when you learn your pregnant again.
They also don’t know how amazing it is when our living children remember their big sister. You are keeping Maddie’s memory alive for Annabel. You are teaching her that she has a big sister who loves her dearly. You are letting her know something that for centuries was kept a secret, that she is not the oldest baby and that death happens and is real.
You are teaching her about grief and that it is okay to be sad and to cry and to miss Maddie. That is important because someday, she will be sad and cry and miss the sister that she would have had. And, because of your awesome example of grieving, she will know that it is okay to feel that way.
You are still so fresh and new in your grief. I wish more people would realize what an amazing woman you are and just lay off. But then, that would require them to go through something similar, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
I can tell you, with 100% confidence, YOU are the mother I want to learn to be.
I am in constant awe of your calmness, your grace, and your devotion to your daughters.
You, Heather Spohr, are my mommy role model. Maddie and Annie are so blessed to have you. SO BLESSED. TRUE STORY.
Wow… just wow. Why would someone say that to you? You can obviously tell just from LOOKING at Annabel that she’s happy and that you’re an awesome Mom (not that it’s anyone’s place to judge.) I’m so sorry that anyone said that to you. Honestly, as you said, I think it has affected you… but in a positive way. You know to appreciate each and every moment with Annie. No one should expect you to forget about Maddie or “get over” her. Not that it matters, but I think you’re a kick ass Mom too.
I also want to add, what you are doing for parents going through what you are going through? Priceless. You may not realize it, but your openess with your grief and your growth is so looked up to by so many people afraid to say what you are saying out loud.
I am just so honored to know you all.
Jessica V. says:
Such a good point Brittany. Heather – I read your blog every day and am really inspired by your story. You are impacting so many people in so many ways – I think there are a lot of people out there who are better people for having “known” you, even if just virtually. Thank you for continuing to share your life with us. And? Annie is way more than just fine…she’s fabulous, and that is all due to you and Mike.
Heather, just ignore those insensitive jerks who think they need to tell everyone else how to live. You and Mike are AWESOME parents!
You tell them girl! I have never EVER once thought that about your posts. As a mother of an 11 month old boy, reading your blog encourages me to cherish every moment with him. I take more pictures and videos and mental snapshots thanks to your encouragement. Please know that there are many of us (visible and not-so visible) who think you are a wonderful mommy and nothing less.
I think of Annie as the luckiest little girl. Not only is it the most obvious thing in the world she loved beyond comprehension, never think that missing maddie takes away from that. 99.9% of the people here would NEVER think that.
I feel that you are an amazing parent. The fact that you allow yourself to grieve is an awesome thing. You have to have time to grieve and everyone is different, but you are doing it your way and that is the right way for you. DO NOT EVER let any one tell you any different. Annabel will growing knowing her sister in the only way possible thru memories from you and Mike. Any children you have are blessed to have you as their mom and dad. Don’t let the poop heads get to you!!!
You know, people who write nonsense like that are insensitive and unthinking at best, hateful jerks at worst. They are either too selfish/scared to step outside themselves for a moment and imagine your life, or they are too filled with their own insecurities and take them out on you. I’m so sorry their comments take up and waste your time and mental energy.
You know what else? Every parent has bad days. Every one of us goes through loss and grief of some sort, perhaps a parent or sibling. And on the dark days we all have, we probably don’t parent the way we ideally would. Heck, if we’re just tired or a little sick, we don’t parent the way we should. So GIVE ME A BREAK, nasty commenters. If you and Mike have bad days, so do we all. I will pray for the nasty commenters’ children. They need it a lot more than Annabel does.
You and Mike are amazing. Your dark days are darker than most of ours will ever be. And yet you strive to find joy and light in Annie and in each other. That is amazing. It is frankly miraculous. We all fall and fail sometimes as parents, and we would be lucky to be the kind of parents you and Mike are.
Brava to you for standing up for yourself! Annie’s life will forever be touched by Maddie’s, but it would have been that way anyway, right? Even if Maddie were still here, Annie’s life would be different because of Maddie. This is obviously far from the ideal way for Maddie to influence Annie’s life, but I cannot imagine a scenario where more love, more hugs, and more kisses would be bad for her.
Annabel could not be luckier. She has two wonderful parents, and don’t you ever doubt that.
I hate that when you’re already feeling terrible, you suddenly feel you have to defend yourself against some awful comments. I think most of us know that you are a most awesome mommy to Annabel. I know I have never doubted your kick-assness as a parent. I will tell you that while it may be therapeutic for you to write about it when you are feeling down, it has always been a teaching moment for me. For those of us who have not dealt with that kind of grief, I think it’s good for us to know about what an on-going process it is. I hope it has made me a more sensitive friend.
The reality is that people who have never lost a child will NEVER get it. I just tell myself that it’s wonderful that their children are healthy and strong and hope that they appreciate what a gift that is.
Heather, I have been a reader for a while now. I just want you to know that I think you are a wonderful Mom. Im so sorry to hear that people think you should just “get over it”. I have lost all my babies to miscarriage and have many people (some family included) that think I should just get over my grief. We will never forget, and NEVER get over the loss of our children, just as these people would never get over it, if there child passed away. They need to put themselves in our shoes and while I would never wish the loss of a child upon anyone, the only way anyone could possibly understand what if feels like, is if they have actually experienced it. Some people are just heartless. Dont let them get to you. You are strong and you are a good Mom, and you dont have to “get over it”. Madeline is your daughter and always will be and I love that you still talk about her. It hurts that we have family that doesnt even acknowledge our babies or the fact that we lost them. It hurts that they act as if they never existed, just because they cant be heard or touched now. I will always remember them, always love and miss them and will never get over it, even after having a future child.
Perhaps the comments weren’t meant to be mean…
Perhaps they didn’t intend to suggest you weren’t a great mom…
Perhaps they see how much you are still hurting & wish it wasn’t so raw. That doesn’t mean they think you should forget about Maddie, just that it doesn’t hurt so much.
Perhaps people feel inadequate at times when words cannot fix anything…
Perhaps when they talk about Annie they aren’t criticizing what you do today, but are really just hoping for a brighter, happier future for you all one day…
You’re absolutely right. A lot of them mean no harm. But trust me…a lot of them DO. People are idiots.
and if they don’t know what to say… don’t say anything…but think before you say! or in this case type it out! ughhh i agree heather… some people are idiots!
I totally agree that some people are idiots. I have had a few of my own ‘run-ins’ with those types (I had 2 miscarriages). I just know that sometimes (myself included), you think you are saying that sounds good, makes total sense to you & then is translated another way. I’m hoping there are more people just not in touch with what they are implying than the other option… cuz mean people suck!
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
I’m just catching up on my reading so didn’t get a chance to comment on your posting from yesterday before I read this. Let me just tell you from my own experience with a near death experience with my son, I will never, EVER get over that and at the end of the day, all of my anxiety over it can be soothed with looking at my son who was brought back from death. When I have my own struggles, I often think of you…how when you start reliving your very worst nightmare, you do not have a happy ending. I think of the wonderful mother you were with Maddie and are now with Annie. I think of all of the rotten piece of shit parents who hurt their children who are still alive and I’ll be honest, I get so angry. WHY them….why couldn’t THEY lose a child that they don’t cherish, they don’t love. Why did this worst thing have to happen to you and your family. Why does Annie not have her sissy to run along with. WHY? Why is there never a fking answer? I think about you a lot. It isn’t pity that I feel, but an understanding of what you saw that day because I saw those things with my child and it is horrifying. I just didn’t have the same ending to that horrible day. Most of the time I know I’m not a perfect mom and wonder WHY ME? Why was I granted this second chance with my child. There is no answer to that yet. I don’t know if in the future, it will be told. In my heart I hope that the answer to WHY YOU? is that because you are Maddie and Annies mommy, you will change the world for them and with them. Maybe Annabel will be the person to save babies from being born so early that they always have to play catch up with a body that can’t catch up. We don’t know why and really even if we did it just totally rips my heart out that she is gone from this earth but I know 100% that she is so alive in your heart and that Annie will love her sister. I think if nothing ever happened, you would have been a great mom because you are you, but I have no doubt that your grief for your beloved baby makes every single solitary second of every minute of every day one that you are a better mommy to Annabel than anyone could hope to be. You know exactly what it is like to wish you could do a day over or to cuddle longer of play longer and instead of wishing you could have, you do. You do it with Annie for Maddie and her little sister. This still doesn’t replace the fact that I know you would rather be less aware and have two little curly headed daughters running and playing together. There is nothing I can say or anyone can that could make you feel anything other than, YES but I want my daughter back!
Let me tell you what I think of the people who don’t think you are strong enough to not need their prayers for Annabel…..I PRAY THEY NEVER HAVE TO KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HEAR THOSE WORDS REGARDING A LOSS THEY CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE!
You keep on keeping on. This time of year will never be easy. It will be harder than the rest of the year, which also isn’t easy. As you walk further and further from “the date”, it still will never get easier. It isn’t a bad breakup or a bad hair day. Time will never, ever heal this wound. I pray for you to have some peace in your heart and some moments where the panic doesn’t paralyze you….not for Annabel, she is COVERED….for you and for Mike. For peace and a moment between the sobs so you can catch your breath and muster up the courage to exist another single minute without that sweet baby girl in it.
On a sweet note, when I saw the photo in the mirror it was so poetic how they were standing on opposite sides, almost like if you morphed the photos it is as if Maddie was right there with her sister….I kinda feel in my heart that she is right with her sissy. I mean, who gives her all the climbing tips? Of course Annabel has the best lil’ buddy that only her heart can see!
HUGS and LOVE – Angela
You ROCK! I think this post should be a swift kick in the ass to the “concerned” commenters out there!
I was in Scottsdale at the same resort as you last fall. Maybe I should change my travel plans so I can buy you, Mike, and Annie dinner!
amy d says:
Well said. I am just sorry that people write such things because it is horrifically insensitive and mean spirited.
NO ONE expects you to “get over” Maddie’s death. I for one ache for your loss and marvel at the amazing parents you and Mike are. If a post is predominately about grief, I NEVER roll my eyes. Quite the opposite in fact. I am always astounded how you are able to convey your emotions so precisely and I think it makes all of us (your readers) understand grief a little better.
I really love this post! It’s pretty kickass Heather…right on!!!
I have been reading your blog for almost 3 years now. I do not blog but I do follow quite a few. I have to say that reading through your blogs brings new light to me about what my sister is going through. My sister lost her 25 year old son in 2009. Her life has not been the same since then. I also have a friend who lost her teenage son in a car accident 5 years ago. The grief process of losing a child is a lifetime event and is not something you will ever just “get” over. People are so callous these days. I say to the naysayers…..hold your tongues until you have been in Heather and Mike’s shoes.
I cried tears when I heard about Maddie’s passing but I didn’t shed the kind of tears you and Mike shed and will shed for years to come. I was overjoyed when you announced you were expecting Annie and I love to watch the videos of her. There is joy in your life once again and even though you will have good days and bad days…..your two girls are loved to a capacity that nobody else give them.
For those who don’t like reading about your grief…they should find another blog to read and move on. Unless they have experienced losing a child….they have no clue what the grief is like or how it would affect them.
You couldn’t have said it any better Heather!
As much as you can, try to ignore those posts. How can anyone so thee than grieve for a lost child. Maddie should be with you all. I’m sure she is in spirit as she clearly is in your love and memories. You are also very clearly a wonderful mother, wondefuk parents both of you. Annie looks so loved and happy all the time.
Put their words out of your mind.
You are an amazing mother because you have a safe place to vent your grief and frustrations. We are all here to listen and give cyber hugs.
You are an amazing mother and you are smart enough to realize that people who say anything against you as a mother are wrong. Madeline is loved and Annabel is loved and that’s all that matters. You and Mike are the type of parents I want to be and I look up to both of you.
I don’t believe that kind of grief/loss ever goes away. You are never healed, if healed means a return to how you were before that loss. Instead, it becomes a part of you – but that in no way means you are somehow less than you were. Annabel obviously has wonderful parents, as anyone who reads this blog can plainly see. And she will know that her parents have never stopped loving and missing her older sister. That’s a testament to the kind of incredible people you and Mike are.
Well, you know, not that the random poster mentions it, she does seem MISERABLE. What with the non-stop smiles, the laughter, the connection with her adorable dog, the way she looks at her parents, her love of her own reflection, the creativity and love she is surrounded by, the cute cousins, the countless little friends. Yes, the poor, poor girl. And really, if you could keep your feelings to yourself on YOUR OWN WEBSITE, that would be much appreciated.
Please don’t give these “people” a second thought. They do not deserve it.
Thank you for always being honest about what you are going through. I think you and Mike are to be commended for bring so present in your life, on a lot of levels.
Don’t you love people who make assumptions about things they know nothing about!? They need to pay more attention to their own lives!
I have been reading your blog for a while now and have never commented before. Anyone who thinks that grief is something you “get over” has never lost a loved one. And anyone who thinks that Annie suffers any ill effects from your grief has never read your blog or looked at a picture of Annie. Of course you will always carry the effects of your grief over losing Maddie just as you will always carry your love and memories of your precious little girl. If anything, Annie is feeling more loved and treasured because you know what you have to lose.
Oh, Heather, I am so sorry you have to put up with such insensitive non-sense.
I thought it was more than obvious what a fantastic parent you are.
And yes, because of your grief and what you have shared with us, we, too, are better parents.
“I am the kind of mother you wish you were” is my favorite line…the people that are making those comments obviously don’t get it…you are an awesome mom to both your girls!
I am so sorry you have to get such stupid, hurtful comments about “getting better.” Ridiculous. The way I look at it, life is hard. Parenting is not about raising a child in a magical world where there is no grief or hardship. It’s about learning how to navigate life and grief and happiness and hardship in an empowered and insightful way. It *is* terrible that your family will always have an enormous missing piece. But a family where everyone pretends to be happy for each other sounds like it would all be one, big, empty hole.
Also, have you seen this? Thinking about March of Dimes. http://jezebel.com/#!5782009/price-of-pregnancy-drug-jumps-from-10-to-1500
Hi Heather. My parents had a child who died before I was born. It didn’t negatively impact me, aside from that I felt sad for their loss. I wrote a little about it here – http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-girl-talk-my-brother-died-before-i-was-born
Emily… beautiful post!
i know it’s hard, but i hope the positive comments help you forget about the asshole ones.
i’m sorry some people can be so clueless.
as always hugs
I wish there were “like” buttons on your blog!
Woo hoo for kick ass moms! (and mike)
there is! hee hee.
I have no words for those people. You are an amazing mother.
You ARE the kind of Mom that I want to be someday. Anyone who follows your blog can tell that your girls are loved.
Wow – I didn’t realize that you got those kind of emails or comments from people. Ouch!
I agree with you – you are a kick-ass momma! I’m glad you know it!
There is no getting over it… people that write that to you have not loss someone they love!
You are a kick-ass mom to Maddie and Annie…that’s right! and Mike is a kick-ass dad! You’re amazing… and you’ve always been open and raw and that’s what I like about your blog.
I wish there was a button that you can hit “ignore” to these cold hearted people. It’s just not worth the energy it takes them to type it.
Sending you hugs! xo
I’ve never worried about your precious little Bel. She clearly rocks just like her FABULOUS Mama!! Keep on rockin Heather!! There are SO many of us who LOVE you and who are standing behind you in support daily!!
I (we) LOVE YOU!!!!
Infant formulas are so good in the 21st century it’s just plain ignorant to refer to them as substandard. While babies breastfed past 7/8 months show a much higher incidence of rickets and iron deficiency.
You rock as a mother, Heather. All the ‘normals’ out here know this.
I can only imagine how much wonderful love you shower on your sweet Annabel!! I’m so sorry that anyone even dares to think otherwise. And I’m even more sorry that the grief is there. Much love and prayers…
Oh Heather… I think the tragedy of Maddie’s death have made you a better mother in that you DO realize that every single second is precious, and you make sure that Annie knows just how loved she is all of the time. Don’t worry about what the naysayers say…
Heather in MN says:
You tell ’em, Heather. Sheesh… I can’t believe the things people say sometimes.
Those comments are ignorant.
Annabel will be a BETTER person growing up seeing parents celebrating the life and mourning the death of her sister. Through that, she will see how loved she is. Through that, she will know her sister.
She will only benefit from seeing two parents grieve and deal with pain in healthy and effective ways (crying, talking through, and any little rituals you guys do). Through that, it will show her how to cope and how to deal with adversity in her own life as she grows up. She will learn resiliency.
As a psychotherapist, I shudder when I hear parents say: “I never cry in front of him/her….I don’t want them to see that.” I say: “So, you’re teaching them that crying isn’t okay? I don’t necessarily think that’s the best route to take. Crying is a healthy and effective way of grieving and letting emotions out.”
Annabel will be BETTER for having you and Mike as parents.
Heather, I am always touched when you write about Maddie. I would never expect you to stop writing about her, thinking about her, or grieving her. Heck, *I* think about her frequently, and I have never met you in person. I do not doubt for one second that you are an amazing mother to Annie. People say dumb things, I’m glad you are confident in your self!
Molly Hall says:
WOW! People are freaking nuts, and it’s too bad I have the same name as that whack job. You are a wonderful mother, and of course you’re allowed to experience grief, and shouldn’t have to explain anything to anyone! Goodness sakes!
Bah! Don’t worry about the h8rs, Heather. They’re inevitable. There are people who just don’t get it, and, yes, they probably do think you should just “move on” past Maddie. Honestly, they’re the ones that don’t have a healthy view on what grief is. You’re doing great, Heather. The only point at which I feel sorry for Annie is that she’ll grow up without her sister. I’ve never felt sorry for her that she has you and Mike as parents. What a lucky girl to have you two! I thought that about Maddie too. You love your children deeply. It’s so obvious. And I have no doubt that Annie won’t grow up well.
My Mom died four years ago this May. I think about her every. single. day. Some days, I still cry. I miss her. It still hurts. I STILL don’t get it. And, that was my Mom. She was supposed to leave this rock before me. It was the natural order of things. To lose your baby? It violates all the “natural” order. It’s wrong. It doesn’t fit.
You go, girl! Screw the naysayers. Until someone is living what you live, they have no right to judge. You have so much support, Heather. Keep fighting the good fight!
I have no doubt ALL of you will be just fine. The people who expect you to just get over Maddie’s loss are seriously misguided. If you could just get over her loss, then I would worry about you as a parent. The depth of your grief and love for Maddie tells me just how amazing you are as parents.
Oh! Also thought of this one while I was doing my dishes….
She will be more compassionate, she will be more able to recognize people who are hurting or are in pain and she, in turn, will be better able to respond to them and help.
She will be more emotional intelligent and able to verbalize her own feelings and needs.
Missy Wiggins says:
I don’t think I’ve ever commented here but I have followed your blog for a while. You and your husband sound like amazing human beings and anyone who thinks otherwise must have their own issues to deal with. I can’t begin to imagine life without one of my kids but I know it would definitely impact me for the rest of my life. It would also cause me to appreciate each and every second I have with the ones I love. Nobody is perfect and no one has the same journey in life.
It’s sad that someone would comment out of ignorance and obviously to raise a ruckus.
I guess when I had to stop breastfeeding my daughter due to an infection in my bloodstream, I should have let her starve or risked passing strong antibiotics through my milk supply? That’s logical
It’s probably best to ignore the mean comments. It probably takes the fun out of their mean-spiritedness.
I find it hard to believe that ANYONE who reads your blog would think “Poor Annabel”. You are the mother of two beautiful girls and that will never change. It’s so hard when you share as deeply as you do (which amazes me) to have people completely miss the point. I’d say screw ’em, but in there own misguided way, I hope they reaffirm that you are doing what’s best for you and we’re all here to support you in that.
Anyone who reads your blog can clearly see what a miserable life poor, poor Annie lives. What with two parents who clearly ignore her, don’t spend any time with her and don’t love her at all. You can see that in her sad eyes, neglected appearance and frail malnourished body.
I don’t comment often, although I read every day. You and Mike are living with every parents worst nightmare- but you go on. No matter how hard it is, you get your ass out of bed and love on Annie every. single. day. She’s one very, very lucky girl and don’t let anyone make you doubt that!
You are a fantastic mother who has had to deal with things that are unimaginable to most of us. It is obvious from the the smile on Annabel’s face and in her eyes, that she is loved beyond measure and not suffering.
It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t be bothered, but as a mother, who has had a negative comment thrown at her and her child, I know it can be impossible. But, gain strength from those of us that are here to support you and love you.
Someone passed along this blog to me. They also lost their Maddie.
Thought you might have some words of advice for this family.
PS. I think you are doing a great job of being a Mommy!
You couldn’t have said it any better, Heather. You hope that there is enough decency in the world that these negative people are not really as mean-spirited as they seem. But as you say, a lot of them are and they do mean to harm as much as they claim to “help”. I don’t know you personally but I have been following your blog for a while now and I know, without a doubt, that you love your girls more than anyone could ever know. You know it in your heart and that is all that ever really matters.
You rock, Heather! And you are the kind of mother I want to be. I would never question your parenting and I know that your love for Maddie will enhance Annie’s life, not hurt it.
I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: anyone that can come here, read what you write, get to know your family…and then question whether or not the family is full of nothing but love is delusional.
And the fact that someone would jump down your throat about formula feeding terrifies me. I’m pregnant with my first child and while I’m excited and thrilled to become a mom…it seems as if I’ll also unwittingly be inducted into the Mom Club, where judgment is a full-blown sport.
Annabel & Maddie are two of the happiest children I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know through a blog. You & Mike just keep on doing what you’re doing because you’re clearly great at it.
I have never thought your grief over Maddie has ever had anything but a positive outcome for Annabel. She seems to be extremely happy and well cared for, and loved more than anything. I am sorry that people feel “sorry for Annabel” when it reality they should be happy she is so lucky to have great parents.
Kristin (MamaKK922) says:
Now to reply to this post. You ARE a Kick ass mother to Annie. I don’t feel sorry for Annie at all. I think you and Mike are fantastic parents to Annie, and she is lucky to have you two. You grieve, how could you not? But I have never once heard in your posts that you let it affect Annie in a negative way. And sweetie I would never roll my eyes, you grieve forever if you have to. I will always be here to lend an internet ear and an internet hug. And offer much love from Ohio. And you, Mike, Maddie, Annie, and Rigby will always be in my thoughts some days more than others. With much love and support. And Annie is one of the happiest babies I have seen so keep being those fantastic parents!!
I’ve never commented before but I couldn’t stay quiet any longer. Not only are you a wonderful mother to Annabel, you have made me a better mother and for that, I thank you.
I’m so glad that you know you are a kick-ass parent. Because you are. I can’t believe that people would tell you to “get better” or “get over it”. I can only imagine the pain that comes with such a huge loss in one’s life…and it is my greatest fear. I only hope that by expressing your feelings on your blog you receive some comfort…try to ignore such horrible comments.
I never knew much about losing a child or grieving for one, you blog has given me such an insight on the horrible lows … but I have always known this much, I know it’s not like a cold that you can just get over…
I am so sorry some people are just dumb (like Molly) and some people just don’t think before they write ( like Susan).
“I’m the kind of mother you hope to be”
ah – revenge – love it!
People who don’t like your grief should go read something else – they aren’t comfortable with it, that’s their problem. Really. And they are lucky if they’ve never had to deal with what you do.
I didnt read any of the other comments, But I know that Maddie may not be with you right now but she is always watching over you and Mike and Annie. I just got done reading the book “Heaven is for Real”. What a great book!! You will get to see Maddie again. It helped me to restore my faith. You dont have to say your sorry for feeling the loss of your sweet Maddie. Any parent would feel the same. I cant Imagine the empty pain you have not having her with all of you. My heart breaks for you and My prayers are with you all daily.. Hugs!!
Kristi F says:
You know, my mom always says “if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all” and I certainly think that is excellent advice. I don’t understand why people feel like they have the right to judge others negatively. I would worry about what kind of parent you were if you didn’t continue to grieve for Maddie. Your little Annie is so obviously loved beyond measure. I’ll tell you the same thing my mom used to tell us when we were kids and our siblings were picking on us – “just ignore him/her and they will quit.” Yeah, I could never ignore them either . . .
Heather.. you truly are the kind of mother that I aspire to be, and you already know that.
I wish I had the patience that you have.
The way you are with Annie, the way you were and still are with Maddie… is just beautiful.
Dont let haters bring you down.
you are my inspiration.
I love you
Malou's Mama says:
Nicely written. I for one am not the slightest bit worried about Annie. She and Maddie are lucky to have parents like you and Mike – your love and attention are so evident, even never having met you.
I believe losing my daughter has made me a much better mother to my son; in fact, it has made me a better mother than most kids get to have (if I can be so presumptuous). There is no taking things for granted over here!
But of course I’d settle for being a mediocre mama if it meant I could have my girl back…
I love your blog and I respect you so much. I think it’s important to point out your grief will have a negative effect on Annie. It’s unavoidable. If she sees you crying, she’s going to wonder why/feel sad. If she sees you have a panic attack, she’s going to wonder why/feel scared. If she reads this blog, she is going to be upset. These are unavoidable things, and are in no way your fault, but they will impact her.
Heather—You know what I pray for??? I pray that I can be half as good of a mother as you are. I think of you often and you help me to be a better mom to my kids. I have never met you but I read your blog every day and never once have I thought “ugh”. Never once. Love and Hugs from North Carolina!!!!
Jenny Erikson says:
My brother died just before my 3rd birthday. My parents obviously suffered, and still miss him, 26 years later. But I would never trade the parents I had for ones that hadn’t lost a son. They were perfect the way they were, and maybe even better than most b/c they appreciated every little thing so much more than ‘normal’ parents.
Those of us who’ve been following your blog for a while now have never, EVER doubted your love for and commitment to Annabel. People who think or suggest otherwise are wasting their time.
You’re a wonderful, strong mom, whose girls know how much they are loved.
Amanda M. says:
Meh, there’s always a few people in every group that just don’t live in reality with the rest of us. To have as many readers as you have and not have a handful that just don’t get basic human emotions would be impossible.
When I was two and my aunt died, we all lived in the same house. My grandparents lost their oldest daughter, my mother lost her sister, and little baby me lost her best friend. It as tragic, but I think I grew up a more graceful person (not physically; I’m a walking disaster) because of it.
As a long time reader of your website, I say this: Well said. People always think they know better than you. You are an amazing parent to both of your children. How dare anyone insinuate otherwise!
You are incredibly brave to come here and share your story with us; thank you for giving us insight into your life. I can only imagine how hard it is to get up every day and breathe, much less live with such open hearts. And while I can see that the quality of your parenting isn’t affected by your grief, I don’t know how you can say it will never affect your other children, it’s such a part of who you are. Every child is going to be shaped by their parents’ experiences, it’s not a criticism, it just is what it is.
My college boyfriend’s oldest brother died of SIDS. Their parents went on and had three more kids (including my boyfriend) and I know it was hard for them every single day; their grief never subsided. And it did affect the other kids, how could it not when it was such a part of who they were? For example, when their second son married, the parents wanted to put flowers on the altar in honor of the son who was no longer with them and it resulted in hurt feelings and deep resentment. Their perspective was that they grew up in the shadow of the baby in the photo who would have been the perfect son had he lived – he’d had no chance to acquire any faults or foibles in his 9 months. I don’t think it was because of anything their parents did or said; it was more that he wasn’t there, but he was missed and that grief took up space in the family that was sometimes resented by the kids who had never met their sibling.
Well said Heather!
And anyone who thinks that the feelings you share on your blog you then go and talk to Annabel about at length is stupid.
We are here to support and listen, she is there for hugs and punching (how’s that going by the way?)
I hope I do not upset anyone, or get hate from anyone but I come from a family whose lost a child and a parent. And as much as you want your grief to not negatively inpact Annie’s life, it will. It won’t cosume her life, it won’t ruin it, but it’ll be something that is always in the back of her mind. Days when my aunt can’t get out of bed, abandons everyone, and stares at the ceiling bawling it amkes you feel worthless. You can’t help her, nothing you do can get her out of the deep hole that grief creates. I’m not trying to say Annie’s life will be a horrible depressing life, but from personal experience I know it will hurt her to see you hurt, and your family hurt. And she’ll feel robbed too. But you seem like an amazing, loving, and fun mommy. !
You are a kick ass mom! Anyone who has ever seen you and Mike with your girls certainly knows that. Your girls have so much love/attention coming from you and Mike, your parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends…there is no shortage of love in the Spohr household. I can gurantee you that!
Heather, take no notice of the negative people who send such hurtful messages to you. I am sure your an awsome Mom, and how you get out of bed every day (bet you don’t want to some days) and do the job you do with your little one is a credit to your character and resiliance. I am including Mike in this too.
I have never posted on here before but have been following your blog for a few years now. I felt the need to share with you my experience of being raised by a mother who had lost her daughter several years before she married my father and had me. I never felt like I had less of a mother because of the grief I am sure she feels every day, even now 35+ years later. Your blog has shed light on my mother’s experience and I thank you for that. I applaud you and Mike for being the wonderful parents you are to your precious daughters…
Well said Heather! I have no idea of what loosing a child is so I certainly have no right in even suggesting how you should either live or grieve.
My grandmother lost my Dad 10 years ago, he was 57 and she has never been the same but still is a loving, strong presence in our family.
I applaud your courage in opening your heart to anyone, thank you for that.
What is wrong with people? How dare anyone say such things to you?
People who say such things clearly have a lot of incapabilities and just don’t understand motherhood. You are an amazing mom!!
Anyone who can’t see how great of a mother you are or who worries that your child won’t be loved enough, simply can’t see. I’ve only been reading a relatively short time and only ever commented once before but even I can see what a loving and attentive mom you are, to both your girls.
Don’t let them get you down. You’re not doing anything wrong.
This will be the first time I’ve ever commented on your site, and I hope you can smile knowing that Maddie has definitively touched another life.
That being said, I think the courage you have is amazing. To put all of the blunders and joys of parenting, and parenting while trying to manage and live with grief, takes amazing courage. For that I thank you.
For you to reveal yourself and your family in this way is truly commendable.
I don’t know you personally, but I would say that your daughters are each lucky to have you as their mother – I am so glad you ended this post affirming that. Never let anyone make you doubt it.
Your story has touched my heart, and I am sure that when the time comes I will be a better parent and a more appreciative person for having had the opportunity to read this blog.
I don’t ever comment…but I was stunned!! How could anyone say that?? It is so obvious how much you love both your girls! My husband and I had to give back a baby we were planning to adopt when her grandparents fought for custody. While that loss was nowhere near the death of a child…I will never forget her. That grief does affect how I treat my kids now. I hug them tighter, longer and more often. Tell them I love them constantly. I am more engaged in every moment because I know how fleeting they can be. You and Mike are fantastic and I enjoy your blog so very much and your girls are simply beautiful!!
The people that feel that way don’t have to read your blog. Simple as that. It disgusts me that people tell you to get over Maddie’s death or that your grief is going to negatively effect Annie.
I think that Maddie’s death probably gives you even more of a drive to treasure Annie because you know that nothing is promised. I think you already knew that since Maddie fought so hard to be alive, but especially now. Annie is loved and cared for and if you tucked your grief away and hid it from her or anyone else, you’d be fooling yourself and be doing a disservice to Annie. She needs to see that it’s OK to feel sad AND happy all at the same time.
This is YOUR BLOG. If people have issues with anything you write, they don’t have to visit; plain and simple.
The greiving process is complex and will probably always exist with the realization that each year, you get further and further away from your time with Maddy. If writing is an outlet for you, then write away all you want! Its important for you to share her with your readers because you want the world to know just how special your baby was. It helps us as moms not take our babies for granted just as you don’t take Annabell for granted, even for a second due to your loss.
Keep your head up, ignore ignorant comments, and keep on writing if your heart desires. I think both you and Mike have great gifts with words and I would love to see you either/both of you become a published author(s) one day. Perhaps you can write a story that parents can read to their children that have lost a brother or sister. Your insight could help to soothe them and bring a sense of calm and understanding. =)
Sending love, prayers, and hugs to you, Mike, Annabelle, and Rigby!
The only thing I really disagree with here (apart from obviously malicious comments), is the idea that you’re grief ”will never” impact Annie in a negative way.
Maybe it won’t, and it’s great if you resolve to try and make sure it never does — but ultimately it’s up to Annie to decide whether or not is does/has… and I think it’s up to you to give her room to decide that for herself.
Grief affects everyone it touches, that’s just the nature of it. You and Mike are changed as a result of Maddie’s life and her passing and that’s just the way it is, period. It is also the way of life that children have to learn to exist in an imperfect world and I think the pair of you do an exemplary job of raising your little imp, and that’s only a fraction of the awesome amount of love she receives. It doesn’t matter that there might be moments where you’re ‘faking it’, like you mentioned in a previous post, because OH GOSH, parents have feelings too. What an odd concept that Annie should be exposed to that. (Oh sarcasm, how I love thee.) My parents lost a daughter before I was born, unexpectedly and without any real explanation as to how she died the day after being born healthy. I was born ON HER BIRTHDAY the very next year and I have always known about her, always been aware of her place in our family and I have never once ever doubted my parents’ love nor their devotion to being the best parents they can to both my brother and I.
So balls to those people who think Annie is suffering. Her life may be different to what it would have been had her sister been a corporeal presence in it but you only have to look at that mischievous grin to know that she is doing just fine.
You love both of your girls forever, that can’t hurt Annie. Smile for Maddie when you can, I know she is watching over your family. Be well.
I just have to say, how can you look at any of the pictures of Annie (except when she was sick) and think “Poor Annie”? She is so happy and full of self confidence that you have to know she feels nothing but love from you, Mike, and the family that surrounds her. You are both wonderful parents.
I personally love reading your blogs, reading about Madeline and Annabel. There is no question that you love your daughters more than anything on earth. You help me be a better mother to my children. I hug them more, kiss them more, and I am more patient with them because of you. You helped me realize that even though I love them with every breath in my body, I may not be able to hug or kiss them tomorrow.
Some people just have no idea what it means to emphathize and completely end up putting their foot in their mouths. Anyone can tell by looking at your gorgeous girl that she is happy, and beautiful, and innocent to the unfair nature of this world.
That being said I ran across this wonderful writers blog http://cribchronicles.com/2010/07/21/at-the-red-light/ and I think between the both of you, and by many other mommy bloggers, people are allowed to see the intimate sides of grief and hopefully respond a little better…
YOU ARE AWESOME!
Boo to all the negative jerks. Anyone who reads your blog knows you are an awesome, loving, wonderful mother !!
I read your blog EVERY day, I don’t comment a lot but I had to today.
Exactly, don’t let anyone try to explain your grief away, it will always rear it’s ugly head and we have to deal with it through our life. But I am postitve you can walk and chew gum at the same time. You are doing an awesome job as a mother, wife and friend…I am sure of that. I haven’t written lately, but rest assure, I am hunting for photos of Annabel every day. It is a habit, I just check in to see that adorable face. Happy St. Patty’s Day
This is YOUR blog. Please continue to express yourself however you see fit. Grief is real and on-going. Sometimes it’s debilitating; sometimes it’s just beneth the surface, but it’s there.
Prayers for your family during this anniversary of Maddie’s passing.
You go girl.
Well, I feel certain that someone else said what I want to say, but here goes.
1) I agree.
2) Shame on them for saying that.
3) You’re awesome.
4) Annabel is a very lucky girl, as is Maddie, to have both of you as parents.
Lori McBride says:
Once again, I have no words that could adequately express how my heart hurts for your loss, yet, I also can’t express the joy that I feel in seeing and reading about your adventures with Annie. I feel for people who aren’t empathetic, and who feel they can try to place their feelings and judgements on you and your situation. It’s an honor to be able to walk alongside each of you in this journey, and your honesty is amazing. I pray that your days are increasing in overwhelming joy, but in knowing that there will be sad days…I pray that God holds you up, and just sends lots of loving hugs your way through your beautiful second miracle. Be blessed, and be yourself. You are an amazing Mommy…to BOTH of your beautiful girls…on the good days, and the difficult ones!!!
Anyone who follows your blog knows that you are an amazing mom to both your girls. To say otherwise is simply ridiculous.
It makes me sick that people think it necessary to waste your time and theirs to send comments and messages like that. All it takes is a few minutes of perusing this blog to see how loved Annabel is and what an amazing mom you are to her and to Maddie.
Love and hugs.
I’ve been a reader here for over 2 years and have rarely commented but I must jump on this breast feeding bandwagon. first it should be stated that I am not a mother. I am a hippie at heart. I was disappointed when I read that you would not be breast feeding Annie. I believe it is what’s best for a baby. I also believe in natural birth, huge advocate for home birth. I believe in cloth diapers and disagree with co sleeping. heather, so far you’ve gone against everything I believe in (said light heartedly in a joking manner). BUT I am not a mother and most importantly I am not you. your heartaches, joys and decisions you’ve faced as a mother, I can only read about. I can feel heartbreak and joy thru you, I can sympathize and empathize but at the day that is nothing compared to your real life. because of that, I cannot judge you or any mother or anyone for that matter. I truly believe that you have made decisions that have benefitted you and your family for the best. I truly believe that you have made choices that though sometimes extremely difficult, that are the best for you. through your blog I know for a fact that any decision concerning your childrens well being is not a decision you take lightly. how dare anyone come here, as a reader, and point fingers. we must all remember that there are hundreds of ways of successfully raising a healthy child and everyone is different. we all do what is best for us at the time. I am not a mother so I do not include myself in “we”. if I pointed my finger at anyone’s pamper wearing, formula drinking, co sleeping, cesarian delivered child and criticized them because it’s not what I believe in as a yet to be mother, I’d be a hypocrite. because what if natural home birth doesn’t work for me and I have an emergency c section? what if cloth diapers don’t work for me? what if my baby doesn’t want to latch and isn’t getting adequate nutrition? what if? what if? then I would make the choice to do what is best for my family. I would throw away my beliefs for my child’s well being. and I wouldn’t regret it. does anyone realize that perhaps people making “poor choices” in regards to nurturing their child, weren’t their original intentions but one they made without question but still with a tad bid of disappointment? I can only hope and pray that people open their minds beyond breast feeding and any other controversial topic for that matter, that choices are made with the best of intentions because they are what works for that person. no one has any right to judge that. and props to everyone for defending heather against Molly, but perhaps Molly just needs a little insight and a more open mind. we have not walked in her shoes either. that’s the huge peace loving hippie in me, ha! so love to everyone here. there is no right or wrong, just a chance to open another’s mind. okay okay, I’m going back to my patouli and Janis Joplin:) thanks for reading my piece. the best to all of you.
I lost my mother when I was ten years old and have spent my life grieving. As I should. Every time you write about Maddie and your grieving process I think, oh thank god she’s talking about it. Someone has got to keep talking about it.
Trisha Vargas says:
You are constantly reminding me of how priceless and precious life is. You exemplify the kind of mother I strive to be. You show that every moment is a moment to treasure, I can’t understand how that could ever be thought of in a negative light.
I am 32, I have 4 daughters ranging in age from 2 to almost 17. You teach me something new almost every day. It’s so easy to take the hustle and bustle of every day life and just go with it and forget how quickly it can drastically change in one single minute.
I just feel like if someone disagrees with you or Mike on your parenting or how you are dealing with your grief they should just kindly stop reading. No one will miss them. There’re enough of us here who do love you guys, that the door can hit them on the way out, so to speak. Good riddens. It is what it is, but why try to make you guys feel less capable on the way out. That’s just BS and there own insecurites talking.
You and Mike are both awesome and Annie and sweet Maddie know that and really that’s all that matters.
((((HUGS)))) from Florida
My daughter died a little over a year ago. I am a better parent now, to her older sister Lucy, and younger brother Oliver, than I ever was before I lost her.
If anyone ever told me they were worried for my other two children because of the death of Ariana, I would have to be physically held back. I worry for my two children just fine without you voicing your concerns, thank you very much! I am the best mother those two children need. Just as you are, for Annie.
I hope nobody reads my comment above the wrong way. I think heather is doing an amazing job and the only thing that matters in this specific situation is that she, mike, annabel and rigby are happy, loved and healthy, which clearly they are:)
Jeepers. I know my father’s death still overshadows me 4.5 years later. I shall not judge you.
I hope that when times are tough for Annie*, she will remember your courage and your will to live, how you provided for her in every way, even on the days when maybe you didn’t want to get out of bed. I hope she will know that it is possible to survive a tragedy, I hope she will reach out to her family and friends, as she has seen her parents do.
Geez, I wish I knew how to turn grief on and off like a switch. It would make losing my mom when I was 22 and my dad at 32 so much easier to take almost two decades later. And, I am sure you know, the grief/grieving never stops, but sometimes little by little it gets easier to deal with. But there are still those days that it sneaks up and tags you. When in the back of your head you just want them there, with you for that party, holiday or just on the other side of the phone.
I appreciate your honesty here on the blog and have been reading it for a few years now. (But I rarely comment.) I hope this person’s comment won’t make you “lower your voice” and hide those truthful, human feelings.
Go HEATHER!!! I just will never understand what is wrong with some people! My brother died. My mother did not stop mothering me – nor was I negatively impacted by parenting through their grief. My brother Christopher is still so much a part of who we are and what we do that my own six year old son said to me recently, “Sometimes I get confused and I think Christopher is here with our family.” I told him that wasn’t confusion, that Christopher very much IS part of our family. It was a perfect opportunity to dive into all the things he would have loved about him and the parts of him that remind me of him. It was the perfect opportunity to share with him that his *Uncle* would think the world of him too. It’s a great lead in teaching him about being reuinited again someday in heaven.
Heather, never have I read your blog and thought, “I wish she’d shut up about Maddie.” NEVER. I read your blog every day and think about you so much that if you knew exactly how much, you’d think I’m a creepy stalker.
People waste too much time on being opinionated assholes when they should use that time to thank their lucky stars they didn’t lose their kid. Bastards.
We got your back, lady.
I’m a new reader, but I felt compelled to comment. My father died when I was 10. My sister died when I was 18. Both of asthma attacks. Here one day, gone tomorrow. My mom felt very very strongly about not letting us see her cry, and I have to say, it’s what has put me in therapy. Because I could clearly see that she was grieving but she insisted she was fine, and it was just hard. The work I’m doing in therapy (I’m 37 now) involves a lot of just letting emotions be and not judging them or trying to make them go away. Just let them be, which sometimes includes heartbreakingly sad moments. My 2 year old was just diagnosed with asthma. There were a lot of tears that day and rage. I don’t know — you ARE and I’m sure you’ll continue to do what feels right for you, but having a Mom that stuffed her feelings because some psychologist told her she had to for my brother didn’t create the best outcome. Not that there is a good outcome in these situations, which I guess is my point: you are grieving. And this is what grieving looks like. Sometimes it’s gut-punch horrible. Other days it’s manageable like a paper cut.
You got this. You know how to do this. Feel the feelings. Show Annie what emotions look like.
Tell those people to piss off. :o) If you weren’t grieving, then I would worry about Annie. :o)
I love the statement above my comment, “People waste too much time on being opinionated assholes when they should use that time to thank their lucky stars they didn’t lose their kid. Bastards.” TRU DAT!
I totally get what you are saying. And I agree. Our daughter who is living, is impacted by the loss of her sister, but not in a negative way. We still care for her in every way she needs us, even though we are grieving for our other child. Thank you for sharing, sometimes people just do not think before they comment.
Agree with what lots are saying — anyone that knows you or has been reading you for some time KNOWS what love you have to give, how amazing and open your heart is, how much you care.
Some people are afraid of emotions. You embrace them and suffer through them to the other side, or relish is the joy of the moment. That’s a good thing.
Take care, sweets.
Girl, you know how to find the crazy in the room. I have a constructive idea for you: add a checkbox to the comment section.
1. I agree.
2. I disagree but can do so with meaningful debate.
3. The Internet was put here for my sadistic pleasure. I am bat shit crazy and I have an opinion about everything. My idea of a good time is whispering “formula feeders suck” at a PTO meeting. I live to watch the fists fly!
Obviously, #3 is blocked when she hits post. And then her IP address is sold to the freaks with the Viagra emails.
I am so sorry that you have to put up with this. I think you are a remarkable mother. Both your girls are lucky to have you as their advocate. I also think that you let a lot of people know that it is okay to grieve a tragic loss, and thereby help so many people in that club no one ever wanted to join.
You are seriously the bombdiggity!
Sarah M. says:
You are an amazing woman and an amazing mother. Anyone who can’t “see” that in your honest and perfectly worded posts should get their eyes (and head!) checked.
I have read your blog since before Maddie passed away. There have been many days that I have cried as I read your words and even more that I have smiled at you and your beautiful daughters. (and hottie hubby!) Ahem. You are great parents and your love for both of the girls shines through. Thank you for sharing your babies (and hottie hubby).
Some people just suck. I don’t know how they could read your blog or look at the pictures or videos and think you may have a negative impact on your daughter. Some people must only see what they want to see.
I can’t believe people are now talking about you bottle feed Annie. Who cares. I have 2 kids. One had a bottle, one breasfed and both are FINE. I love them, they love me, end of story.
Long time lurker, but I’ve never commented. I start every day reading your blog and I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said here. I think what makes you such an amazing mom to Annabel is that you CAN be honest with your grief and your ‘bad’ days…. I think I’d worry far more if you retreated into yourself or never talked about it.
Kudos to you for your strength and for continuing to tell your story.
I love, love, love the fact that you know you’re a kick ass mom. It makes me so happy to know that, even when you are down (and who wouldn’t have a down day?), you don’t doubt yourself.
I truly believe these negative comments would never ever be said to your face. These folks are hiding behind a computer screen saying anything that comes to mind. (the fact it even enters their mind makes them crazy IMO) It baffles me and it hurts me. I can’t imagine how it must hurt you too…and I am so sorry for that. You are an awesome mom and Annie and maddie are lucky to have you and your unconditional love.
As for miss Molly…(taking a deep breath)–what could that mean spirited comment actually achieve? It’s not out of concern…it’s just plain ugly. It’s not like heather could say “oh you know what? I’m going to start breastfeeding again.” Its over…it’s done with…and in my opinion it was the smartest move she could make at that time. I quit breastfeeding my daughter for reasons that pale in comparison to heathers. And you know what? I’m a kick ass mommy too! I don’t care if your tired or what…zip your lips unless you can say something nice or at the very minimum as a concern. Your comment was just plain nasty with it’s only intention being to hurt someone else.
Heather…I read every day. You and Annie make me smile.
I’m sorry I couldn’t bring myself to read any comments from your link. But you don’t have to justify yourself for anything. I only see great love towards your daughters and husband everyday. She doesn’t look to be affected by any grief that she might see. You had a tragic loss how could you not be affected its impossible not to be. When you lost Maddie I cried and I don’t even know you. It makes me hug my daughters each and every day and tell them that I love them all the time as well. You ARE a KICK-ASS Mother and I am so glad that little miss Annie came into your life not as a replacement but as gift and I see you love on her through this blog all the time. Nothing will ever replace Maddie and you know that but you’ve given yourself to this little girl to make sure she knows that she had a sister and that she loves her as much as you love her. Hope this all makes sense. Screw the haters. Stay true Momma! You amaze me.
tamara m. says:
Heather… Awesome post!!! You inspire me daily!
tamara m. says:
Heather… Awesome post! You inspire people including myself daily!
Anyone who reads your blog and can’t see what amazing parents both you and Mike are need their heads read. Poor Annie my behind. That little girl is loved so much. All you have to do is look at her and see the brightness in her eyes. She is going to know and love her big sister and she is going to know how much you love them both. Tell those people to stick their negative thoughts where the sun don’t shine. You keep your amazing spirit alive and going strong. And if you have a bad minute, hour, day, week or month, well thats grief. Someone who hasn’t been through it won’t get it.
Amy S. says:
Go Heather! It’s ur birfday! Tell those sour readers that their crap stinks, for realz!
I don’t mean to joke about something so serious. But as I’ve told you before, not only are you an ultra-awesome mother because of this tragedy you, Mike & your family have endured but us readers are better moms too. I don’t take a second with my little ones for granted and I’m so thankful that your sacrifice has taught me to slow down and soak it all in. Your pain is not going to go away, you’re going to constantly think of your first born and nobody should EVER judge you for that. You are loved and anyone posting negative comments should go jump off a cliff. Just look at one picture of Annie; oh yeah, she looks SOOO tortured….sorry, more bad jokes. *LOVES*
Hello, I don’t often make comments but was compelled to write after reading your post. Thank you for sharing with us, all of the feelings. I read your words and feel them in my heart. I have never met you and your family and I think of you all, often. It is strange to care deeply for people you have never met and to feel protective against negative elements. You and Mike have an army of people here in cyberspace willing to hold you up. Thank you again for letting us. Claire
I almost never post on your comments because I suffer from foot in mouth disease and when it comes to the delicate subject matter, I WOULD rather shut my mouth..
BUT Sweet Sweet Heather – why are you entertaining these fools.. These people are miserable and they want to make the world miserable. WHOEVER looks at Annie and says “I feel sorry that she is being raised by such a blah blah blah mother” I say “Go F*CK yourselves”!!! Your sweet little girl passed away, you have EVERY single right to feel sad, feel angry, want to punch people out and spend a day in bed weeping.. YOU ARE ALLOWED……
We share with you the good days – Like for example when we saw every roll on Annie’s thigh and the bad days like when you dyed your eyebrows red.. THEN we have the very bad days like when you pulled your back out and had to lay on the carpet until Mike got home…. Doll we are also here for you when you have tragic days, we are hear to listen to you when you tell us about how you can’t drive near the hospital.. THAT is why you have your blog and that is why your readers come day after day…
MY heart breaks for you a million trillion times.. the same way my heart breaks for anyone that looses a child.. I hate when you have said days and I wish I was a real life friend and was there to give you a hug..
Don’t let the assh*les bring you down..
ALL MY LOVE
Those crazy unbelievably inconsiderate naive people who think you could ever possibly be a bad mother can go jump off a cliff. I’ve seen exactly what kind of damage a parent can do to their kids when they “get over” or “ignore” the fact that they lost a child & it’s devestating. This happened in my family & the siblings weren’t allowed to ask about their sister or even talk about her. What kind of life is that to just pretend their older sister never even existed? The kids are grown adults now & still have never gotten a chance to know about their sister. I hate it for them & honestly for the rest of us, too, who don’t know about her either. Heather, you are doing EXACTLY what you should be doing with Annabel. You’re loving her & raising her to know all about her big sister, Maddie. Don’t change a thing! Except maybe to tell those people where they can stick it!
Heather I admire you – in my eyes you are a great Mommy. I think we could all learn something from YOU. I do have 2 sons who were both bottle fed from day one – they are big, strong, smart, loving, healthy and successful. Annie is adorable, happy, sweet and we have all fallen in love with her. I know I ache for you when you are struggling but its for you and what you’re feeling inside, not for how you mother your daughter. I sometimes wonder if I could actually manage the way you have. You are the best – I love you girl!
My grandmother is 85 years-old, and in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. She lost her 19 year-old son in a naval accident during Vietnam in 1969. Although she has forgotten a lot of things (including who I am), she still makes comments to me and my family that show how she still feels the loss of her son. I don’t think that’s a pain that will ever, or should ever go away. A mother’s love should be unconditional, and your grief shows that yours most certainly is.
Mrs. Wilson says:
If anything, Annabel will only benefit from the extra love you show her. I’m so sorry for the misguided comment(s).
Your girls are two of the most loved little girls on the planet, which is insanely obvious to 99.9% of your readers.
And also, I don’t think anyone (in that 99.9%) tires of reading of your grief, only that we all wish that we could take all the pain away.
Perfectly said. I also loved how you wrote “I am the mother that you want to be.” Awesome! You tell them, Heather! It’s so obvious from anyone who reads your blog for a second what an AMAZING mother you are. You have obviously allowed your grief and experience with tragedy to make you enjoy your precious baby all the more.
I have been reading your blog for two years now, and I have never once thought “ugh” when you write about your grief. I love that you share your heart with your readers, and I know that I am only one of many who feel that way.
I think you are bad ass!! Stupid people……ugggg!
I am a lady so I will not say What I want to say to the morons who are mean.
You are an amazing mother and a very very strong person. Losing your child is the most horrific thing that can happen to anyone. I can’t even imagine it. I am in awe that you are able to live. But you have, and you have succeded. You are an incredible mother. and YES you are the kind of mother everyone wants to be. I want you to know that you have personally inspired me. you have shown me how to live life to the fullest and to appreciate all that I have. One day annie will turn around and thank you for loving her and treasuring her so much. She will thank you for surviving and perservearing.
What I have to offer is the perspective of an adult who is the surviving sibling of a brother lost to leukemia in 1968. I was 2 years old when he died. My parents were devastated. They had three daughters left behind for years of treatments an hour north of where we lived and years of grief after a 4 year battle ended with him bleeding to death in my parents arms because his platelet count was so low. In terms of watching a child die in a very graphic way, my parents expereince mirrors yours and Mike’s. The horror they witnessed and relived is so similar.
My brother died in the late 60’s. There was no understanding of grief, no ELisabeth Kuler-Ross, no 5 stages. They were told to put all his pictures and toys away and not speak of him, it would be too painful. My mother politely thanked them then went home to do things her way.
For anyone who genuinely or rudely wonders if Heather and Mike’s grief effects Annabel…of course it does. She will be loved and cherished…she is. She will have a sense of compassion that kids her age will have no understanding of because her parents will teach her to be kind to kids that are different or sick because they no how hard Maddie fought to be like every other kid her age, how hard she fought to simply breath. Of course all parents teach their kids these things, but when you are the parent with the kid that is different, that lesson is a little more meaningful. They will teach Annie about kindness and acceptance and unconditional love because their loss is so huge they want desperatly to make sure that Annie knows every second of every day how very loved she is. They will not take ONE SINGLE SECOND for granted beacause instead of imagining the worse they have survived it and this is the most powerful lesson any parent can teach their child…to live for the moment and love like there is no tomorrow.
Heather and Mike, I knew my parents ached for the loss of their son every day of my life. I never felt neglected. I always felt loved. I grew up to become a pediatric oncology nurse and help other children and parents in the same circumstances as my brother and parents. On April 12th it will be 43 years since our David flew heavenward. I will call my mom and yup, she will be tearful . I will be thankful because knowing how much she loved David is just a tiny window into how much she loves me. For those who have never survived their child, you cannot imagine, nor should you try. Instead of questioning grief…go love on your kids. Your time will be far better spent in that!
I am not a mom or anything, but this made me cry. Absolutely beautiful.
I love this comment. You said everything perfectly. I’m so glad that your family handled your dear brother’s death this way. I’m so glad you still talk about him and call each other all these years later. It also offers me a bit of insight as to why when my Dad’s little brother was killed (late 50’s, early 60’s) my grandparents didn’t talk about him or his death again. I so wish they would have with my Dad and his siblings.
Thanks for writing this.
Heather, I don’t know what you’re going through. I’ve never lost a child and can’t imagine what it feels like every day. What I can say, is that when I try to imagine what you’re feeling my throat closes up so I can hardly breathe. My chest feels tight and I am unable to stop the tears that inevitably come. It feels like a searing pain crushing me. And that is just when I imagine what it might feel like if I had to loose one of my children. Living it every day… I don’t know how you do it.
So, to those who think that Heather can’t give all of herself to Annie because she still grieves for Maddie…. I feel so much pity for you. Your capacity to love must be tiny. How can you not see that Heather can still fully LOVE Maddie and grieve for her while still being able to fully LOVE Annie too? Annie is not missing out on a mother’s love. She’s missing out on stranger’s compassion for her mother. Love for Maddie and love for Annie are not mutually exclusive.
I am reminded so strongly of the person who commented when you announced your pregnancy with Annie, the one who said that you’ve forgotten Maddie by becoming pregnant so fast. Now those same people say you can’t love Annie because you haven’t forgotten Maddie yet. You can never win. Your long time readers know that you love both of your girls fully, completely and unconditionally.
I love it! You rock, Heather!
Dawn @ What's Around the Next Bend? says:
Wow. Well said.
I’m wondering if “those people” are following the same blog I am. I have followed Mike and your blogs since Maddie was very young. Throughout ALL of your trials and tribulations, you have been so amazingly inspiring. You both have shared yourselves in a manner that I know most of us could not.
You give it to us straight… and raw.
Your emotions pour off the screen.
But the emotion that has ALWAYS come across the strongest is your undeniable love for your daughters.
I would never ever ever think that about you. Your love for BOTH of your girls shines through in everything you write.
Rach Langer says:
We love you Heather. Don’t you ever forget it! Look at all of the people whose lives you are touching by your honesty. You are more brave for sharing it. I hope those of us who choose to be positive and affirming are able to erase the effects of those who aren’t.
Love and hugs.
I REALLY hope nobody actually thinks “ugh, get over it” (although I’m sure they are out there)! This is YOUR space and you’re free to write what you want…I’m thankful that you are so open and honest. My Dad lost his little brother when his brother was only 5. Nobody in his family expressed grief or talked about it…..that is sad to me. I’m glad that you have a supportive family, friends and 99.9% of your blog readers that you can get it off of your mind just a bit. Your girls are incredibly blessed to have a Mom like you, that’s for sure.
You GO, Girl.
You just GO.
Well said! This just happened to me today- not the negative comments, but the thinking about my first born. Specifically, I was re-living his funeral and how hard it was. Tears were starting to well in my eyes. And I rolled over to my second, sleeping next to me soundly in my bed, and hugged and cuddled him and loved him. I think, as babylost moms, we ARE better parents- our baby’s death has made us more appreciative for our surviving child(ren). We do not take them for granted, and they will ALWAYS know how much we love them- and how much we miss their brother or sister and want them to be with the rest of us.
I SO wish you had a complete family, that you did not have to miss Maddie and watching Maddie and Annie grow together. I wish that for you so much.
I’m not sure you will ever get to read all your comments, but I decided to write one anyway.
I doubt that anyone rolls their eyes when you talk about your grief. No one who lives can avoid heartbreak. It’s part of living. You love, you live, sometimes you lose. In my case, my husband. Everyone who writes here has probably had a loss of some kind. Or will have eventually.
I have to defend poor Susan also. I don’t think she meant to hurt, I honestly believe she was praying for your panic attacks to get better. It maybe felt insulting but I really don’t think that was her intent.
I have lived through panic attacks and finally after 6 years I found a doctor who helped. I hope it doesn’t go that long for you. If you have many more, please go find a doctor who will listen and maybe medicate. It’s the only thing that helped me.
As for talking about Maddie, don’t ever stop. I still talk about my husband like he’s still here. It was a very unexpected death and a shock to the family.
My parents are also gone and some days I wish I could talk to mom just one time and I am 58 years old. You never stop missing the ones you loved so very much.
You are doing well in my opinion. You are a loving wife and mother. You and Mike have managed to live and do it well. It’s not easy I am sure. Your Annie is such a character and I think she comes by it naturally from her parents. And anyone who reads you know how much she is loved. I love her too.
Hugs from Minnesota
I’ve read them all Marie! Thank you – it means so much to me.
As my Grandma always said, “Don’t let the bastards of the world get you down.”
I admit it… I sometimes roll my eyes.
It doesn’t matter that I immediately chastise myself for doing so…
Or that it is only ever a fleeting, metaphoric rolling…
Or that, as a parent, I empathize, even though it hasn’t been something I’ve experienced personally…
Or that I understand that you will never “get over” Maddie’s passing, (nor, indeed, should you ever be expected to)…
Or that I would never dream of making an idiotic comment like ““I pray you get better for Annabel,” or “poor Annabel, having to grow up with a mother who can’t get over it,””..
Its a terrible thing for me to do and I feel ashamed that I do it.
15 years ago this June Lyndsey passed away. I have two other children Brittney and Braden however still I will get comments when I am just blabbing about an eye roll or something from Brittney (a typical 13 year old response sometimes) my friend will say well at least you aren’t having two going thru this at once….really….that is suppose to make it better….I barely hold back the tears till I am alone. I just constantly go with people are stupid and move on.
I have thought of you so many times since I first visited your blog. I have always kept Lyndseys memory for my kids and I think they are better for it. We have picked up pennies since they were toddlers because if we see a penny it means Lyndsey wanted us to think of her and threw it down for us! Still to this day my 11 year old and 13 year old pick up any penny they see and look up.
You are doing awesome and you are doing on your time frame and I love that you are sharing some of the process with us.
“I am the kind of mother you want to be.”
As you’ve pointed out here, people in the parenting world are hard enough on each other. Arrogance like this doesn’t help anyone.
Charlotte, that line is addressed to the commenters who think I am a bad mother, not at everyone in general.
I have mentioned before that I am a labor & NICU nurse. I am also the Bereavement Coordinator for our pregnancy & infant losses. One of the most difficult times for parents is when everyone else around them seems to “move on” with their lives…yet they are still grieving every single day.
You all have so much love & support…it is quite obvious just from this blog!
No one is ever tired of hearing about your grief & Maddie!
You are kick-ass times a million.
People who don’t understand should keep their mouths shut (and their keyboards silent) and open their hearts more.
Keep on being awesome!
Heather, I would never roll my eyes at you! This is YOUR blog and you can write about whatever you want…especially your grief. From what I can tell as a reader, you are a fabulous mother and I aspire to be more like you. I don’t know what you’re going through and I pray that I never do, but reading your posts about grief make me hold my little one closer, play with him a little longer and give him more kisses. xx
I’m not a parent and haven’t experienced any loss that can compare to yours, so let me tell you from someone who might be likely to roll my eyes (because I haven’t felt similar feelings)… I never, ever do. I am someone who strives to be empathetic and thoughtful and understanding so I tend to “live and let live.” I reserve a lot of my eye-rolling for silly things like my husband’s video game habit. But still… even if I wasn’t an empathetic person, I still don’t think I would be rolling my eyes. Perhaps someone would if they only read a handful of your posts. But that’s like talking to someone for 2 minutes or reading 2 pages of a book and then making a judgment. Getting to know you through your blog, I can see how much you’re working on yourself and your family. I can see that even though you will always grieve, you still experience joy and embrace life. It’s inspiring.
I do have to say, though… please don’t be so quick to decide that you will never negatively impact Annie. For several reasons. First, if you’re so confident of that, you might stop being cautious about it (although my gut tells me you probably won’t ever stop being cautious of it because you’re a thoughtful mom). Second, you have to allow room for Annie’s growth as an individual. I’m sure you know this too… but that also includes allowing her to feel negative feelings. She may grow to be a very sensitive little girl. She might end up feeling pain FOR you. She might make the conscious decision to take fewer risks and do things she wouldn’t otherwise do because she knows of her parents’ pain and loss. Please leave room for these things. Please respect them, even if you didn’t intend for them. My mother ignores the negative impact of her depression on me and the pressures and guilt I felt about things that happened to her. She doesn’t allow me to be me. She thinks ignoring the negativity will make it go away. I don’t think you’ll ever do anything like that, but it’s easy to make mistakes and make tiny missteps. Sometimes those “small” mistakes, made with the best of intentions, can grow to bigger, uglier things. All I’m saying is, every child is an individual and I think it’s good to strive for the right balance of creating a beautiful world for them, and nurturing them through some of the harsh realities… allowing them to witness some of the pain in life… in good time, of course. But your little Annie is just a baby for now. You have plenty of time to see who she will become. And I never, ever think “poor Annie.” I think, “lucky Annie” to have such smart, loving and fun parents! You seem to be doing a fantastic job and are a great role-model. I’m sorry that people can say such thoughtless, horrible things. They just don’t know. It’s just ignorance, although some have good intentions. Do you ever feel like you want to stop blogging because of it? I hope not.
It always astounds me when someone passes judgment on how someone else is grieving. Nobody knows the proper way to grieve. People who have not lost a child (and I have not) certainly don’t. And when they pass judgement on a grieving mother’s grieving process, before they open their mouths they should take a minute to remember that 1) they know nothing about how to grieve a lost child and 2) they are pretty damn lucky to know nothing about how to grieve a lost child.
I’m sorry that you and Mike have to know about it.
I have been reading your blog for a long time and I am not an eloquent writer as yourself and many of your commentors but I never wanted kids until I started reading your blog. You have made me want kids and screw the haters you are a wonderful mother.
I think this is lovely.
Heather, you’re an awesome mom. Some people are just idiots. Screw ’em!
Hang in there these next few weeks.
I don’t think *I’ll* ever get over you and Mike losing Maddie, so who the hell thinks YOU should? When I saw that picture of Annie kissing her cousin, it jus made me think of Maddie and how much she loved her cousin and what a happy baby she was.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to feel or how to parent. How dare anyone pass judgement?
I think those people that think Annie is negatively affected by your grieving Maddie must be reading some other blog.
Thankfully,some of those people will never be able to relate to the loss of a child so I guess it’s hard to wrap their heads around? I’m sorry to tell these people there is no ‘better’ or ‘recovery’ from that kind of loss,it’s just everyday learning to navigate life without them.For a long time,that’s the best you can do.
I’ve always found the below piece of writings has helped people who don’t ‘get it’,have some idea of what it’s like-and even this doesn’t even touch it really.
I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some woman are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
If anything, your grief probably makes you an even better Mom because you know first-hand how horrible it feels to love and lose a child. I can only imagine what it feels like…and that is hard enough. I can honestly admit that there are days I take my 2 beautiful children for granted and dream of the days when I had less responsibilities. How selfish am I?!? I have 2 healthy kids who love me and who I adore…I am truly blessed. I have to constantly remind myself to enjoy these moments with my little one’s, even the tough times when I feel like I am going crazy…because they wont be little forever and in an instant it can all be gone. Your blog reminds me of this each day and thank you for giving me the kick in the head I need.
Jill (mrschaos) says:
I don’t understand that mentality at all. I find you and Mike very (VERY) brave for sharing your story. I know you don’t feel brave at times, but you are.
I’m sorry people are like that. I really am.
I pray that you have the strength to keep up with Annie, cause she’s SO spunky, you’re gonna need rest.
Truthfully, you’re the mom we all want to be, we strive to be. The strength and grace you posses amazes me. You may not think so sometimes, but we all see it.
Comment 310….drop in the bucket, but you are a kickass mom and I certainly wouldn’t ever have thought to worry about your grief affecting that.
You are kick-ass, Heather. And so is Meghan whose post led me this way. Some people’s myopic viewpoints astound and enrage me – as did Molly’s. Holy crap. She should count herself lucky she has not experienced the loss you and Mike have and keep her narrow-minded, ignorant opinions to herself. xo
Heather, I’m glad you know that you’re a kick-ass parent, because just based on what I’ve seen over the last few months since I started reading TSAM, I couldn’t agree more. As for “getting over it,” my own mother and I had a beautiful conversation just a week ago about the upcoming birth of my 2nd child, and it brought her to tears regarding my brother who passed away years before I was even born (her 2nd child). It’s just not something you are ever supposed to “get over.”
Based on the smiles in all the photos and videos, Annie obviously knows how much she is loved!