I saw the dress hanging on display, and I told my mom it was the dress I wanted Madeline to wear for our annual Easter brunch. She grabbed the hanger and bought it for her granddaughter.
A few days later, Madeline was invited to a birthday party. I put her in the yellow dress, even though I knew my mom would be peeved. I just wanted her to look pretty. Pretty dresses are made to be worn.
The color suited her happy personality. It made her eyes pop, and her hair look lighter. It was perfect.
I am so happy she wore it.
The first week after she was gone, the dress went everywhere I did. I clung to it and breathed in. It smelled like her, like baby wash and sunscreen and…something else I can’t put my finger on. Just HER. It smelled like her.
I realized the smell was going to go away if I wasn’t careful, so I gently folded it and put it in a sealed bag. I couldn’t bear the thought that her scent might disappear along with her.
Yesterday I bought it out, and let Annabel look at, touch, and smell it. We looked closely at the details on the dress.
We both gently touched the bows.
We ran the hem through our fingers.
After I pressed the dress to my face and breathed in, Annabel did the same. And she smiled.
And I smiled.
Then I carefully put the yellow dress back in its bag.
Heather….. I’m sending u love….. I’m sorry I cannot ease the pain…
yellow is such a beautiful color what a beautiful memory
Maddie is such a beautiful girl. She rocked yellow. What a perfect way to let Annie experience a little bit more of Maddie. Children learn through all of their senses and she learned a little bit more about her big sister with that yellow dress.
You and Mike are often in my thoughts, but especially this difficult week. Sending hugs your way.
Madeline looked so pretty in her yellow dress, she is a beautiful girl. My thoughts are with you all.
That is a lovely dress and she looked beautiful in it.
A few months ago I bought a yellow dress for my daughter. It’s a happy colour and it suits her, and whenever she wears it I also wind up thinking about Madeline.
And for this time of year, many gentle thoughts for you and your family.
(Crying)…Seeing the picture of it, took my breath away. I hope it still smells like her & will forever. It’s perfect….just like Maddie & Annie.
I miss her too Heather though I know the ache I feel is NOTHING compared what you and your family are feeling. Because of you…Maddie touched my heart and soul!!! Because of you, 1000’s of people (including myself) will ALWAYS celebrate the life and mourn the loss of your.. our Madeline.
I am better for having known Yourself, your family….your Maddie and I will take that perfect, smiling, little girl with me always in my heart.
I will ALWAYS be grateful you’ve allowed me to get to know her…and I will be ALWAYS sad, angry, and heart broken she was taken away from the family who loved her like NO other could WAAAAY too soon!!!
That is a gorgeous dress and it help make an already beautiful little girl look even more beautiful. I wish you had more than a dress to run your fingers across. I wish you had more than a dress to breath in. Holding you close in my heart, sending you endless love now and always.
I’m happy that she wore it too. You’re right, it absolutely suits her happy personality.
James Anderson says:
A really touching post and she’s a pretty little girl.
So glad that yellow dress wasn’t simply a regret hanging with her things.
I’ve told my girls that the very fancy dresses they will wear to my wedding in September can be worn every day after when we go to Disney if they want.
Beautiful dresses are meant to be worn, loved, not kept hidden away. Love for your children is meant to be worn, cherished and not kept hidden away.
Thinking of your all.
That yellow dress is more beautiful for the little soul who lit it up, however briefly.
It just sucks, Heather. Like, in every single way possible. It just sucks.
I first started reading this blog because I thought Maddie was so stunning in that yellow dress.
I miss her and I only got to know her through your words and pictures after she was gone. Thank you for sharing her.
Praying for peace and strength for you and your family.
I don’t know what to say. This entry is sweet and sad and tragic and hopeful, all at the same time. I am thinking about you today, as I do every day.
Leslie Gibson says:
Thinking of you this week. What a beautiful story. I am glad the dress still smells like Maddie.
I am so, so, so happy that she got to wear her dress, Heather.
There are so many things I want to say, but no words to really convey them. But I will try.
I am a complete stranger. Just another person on the internet who came across your blog and was captivated by a beautiful smile and brilliant eyes. At first it was something I can’t quite place my finger on…something about your Maddie that reminds me of my own little girl. A sparkle that some children posses…something that makes complete strangers stop and stare and talk and compliment…something that captivates and dizzies and won’t let you go. My little one has that. I recognized it in Maddie’s pictures. A luminance. That something extra. I began to read, and became caught up in her story. And then I simply wanted to read what you had to say, on any given day.
Her luminance lives on, Heather. Some stars cannot ever stop twinkling. Whenever I see a child with that certain sparkle, I think of Maddie. I picture her in that yellow dress and imagine her singing and playing and eating cake. And I smile.
Very few people, even those here much longer, have the presence that Maddie has. She is an amazing, beautiful, special little girl.
Thank you for sharing her with all of us.
YES, this. Beautifully said.
Love to you, Spohr Family!
Such a pretty dress! XOXO
catherine V says:
I hate this week for you.
The beautiful little girl in the yellow dress is so very loved and missed. Thank you for sharing her with us.
XOXO from GA,
<3, Heather. Just <3.
I’m so sorry Heather, I don’t know what else to say. Sending love your way.
Nancy Smego says:
That is such a beautiful story!
oh, sweet baby girl.
Kim Wencl says:
It is amazing to me how we do things for one reason and then later on we realize that we did them for an entirely different reason. Little did you know when you decided to put that dress on Maddie for the party how things were going to play out.
And needing to keep her smell on the dress reminded me of a significant happening just one week ago in our town when a precious 7 year old boy named Tyler went to heaven. Please read this piece entitled “God at Work.” http://kimwencl.com
Thank you for sharing your girls with us. I miss her and I only knew her through your words and photos.
Love to you this week and always.
I feel the same way- so grateful that you share your precious baby girls with us!
Love, prayers, hugs, and more love, Mama Spohr.
So lovely to see Maddie’s smiling face today. It had been a while. Love and hugs to you.
Rumour Miller says:
The scent of a loved one is so precious. My sister had a blanket that she kept after her son was born sleeping. He was only wrapped it in for a brief time but the scent comforted her.
Hugs to you, my friend.
So beautiful. And I am so sorry that this is your reality.
So beautiful. Thinking of you often.
So beautiful and touching.
sending you tons of hugs. i’m glad she got to wear that pretty yellow dress.
Katrina @ They All Call Me Mom says:
She looked gorgeous in that dress. I’m glad you put it on her that day, too.
I know as the 7th draws nearer and nearer, the pain gets all the more intense, if that’s even possible. I can only imagine the hurt you feel. I’m sorry
Maddie looked beautiful in that dress. I’m glad you can still smell her on it and share that with Annie.
Sending hugs and love from NJ… and thinking of you all… especially Maddy… each and every day.
That dress was perfect for your sweet Maddie.
She is beautiful and I thank you and Mike for sharing her with us.
Donna P says:
I’m so glad Maddie got to wear the yellow dress. The photos of your baby girl in that pretty dress with those bright eyes and that beautiful smile are some of the most memorable photos I’ve ever seen.
I have written and deleted a half a dozen times… and I just can’t find the right words… so all I can offer is ((((HUGS)))) lots and lots of HUGS to you all.
Oh man, now my eyes are filled with tears. My heart also breaks for you! I can only keep you and your family in my prayers and Hope that God will ease the pain. What a special moment to share with Annie.
I’ve been reading your blog for 2 years now. I’ve never commented before today. I’m not sure why, perhaps I felt like I would be an intrusion. Even though we have never met, you feel like an old friend. I love the fact that you write so openly, and especially about topics that others might not consider. Like this one. My father passed away 6 years ago today. I have his briefcase in my closet. Just this morning, after taking my kids to school, when the house was quiet I opened his briefcase, pulled out his wallet, and smelled it. It is amazing that the power of a scent can bring back so many memories and emotions. Then I read your post and just had to say “thank you”. Thinking of you and your family, and wishing you all some peace.
Maggie May says:
she looks so beautiful in her dress.
Your girls are lucky to have you as their Mother! Thank you for sharing with us!
When I think about Maddie, I always always remember her in that yellow dress. I never met her but it seems so “her.”
If there is a “healthy” way to grieve, you guys seem to be doing it. You are so brave and so strong, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Annie is lucky to have you both.
Christina Cox says:
Your Maddie is a beautiful baby girl! I don’t know you but we live in Santa Monica and have gone to a lot of places in your photos etc. We have a Maddie too and we check in to see how you all are from time to time, especially this week. Sending love from a mama stranger to you & your sweet family.
So touching. Maddie has the most beautiful eyes.
I am thinking of you this week.
What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. Thinking of you, Mike, and Annie this week.
Annie is so lucky that her parents share her sister so completely with her.Maddie will live on in all our hearts, but especially her sisters. Maybe one day Annie will unseal the pretty yellow dress and smell it with her daughter while telling her the stories you passed on and preserved so diligently.
The pictures and the post are beautiful. I have the outfit that Sawyer wore most of the day he died. I have not washed it but I did not think to put it in a plastic bag. It may be too late but I am going to try. Thank you for the suggestion and for sharing. Take care.
I hope her smell continues on with this dress – it was meant to be worn and it is the most perfect dress, I’m trying to express something and I can’t… It just breaks and melts my heart all in one
Laurie SL says:
My heart goes out to you and your family. Maddie is missed by so many people and has touched the lives to thousands. Strength & hugs to you.
I read your blog every morning, but rarely comment. I feel like I hardly have the words to express how much Maddie and your family has changed me. I first came across your blog almost 2 years ago and for whatever reason, felt an instant connection (maybe it’s a DG thing, who knows). But your passion and love for your little Maddie has been an amazing influence. I’m so glad that your are willing to share yourself and Maddie and Annie with us all. My daughter is now 2 1/2 and has decided her favorite color is purple; I think of Maddie everytime she mentions her love of purple.
Much love from KY
Thinking of you always but especially more this week.
When I saw on Twitter that you had posted an entry called “Yellow,” I knew it was going to be about Maddie’s beautiful dress. We love Maddie, and we love you – especially during this difficult week. xoxoxo
Jill Sarven says:
just ……………………….thoughts of you
I’ll never forget the pictures of her in that dress. She was glowing. Sending lots of love and good memories your way.
I’m so sorry, Heather. I wish you could smell your little girl without having to open up a plastic bag…I wish she was here with you. Thinking and praying for you all.
Can’t imagine what that must be like. Thinking of you this month even more than most. Sending big hugs.
Jenni Williams says:
Heather I am so sorry. My heart breaks for you all. Sending you so much love.
I’m glad that you shared the dress with Annie. I hope the smell stays forever. Sending extra warm thoughts for you all this week.
Beautiful, beautiful Maddie. Thinking of your family this week. . .
I caught the gentle smell of my grandma the other day. It was in my closet. I don’t know if it came from her trench coat that is hanging in there. The smell hanging on still after 8 years. It was brief. Made me pause. Made me miss her so much.
I find myself really missing her. Her anniversary passed on March 27. I’m needing her advice so much right now. There’s this guy, and it’s the first guy I’ve really really had feelings for and I don’t have anyone to talk about this stuff with. *SHE* was the one I talked about this stuff with.
So I wrap myself in my quilt made of her shirts (I had it made last year when I finally took her shirts out of their plastic bags.) and talk to her and ask the questions. I just hope for a response in my dreams.
But this post? Made me smile and made me sad. Because I did the same thing. So I can understand. Even though it was with my gram and not a child.
So very beautiful!
Hugs to you Mike and Annie….. It sure is nice to see pictures of Maddie hope you can post a few more of her…… How I wish I could bring her from wherever she is into your arms again.
I bought my daughter this same dress, before she could wear I found your blog and heard of your loss, and then saw the pictures of Maddie in the dress. My daughter never wore hers, every time I looked at it I remembered you and your family and the pain you must be going through and said a little prayer.
Think of you and your family this week, next week and every day.
Sending love and hugs.
We are thinking of you so much this week. F0r the last two years, I have started every weekday by reading your blog. Although you don’t know me, your family is well known to me (and to my husband, who doesn’t read anything on the computer but is well aware of “Maddie and her family” because you guys are talked about a lot in this house.) We want you to know that we think of you often and we remember Maddie.
This is a lovely memory, I’m glad you have anothe way to share Maddie with Annie.
I know this week is hard on you, I don’t even really know you and yet you have been on my mind.
Mrs. Wilson says:
Wow. There are no words to express how precious that moment was.
I’m so glad you brought the dress out before Easter for Madeline to wear. It looks beautiful on her.
I love the ways you share Maddie’s memory with Annie. Yellow was SO Maddie’s color. And I’m glad you put her the dress on. Because yes: Pretty dresses are meant to be worn.
I also love that photo you have to the side (the link stating: Are you a friend of Maddie?”). That face could definitely light up any sky.
I’ll be praying for peace to come upon you all this week.
Dawn @ What's Around the Next Bend? says:
I am bawling! What a lovely way to remember Maddie with Allie. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
I’m so happy that Maddie got to wear that dress. She looked beautiful in it. I’m so sorry for the pain you are feeling this week.
I truly wish I could take away your heartache and bring your baby back to where she belongs. It is just not fair. I have been following you for years now, and I still can’t believe it is real. Part of me still thinks it was all some horrible mistake and that it didn’t happen. I wish that were the truth.
I don’t have any words that will ease your sorrow or grief, but I didn’t want to not say anything either…. I want you to know that we all still think about Maddie and that her memory will always live on. It’s pretty amazing that such a little person as made a difference in so many lives!
It warms my heart to look at pictures of your stunning sunshine girl in that lovely yellow dress. She just lights up the room with that glowing smile. Her memory is cherished by so many, and we are all praying for you and Mike.
You are such an amazing Mommy. Sending you love and prayers, this week and always.
I love you.
I just do.
I miss her.
She lit the world up for such a short time, but she is ALWAYS remembered and thought about.
I have a tree outside my porch window that blooms purple flowers. My mother in law planted it before she died 20 years ago.
They refuse to ever take it down.
Now, every time I look out that window, I think of Maddie.
And I think of you.
This post actually hurts to read. I have my own reasons but really it’s just that yellow dress. I remembered it was what she wore to that party. Those pictures you posted 2 years ago. yes, she looked amazing in it.I have looked at her pics so many times. God, she’s a beautiful little girl. I just want to curl up and cry forever. Forgive me, it is not for me to feel, but I know lots of us do. Please hold on tight Heather, this horrible week will be over at some point. Love to you.
One of my fav colors and I remember when you first posted the photos of her wearing it. She looks so pretty in that dress.
Michelle H says:
A beautiful post, a beautiful dress, two beautiful little girls.
So many tears.
Send you lots of prayers and hugs.
Trisha Vargas says:
Sending you lots of love this week especially.
(((HUGS))) from Florida
Claudia G. says:
I’ve never cried more while reading a post. BEAUTIFUL! I’ve never met your daughters but I love them both Sending you love and prayers during this very difficult time.
Another Mama says:
I have always picked yellow Easter dresses for my daughter. I have no idea why, something I did that first year and have followed with ever since. I will now always think of your beautiful daughter in her lovely Easter dress too. They made for some of the most darling photos of a little girl I have ever seen. Thinking about you and your family this week often, wishing your family was all together and that you were buying 2 lovely yellow dresses for 2 sisters this year.