Two years ago today was by far the worst day of my life, but it was more than just a terrible day. It was a profoundly scarring and traumatic experience. Walking into the PICU unprepared for what I was about to see, watching the doctors and nurses work in vain to save Maddie, hearing the doctor pronounce her dead, cradling and kissing my daughter’s lifeless body one last time, these moments are more ingrained in my memory than any other moments of my life.

Not one of the seven hundred and thirty days since Maddie died have passed without my being haunted by those traumatic moments. Sometimes they come racing back in crushing flashbacks that reduce me to tears. Other times they gently creep up and dampen my mood. But they never fail to rear their heads one way or the other, many times over, every single day.

The worst thing about the power these moments hold over me is that they represent just one of the five hundred and fourteen days I had with Maddie. Their constant presence preserves every sight, sound, and smell of that awful day in my mind while my memory of the other five hundred and thirteen days grows dimmer. This breaks my heart more than you can imagine.

So today I am going to do all I can to ignore those traumatic moments, and instead let myself be haunted by thoughts of the other five hundred and thirteen days:

– The day she was born and gave me the honor of being her Dad.

Mike and Maddie

– Giving her a bath and laughing as she splashed around in the water.

you're going to do WHAT with that?

– Playing my guitar while she rocked out on her little piano.

in concert

– Goofing around on the floor together, laughing and laughing.

IMG_1625

– Spending Christmas with her cousins.

Maddie, Rigby, Spencer

– Sharing a tasty treat on a sun splashed Saturday afternoon.

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– And many, many more wonderful memories with my little girl that deserve to haunt me far more than the awful ones.

Pajama Maddie

So here’s to you, Chicken Muffin Love Bear. On this terrible second anniversary I want you to know that I will never forget the wonderful times we shared. Wherever you are, your Daddy loves you more than ever.