Sometimes, it seems like I can’t win.
When I write about my despair over Madeline, I get people telling me that I have to pay more attention to Annabel, as though she is ignored in a corner somewhere. When I write about Annabel, people tell me how nice it must be to be over Madeline’s death, like that could ever be possible.
When I say that I am sometimes overwhelmed by my feelings, I’m told I didn’t spend enough time grieving, as if there is a time limit.
People say they can’t imagine what I’m going through. I can’t imagine what another parent goes through when they lose a child, because it is an experience unique to everyone.
I used to think about what I would do if Madeline died. When I was on bed rest, I would stare at the corner of the ceiling and imagine what it would feel like if she didn’t survive.
I can’t even articulate how much I underestimated the pain – and at the time, I thought I was overestimating.
Some say they would never do “insert something I did here.” I used to say that about different things all the time. Now, I realize I can’t, because I really have no idea what anyone’s circumstances are. I have perspective I don’t want, but I’m certainly not going to ignore it.
It used to get to me, the things people say. The looks they give, the words they type. And then I remembered that these people don’t matter. The people that hate, the people that judge, the people that think their words can hurt me – they do not affect me anymore.
These are the people that matter:
The people that love, the people that support, the people that care (the great majority of you) – you matter, and you will get it back in leaps and bounds.
You can always count on it from me.
Kate @ UpsideBackwards says:
Good for you, strong lady. Love and hugs to you!
That photo… oh my gosh. You are a wonderful photographer! The love just shines through all of you.
Nancy Smego says:
You’re amazing Heather. So is Mike, Maddie and Annabelle. No wonder we all love you so much!!!!
Thank you for including Maddie, Nancy. She is in our hearts always!
I try to not judge, but I apologize wholeheartedly if I’ve ever said anything judgmental.
Nancy Smego says:
Maddie is as much a part of your family as Annie. I know that first hand. She will be with you always! I read your blog every single day and admire your strength so much. Don’t listen to anyone who has negative things to say. They are so not worth your time.
Having lost a 4 month old daughter 5 years ago, i can relate to what you are going through, there will always be someone who means well, they just dont “get it”. You all are the best, and thank you for sharing your story with us in cyberland, sometimes i just need to remember that im not alone.
Most of the time, when people throw stones, they’re displacing some emotion they’re feeling themselves. They may or may not have experienced the death of a child, but maybe they feel like they’ve been a lousy parent in their own right, and telling you how to feel about your own babies makes them feel like Dr. Spock. Just take a deep breath and remember that they’re only talking shit because they’re insecure. Sounds like you’re doing a good job of that already
Your family is beautiful. I’m sorry that anyone ever sends you nasty notes. You’re right: everyone’s experience is different. Thank you for sharing yours.
What she said!
I think you have two beautiful, precious daughters, and I can’t believe that anyone would question your love for either girl based on you writing a blog post about one. People are horrible. I’m glad that you have such a great, healthy perspective on the whole situation. Mike, Annabel, and Maddie are your family, and they are what matter — not what a bunch of blog readers (including myself) think about your life based on our limited glimpses here.
kymberli q. says:
Big hugs to you…always.
You are so wise. I’m so sorry for the pain that brought you there. I’m so thankful that you share your journey, I learn a lot from you.
Ummm……. actually, I think you might be the coolest mom on the planet. The love you have for your girls is amazing to read about. I love reading about other moms who love their own kids like I love mine. It makes me so happy.
The people who have ANYTHING negative to say to you are lacking in so many areas of their lives. You have to pity them. They are pathetic. Plug your ears, you are the best!
Stay strong. I think its absolutely ludicrous that a person can feel that they can judge another person particularly if they don’t actually know them in real life. Wishing you the best as always.
I agree with Lisa. Most of us have never walked an inch in your shoes, much less lived the pain, grief, love, and joy over new beginnings that you live. I think those that judge you are too afraid to look at themselves in a mirror, because they will have to judge themselves and they won’t like it. Live your life, love your family and friends; they’ll return that love ten-fold.
Hugs from Texas.
You’re amazing. I, We, love you.
Heather- you always say things in such a beautiful way. I struggle with many of the same issues, although our stories are different. My identical twin daughters were both stillborn 2 years ago this month- and I had another baby just one year after their deaths. People do not understand the depths of grief…or even how it looks from moment to moment, day to day. How in one moment you can be happy and the next crying because it’s a moment you wish you could have shared with your child. I think about Maddie all the time (for some reason especially when I’m going to Target- no idea why!)- I guess I just think about how cool it would have been for me to run into you there (I live on the westside of LA)- and for me to meet Maddie when she was alive. I know our situations are very different…I just admire you for the way you grieve outloud- and yet still show others the beauty that still exists- because you do not have a choice but to go on living without your child- so what can you do besides make the most of these years til you see her again? Grief is complicated- and part of what makes it hard is that we have to keep building the beauty on this side because there is no other choice…
Good for you Heather. You are so right….
That’s exactly right Heather! The only people that matter are the two people sitting there and the one who isn’t here to hold except in our hearts. You are an amazing mother and one of my personal heroes. Many virtual ((HUGS)) for you!
Redneck Mommy says:
Thanks chicka. I needed to read this tonight.
For many reasons. Xo
Annie Y says:
This just helped put things in my own life in better perspective. Thank you for that.
Love the pic!
That’s a freakin’ awesome picture!
I used to tell myself this quote all the time… “Those that matter don’t mind. Those that mind don’t matter”.
LIndy, you are spot on. Thats one really heartening quote.
That’s an awesome quote, and spot on. Heather you are one hot rockin Mom, let it roll.
You talk about whatever you need to, we love BOTH your girls. And that little dog too!
You have stated it so perfectly. I have never lost a child to death but I can imagine that every day that you don’t see your precious daughter makes you ache for her even more. Many hugs to you.
Trisha G says:
I was once criticized for being a overprotective “hovering” mom because I wouldn’t let my 3 year-old go outside and play without my supervision. I was being criticized by a “mom” that really didn’t like being bothered by her kids so she sent them outside so they wouldn’t bother her. I hate to say she wasn’t a good mom but her kids didn’t come first in her world. The thing that surprised me was when she said that about me it didn’t hurt me. I didn’t get mad or feel anything really and it was then I realized I didn’t respect her and since I didn’t respect her, her opinion didn’t matter to me one bit. I am glad I realized that early in my life because it sure has helped in several situations. It also helped me realize that when someone I do respect is trying to give me advice that maybe I should stop and think about it. Maybe I do need to look at something from their point of view. I will never in my life figure out why people go on other people’s blogs and bash them. Nobody is forcing them to read your blog. They come simply to hate. I feel sad for them. Heather you are doing the best you can in your situation. Only answer to the ones you love and respect. If I didn’t respect you, I wouldn’t be here. I am betting that that is the case for most of the people reading your blog.
Ack. People say such stupid hurtful things, often without meaning to. One thing I heard a lot when my little sister died was ‘I couldn’t cope with that! I couldn’t carry on’. I felt like shouting: well, what WOULD you do then? It hurt because it implied that I was not sad enough or didn’t love my sister as much as they did theirs. When in reality they were probably trying to be supportive.
Since having my baby I’ve learned that it’s possible for the heart to accommodate great joy and great sorrow at the same time. One does not exclude the other.
It’s abundantly clear to me that you love both your girls endlessly, and I admire the way you include Maddie in your present as well as your past.
Well said bokker. I’ve lost both of my brothers and I now have kids of my own so I can certainly relate to you.
My parents and I are constantly judged….your not over them yet, you talk about them too much, you seem happy….
Sadly, life does go on. My parents and I are happy but there will always be that sadness that walks hand in hand with us. Two very special members of our family are missing and that we will “never get over” (oh how I hate that phrase)
Hugs to you Heather!!!
You are such an amazing person so full of life and love and above all positivity despite what life has thrown at you. That anyone would ever want to hurt you with cruel words is beyond me.
I am always in awe of just how loving and giving you are from reading your posts. You always teach me a lesson or two. The love that you have and the love that surrounds you always shines through your words and your photos. You are a fantastic photographer and writer. You are also simply the best mother to your precious girls and doggy and of course you are just the best wife to Mike!!
I think of you all every day and not a day goes by that I don’t think of the World Famous Maddie and especially that captivating smile of her’s. When I’m having my own difficult moments and stresses, I just have to think of your precious girl’s smile and laughter and I feel better. Your daughter really did make such a great impact on this world.
Sending you a big hug and lots of love
Wow, this is such a beautiful photo!
Marti from Michigan says:
People are people I guess, they just say stuff without thinking…..me included. If I’ve said anything unkind on here since Maddie went to Heaven, I am sorry. I don’t always think first, either.
You and Mike are amazing parents, and you have 2 gorgeous daughters. That’s what counts.
(((HUGS FROM MICHIGAN)))
You are so right! Brilliant post.
Not ONE single being on this earth has the right to tell you how you should feel at any one time. NOT ONE. I’m sorry, but this really fired me up. You and Mike, went through something so unimaginable. You not only survived, but every day you help people through your tireless work to assist other families in need. You are one of the strongest people I know. Bugger that, you ARE the strongest person I know.
People who care, who love you live right under your roof. Us, people who support you via your blog, will always stand by you too. Please ignore anyone who is dumb enough to think they have any right whatsoever to judge you.
I lost a ‘friend’ last year over just 1 sentence. I suffered a miscarriage which ripped by heart out. Completely and utterly. I can barely talk to anyone about it apart from my husband. So this friend, this gutless little wonder said to me ‘well, i shouldn’t really judge you by the way you handled your miscarriage’………… shouldn’t really judge me………nearly a year on, and that one sentence cuts at the core of me.
So Heather, please, please please, ignore petty people who think that grief can be measured, can be quantified, can be explained or had a use by date.
Take heart, there are people who love you from all around the world.
Catherine Lucas says:
For a lot of people, it is easier to give advice instead of saying: “I don’t know shit and/or I have no words”. They have no clue about being present in silence…
I can totally relate. I wont say I “know exactly what you mean” because even though I’ have lost a daughter as well, as you’ve articulated, our experiences and reactions to our losses are all so different.
I’m sorry you had to write a post like this. To be blunt, I can’t believe what jerks some people out there are. Why do they even bother visiting this sacred space of yours.
Sending you love, and I just LOVE that photo. Precious, like both your girls.
People are ridiculous. Like you need their permission to love and celebrate both your girls – which of course includes mourning and bittersweetness. You feel how you feel, and you know what? My life is certainly enriched from reading your words, my perspective broadened a bit, and I am thankful to you for that. Your blog is your business, lady, and shame on those people! Love to you and yours from me and mine.
Humans have an amazing abundance of love in their hearts that can be directed in hundreds of different ways & directions. This love is cannot be measured and divided up like a pie, it’s boundless for each person it touches.
Loving Annabel and rejoicing in her life, does not mean Maddie is missed any less. Grieving and pining for Maddie does not mean you value and love Annie any less. Anyone who feels or thinks otherwise should sit down and rethink their own values and deficiencies.
We have never met, but from my tiny corner of the Earth, I see nothing but a woman who lives and breathes for her family. You should be admired for your strength and not judged for being human.
I need a like button for this comment. You expressed this beautifully.
Yes, Heather has beautifully written exactly how I feel as well. Every day after reading your blog, I always think that the world would be a much better, happier place if there were more mothers like you.
Heather… I’ve been reading your blog forever, but hardly ever comment. Not sure why, really…. Maybe because I don’t “know” you and, well, I don’t know. Anyway, moving on….
I just wanted to let you know that you inspire me on a daily basis. I hope that no mother has to experience what you have, and those who have nothing nice to say to you should mind their own freaking business. Your are more than allowed to feel what you feel, and share with us what you share. I’m honored that you share as much as you do. Sending you much love and thanks….you make me a better mother to my children, and for that I’m forever grateful. xo
It’s funny, but everytime I read that someone has written something mean to you I get all blood boily!!! I just could not even imagine saying hurtful things to anyone …. or pretending that I know it all and tell you how you should be handling yourself.
I think you are fantastic and are a great inspiration to many.
I don’t know what is cuter about that picture … Mike and Annabel or those awesome chairs!!! I want a pair of those ….
I just cannot imagine anyone having anything but wonderful things to say about or to you! The obvious ignorance of some who feel the need to “critique” or “guide” you with daft advice only illuminates your tremendous strength. Yes Heather, their comments truly are inconsequential.
~Dr Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”~
Lauren D. says:
You show amazing strength, courage, and spirit every day on this blog. You continue to post even though you have gone through so much. So much that I can’t even imagine having to deal with. Yet you do it with such grace and dignity and elegance. It sounds funny to say you deal with grief gracefully, but you do.
You share your lives with us. And for that we are truly grateful. From that Amazing Anabel, to your beautiful bright eyed Madeline. I thank you for letting us share in their lives.
To all the people that hide behind their computer screen, their fake shield of courage, and think they can judge you?? They mean nothing. They deserve nothing. The only ones that deserve your time are the ones you love. Keep them close, keep posting, and keep remembering how much your blog means to so many of us. I thank you for it. It’s touched me in more ways than you could know.
Oh Heather, I am sorry you have had hurtful things said But perhaps those people don’t mean it that way it comes across-it is hurtful because they can’t fathom the flow of emotions you and Mike have. Maybe.
Anyways, your blog is so helpful to others, sadly I sorta knew what to say when a friend’s child was still born, simply because I had read what you said was helpful for you.
And I love the fun antics you play with Annabel Above all, have fun with you blog and enjoy it.
You’re such an amazing photographer, and more so, an amazing lady! Thanks for your honest thoughts and insight. A hearty BOO! to the judgers out there!
Good for you, Heather. It’s difficult for all on a communicative level – supposedly we are all equal and therefore should communicate equally. But that’s not really true. As you said yourself, we are all moulded by our own personal experiences which govern how we function and communicate. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, hoping that when they say hurtful things to me, they don’t really realise what they are saying. Of course, there are those people who simply HAVE TO say something to hurt someone, and these are the people I stay well away from. Life is too short to bother yourself with bad vibes. Oh, and that is a beautiful photo!
Lynn from For Love or Funny says:
In the future, I hope that you are buoyed by the love and support of the readers from your blog. We are cheering you on!
Sad to say, Heather, but this world will never be in short supply of ignorant, “think they know it all” people, who feel that they have the right to express their “expert opinion”, and really don’t care how it affects the person that hears their words.. But you are right,,,in the long run; those aren’t the people that matter,,,the two precious people in those chairs,,,,,,,,,,your wonderful, outstanding, parents, and the rest of your loving family & friends are the ones that matter. You are an amazing mommy,and wife, and don’t you ever forget it. You just keep continuing to do whatever you need to do to get you through each and every day,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Lots of love and hugs to you, Mike, Annabel, Rigby, and our little angel Maddie…………………
I find your commentaries helpful and even instructive for understanding how to deal with loss and living on. Please know that you are surrounded, at least virtually, by a community of people who love you — and Madeline and Annie and Mike — from our various distances. Most of us have no intention of judging: we’re listening and learning and crying and laughing with you.
Linda Campbell says:
My Gramma used to have a saying, “The masses are asses!” It’s very fitting, A LOT of the time.
I just don’t understand how anyone would have the ignorance to critisize, comment, be hurtful, anything mean to anyone, unless they have walked in your shoes. People are too quick to give their opinion when it is never asked for or appreciated.
At least you have good insight Heather to realize, “the masses are asses”.! xo
mary c says:
There is a lot of shallow people out there. My mom liked to say “becareful out there, misery likes company!” She was right. As you can seen.
I like to come to your blog daily, sometimes I write, but most times I just enjoy you, your photos and your family. i well never judge you. I like you for who you are and what you have become. You are strong and I learn from you. You are my mentor. Thank you for all you write.
Lisa Kisch says:
I am that baby born after one has died (my brother). I have grown up well adjusted and I had three other siblings born after me. I always wondered about my brother, Jeffery who died before my birth and I would fantasize that he had lived and I imagined what he would have looked like and how he would have protected me as his little sister. I never knew the depths of my parent’s pain until I had children and just the thought that they might die sent me into a tailspin.
I now work as a social worker and I often work with Mothers whose children have died. I have shared with them that their pain will never go away, but they will be able to move on with their lives. Just like you are. Feeling your pain and sharing your story is an inspiration to many. Those who write negative comments obviously have not lost a child..
Lisa Kisch says:
I was also thinking of a revelation I had one day when I was older. It was beautiful. I was the answer to prayer. My parents prayed for another child after Jeff died and it was me. What a beautiful feeling that is to be an answer to a prayer. Annabelle is also an answer to prayer…
It amazes me how some people can spend their time attacking others and intentionally trying to hurt them. Especially when there is a child involved! Know that you, Maddie, Annabel and Mike are loved by so many people. Many that you’ve never even met!
That picture of Annabel and Mike is really freakin cute, btw.
I cannot even begin to try to identify with the pain you feel, and I certainly cannot begin to judge anyone’s path or experiences. It’s not my place or right. What I can certainly say, though, is that I admire your strength, and your true, loving heart. I admire the mother that you are to both of your girls, and I admire the wife and partner you are to Mike.
you have two beautiful daughters. one you can hold in real life and one who you will always hold in your heart. People can go take a flying leap. All that matters is that you feel that the time you took was enough, that you know you love your daughters and husband, and that you make it through each day however you choose.
I don’t know how someone could read your blog and not realize that everything you write and picture you take is out of love for your daughters and husband. I’m overwhelmed by that love every time I stop in here; I’m sorry for the people that miss that.
Thanks for writing.
Why those people are even here baffles me. I don’t know why they feel the need to come on to your blog and insult you, but good for you for holding your head up high and realizing that the only people who matter are Mike and your girls. I’ve had people tell me to “get over” things in my life, too, but until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, no one has the right to tell me any of that. I can learn from your words, as I let them affect me far too often.
Katie in WI says:
I feel thankful that you continue to share your wonderful words. I feel like I’ve learned so much from you.
That picture is just awesome.
You’ve said it perfectly. I’m sorry people have been anything but polite to you and your family. I’ve been reading for more than a year now, and your perspective always helps keep me in check.
God bless you and your family.
Anna Marie says:
Beautiful photo of mike and Annie. They clearly adore each other!
Grief is such a personal journey and all you can do is navigate it as best you can. I’m amazed that anyone thinks they have a better way for you to do that. Hugs.
I will never understand the things people say or in this case, write. There is no doubt to me that both your daughters are present in your mind always, just as I’m sure your husband is. Your grief is your own and I’m glad you don’t let others tell you what you should be feeling. You’re right that they don’t matter anyway.
Alexandra :) says:
Wow, Heather. I can’t imagine what you’re going through either-I don’t even know what it’s like to HAVE a baby, let alone lose one-which is why I keep telling myself that even if you were to do something that I thought was totally bizzare, I have no business judging you. I can’t believe that people would actually think you were “over” Madeline or not just because you make funny posts about Annie. Or think that you might neglect Annie, when we can all see that you’re not neglecting her and you’re not done being sad. That is just ridiculous.
Tracy M says:
It’s easy to toss hate around & to sit on the other side of a computer and assume you know what’s going on in a blogger’s life. What’s HARD is giving love & support to someone who needs your shoulder if only just for a tiny period of time. It must be easy judging for all I see is an amazing family simply coping everyday with the loss of a loved one. I know that doesn’t just “go away”. *hugs*
Some people think their opinion matters. What matters is that you are a great mom, both to Maddie and Annabel. Don’t let stupid people tell you otherwise! *HUGS*
First of all what an adorable picture! Second well said! xoxo
People can be ignorant. You sould never let what they say effect you as you have learned now. You are an awesome person on the inside and out as any one with common since can see from reading your blog. Maddie & Annie are the luckiest girls! You are an awesome mother.
Grief is so unique, and so personal. I give you such credit for sharing your experience here–even when it’s raw and difficult–and I am glad that these people haven’t dissuaded you from continuing to write.
I’m also glad you’ve continued to work on your photography — that picture is beautiful!
I can’t believe that anyone could speak harsh words to you about your situation. I love reading your posts about both Madeline and Annabel. The posts about Annabel make me smile because I think that maybe that day, despite the pain that you constantly must feel, you had a slightly easier time. The posts about Madeline make me smile as well, because you are keeping her spirit alive and I think you are such a strong woman for so publicly sharing your grief. Both your daughters are beautiful – you have a loving, supportive family and I love reading your blog. You are an inspiration.
One of the wisest things anyone ever told me is, You don’t have to feel anything other than what you are feeling. So glad you don’t let it get to you when people who say hurtful things.
How can anyone say it must be nice to be over the death of your daughter. As if you get over anyone’s death. I wasn’t even on speaking terms with my grandmother when she died and I’m still not over her death.
I know I found your blog under horrible reason, but you’ve become a daily read, because you write exactly what you’re feeling at the moment. I love that.
Big Big hugs… from someone in your corner. I know you love both your daughters VERY much. xoxoxoxox
I hope I’ve never said anythng to hurt or offend you – f I have, my appologes!
As for your feelings – how can someone have enough love for lots of children? Well if you have one child you love it, when you have 2 the level of love for the first doesnt diminish, you just find you heart is twice the size to love twice as much. and so it goes on as your family grows.
If you lose someone in your live the pain is fresh and raw, it doesnt get less or fade away – you just become accustomed to it being in your life.
(At this point I will say I havent lost a child so I cant begin to imagine the level of pain you and your family feel.)
As other people are lost in your life you dont stop feeling the pain of the first person lost, you just have a fresh raw pain to go with the one you already feel.
There is no limit to a persons ability to love or limit to the number of people you can love and especially no limit to the strength of love someone feels for anyone person. And if someone has died that love doesnt end or freeze it continues to grow and strengthen.
Sadly, the sadness we carry with someone passing has no time frame or minimum strength. It just is, and in time we all learn to cope with those sorrows we carry in our own way.
People grive in their own ways, and the day I found your blog, I spent the entire day reading it, when my sister was pregnant with her twins and found out that one wold not survive, I told her about your blog and she too found comfort in it that only a parent whom has lost a child could understand, I have to say that through her darkest days, you were a glimmer of light to her. As a NICU parent myself, and with my sister we were honored when we walked the MOD in Los Angeles and were almost overwhelmed by the sea of Purple that we saw with all the support of Maddies friends.
In your dark days you have friends, those you have known forever and can pick up the phone, and those on line whom are also there for you no matter what, I cannot imagine the thought of losing my child, and the heartbreak it causes, But as a strong believer of afterlife, I know that Maddie is above, watching over Annie, you, and Mike, and those moments when Annie is looking up as if she is talking to someone, her and Maddie are having one of those famous big sister and little sister chats.
Jen L. says:
I am so sorry (and really quite shocked) that people say those things to you. That’s all I got. That and love.
Hey heather after reading this post I thought of a new song that I heard recently. I know in LA you guys probably don’t have many if any country stations but here in Alabama we of course have plenty lol. Anyway I wanted to share the song with you. My friend just lost her son and she said this song really gets out what she wants to say.
It absolutely makes me catch my breath at the thought that anyone is nasty to you ever. I read here every single day and have for a year and a half now. Anyone who knows you, even in the limited way that I do, knows you are outstanding in every sense of the word. I read one of your tweets last night and was thinking about you. I don’t have any idea what goes on at these blog conferences. But as I lie in bed I literally thought to myself if there’s a conference with a bunch of blogging women, Heather is the best of them. There might be some as good, might (and I read a lot of them), but you are a kind, strong, talented, gift to the world of blogging (and the world in general) that is unique. To your children, your family, your readers and the world. You’re an artist and simply extraordinary in every sense of the word. I know you’re not perfect, but you are extraordinary and exceptional. And I’m glad you don’t listen to the bs.
This is so true, and anyone who reads your posts everyday can tell you have so much love for both your girls. I’m sorry there are people out there that would say anything else.
Love the picture!
Wow, I don’t even know what to say. Sounds like people have you dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. I followed your blog for the longest time, and then your precious Maddie went to be with our Lord. For me, I had to back off. I knew of your pregnancy and felt joy and comfort in knowing that your heart would once again beat the tune of a Mother’s unconditional love. I have recently “found” you again, and I have to say that I am glad. I CAN NOT smell the scent of the Johnson’s baby shampoo (for curly locks) and not think of you and Maddie. You have touched me in that way. I thank you for sharing your raw emotions with so many of us and letting us in on your grief and joy. Annabel is beautiful. May God be with you and give you the strength to grieve and celebrate as YOU feel the need to, and to heck with all that dare to question it. ((((HUGS)))))
I think you are a strong, loving, amazing mother–to both your girls. Please don’t let the hateful words of small people ever get to you.
what a great pic!
Lisa @ lists in my pocket says:
You’re so right and I am again in awe of you manage not only your grief but people judging how you grieve. I think it’s amazing that you acknowledge that grief is unique to everyone – there is no right or wrong and no book about how to do it right. You and your family are awesome!!
Sometimes, I really hate people. I will never understand why some people think they know best, as though they know how you feel or what you’ve experienced. No one can tell you how to feel, and I hate that people insinuate this or that, as though you should be acting a certain way. I’m glad you’ve determined that these people are not worth the time of day. You are an exceptionally brave, articulate woman, and I have felt honored that you have let me and so many others share in your journey. Please do give Miss Annie some chubby-cheek kisses for me today!
Very well said… perfectly put, actually.
I cannot judge you until I’ve walked in your shoes and since that is not possible, I’m just going to support you.
peace and love, always.
Grief is very individual, and no one can prescribe what yours or Mike’s “should” be. Grief is not something you finish. It is a lifelong process that changes over time. Trust yourself and your feelings, and know that there are thousands of us in your corner, supporting you and wishing there was something concrete we could do to let you know. God bless.
I am trying to teach my children to never judge because one never truly knows unless they are in the other person’s shoes how they feel, their circumstances etc… I am really sorry people are sending crappy and hurful comments, you are the bigger person by choosing to ignore them. We all know by your posts that you love both Madeline and Annabel equally, like the saying goes unless you have walked in my shoes…
You’re so right.
Haters will be haters.
People who judge have no idea about broken hearts.
Grief is a long process.
Take your time.
You are loved.
DESERA JOHNSON says:
OMG! This post broke my heart more than any other! Who do they think they are? There is no time limit….you are so open and honest about what you are feeling and you are a wonderful mother! don’t let the naysayers bring you down! people in glass houses should not throw stones…it’s gonna come back to bite them in the ass! I’m so sorry there are people like that and they feel the need to comment here! ?
Great photo. Your girls are lucky to have such great parents.
What a wonderful picture! I hate to think that anyone would say unkind or thoughtless things to you, but I am glad you know those comments are not true.
I read your posts daily but very rarely comment to be perfectly honest. Today, i had to let you know that your post touched me. I cannot imagine the pain you must go through daily. You have two beautiful daughters. You are so talented. Mike seems great too. It saddens me to see judgmental people but I have to agree with you, they don’t matter. I think you have a great perspective. I appreciate your honesty. I love looking at the pictures of your girls. Take care.
It sucks that people think it’s okay to judge. It sucks that sometimes what those people say gets under your skin. Good for you for staying strong and not letting them get to you anymore.
Love and hugs.
I’ll delurk for once and just say: I read your blog to try to even understand one iota of how a parent deals with this. Your’s is probably the most real story out there. It isn’t all perfect nursery pictures and giggling babies. There is real pain, grief and loss. You express it wonderfully and gracefully and frankly give us all hope that while horrible, if you can do it, we could too.
Your daughters are lucky to have you. Please keep writing. This will be a treasure trove one day for Annabel.
you are an amazing, beautiful, strong, talented woman and i cannot and do not begin to imagine that i have any idea of the emotions that you go through on a second-by-second, minute-by-minute basis. i am sorry that some people believe that they have any idea of what another person is feeling or how they should be behaving. thank you for another heart-breaking, heartfelt post.
the picture of Mike and Annabel is incredible!
Lisa from WV says:
This post reminds me of the old adage “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” It might be cliche, but it’s the truth. People always want to put their 2 cents in when they have no idea what they are talking about. I love the pic btw. Thoughts & Prayers.
So well said. And what a great, happy, fun picture of Annabel and Mike!
I have just never understood why people presume to judge other people’s grief. I;m so sorry you’ve had to deal with any nasty, snarky comments because of that.
This is a beautiful post, Heather. You have every right to feel any way you want. I come back because I enjoy you, as not only a great writer and photographer, but also as a wife and a mom.
My Father had a saying that still stays with me everyday, months after his passing. Take the high road, and you will always come out on top! Sounds like you are doing just that Heather! Keep focused on your family and friends, and karma will take care of the rest! Hugs!!!!! xo
You go girl! I am so sorry people say nasty things to you. There is no right or wrong way to feel, things to do or say, when you loose a loved one. Everyone handles a loss differently.
I think you are very strong Heather, and you are handling things the best you can for you and your family. I am always thinking about ALL of you, and praying. BIG HUGS!
I just love you, Heather. And Mike and Annie too, of course.
(((Hugs))) from here!
That picture is FANTASTIC! Looks like they are having quite the conversation.
beautifully said, heather. i think you strike a nice balance of focusing on both of your daughters.
and i love that picture. annie really looks like her daddy in this one xoxo
Shelley Viestenz says:
I, too, have learned so much from you, Heather. The heart has amazing ability to hold such deep grief and joy at the same time. One doesn’t cancel the other out.
You do the best you can do everyday. Some people are assholes and I’ll never understand how they get off judging your life.
You are awesome. xo
This is an awesome post Heather! Good for you for staying true to yourself and your family. This picture is great! It looks like Mike and Annabel sit in those chair often, catching up on what’s going on.
I don’t always read all of the comments on your posts because I am afraid of reading one like those your describe.
Your love for Annabelle comes through very clearly, along with the happiness that she is in your life..
Your love for Maddie comes through very clearly,.along with the profound sadness that she is no longer there to hug and kiss.
I love reading and seeing pictures of both of your girls. The one with Mike and Annie in this post is adorable!
Hugs to you, my internet friend.
It’s shocking (and almost laughable) that anyone would judge you or make proclamations about how you should behave or feel. I hope I’ve never typed anything here to hurt or annoy you; I probably have, though with the best of intentions.
You really are an amazing woman and your daughters are just as beautiful and amazing. It could not be more obvious that you love them with the complete, generous love that only a truly devoted parent can provide. You have honored Madeline’s life, and celebrated Annabel’s arrival, in the most graceful and loving way through this blog and through your activism. Nothing but love and kudos from me!
oh my gosh I LOVE that picture and you are so right on….the haters….they DO NOT matter
You were blessed with 2 lovely and pretty girls and a great hubby….no one can change what happened but they sure as hell should be supportive one never knows what is just around the corner….god forbid they walk in your shoes…the haters….well they are just jealous.
Adventures In Babywearing says:
Oh, that photo is perfection. And your words are your words, your thoughts, your feelings. Shame on anyone to criticize otherwise.
Oh, Heather, I really do respect that you have such an open comment policy, but I hate that you have to wade through the filth of so many ugly comments. I hope you know 99.9 percent of everyone wishes nothing but great things for you and your beautiful family, and that the haters can be really loud and vocal because they are miserable black holes and the only way they feel alive is when they tell a grieving mother she must be over her child’s death, or tell a mother grieving her baby that she should pay more attention to her other child. Please try not to read that hate filled puke – as you rightly pointed out, the people that matter are right in front of you Good luck!
After losing Will I knew I would never be the same. And I am not. Some days it hurts less and some days I get kncoked over with grief. Like you said it is different for everyone. I am 1000% present for my daughter (born after we lost Will) but I also long to see or hear Will again. I may not always be outward with my feelings but feel them so painfully nonetheless.
Hugs to you, Mike and Annie.
The people that are hateful and have something to say about things they don’t know about can really just go walk off a cliff. I’m so glad that you’re paying these people no mind, because they should have absolutely no bearing on your life and family. There are a myriad of people on the innernets who love and support your family, and wish you nothing but happiness and strength in your future. You have a beautiful family, and they are absolutely #1. Your supportive online family is here for you however you need us, and everyone else can suck it.
Beautiful picture too!! Annie looks so much like Mike, I love to see pics of the two of them together.
Sending you love, hugs, strength, peace and everything good that you deserve.
XOXO from GA,
Many of us who have had our second child worried that we wouldn’t be able to love them as much as we did the first one. That, just maybe, there wasn’t any more room in our hearts for love…I believe most of us were proven wrong. No person can understand the power of love, strength, pain or heartache of another human being….EVER. You have a beautiful family. A loving husband, two beautiful baby girls and a loyal dog. (Not to mention the amazing extended family) No one’s words can take any of that away from you.
Heather, I am sorry people are such asshats. I dont know how else to say it nicely. I find it sad that people (who I assume don’t know you “in real life”) feel that its OK to judge you or your actions, when 1) they dont know you 2) haven’t walked a mile or even a step in “your shoes”.
The pic of Mike and Annie is too cute. Her smile is too cute!
Robin in TX says:
I have an aunt that has always been my hero, not just for how she handled the extraordinary moments of her life (lost two daughters to cystic fibrosis a granddaughter to spina bifida and her beloved husband to heart disease) but how she lived all the rest of her life. She has three children that are alive and well and she celebrates with them and is there in their times of need. When ever we visited she always made the home-cooked meal and desserts and was so much fun to be around. I knew even when I was five that what she had gone through with losing her babies was unimaginable and so I was always observing her, I think waiting for her to break, as I was sure she would. She didn’t. She has lived her life balanced between grieving for her losses as well as finding joy in the other parts of her life. You are doing that Heather; so you are also my hero and don’t let ANYONE tell you that you are doing it wrong. I love you girl and I am proud of you for staying alive and living life!
Love the picture!! :0
I havent walked in your shoes of losing a child. I came near with one of mine and its the worst feeling. I cant even imagine the pain you are going threw. I lost my dad 23 years ago and I still miss him so much. I was close to my father. You learn to cope , but you never for get the one you love.
It took me a long time not to judge my self threw someone elses eyes and I wont allow my self to do that. You know what you feel and you are a damn good mother. Maddie is missed! And when I read about Annie I cant help but think of Maddie.. Live for Annie and Mike they are the ones that matter the most!!
OMG! What an adorable photo! Makes me wonder what was so funny! : )
You are courageous and stronger than you know. I admire you.
Your words are always so beautiful. I cannot even begin to imagine what you have been through. Like you used to do on bedrest, I can’t even come close to knowing what it would feel like to lose my child just by wondering. I am so sorry for your loss. I think Madeline and Annabel are two of the luckiest little girls ever. They have the best mommy and daddy that love them more than anything. Thinking of you, and wishing you peace.
My mother died three years ago, and there are still times I get sad about it (and at this point they are usually at the strangest times, like while watching “Friday Night Lights,” a show I don’t even normally watch!).
You hit the nail on the head: there truly is no time limit for the grieving process — nor does it all “come out at once.” It’s a process, and everyone’s is different.
It’s so obvious you love each of your daughters to bits, and that you’re a wonderful mother to each of them.
Heather you cannot make everyone happy. Don’t waste the energy trying to please other people you could be spend that energy doing super fun stuff like playing with Annie or playing tug with Rigby, or dating your husband…you know the worthwhile stuff. The happiness that you are responsible for is yours and your family’s. Be happy and screw what anyone else thinks!
Screw those hateful people. You’re right, they don’t matter.
Love the recent photos. Annie’s getting so big already!
Much love to the entire Spohr family.
What other people have to say really doesn’t matter even though I know the words are painful reading them, hearing them, etc. We all deal with EVERYTHING so differently people do not understand they have no right to judge.
That picture is great!
They DON’T matter. Not one single bit. The only purpose they serve is to magnify the love of all the people that do.
And, there is TONS of love, so the thought of magnifying it is INSANE. Like this giant, epic monster glob of love, that can’t be ruined by social norms…or any movie Nia Vardalos made after the Greek Wedding one.
Oh gosh, that picture is SO cute!
I can’t believe that people say those things to you. Some people are just disgusting. I’m glad you realize that they don’t matter.
cindy w says:
Well, I don’t know, I think it’s pretty obvious that Annabel is totally neglected and that you’ve completely forgotten all about Madeline… *headdesk*
I honestly wonder about some people. Like maybe there’s some sort of Human Empathy Gene that they’re just lacking or something. I really don’t understand some of the insensitive and heartless comments that you get. And even though your reaction is perfect, I’m still really sorry that you get those comments in the first place, because it sucks.
I’m sorry some people have been so nasty. I hope they are few and far between. They are just sick and so wrong, and you are very right, they don’t matter at all! Even the thought of losing my child takes my breath away, I’ve imagined what I would do.. how I would be.. and who knows the person I would turn into after it. . I think you’ve done wonderfully, and I’m so glad you’ve found happiness in Annie and with your husband. That’s what Maddie would want. It’s not possible to get over something like that, but so important to keep moving through it and keep trying to live. It’s so obvious Maddie loved you so much, her little face just lights up the pictures, she would want nothing less for the parents she treasured.
monica fox says:
oh.my.word. That pic is priceless!!!!! I love it! Glad you are able to filter out the junk from what really matters =)
I don’t comment like I used to. But I do think of you guys so very often. I know it’s hard to ignore the trolls and idiots…sorry you have to deal with that on top of everything else!
Side note: Is it really cool enough for Mike to wear long sleeves??? I would kill for some cooler weather right now!!
Trisha Vargas says:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say as many times as I need to. YOUR STRENGTH AMAZES ME!!!
I am grieving daily for my Dad whom I lost almost 5 years ago. Grief is different for everyone and it has no timeline. He was my hero and I still find myself missing him more everyday.
I would never compare my sadness to yours. To lose a parent, even if suddenly and too soon is in some strange way the circle of life, I suppose.
But to lose a child, it is unfathomable and cruel. I would never offer any advice to a grieving mother but rather support her in any way she needs to be lifted up.
Shame on those who come here and judge you.
I will continue to support you the best way I know how and I certainly will not judge you. This is your safe place to write and it should remain as such.
(((HUGS))) from Florida
You are exactly right–and no matter what you write, you will never please everyone, so just love your family, and write whatever you want–screw the naysayers. You are, hands down, one of THE STRONGEST, BRAVEST women I have ever (cyber)met, and you are an amazing mother to both of your girls. Press on, mama….
Ah, the chronic dichotomy of the internet: both more supportive and more judgmental than you can possibly imagine.
I’m sorry, honey. My grief for the boys is close now too; it’s been six years. Almost seven.
You are you. And you are perfect in both your joy and your grieving.
Some people just aren’t right…Its hard to overlook, but if we don’t, it can consume our lives and fog everything else. You’re right…what matters is your family. Hugs from Kentucky!
PS…I love the stone work on your patio!
That is a gorgeous photo. And it is so sad that there are so many people in the world that think you should feel, and think, and act exactly like them. Like you said everyone reacts to a situation differently. Let people live and be themselves no matter how it is or whether you agree.
You’ve both been through so much. No one can ever know what that’s like because as you said, you deal with it differently, in your own way. No one should judge you for the choices that you’ve made. It’s your life and you’re doing just fine from what I can see. LOVE that picture of Mike and Annie – so deep in conversation. Awesomeness! Jenn
Love Love the picture!!!
And you are right–no one else matters! Im sorry you get so much hate from others, especially about something that is so incredibly sad, and hard to go through. HUGS!
Anyone who has had more than one child knows how you feel. There isn’t a finite amount of love that goes to one or the other (like a balance). Nor is there a type of love. You love them each infinitely and in different ways at different times. I’m glad you aren’t letting anyone’s comments affect you. A mom’s love is always just right.
Jeez Louise. People suck. Didn’t realize you were getting it from all sides but I do hope you will continue to keep writing! Wear your armor.
Man, I can’t believe people sometimes.
i think your blog is amazing… your entries about annie are hilarious & wonderful (esp since i have a little girl born 03/07 of this year, so theyd totally be BFF & talk about all kinds of awesome baby stuff), and your blogs about maddie are beautiful & heartbreaking… i think it shows how hard it is to go through the journey of losing one baby and gaining another… i cant imagine the complexity of it! jsut keep doing what youre doing, and people like that are obviously just too hard-hearted, stupid, or just plain nasty. just do the best you can do for yourself & your family, & to hell with the haters! my little Lauren Leigh (03/07/10) & Katherine (12/29/06) send their love to Maddie & Annie!
You have a wonderful family and are an amazing Mom and woman. I love your sense of humor and the honesty with which you write your blog. Thank you for sharing your story and both of your gorgeous daughters!
Forget about the negative and remember the positive. For every one negative person there are ten more who are supporting you.
Sigh. You shouldn’t even HAVE to write this post. No one can tell you how to grieve, or how to love. That “they” think they know more than you or are better than you means they know nothing.
Ps-awesome photo of Mike and Annie!
Just keep holding tight to those two wonderful souls. They will protect you and buoy you away from those that don’t understand or care about you. I am always impressed by your courage to speak your truth however painful it may be. Everyday you post, there are thousands of us reading, supporting you and lifting you up, up and away from the ignorant and hateful. Beautiful picture and beautiful family.
It is what it is, there is no right way. You are taking it day by day and just doing the best you possibly can each day while trying to stay sane; that’s all you can do. The only people you need to listen to are in the picture at the bottom of today’s blog. I doubt your grief will ever go away – it will exist alongside your love for Annie. That’s just how it is, no one’s words can change that fact.
Lessons in Life and Light says:
Grrrr, it makes me SO MAD that anyone could ever say anything hurtful or cruel to you or anyone in your family. Sometimes people are just so fucking stupid and insensitive, I want to slap them!
You are doing great. You are doing the best you can. The happiness Annabel brings you doesn’t cancel out the grief you feel over losing Maddie and vice versa. I just wish people would understand.
(I’m sorry I said the F-word on your blog.)
Ann Mercier says:
The quotes “Never judge people until you have walked a mile in their shoes” comes to mind. How dare someone tell you “what they would do” in your situation if they have never been there. Grieving is an individual hurtle and you have to conquer it every day for the rest of your life. We are all here for you!
Heather, you just keep doing what you do because you’re great and amazing and you’re getting through this every single day…you, and Mike, and Annie…you guys are the best!
I am so sorry that people can be so mean, hateful, and hurtful. Those are the people that make me want to take my husband and children and live on a deserted island somewhere!
I wanted to tell you, that yesterday my children were begging to watch The Amazing Annabel. My two little boys could not get enough and laughed so hard they had tears in their eyes. Then they started watching her other videos, and eventually clicked on a video of Madeline. They wanted to know who she was. I told them she was the Amazing Annabel’s big sister. They are 5 and 6 years old and HONESTLY believe Annie is a superhero baby, so they wanted to know all about Maddie, too. I hesitated, but then explained to them about what happened to sweet Madeline as gently as I could. My 6 year old was a preemie and had Chronic Lung disease as a toddler. We were always in and out of the PICU for that first 2 years with RSV and Pneumonia.
I remembered that you had the sweetest tribute video to Maddie posted on here shortly after her service I think, and I found that for them to watch. They both laughed, and CRIED. My 7 year old daughter commented that “Maddie was so pretty, she doesn’t even look real!” Seeing my little 5 year old (turned 5 on saturday) cry for Maddie just broke my heart. He totally got it, and talked about how bad he feels for her Mommy and Daddy that they must miss her so much, and how sad he is for Amazing Annabel, that she doesn’t have her big sister there. I had to step into the bathroom, and BAWL my eyes out. (And I’m not a crier!) When I came back out, they wanted to know why I was crying. It gave me an opportunity to explain to them how precious each moment is with the ones you love, because you never really know how long you’ll have them in your life.
I’m rambling, and I’m sorry… I just wanted you to know how much BOTH of your sweet girls are still affecting others’ lives.
Thank you for all that you’ve shared. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to endure criticism and judgement from ignorant people. I feel sorry for them.
That’s a wonderful story Michelle. And I totally agree with your last point. Some people cannot help but share their “opinions”, they have no “off” switch. I’m so sorry Heather. I read your blog every day but don’t comment much. I think you are a wonderful mommy and both your girls are so lucky to have you! ♥
Your post about Annie the other day was beautiful. I often wonder how I will ever love my next daughter as much as my first and you showed that that love is very real and possible. No one should judge you for how you handle your grief process, but unfortunately we live in a society of judgment. You are very brave to open up your journey to all of us and I hope that you are able to ignore those who just want to make you feel bad. It seems to me you are doing your very best for Annie and Maddie and they are both lucky to have you as their mother.
Lindsay from Boston says:
Whenever you write about Madeline, I smile at what was and feel so much pain at what won’t be. When you write about Annabel, I laugh with both of you and take joy in HER joy. And if I, someone who has never even met you, feel such wildly different emotions when thinking of your girls, I know I can’t even begin to know the emotional roller-coaster you must always, always negotiate. I am baffled by people who think they have a right to judge you.
Heather, I think you are a wonderful mother to both of your girls. You have a rough road both behind and in front of you and I think you travel it well. Both Maddie and Annie are lucky to have you (and Mike). It’s OK to have your bad days we all do! No matter what anyone says. Annie looks happy and joyful in every picture. You can tell she is loved beyond belief.
Scott T says:
You are an amazing mom and anyone who would say something negative to you about your writing is only showing that they haven’t actually read what you say.
The bravery and strength it must take for you to share all that you do is unimaginable to me.
Those of us who know you and follow you know that we have a gift in someone who shares so much so openly.
Stay strong and don’t doubt due to the criticism of some idiot who can take advantage of the internet’s great equalizer of allowing all to say what is on their mine for better or for worse.
It makes me sad that people would judge others in this way. I am forever being humbled (every day!) by things that I thought I knew about. I really wish people would concentrate on being compassionate rather than being an ass. It really makes for a better time all around. You never feel good about yourself after putting someone down….never. It may feel good for a moment but I think people know deep down it’s wrong.
I think you are amazing.
Lesley @Avalea says:
You? Are precious. (((Hugging you)))
Long-time reader, first time commenter.
So sorry you have to deal with all the meanies. People just put things out there into the world with no consideration for how it makes others feel.
It is hard to keep your eyes one what is important and none of us can do it every second of every day.
Hang in there.
I have just recently gotten comments like “You’re doing so well” …really?? I am…because I don’t feel like it. “It’s time to move on”…really…the 2 month anniversary of Corrine’s passing is tomorrow…
you’re right though…there are only two people that matter for me, too. (and one dog and one cat)
Dudge OH (Mark) says:
Because of your words and pictures your family has become a part of my day to day life as far as I read your blog every day that you write and I find myself thinking of you guys from time to time for whatever reason. Sometimes I wonder what it feels like for you to be so open with everything you’ve been through, with all your hopes, dreams, fears…and I know that you sometimes get nasty comments and it makes me angry, sad and sick. You don’t *need* one more person to tell you all the wonderful things about you and your family, but I’m going to do it anyway because you really are a special person and you don’t deserve anything other than love and support. Your love for Maddie is never in question – probably not even in the haters simple little minds. Your love for Annie is never in question either. Some people in this world feel the need to tear down anyone and anything good for whatever reason. You are unfortunately going to be a target for those people simply because of your love. How sad is that. … Seriously though, I wish I could slap them for you. Instead, I’ll just say that you are awesome and I hope that when idiots say mean things, their ridiculously unwarranted words leave your head as fast as possible. Those people are wrong- and worse. (Sorry for rambling).
the internet’s a really judgy place. it does a lot of good and it does a lot of bad. you’ll get flack for whatever your story is. hell, five years ago when i was writing about being a housewife with inlaw issues people ripped into me for not working and having kids too young and that my husband was worthless. then i started writing novels and they got onto me for not spending enough time with my husband and really appreciating him the way that they did. and now the marriage has failed and it’s nothing i’d hoped would happen but i have my reasons and yet the internet thinks i’m making a huge mistake, or that my reasons are never good enough. and because it is over stuff he did that i didn’t like it’s seen as “my fault” that things didn;t work out.
we still live together and love each other very much. but the flack i get for not staying in love with him…
the thing is, your kid died. then you had another one. in a very short amount of time. that’s a crap ton of emotional duress on a person in what, a year? i’m sure you went through guilt, still do, and you’re clearly stepping up to the plate to take care of your duties as a parent to Annie regardless of what’s going on inside of you.
whether it’s right or wrong, it’s your story. at the end of the day you’re writing your story and it’s open for people to pick at. sometimes when they do, it’s painful. and other times the comments section cheers you on just for one jerk to make a snotty comment.
but you keep writing your story, no matter how twisted and painful it gets, and no matter what they might say, because for whatever reason you need to do it. it might have started as a way to let it out, but in the end it teaches so much.
i’ve learned a lot from you.
i think you’re very brave.
nic @mybottlesup says:
damn, you are strong. so glad you posted this.
Shannon Olgin says:
I’m sorry that people say hurtful things. You and Mike are doing an amazing job as parents.
You’re absolutely amazing.
I’ve learned so much from you, and I don’t even know you.
I REALLY wish you didn’t have to write this post.
People totally suck sometimes.
PS- That photo of Annie and Mike is priceless!
I am always amazed at how you are able to tell us about both your girls. Also at how you cope with everything in your life. You are incredible and I’m so sorry that part of your life is dealing with people that judge and hate. Those people don’t deserve to be a part of your life in anyway. Keep on being you and doing everything you do because most of us (the ones that are right) love you!
You are AMAZING!!! and of course Mike!!! You have so much strength that it amazes me. I am so sorry some people judge and say mean hurtful things to you there is no reason for that. Thank you so much for being the amazing person you are!!!
Love from OK.
Great photo of Annie and Mike!!!
So many people above said what I wanted to say, and they said it so well, but I wanted to let you know that you and your wonderful family are in my thoughts a lot. I think you’re an amazing mom.
You are so strong, Heather! You’re truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your lives with us internet people
You are such an amazing woman. I want to say let no one get you down, but that is such a hard thing to accomplish. You hit the nail on the head when with the picture of the 2 people that matter. You have to do whatever you feel is right to grieve and continue on…whether that be blogging or sitting in a corner an speaking to no one. I can not imagine what you are going through and no one can tell you how to deal, you only need to follow your heart. And unfortunately…people are IDIOTS!
You & your family are simply an inspiration.
I am a mother to a 25 weeker who also won the NICU battle.
Screw the miserable haters!!!! They will always be miserable and want everyone else to be also. I am glad you write about what YOU want and not what other people think you should. NOBODY knows what you are going through and it always amazes me how those who are so imperfect judge so freely.
You ROCK Heather!!!
I don’t post very often, but I read your blog almost daily. Thank you for sharing your journey, you are very wise and a great writer.
Love the photo!!
Heather, sometimes I don’t know how to respond to your posts, because they seem so sufficient, so complete…like if I say anything that I’ll screw it all up.
Your words and your heart are two beautiful things.
Mrs. Bro says:
Who could even ever judge you and your family for the things you have had to go through, and for the way that you feel together is the best way to deal with it? That is sickening to me. You are a beautiful family – all 4 of you. Who could even look at a picture of Annie and think she’s stuffed in a corner somewhere. That is a happy, thriving, well loved baby girl. Any person with functioning eyes can see that. And in addition to your grieving, you are preserving the honor and the memory of your beautiful Maddie. Something that only you and Mike have. Not all of these readers. So gross. I can’t imagine that anyone would ever have anything negative to say about your life.
You just go on remembering that those people don’t matter. Those self centered, self absorbed high and mighty types… they truly don’t matter.
God bless you all. And thank you for being open and honest in the way you right. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog. Hopefully someday I will have the followers that you do.
That’s a great place to be. We can only please ourselves and hopefully our family too.
How quick we are as humans to judge. How quick we are to turn our noses up and say “I would never, I could never….” Not one of us is walking in your shoes. Many people perhaps have had similar circumstances, but not one of those people is you. Not any one of us can read every thought in your mind, feel every feeling in your heart…just by reading a few words on your blog.
When it comes down to it you are right….ALL that matters is your family. They are the ones who truly know you, love you, and walk beside you through this life.
Jen D says:
you have given an amazing voice to that which many people – far too many – feel when they too are conflicted by outside judgement for the way they navigate through and beyond the hell that has fallen upon their life’s path.
i’d encourage everyone to print this post. tuck it away somewhere sacred. yes, even those haters who lurk among us. for the day may come when we shall feel the floor of our world fall away unexpectedly. and the eyes of judgement may hold us in contempt for how we carry on. if we carry on.
so print this now. save it. for you’ll want this eloquent explanation of the futility of making your grief acceptable to those who lack what most of us here understand. empathy.
:::sigh::: judgy people suck, dude.
I didn’t get to post yesterday, but wanted to say, Annabel is Amazing—so cute.
As for today’s post: I hope you will continue to share your family with us.
Gahd, excuse my language but fuck anyone who judges and even tries to tell you how you should feel. Im just completly appaled that anyone would even have the gumption to do that. Annabell looks so deprived and totally like she dosnt get enough attention!/sarcasm/
Heather, I have read your blog since Matt (of Matt, Liz and Maddie) posted of your baby girls passing. I have read every blog post since. I have never commented but for some reason today I feel compelled to do so. I have never had an experience like yours, I have had my fair share of some very severe emotional trauma in relation to my youngest (10 m.). Never once, have I ever thought anything bad of you. I actually relate to you in so many ways, our sense of humor is pretty in sinc. I think your doing an amazing job with Annie, I think God gave her to you at the right time, I think a lot of things that Im sure to dont really care about but I wanted you to know. You are very human and very honest and that makes you a wonderful mom (and wife)!
My boys are in love with Annabelle, they constantly ask to watch THE AMAZING ANABELL and regale all their friends with tales of her antics and how she saves her dog!
I usually scan a few blogs over breakfast with them and they catch pictures of annabell and rigby.
My six year old’s question for you this morning is ‘What is annabell saying in this photo? ”
Oh and I think your daughters have THE. MOST. BEAUTIFUL. EYES!
I have nothing brilliant to say or to add to what others have said, but it breaks my heart even more for you knowing that people can be so inconsiderate. I appreciate what you share with all of us and how honest you are. No one can even begin to comprehend how you feel and how you continue on and open yourself up to all of us. Thank you for letting us be a part of this sh*tty journey you had no choice to be on.
You are a wonderful Mother to your precious girls! You are doing a such a great job with what you have been dealt in life.
I love the photo today mike looks so in love with her!
The Boob Nazi says:
People are so cruel and judgmental when it’s anonymous and semi-anonymous.
Good for you, Heather. People are so mean and just run their mouths when they have NO IDEA.
On a lighter note, SC colors on Mike! Woot, woot!
The people that judge you need to walk a mile in your shoes. You and Mike are awesome parents. You show you love for Annie and never forget your Maddie. You can look in the mirror and know that you are the best mother you can be, and Mike is a terrific dad. Ignore all the people who have anything else to say.
That photo is AWESOME. Definitely a framer.
I’m so sorry that you get criticism. I think you’re doing an amazing job loving on both your daughters.
Well put. You and your family inspire me every day. Your strength, your grace, and the beauty of your two daughters.
You have inspired me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. I have never lost a child, but I’ve implemented your wisdom, common sense, perseverance and strength in battling breast cancer. I’m so glad – yet not surprised – that you are not giving the jealous, negative, idiots any power. How could anyone possibly give credence to anyone so ignorant that they would try to tell you how you should grieve OR how you should mother your daughter. Heather, continue to stay true to who you are and you will all be great.
The thing I have learned is that no one will be satisfied with the way that you grieve. Someone will always think your “doing it wrong” because thats not how they would do it. You are doing great and are very strong in what I can only describe as the greatest pain anyone would ever have to deal with. Keep your head up and do what feels right to you and your family!
Lovely post, and the most awesome photo!!
Awesome picture Heather!
I cannot get over how beautiful the pictures on your last post was of Annabel. Beautiful girl!
As for the “know-it-all’s”? eff ’em. seriously.
Heather, People that send you nasty notes have not walked a day in your shoes and have their own issues, so of course the cowardly way to deal with it is by trashing you. You are amazing. So are Mike, Maddie and Annabel. Keep doing what you’re doing…loving each other. Love, love the picture of Mike and Annabel. You can feel the love! XX
I hate hearing the phrase “getting over it” — there’s simply no such thing when someone you love so much passes away, especially if that someone is your child, because how could you ever “get over” a part of you that is missing from your life?
People sometimes mistake “getting over it” with “finding new joy” because it’s a reality that we, when we grieve, can also find new joy in life. Which is what I see here, with you, Mike and Annie. It seems to me that we can have grief and sadness in our hearts, and joy, too. Somehow, they all manage to live together, taking their turns for our attention. On somedays, Joy wins out and very little sadness affects us that day. But other days, Sadness and Grief wins out…and on those days we might be a bit down. But Joy is right around the corner, waiting to take over again. I don’t know…this is just how I see it. I could be way off, but I’m wondering if it’s something like that?
I’m so glad to read that you are not letting the negative and hurtful comments get to you. So glad. Because they are not worth it. I have been following your blog since Maddie passed, and I will admit that I’ve been so happy seeing you and Mike enjoy your little Annie so much. But I would never suggest that are you “over” Maddie or that you aren’t giving Annie enough attention or any other absurd thing like that. The way I see it….you guys are doing everything completely right and normal. You are filled with joy as you watch your second daughter grow, and you miss your Maddie with all your hearts. It’s possible to do both, at the same time. And it doesn’t need analyzing. It is what it is and people should just leave it be…..and just keep their stupid comments to themselves.
This says it perfectly. We love you, from afar, and support you always. You are doing beautifully…because you are doing it your way. Nevermind what people say – you have to survive in a way that lets you breathe and raise a child. You can’t do it someone else’s way. Blessings to all the Spohr family. You have our prayers and support.
This is what I find so difficult about blogging. How to not take the criticism personally. But I applaud how you’ve chosen to deal with it. You are, of course, completely right.
When I read your posts on Annie, I know that your joy over her does not mean that you are “over” Maddie, as if that could be possible. I know that somewhere always is the grief, the joy and loss encompassed in her memory. And I know when you write about your grief for Maddie, it doesn’t mean that Annie is abandoned or unloved, that her presence doesn’t give you joy. Life is complicated and full of seeming contradictions. We are capable of feeling more than one feeling at once. Of experiencing love and loss in the same moment.
I am one of those who can’t imagine, who only hopes and prays that I won’t ever be able to know what you know. But when I do imagine, when I read your words, my heart physically hurts for you and Mike.
Who are these people??? Maybe I don’t pore through your comments enough, but all I see are the people (like me) who look at you and see only strength. I find myself time and time again thinking, if that should ever happen to me, I will do it just like her; if she lived through it, maybe I can too.
Love you ! XOXO
It’s always easy for people to think, I’d do that different. Until it’s them. I’m not even necessarily talking about loosing your child…just anything. People who judge others like that, do it about everything. It sucks and they need to learn to think. Yet, the people who don’t, generally never will.
I’m sorry you get more than your share of them. It’s unfair.
Just know for every one of them, there are hundreds of us who support you fully. Without question.
Finally de-lurking to say that I am very, very sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter and for the hurtful comments that you have received. No one deserves to have their pain trivialized in any way, and unfortunately it happens all the time. So while I can’t say that I know what you’re going through with the loss of Maddie or anything else in your life, I can say that I know what it feels like to be told you are dealing with pain incorrectly and that sucks. And I just wanted to tell you what has helped me in those situations… I try to remember that everyone is going or has gone through something rough in their life and maybe they didn’t have any support system at all. Maybe they are still hurting from a loss. Maybe that is their way of trying to reach out. Does that make it right? Absolutely not. But it’s easier for me to forgive when I think that the offender is actually a good person who has lost sight of what is helpful and what is harmful. I just cannot get on board with the “just ignore those petty people” or “screw the haters” bandwagons. When I call someone petty, I just feel petty myself. I truly believe that there are no bad people in the world, and when I am feeling just completely lost and like the world is against me, I hold onto the thought that everyone believes what they are doing is right. Even if it is the most obviously wrong thing in the world, there is some way that they are justifying it to themselves, and for some reason that makes it easier for me to accept.
This is my favorite part of your post today:
Some say they would never do “insert something I did here.” I used to say that about different things all the time. Now, I realize I can’t, because I really have no idea what anyone’s circumstances are.
I completely agree and I think that also applies to the people who are saying hurtful things to you. I hope I am not being hurtful and again, I in no way think you deserve to have anyone tell you how to grieve or that anything you are doing in your life is wrong. I’m just trying to share something that helps me when I feel attacked and hurt. The other thing that helps me is reading blogs like yours, blogs where people expose their wounds and share how they’re healing. So thank you for that a million times over.
Lean hard on your loved ones and your readers, they will catch you. Much love to you and Mike and your girls.
Too many people have forgotten that advice we all learned when we were young-if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
I wish people would keep their opinions to themselves and just let you be. You didn’t ask for advice, you didn’t ask people how you should feel. That’s for you and only for you. Mike, too. His feelings are his. Nobody can dictate that.
I wish the people that are unable to be supportive and encouraging would just go away. This is not a sounding board.
You’re right. Mike and Annie are all that matters and nobody in this world could ever even fathom what you’re feeling because they aren’t you. When jerks come along, brush them off and read all the other wonderful and supportive comments. There are SO many of us that love and adore you family. ?
How dare people judge you! Please continue to write what your heart feels as no one could possibly know your grief, happiness or otherwise. You are right, it is personal on an individual basis.
Continue to be just who you are and express your emotions just the same!
You are so loved by lots of people all over the world and that includes Mike, Annabelle & Rigby!!
Well, clearly…you suck at life. I mean,
don’t you know that you are to please ALL of the people, ALL of the time??
Kidding aside, I just want to say that I get a big smile every time you post pictures of Annie. She is beyond adorable and I’m so happy for you that she is healthy. At the same time, I click over to Maddie’s photos every time I visit your blog, just to marvel at her beauty. I think you and Mike are amazing and I hope you continue sharing your lives with us.
Capital Mom says:
You are both so clearly good parents filled with love. Thanks for sharing your journey, despite the sticks and stones.
just wanted to send you hugs and love!! xo
Your strength is admirable. For someone to assume you’re not thinking of one daughter when you write about the other, just proves how simple their mind is. They don’t understand that one can be complex and have many ideas and emotions all at once. I hope the people that tell you those awful things don’t have more than once child, because by their logic, they can only love and care about one at a time. Ridiculous.
Sometimes it seems people just don’t know *what* to say. Or they say things that are totally inappropriate. Sometimes, they’re just thoughtless. Sometimes, they’re just clueless. Sometimes, people are just plain stupid.
Unless you’ve been through something you guys have been through, it’s pretty hard to relate or “get it”. Hooray for you for being able to share with us and have those emotions out there. You are entitled to your own feelings and you are such a wonderful mother. Hang in there! XOXOX
Deb Rox says:
I am a mother of three, one of which is a almost 2month old little boy, and I could never say i understand your pain. I lost my mother when i was 5 and yet i could’t say the same thing to my husband when he lost his mother 3 years ago.
I say the people leaving rude remarks are people who are not happy with themselves, or have nothing better to do than to try to bring others down.
I am glad that you are so much stronger than they are, because their words mean nothing to any of us that read your blog, havetalked to you on other venues and truly care.
Hugs to you an your precious family.
I can’t believe that anyone feels like they are entitled to say anything to you about how you should feel or what you should have done differently. I read your blog because I think that it is one of the most honest out there. Emotions are complicated. Anyone who thinks they have a quick fix or easy comment to explain it all is ignorant.
Who cares about what other people say. Laugh all you want, cry all you want. You are your own boss. No one can judge how you feel or think.
People who judge and give too much of “opinions”, shame on them.
I’m sorry people say much mean things
I feel priviledged to read about your beautiful daughters! Thanks for sharing your heart with us.
Michelle W says:
People are stupid, really really stupid. I am glad you aren’t affected by those stupid people anymore and especially glad that the good ones outweigh the stupid evil ones.
Michelle W says:
Oh and I looove that picture.
i read daily but hardly ever comment. how dare people judge you.
this is a beautifully written post, perfect really, you said it all.
To say that I cannot imagine the grief, and terrible backlash no matter what you say, you’ve experienced would be so dumb. I am very sorry for the loss of your Madeline, and I cried tears of joy when little Annabel was born. For anyone to think that you don’t give enough, grieve enough, or love enough, is terrible. As I sit here, I am watching my own newborn baby girl sleep. I cannot imagine a life without her. And you’re right. Husband and baby. They are what matter.
What MORONS are telling you that you are handling anything the wrong way?
Oh, right – the ones who have never lost a child.
You do the best you can to keep things together – and that is all anyone can ask from you.
We love you!! You are pictch perfect in my book. I could never imagine judging. I just pray for you all the time.
Sarah Denley says:
I would never, EVER say (or think) “well, she must be over Maddie”. However, when I read your post about Annie, I did think of how glad I was that you were finding happiness in the little things and that you were so able to be so present for Annabel even though you have so much heartache. I know one commenter said she hated to hear “I couldn’t carry on” because it implied her family didn’t love her sister that passed away. So, I will not say that. What I will say is that I doubt that I go do it with half of the grace and optimism that you do.
You fill hearts with love. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Kasey Gary says:
I’m glad you don’t listen to those people and write anyway. I love to read what you write and what you are going through. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading and not judging…
I think you’re very brave to put everything out there in hopes that you will help other people going through a similar process. It’s gross that people would presume to judge you–but you have an admirable attitude about it. And from the photos alone, anyone could see how loved and nuzzled Annabel is!
That picture is the best…looks like they’re telling jokes to one another. Very very precious!
Lori McBride says:
((((((((( H U G S ))))))))!!! Still reading and “walking” this road with you. Know that you are loved and prayed for, even by people who have never met you or your beautiful, precious, family.
The people who say the hurtful, stupid things are the ones that think they know it all…and THEY are the ones that have so much more to learn.
I love your writing and your honesty. I think the love for your family is shown in every one of your posts. How dare anyone feel the need to judge another in such a way.
I don’t know what it is like to be a parent yet, but I hope when I am bless in such a way that I have the same loving relationship with my family that you do with yours, even if that sometimes means enduring unimaginable pain and tears.
You are amazing! Beautiful and strong! And those two amazing people in that adorable pic….just plain love! ; )
Great post. I am so sorry that anybody would ever say anything other than wonderful things to you. You are a great mom. And you seem very genuine.
I have probably told someone before that “I can’t imagine what you are going through.” I hate that it could have been hurtful. It is always so tough to know what to say. I say that because I don’t want to act like I know what someone is going through. I know this is silly…and by no means do you need to answer this question, but I would like some help on the right thing to do/say when someone is going through such a hard time. It seems my words never portray what I really feel. I have a friend right now who is going through a really tough time after a miscarriage. I am at such a loss of what to say. So I am sure I end up saying stupid things to make her feel better when I may just be doing the opposite. I don’t want to not say anything though and avoid it because I know that is not the answer either. I’m a schmuck.
BUT I will end this comment with this. Annie is way too cute for words. I have a daughter who was born around the same time. Such a fun age! I admire what a fun mom you are…what a great gift to give your little girl!
You inspire me every DAY!!!!!
You are such an amazing person. I read your blog, and see your beautiful pictures, and all I can think is how amazing you are.
Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] says:
That picture is FULL of WIN.
Love you Heather.
I am always a little taken aback when I read these types of pots becuase I just don’t know who in their right mind would ever send you anything like what you’ve described. I mean, I guess people do, its just sick and sad and makes me feel a little bitter. But then I look at your chubby cheeked baby and those eyes on Madeline and I know that most of the world is still good.
I love your blog! I read every day, and every day I am amazed by you!
Your blog reminds me of what’s important, my little Emily.
And whoever they are, they suck.
It BOGGLES MY MIND that anyone could come here, read your words and get to know your family and then make hurtful comments or act is if they know what’s really going on or what’s best for you.
Thank you for continuing to share a piece of your family and your journey and your love for your girls with us, even despite the people who make it not so worthwhile.
Beth R.S. says:
Everyone has said something much more eloquently than I ever could. Just wanted to let you know that I LOVE reading about your family: Madeline, Annabel, Mike, Rigby, and of course, you! Your writing and photographs are so wonderful and powerful, whether you’re writing seriously or humorously. I think you’re very talented, and I really admire your strength AND weakness, and ability to show both to the world. Forget the haters!!
No one has any right to tell anyone else how to greive, ever. Everyone has to do this in their own way. Your way is right for you. Nobody should be judging that.
Annie is beautiful and looks super healthy (little chubster!)
I came late to your blog. Right around the time that Annabel was born. I never really knew what had happened with Maddie, so I went back and am reading your archives… from the beginning. The love you had for Maddie, all the sacrifices, all of the time in the hospital, every sleepless night for her was breathtaking. I read the post about Annabel yesterday while I was in the middle of Maddie’s life and it just broke my heart. You both are such dedicated and loving parents. Maddie was so so lucky and Annabel is just as lucky. My heart is broken for you, your family, and Maddie.
You need to do this the way that works for you. Not how other people view it. No one is there with you day by day experiencing your grief or how you interact with Annabel through it. Unless someone can experience it 24 hrs a day they have no right to say anything to you about your life.
I wish you the best and my thoughts are with you and your family.
I think you’re amazing. The sooner you stop worrying about what other people think (particularly the h8rs) the happier you’re going to be. You’re doing a great job, not just with raising Annabel, but managing your grief and honoring Maddie.
Shellie of Blog4Mom says:
Great post Heather, you and Mike are amazingly strong people, and you are so right about the haters. They just don’t matter in the big scheme of things. I am forever grateful to you for all of your kind words, and ear when I needed to just vent. Thank you for writing yet another great post.
I don’t know how you have managed to not land in jail for not sucker punching a few of the people that have said these things! Any judge though would TOTALLY be understanding I think.
My mouth fell open reading what people have said to you. By no means do I think every person is empathetic, sympathetic and kind…but really? How far off the scale is their tact button that they think it’s ok to say?
No, I can’t imagine what it is like…for ANYONE! It’s awful and unthinkable…and too many families have experienced it.
I would love to see the laws that are apparently out there on the permitable length of grieving though. Terribly interesting.
I’m sorry people are ugly and mean. You and your family are pretty fantastic in my book…and this is coming from a stranger, I know. But still.
How could anyone tell you what you should be doing? Many will never go through this type of loss. Whether you have lost a child or whether you haven’t, the fact remains that there is no rule book for grieving.
Stay strong, Heather. I think of you and the girls often.
People amaze me, though I’m not sure why anymore because it seems I’ve said this to other blog writers before too.
Heather, it’s your page, do what you want with. This is your outlet, your place to write. I know you know that, but I don’t know how else to say it. Maybe I’m just a nonjudgmental person overall, I don’t know, but if you write about beautiful Maddie or lovely Annabel or something completely different, it’s YOUR PAGE to do what you want with. I guess I’m just floored that people think they can criticize you for anything as you can write what you want.
No one has the right to tell you what to write about. Unfortunately there will always be people that think they should tho. Once again, I know you know that, but I just felt like saying it. Just know how much I and many, many others appreciate reading what you write, in good times and in bad, and I hope that will help a little in ignoring the rest.
Oh geez, please ignore my grammatical errors & typos!!
Mary @ Holy Mackerel says:
I too learned this very hard lesson a few years back, and although it’s difficult, I’m glad I learned it.
You are awesome, Heather. We’ve never met, but I feel like I know you. And I know you are one of the most caring, wonderful people there is.
Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.
And you are so right. No one knows what you’ve gone through, and what you go through. No one.
Just know you’re in my heart every day.
My mom has spent a lifetime living by the motto…
“Never say your dog would never bite or your child would never do that because neither one you can ever guarantee”.
She also is particularly fond of
“You are guaranteed nothing more in life than the moment you are in so live that moment wisely.”
I think both these quotes are apropos today.
Wishing you many future moments with your child getting into unimaginable mischief someday and a million moments that are well lived.
i love love love that picture it is SO super cute!
Preach it sister!!!!!
Heather, I’m sorry you have to experience people who feel the need to tell you you’re doing something right/wrong/not enough/too much/etc. There are no limits on anything you feel, love/grief/loss/joy/etc because that’s all part of you and your story. Please keep sharing your everyday with us because your vulnerability and honesty have been a huge blessing to me. You have spoken to my heart in ways I cannot articulate. I wish only the same support and encouragement back to you.
Hugs Heather, hugs to each and every part of your heart.
Lori Todd says:
Hi Heather, I have loved reading your blog. You are so inspiring to me which I feel makes me a better mother. You also remind me to appreiciate all I have and to love on my kiddos everyday even when I want to strangle them. This blog is for you and you should do and write what you heart wants to write and completly disregard the rest.
I have never commented on you blog before but I just can’t get someone out of my mind (whom I don’t know either). Little 18 month old Preslee was being watched by her grandparents and went missing. Two farmers found her two miles down a canal floating. She fought the battle for 6 days before going to heaven. Today is her funeral. This young mom and dad who have lost their only child reminds me so much of your story and I wondered if you had heard of this as I think you would have some comforting (if possible) words for them. Here is there website http://patrickandashley.blogspot.com/.
There, now I feel like I have done what I was suppose to.
Please continue to inspire as you do.
p.s. It’s the highlight of our night when we can all sit down and watch another Anabela video.
Thanks for the inspiration
Unfortunately, because you are so vulnerable on your blog people can be critical – as if they know you and what you’re going through.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us, even if it is criticized along the way.
You are right – it shouldn’t hurt, but if it does, I hope that it doesn’t cut too deeply. I always love to see pics of Annabel and continue to read about Maddie.
Heather, I am so sorry that people are not considerate. it breaks my heart. You are alovely woman and I wish you all that life can give you.
Becky Mochaface says:
Why am I always surprised at people who insist that their way of living (or grieving) is the ONLY way of living (or grieving)?
You do what you need to do, you write what you need to write. Live and grieve as you need to. I’m going to be here reading along.
You’re such a strong and inspiring person, and so many people find solace in your blog. The ones who express negativity stick out like sore thumbs to all of us who read your work– please know that we all believe in and admire you. I recently read this wonderful article, “How You Get Unstuck,” and was bawling by the end of it. I instantly thought of you and hope that you find the time to read it. http://therumpus.net/2010/07/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-44-how-you-get-unstuck/
Mama Fuss says:
This is so true. I can’t imagine what you go through each and every day, waking up to not having Maddie there. But it is SO obvious that you are a good mom to Annie, not ignoring her, loving her, enjoying her. Relishing her uniqueness and her similarities to her big sister. You will never “be over” Maddie’s death. You will never stop grieving that loss. You may have days that the pain is dimmer than others, but that doesn’t mean you are “over it.”
We remember Maddie, Heather. So many who never met her face-to-face. We grieve her loss with you, but we can never know your pain. I’m sorry for people who don’t realize that.
some people need to crawl back into the sewer from which they came.
there is no outline, no road map, no be all end all idiot’s guide on how to comport oneself after the death of a child.
mama, you are doing just fine and it is evident in that picture of the only ones whose opinions and feelings really do matter in the grand scheme of it all.
Momma Uncensored says:
keep on being you lovely.
“. . . people can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you.
They’ll take your soul if you let them yeah but don’t you let them.”
You’ve got a friend.
My wonderful doctor said to me (after an ignorant midwife’s hurtful remarks at my first prenatal visit) stupid people will say stupid things. And that just sounded too simple to me at the time but through experiencing my own difficulties and after thinking about it (for years!) I now believe most people have a big fat blind spot and when they say these hurtful things, they truly can’t see past their own beliefs and expectations of how things “should be”. Ignorance is bliss…
Which, for me, makes it easier to ignore the stupid, stupid shit some people come out with.
It still makes my toes curl when it is not directed at me and red-seeing angry when it is but I pick my battles, try to only widen the view of people I think are open to it. And ignore the rest. But that is so much easier in my secluded, anonomous life. You know so many, many read your blog and this makes you an easy target. But it will NEVER outweigh the viewes you widen.
And while I am here ( profesional Lurker!) I just wanted to tell you it will always make me remember Maddie.
Jenni Williams says:
I wonder how anyone feels its ok to question how anyone grieves. You and Mike are the most incredible people. You are wonderful parents to BOTH of your girls. Screw what everyone else thinks.
You’re awesome, and the interwebberz love you. Mwah.
Maggie G says:
Although I read your blog daily, I rarely comment.
I’ve commented on Annabell’s videos because I think they are hilarous and I can laugh with you.
I’ve never commented on one of your grieving posts because I can’t touch those feelings. I imagine what it might feel like and pray that you get through it but I can’t share in your feelings. I am sorry you have to bear that burden. Yesterday’s post about Annabell was a breath of fresh air. I could feel your love for her pouring through and it felt really good to catch a glimpse of the love that surrounds that little girl.
jami barlow says:
random: where do you find the girls darling clothes?
Amen. Only you know what you’re going through and how it feels. No one else can understand. And, it’s not anyone else’s job to tell you how to cope, how to feel, who to think/write about, etc. You just do what you need to do to live each day.
And, if that picture isn’t the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, I don’t know what is.
ugh! are people being ugly..again?? still?? Heather – I don’t respond to too much of what you type too often, but I read everyday. I don’t respond because I have never been good with words..but I know that in my thoughts I hope the best for you and your family, and I don’t judge what you do. I think you are an INCREDIBLE human, mom, person, sister, aunt, daughter, etc. You are right..there are those that matter and those that don’t. Please don’t read too far into any harsh responses you receive. We all grieve differently and deal with situations differently (speaking from recent experience) and some things said to me really took me aback. I just had to realize for a moment that while the intentions were good, their advice (for me) was not appropriate. Keep your head up, and grieve in the way which works for you – not your readers.
Heather, when you write about Annabel, you inspire me to love and to see the joy in life.
When you write about Madeline, you inspire me to love and appreciate the joy while we have it.
I know I am not along in these feelings, ignore the people who have nothing good to say. You and your family are doing the best they can and you all amaze me.
Heather K says:
We have no control over our lives & where they are going to take us, that’s up to God. Sometime we don’t know or understand why, but thankfully he has a plan for all of us.
As long as you’re HAPPY, LOVED and where YOU want to be, that’s all that matters!
God bless you & your family! :o)
What’s the opposite of sticks and stones, then? Because whatever it is, I hope you get it in multitudes from your loving and devoted readers – like me!
I know what you mean about realizing you can’t say “I would never…” about any kind of parenting experience or decision. I had a similar realization myself and I wish people would snap to their senses and keep their mouths shut! You really cannot EVER understand what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes – but you can understand that you can’t understand that, so better to keep your judgments to yourself.
Love to you and your important people!
It surprises me everytime you write something like this to hear that people actually say those kinds of things. It also upsets me to no end. Actually, it outrages me. How dare they tell you how to live your life and grieve with your family. I don’t know you, but have been reading for a long time and think you are so brave for sharing your life with us and will be here supporting you in any way that a stranger from NJ can. Hugs to all of you!!!
Heather, so many people have commented and this is probably just adding murmur to noise, but I want to add it anyway.
It seems like the conversation in blogging continually rolls back around to the seeming inability of so many people to express themselves civilly or to know when the world is just not a better place for the sharing of their negativity. I see so many people trying to control others with their opinions, their words, their mindsets.
You have continued as long as I have been reading your blog to respond to even the most cruel and flagrant rudeness with compassion, with dignity and with sometimes far more restraint than many people would be capable of.
Your blog is a place of light and love for so many people, it saddens me that one of the prices you pay for sharing your voice with us and sharing Maddie’s story is the negativity of others.
For sure, everyone’s experience of grief is unique. Still, reading your words leads me to hope that if the worst should ever happen I, like you, could still find moments of joy and silliness, and also embrace sorrow with honesty and tenderness.
I don’t understand how anyone could approach your writing with anything but awe and appreciation.
The audacity of some people really blows my mind. You should really have an “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” badge on your sidebar, seriously!
After some “friends” chose me as their kicking post in high school, a teacher gave me a saying “Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of I react to it” I hung onto that, because it’s true (this by the way has nothing to do with your daughters, not at all, I’m referencing the comment creeps), I could choose to let their words drop me deeper into a sink hole or I could use them to climb out. Sounds like you’ve taken the high road and are climbing out too.
The other day a commenter on my blog said of my smoking that “if my son is watching, he must be sad.” It didn’t upset me at all – kind of cracked me up – but it was nice to have supportive comments following that said basically that the person couldn’t know what they were talking about till they were going through what I was.
The thing is, after going through these horrible things in life, the judgments of other people don’t really have much sting. Who’s going to take someone seriously who’s going to dare to voice judgment of someone’s grief, anyway? Clearly there’s something wrong with a person like that. Grieving comes with enough troubles of its own without things like that adding to it.
I’m glad you wrote this because I’d been meaning to ask you how you feel about judgment, something unavoidable when you choose to share a part of your life. I’ll take some tips from you!
Heather & Mike,
My brother died 41 years ago. There isn’t a day that goes by that my mama doesn’t grieve his loss…our family is NOT whole. Sure we are happy, we have great lives with kids of our own and we a good, but we miss David and wonder what our life would have been like were he still here with us. When my mom was pregnant with me, David’s leukemia returned for the last time. After I was born (the last of 3 girls) when my brother was clearly dying, a “well meaning” friend sent my parents a card that said “better luck next time”…I kid you not. People are so stupid. I have been a pediatric oncology nurse for 22 years and could fill volumes with the kind words and suggestions of those who have no clue what the death of a child does to you, how it changes you and dulls the colors of your world and for as stupid as these people are, I would never, NEVER wish this pain on anyone. I am so very sorry that people have hurt you. I am more sorry that your Maddie flew away far too soon. Next week I head to cancer camp…I will light a candle for Maddie in honor of her bright flame and I will send. Prayer heavenward for you and Mike. You are great parents and deserve praise, honor and joy…and just a whole bunch of really good stuff.
Glad to know that you will be stronger than the weak ones who have to criticize you to feel better about themselves. I love everyday coming to your blog and experiencing a few minutes of my day with you. It’s something I look forward to each day.
I will never understand why people don’t just shut up instead of saying dumb and mean things to bloggers – why read a blog if you don’t like it? I love reading everything you write – I love reading about your precious girls, who bring a smile to my face. I love your sad posts too, because they are true and beautiful and they break my heart for you, which reminds me to hold my own children that much closer and because they make me click on over to your Maddie pictures and I end up spending lots of time looking at her amazing eyes. You’re awesome, and I’m glad you have your priorities straight!
ive been readin ur blog since before madeline passed n i could never imagine what u went through n no offense i wouldnt want to but i see u holding ur head high n doing what u need, have, n want to do…i have nothing but respect n admiration for u n ur family…i walk 4 madeline every year the past 2 years the most…i have never commented before cause i never knew what to say but as i read ur post i realized some people can be mean n heartless its not up to them to judge how u live ur life n how u go about ur daily living u do what u need to do to get threw it n for that i admire u greatly keep doin u no one can tell u different
I just want to echo all of those kind and true words above.
Big hugs to you.
Heather you and Mike are AMAZING parents to both Annabel and Madeline! Don’t let what others say about you or to you ever make you question that! Noone knows what another person goes thru or what goes on behind closed doors. So I say to all of you who have anything to say about Heather and Mike as parents and how they are dealing with the death of their much beloved Madeline…..shut your mouth if you have nothing good or kind to say!!!!!
Aunt Becky says:
The hate people carry around in their hearts has nothing to do with you. I don’t pretend to understand it because frankly, I don’t want to.
But you, Maddie, Annie, and Mike, you are so, so loved.
Ever since starting work as a pallative care nurse this is the most important lesson I’ve learnt – you can’t dictate peoples grief. It’s not yours so don’t even begin to presume to know what people are going through. Grief doesn’t have a timeline; a new child doesn’t erase the pain of the one you lost; you’ll grieve forever, in your own way, and that’s fine.
Everyone has bad days. To hear that you’re getting judgmental, assholish emails in regards to yours makes me very GRRRRR.
i cannot imagine anyone ever placing judgment on how a mother grieves,that wholheartadly blows my mind.just know sweet lady that you are so loved,so held up in prayer and that i like so many others reading this love you and think you are pretty kick butt:)
Our stories really couldn’t be more different, but this post still hits the spot. Nicely done.
I have lost two children in infancy and definitly understand where you are coming from! I love your pictures as well as reading your post because they are funny, insightful, or I can relate to them, and think Annabel as well as Maddie are two of the most beautiful children and are so very loved!
The fact that anyone would dare to pretend- or actually believe- that they know what you’ve been through is… sad and a little disgusting, to be honest. You have no choice but to ‘move on’ in some ways, but there is no way to ever move on completely.
People suck. Hugs, lady.
One of the reasons I read your blog is your tremendous courage. You face your pain with courage, you share your life courageously, and you embrace love and joy with courage. To share, as you do, such personal words and experiences, is to open yourself up to… well, assholes. The fact that you continue to write and publish despite people who respond with malice leads me to respect you even more.
I have never had to live through the kind of grief you experience, which lumps me in the category of people who mean well but put their feet in their mouths. There was an interview on NPR recently with an author who had written a book about losing her husband (in his 30’s) to cancer. Two things really stuck with me: she spoke a lot about how angry she felt; and how much of that anger was aimed at people who did nothing/said nothing, or said the absolutely wrong thing.
On a lighter note, after my years as a teacher, my husband has been given permission to whop me on the noggin if the words, “My kid would never….” pass my lips.
I’ve told you about my brother, Jerry, who died 2 days after he was born. You don’t “get over” it. That’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard someone say. You don’t get over a death. You heal, but you never get over it.
And never ONCE have I ever thought you were ignoring Annie. As if she were in her crib with a soiled diaper crying and you were sitting in another room staring in space. In face, I see so much love and joy in your eyes, and the sparkle in Annie’s eyes, sometimes I have to look at pictures to remind myself love like that really exists.
My parents have never gotten over Jerry’s death. And myself and my younger brother have never been ignored. And those people who make those comments can focus on someone else. You are truly a hero to me. You really are. Don’t let people with tiny brains get to you.
Heather! Absolutely beautifully written! Truer words do not exist! Those that a matter don’t judge, those that judge don’t matter! You write about anything u want, I’ll always be here supporting ya and always sending love from AZ!!!
Aw, Heather.. what a sweet picture of Mike and Annie.. they look like they are having a very happy conversation don’t they?
Lots of Love to you!
I’ve never met you or Mike but I admire you both so much. You inspire me each day to be a better Mom to my two kids. Annie is beautiful and I think of Maddie often–that sweet face. My heart aches for you. You are an AMAZING Mom, its simply a fact. Ignore anything else! Lots of love from North Carolina!!!!
That is one of those pictures that you look back at often and throught the years and rememeber exactly what was happening and how we you feeling. I hope there are good feeling associated with his moment.
I love, love, love the photo.
The rest made me sad that you would even have to write that.
You always have my support and love.
As I was putting my baby to bed the other night I thought of you, and your family (sounds creepy, but it wasn’t – I promise) – your grace, your humor, your compassion and your strength are inspiring (sounds cheesy, but it isn’t – I promise). Finding your way through the dark, keeping your marriage intact, raising your second beautiful little girl – you are doing it, and you are doing it in a way that will let Annabel grow up a happy girl, safe in the knowledge that her mother and father love her and her sister so much. It must be so hard to find balance between your loves – you’re doing great.
Amy S. says:
Heather, I love you, your blog, you family and always have. I have followed you for A LONG time and have NEVER judged you but have simply ADMIRED you. Not that you need my two sense but you just keep doing what you’re doing and you grieve however you need to. One child does not replace another and you will always hurt for Maddie. BUT Annie is a growing superhero reaching milestones every day and I enjoy reading about them and your love for her. Ef all those people and like you said, concentrate on your family and the people that love you unconditionally.
Katie K says:
You’re doing a great job, managing all the aspects of your life and still learning to live life without your child. Lots of people support you, without question. Hang in there.
BTW, your patio is beautiful!! (or whoever’s patio that is)
What a great picture!!
I have been out of the blogging world for a bit but check in on yours from time to time. I’m glad to read that you are not letting the negative, the judgemental, etc bother you. Knowing that others are telling you how to be, whether it be getting over Maddie or paying more attention to A just upsets me. Everyone deals with grief and pain in their own way and it isn’t up to us to tell someone how to be and on what timeline. I just lost my amazing stepdad that I was extremely close to, and have seen the different ways grief strikes everyone.
Hang in there and keep on letting those negative comments just roll right off your back.
~Hugs from TX
Heather, you really are an inspiration. I don’t comment often because I am often at a loss for words. Your love and passion for your family comes across beautifully in your words. I’m sorry that are people out there that judge you. I’m just thankful that you share yourself and your family with us.
Sarah M. says:
Great post! As always thank you for sharing. It means a lot to so many people.
Amazing picture by the way!
(sorry for a small letters – very sore/swollen hands) to read this blog today made me mad. you’ve been nothing but sweet and supportive to me…and even my husband and kids when I’m having a rough day. you have been my friend and have picked me up even on the hardest of days. to hear ANYONE could EVER be mean or be judgemental towards u makes me SICK!!
the love you share for your girls is glaring like the bightest sun! one could never, ever replace one for the other. too think you would just get over Maddie because Annie is here, is just plain foolish. When Maddie left, so did a piece of your hurt, there will always be a hole there. some days (thank GOD, will be better than other) but some will be unbearable, unbreathable, cruel and just….well… profoundly wordless.
But, those are the days, day or night, pain or no pain, I WILL BE THERE for YOU & MIKE. I know I live far away from you, but i’m only just a call away.
I never got to meet Maddie in person but because you and Mike, just like Annie, I feel like I know her. when I’m sad or hurting, I look at her pictures. When friends and family come over, I so proudly yet so sadly show them her beauty . I laugh at her videos and cry at the same time. and to the very core of my being, i simply cannot understand why it was Maddie who had to go.
Because you, I’ve met Maddie and because of Maddie, I am a better person. One day I will meet Annie and when I do, I will gently pick her up and softly whisper in her ear what a lucky little girl she is to have the parents she has and how loved she is….just like her big sister!
Remember those of us who love you, adore you, believe in you, grief with you and will ALWAYS be there for you! It’s true…there are some true DUMB ASSES in the world, but none of them can come close to the care, support and love each and every one of us feel for your whole family. Please allows remember that…even on your not so good days!!!
Lots of Love,
Mean people suck. You my dear, do not.
Hoping and praying that no one is being critical or judgemental. You are truly an amazing woman, who inspires many. As a mom we all grieve differently and that is OK, God made us this way!!! Keep on keeping on, you are doing an incredible job:-)
About a week ago, I came across Momversation and was hooked. I watched the video “What do you say”, and I had to come read your blog. Since that first day, I have read every single post on here. After reading this post I have to say something. First of all, thank you for letting us know Maddie! I can’t imagine how you must have felt, how you feel now, and how you will feel in the future. It’s something that no parent should have to go through and you are such a strong woman! Also, thank you for continuing to allow us in your lives! Annie is such a sweet baby and so beautiful. Because of your site, I will be planning a team next year to March for Maddie! I love you, Mike, Annie, Rigby and of course Ms. Maddie! Thank you for being you! And ignore the haters!
I’m wondering if those negative folks are following the same wonderful amazing mother that I am???
The love that you have for BOTH of your daughters is so wonderfully portrayed. I can’t imagine that anyone would question that of you.
BTW ~ I LOVE that pic of Annie and MIke!!!
You’re a fantastic mother of two beautiful girls. No one gets a say on how long you’re supposed to grieve. You’re doing the best you can which can be briefly summarized to: pretty amazing.
Cutest photo ever of your baby and hubby.
Keep on being yourself blog wise. People who negatively judge you and yours simply have no right.
From what I have read in the past few years you and Mike are nothing but great people surviving a very rough and terrible time as best you can.
To critique is to just plain be cruel.
People are dumb. Don’t listen. Don’t pay any attention. The people who love and care about you, Mike, Maddie, Annabel, and Rigby would never say either Annabel is being ignored or that you must have gotten over Maddie. Both statements insensitive. Rude. Unkind. Unsolicited obnoxiousness. Complete BS. Grief is so personal. It’s so varied.
Man those pictures of Annie just make my heart ACHE for another…she really is a GORGEOUS baby!!
As for what people say – I TOTALLY get it! I have been the one to say hurtful things (unintended) and receive hurtful things. Honestly the wise old adage of “Never say Never” is oh so true!! Judging another for where they are at is pointless because YOU DID NOT LIVE THEIR COMPLETE LIFE!
No one understands completely my yearning for a baby, struggle with infertility, struggle with unemployment…just like I don’t understand someone wishing for a husband or wishing their husband would love them again or like you…wishing I could hold my child again.
You are an inspiration Heather! I am so proud of you for being able to move past the mean words…that is noble, courageous and takes a lot of strength!
Amanda M. says:
People seriously say stuff like that?? Where do they get off?! Point me at ’em!! Grr.
You do what you gotta do. Whatever it is, I think you’re fabulous. Maddie is fabulous, Annie is fabulous, and they have the most awesome mommy and daddy I’ve ever seen.
And by “seen” I mean “read about via blog.” But whatever. You don’t need my approval any more than you need the criticism of those weirdos with apparent verbal diarrhea, but, regardless, you have it.
It is my firm belief that to become a blogger you must have a psychiatrist selected and ready for therapy. The bull that bloggers put up with from strangers is insane. Half of these people would NEVER say the things they say on here to ANYBODY in real life; not even their worst enemies. It’s not fair, really. Do you ever regret either starting your blog, or it having become so wide-read?
My baby girl died in 2008. No matter what people say about “not grieving enough” or “over her”, I will never stop grieving. I had a baby boy 14 months after her death, we love him dearly but he will never fill the gap she left. No child ever will. It’s more than two years after Nina’s death and some days I feel just as bad as I did two days after. Sorry I’m not helping, just sharing.
It makes me despair to think of the jerks online who think they have a right to tell others how to grieve or deal with an incredibly difficult, personal experience. Why do they think they can post their Judgy McJudgerson comments without a second thought to anyone’s feelings? In this situation, especially, no one has any right to tell you anything. Thank you for writing and for being honest and relating your experience to others to help us understand. I just think you are pretty much awesome.
Heather, really,,you are perfect, and I crave seeing what you’ve done next with Annabel and in the next paragraph get to read about Maddie too.
I do understand how you feel….on a smaller scale, we just lost my mom on April 9th, and 3 weeks later, daddy fell and broke his hip, had surgery and then rehab for 6 weeks. Total Guilt followed everyday that I didn’t get to spend more time missing mom…you can never find a good balance for real life..you just live it, one day at a time. love, Kathy
Expat Mom says:
I know Maddie is never far from your heart and mind and neither is Annabel. I think what people don’t realize is that you have two daughters and whether they are both right here with you is irrelevant, they are both your daughters. It’s like anyone with more than one kid, they aren’t ignoring one just because they’re changing one’s diaper while the other does something else. You’re totally entitled to feel the way you do. I’ve seen so many different reactions to the loss of a child . . . everyone IS different.
I can’t stand an insensitive a-hole who thinks they know everything about everybody’s feelings…Ugh!! You and your sweet family, should not have to deal with those kind. You have the right idea about them, they are worthless to everyone.
FIrst of all, that picture is awesome. Second of all, mean/judgy people suck. Who is anyone to give their opinion on how you deal with your grief? Or your joy? Or your life? LAME. We love you!
Deb Hauer says:
Heather – You are right where you should be! I am amazed by your strength. No one could have said it better than you did in this post. I have never been in your shoes. I can’t ever say what it is like, should be like, was like or what it will ever be like. I hope for my sake that I don’t. I pray for you and the rest of your family as you live this journey. I am so HAPPY that you are right where you are now. ONLY you know what you feel and where you are at on this journey. I am HAPPY because you know that those hurtful comments, looks, etc are not something you should worry about. Those looks, comments, etc are the sign of that persons hurt and/or feelings. That is not something you can do anything about. You can do something about how you handle them and it sounds like you are doing perfectly in that area! My children are 7, almost 12 and 14 but I still look to you for inspiration. I do that because I don’t know what it is like to be in your journey and you have a way with “saying” it like it is. Keep your head up because I think you are a PERFECT mom and Mike is a PERFECT dad to both of your girls. If we as parents took everyones “advise” we would never sleep, eat or be able to think. We would be running in circles because what is “right” to one person is wrong for the other. You need to do what is RIGHT for you and your bunch.
You and Mike have two beautiful ,amazing daughters! And you are allowed to grieve for the one thats no longer in your arms while enjoying the one that is. It’s all a sad, difficult yet beautiful,natural process. I think the fact that Annie will grow up knowing who Maddie was,and what the both of them mean to you is a wonderful gift. Kepp your chin up girl! Sending hugs your way!
You write the most amazing, cut-straight-to-the-heart posts. I also love, love, love that photo!
Sometimes I feel lame writing a few lines of condolence here and there on this site, and having gone through an incredibly tough loss and having the inability/struggle of dealing with grief, I never know what to say to people, because I know now that sometimes there’s nothing to say that isn’t going to be insensitive, miss the mark completely, or just not worth saying at all. People will say things that come into their heads because they are uncomfortable with what they don’t know so they’d rather talk and fill up the space instead of live with the silence that sometimes needs to be there. I hope that your post has made those people realize that their best intentions can hurt the worst sometimes, and maybe to pause a moment before they issue an edict about how you are handling your life and personal struggles. Much love, dear.
I can’t think of a single thing I could criticize or judge you for concering your daughters.
Keep up the good work of being a mommy and wife and ignore all those people on their high horses – they’ll fall off in a mud puddle soon anyway.
Natalie @ Hope Springs Eternal says:
You’re amazing, strong, and awesome. Only you know what’s right for you and your family.. Everyone else can just suck it. Keep on keepin’ on, mama.
not sure if you have ever read this essay: http://www.davis-floyd.com/USERIMAGES/File/Windows%20in%20space%20time.pdf
I care. And I never judge. And I think you and your husband are truly amazing. I’ve never commented before but wanted to let you know that i’m out here, in my corner of the world, checking in on you everyday because you’ve captured my heart with your words.
Thank you for opening your life up to everyone.
Abby C. says:
You are an amazingly strong woman to share your story with the world. I don’t have children of my own yet, but I read this blog every day and I find your courage and resilience inspiring.
Be nice to yourself. You’re not supposed to be perfect – life is hard, parenting is hard, grieving is hard. You’re not going to be able to balance your grief and your parenting all the time. There are times that you’ll feel sad, angry, frustrated with yourself. That’s normal. There are times when others will be hurtful to you. Do your best to be kind and forgiving towards yourself, and not to let the comments of others get you down.
Hugs from my corner of the internet!
Heather, I’m been following your blog for many months now and I just had to comment on this post as it reminds me of my own family’s story.
My parents really wanted children and had a difficult time having kids. 26 years ago, they finally got pregnant with my sister. She was born with a fatal birth defect which they had no known about. They were devastated.
My mom got pregnant with me less than a year later. People kept telling her how great it would be to have another child to get over my sister. But of course, my mom still mourned her daughter. That did not just “get over it”.
Of course, that didn’t mean that they didn’t love me. I grew up with so much love and warmth. I knew that they just missed my sister.
My mom still misses her and she has heard many of the same comments. People now expect her to be over it.
Just keep doing what you are doing with Annabel who is adorable and keep telling stories of her sister so she will know how she was.
I can not help but to re-think what I wrote you, hoping and praying that it could have read differently then I met. I think I might have said I couldn’t imagine being your shoes… and I know you probably heard it about 12,00000000 times before me. I just hope you know I didn’t mean it in a negative manner, just that I really think you are an amazing Mom to BOTH of your girls!
Lorinda Morey says:
I just hate that people hate on you… I am glad that you know what and who matters. I read you every day and I think you rock!
Ashley Hast says:
I love you….tall, short, fat, skinny, perfect, damaged…any which way you come. Sounds like something from the Bible. And/or Sesame Street. Lol. And I mean it.
That photo of Mike and Annie having a moment from across their chairs is awesome. And they are the only two that should matter to you. You're right.
People will say anything to hurt you. Whether it be out of ignorance, or hate. Don't let it get to you. Only take in the good and release the awful.
Wow, I can’t imagine the type of person who would actually judge you. What sort of asshole thinks you are over the loss of Maddie…ugh! Some people just suck and will cowardly go after someone on a blog, when they wouldn’t ball up and say the same things in person. You rock, Heather! You have handled a horrible situation with so much grace, dignity, and strength. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of your family and pray that you will find peace.
Eff those effing effers. Cripes.
People are a**holes. That is a phrase that gets me through my day:) Seriously, how sad are some people that they feel compelled to leave a negative comment to someone on the internet? Pathetic!!!
I give big hugs to you and I’m sorry you have to deal with idiots like that!!
This is such a cute photo…..!
Sarah Ambrose says:
I am a long time reader, but have never posted. Why should I? you are a famous blogger and im just a 28 year old mom…nothing special. but this post got me thinking. My brother committed suicide in 2007 at the age of 19. He chose to end his life, but it doesnt make it any easier. Yet i had plenty of people tell me that I needed to move on, and “get over it”. Its been almost 3 years and I miss him so very much. He has missed so many things, becoming an uncle, going to college and there will be plenty more he will miss. I never listened to what others had to say. I dealt with, and am still dealing with, my grief in my own way. I just wanted you to know that you are a big inspiration to me and lots of others. just be who you are. people will either deal with that or they wont.
much love to your family
your children are precious
There are times where I can relate to your grief, having lost family members.
The times where I can’t relate – I just remind myself that grief is an experience unique to each person.
Your blog has helped me lean more about acceptance and compassion. No, I will never know you feel exactly.And that’s okay.
You can’t win, not when you’re this…”out there”, I guess. But there are those of us who are merely here to support you, and who are keeping you and yours in our prayers, and sending good thoughts your way.
I want to slap those who have the audacity to think you could just “get over” Maddie. That’s ludicrous, almost laughable. You’re allowed to miss her every moment of every day, even as you’re adoring little Annie.
It’s just as stupid as it is to think you can’t love more than one child. The emotions are mutually exclusive. You don’t stop loving Maddie because you have Annie, and you don’t stop loving Annie because you’re missing Maddie.
You handle all of this with a grace that I wish I had. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m grateful for it. Thank you for sharing both the good days and the bad days.
Michelle W says:
I have still been thinking of this post…I often agonize and scrutinize my responses to the point of being obsessive and over analyzing yet I realize that even after doing all that I probably still say the wrong thing at times. That being said some wrong things can be forgiven because it is usually pretty obvious when the person saying it truly is coming from a well meaning place. But comments like you’ve described are not from well intentioned people but, well, scurge of the earth.
EXAAAAACTLY! Very well said. No one can ever say what they would or wouldn’t do. Not even husbands and wives grieve the same over the same child. So your husband/wife can’t say they know how you feel….because they don’t. Sometimes I don’t know how I feel!! It’s been 4 1/2 yrs, and somedays I realize a certain thing I do to block the feeling that I wasn’t aware. Point being, not only is it clear you are a great mommy to BOTH, you are allowed to feel however you feel. What is with ppl? Get a life! If they don’t agree with your parenting, they should stop reading your blog. I lost a child. Right before you announced you were pregnant, we found out we were pregnant. Right when you announced you may have had placenta previa I was finding out I DID have placenta accreta. I LOVE reading abt you guys and I think you both are probably the coolest parents a kid could want! They are both beautiful girls who couldn’t be loved any more
I also wanted to add that I relate to alot of things you say make you feel akward, which lets me know it’s normal because I feel it too, like when you are in public and someone comments on you having ONE child, and you don’t want to not mention Maddie but sometimes you don’t have it in you to sit there and explain it to a stranger, who then is NOT going to know what to say so they look at you sympathetically…etc. I thought “Thank you” because that makes me feel guilty, like I am not acknowledging him, but, I have 2 older kids also, so when someone says “wow, you have your hands full with 3” my 6 yr old daughter ALWAYS says “Nope we have 4 because baby Baron is in Heaven” so I usually have to either smile and not say a word or explain, which either way leads to that akward head cocked to the side “I don’t know what to say” smile. So thanks for sharing your feelings, I’m positive, that big or small, you are making differences in ppl’s lives just by telling your thoughts. Thanks
Christina Cox says:
You could write a book, “1001 Things NOT to say to someone”! I wanted to write a book like that when my mom was dying of cancer (and afterwards). I think I will.
Trying to listen is wiser than saying something sometimes.
Love to you & your family!
I haven’t read through all the comments. so please forgive me if what I write has already been said. I can NOT believe anyone would have the nerve to say anything negative to you. You have done NOTHING wrong by posting what you are feeling on any given day- that is what a blog is for!!!
You have been an inspiration for parents everywhere- both those that have lost a child and those that have not. You are an amazing mother and person, and readers from around the world love you and your family very much. Please stay strong and do NOT listen to anyone who has anything less than wonderful to say about you.
People can be so insensitive. I’m sorry you have to even deal with those people.
Love that pic of Mike & Annie and the way they are looking at each other!
Those mean, hateful people….they SUCK!!! You….You are amazing, strong, honest. You inspire me. Your Maddie is a beautiful soul and her little sister Annie is blessed to have a wonderful Mom and Dad. We are all flawed. We all have pain and struggle. You manage to find your way through your pain and struggles with grace and dignity! Hugs to you all!
P.S. great shot of Annie and Mike!
i am still amazed (and not in a good way) that people feel the need to judge you, me, any parent for how they do their parenting.
as long as no one is getting hurt, people should keep their opinions to themselves.
I CANNOT fathom that anyone would choose to judge you, your family or your situation. As you said, each situation is unique and how people grieve is an incredibly personal experience. I come to your site everyday…and could comment everyday by encouraging you or by telling you how amazing you are….but I don’t want you to think I’m a stalker…lol. You are truly an amazing person – the things you have had to endure in your life should never happen to anyone. You are right when you say – the overwhelming majority of your readers wish you the best and are always sending positive thoughts your way.
My thoughts and prayers are always with you.
Whether you talk about sweet Maddy or your amazing Annabel…..do what is in your heart and don’t worry about anyone else!
Michelle – Herculaneum, MO
I apologize….I spelled Maddie wrong in the last comment…..
Michelle, Herculaneum, MO
Heather, I’m so sorry people have made comments that have intensified the pain you’ve already felt. Beautiful entry– we can all only live our lives on our terms.
I’m pretty sure I’m one of those that have said “I can’t imagine” and maybe even another one or two on that list. Please know that I think the world of you! I love your writing, I think you’re incredibly strong and courageous and beautiful in every way.
I think you are an amazing woman.
OK, so I am commenting late because I’ve been away and had to get caught up in reading your blog…
But I always think of your posts as a snapshot of what is on your mind at a particular moment in time. Love for Annie, grief for Maddie, a smile for Rigby, your funny back-and-forth with Mike, your worries for Annie, your warm memories of the amazing Maddie, your thoughts about your mom or your wonderful aunt…
I cannot imagine trying to use any single post as some great measure of your mental state, or your love for one family member over another. Walt Whitman said (and I am paraphrasing a little because I am too lazy to look up the exact wording), “Do I contradict myself? Then I contradict myself, for I am large and contain multitudes.” Indeed we all do. We feel many things at once, and we feel all these things in different ways and different intensities through a day, a week, a year, a lifetime.
I hate that people use your wonderful, honest, frank writing to criticize you. I find you enormously funny, entertaining, loving, and insightful. I love to read about Maddie. Sometimes I miss her when you’ve written a few posts that don’t talk about her. But I know she is always, always on your mind, even when you are mostly thinking about something or someone else. She is so much a part of you that she cannot be forgotten.
I love reading your blog.