I bought it at the Gap, on sale. It’s that kind of cotton that’s sheer – you have to wear a tank top underneath. It was the perfect shirt to help me transition from winter into spring. It’s long-sleeved so it kept me warm, but because it was so lightweight it didn’t make me sweat. I wore it all the time. In some of my webcam photos, you can see my favorite shirt with the light purple pinstripes:

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giving me one of her sweet kisses.

The morning Maddie got sick, my mom reminded me to pack a hospital bag. I packed a hospital bag every time Maddie was sick. Most of the time I never used it. I threw in some sweats, toys & clothes for Maddie, her three favorite books, toiletries, and my favorite shirt. If she was admitted, I didn’t think she’d be in for more than a few days.

The next morning, the PICU was chilly. I threw on my favorite shirt. Early that afternoon, Maddie knocked out her second IV, and it bled all over my left shoulder. One of the nurses told me hydrogen peroxide would get it out. I didn’t think much about it because the nurses were trying to get another IV in her little arms…then her legs…then on her foot. She was hurting, and even though I knew they were trying their hardest, I was so annoyed the nurses couldn’t get a new IV in. I made them stop, to give her a rest. And then all hell broke loose. I pulled Maddie away from where she laid on my chest so the doctors could intubate her. Her fingers clung and pulled at my shirt. My favorite shirt.

I held her, a little more than three hours later. I pulled out tubes and carefully peeled off wires. I bathed her. She bled a little on my hands. I wiped them on my favorite shirt.

I was wearing my favorite shirt when I held her and kissed her for the last time. When I said good bye and went home to start life without her.

I’ve washed the other clothes I wore that day. But not that shirt I bought at the Gap, on sale. It still smells like her.