Dear Madeline and Annabel,
Today, June 18th, you are both the same age, 514 days old. You remind me so much of each other. Maddie, you loved to climb onto things, Annie, you love to climb into things. You both put a string of words together correctly. You both have smiles a mile wide, with a hearty laugh. You both love cuddling and giving hugs and kisses.
Tomorrow, Annabel will be older than you, Maddie, and that is going to be so hard. From now on when your sister does something I’ll no longer be able to say to your Dad, “remember when Maddie did that too?” Annie will now have new milestones and create memories that won’t be intertwined with yours. Annie, I am so, so grateful that you will be able to do that. But it almost feels like I am losing another connection to you, Maddie.
It hurts so much knowing the two of you will never tease, hug, or play with each other. You’ll never fight over clothes, comfort each other over cootie-filled boys, or stay up way past bedtime talking about dreams. You won’t be the maid of honor in each others’ weddings, or hold each others’ hands in the delivery room when you have babies. I hate that you were both robbed the experience of truly being sisters.
I hate that I was robbed of the experience of watching you both grow. But mostly, I hate that Maddie’s life had to stop suddenly at 514 days.
Five hundred fourteen days is not a lot of time. Yet somehow, five hundred fifteen days sounds infinitely longer.
It feels like the three of us have been on an adventure together, and now Annie and I are setting off down the road to new adventures without you, Maddie. That makes waking up for tomorrow, day 515, very hard. But as Annie’s mommy, I owe it to Annie to get up. As Annie’s big sister, I know that you would WANT me to get up. Please let us catch a glimpse of you in the wind, in the dew, and in the sun.
I love you both to the moon and back,
Sending you love…
They look so much alike, especially in the bottom pictures. Both so beautiful. I can’t come up with words. I’m sure waking up tomorrow is going to be both hard and strange, so just send lots and lots of love and peace while you enjoy the memories of 514 of each girl today.
Lots of love to you all as you cross this threshold. What beautiful girls xxoo
I’m a longtime reader and lurker… not sure why I haven’t commented before now!
I am continually in awe of your strength and courage. You are an amazing mom to both of your girls. Hoping that day 515 brings lots of Maddie sunshine and breezes.
HUGS – I believe she’s still with you guys on the next part of your journey!
Beautiful and heartbreaking.
Much love to you, Mike and both your girls.
Hugs and love… though this is a tough threshold to cross, Maddie is still with you and Annie and all your adventures, smiling and watching.
XOXO from GA,
My sentiments exactly! I believe Maddie is with you wherever you go, whatever you do, no matter how much time passes. They say in heaven that time is totally different…..that Maddie will turn around and there you will be. I am giving you virtual hugs today and wishing you peace and happiness.
beautiful letter. i’m so sorry. much love.
Lots of LOVE to you all today and always!!
Just hugging you from afar, friend.
I wish I had more than good thoughts and warm wishes from the heart.
I wish there was a cure for grief almost as much as I wish there was a cure for premature birth. I’m coming up on 12 years since I lost my Olivia.
Oh Heather – this is so beautiful. Love to you all. You know that Maddie is cheering you, Mike and Annie on.
Oh, this hurts my heart. Sending you tons and tons of love and many hugs.
Hugs. Heather, you and your family are not the only ones who had been thinking about this. I’ve never even met you guys, but I love all of you and I’ve been thinking about it. I hope you can find peace in these coming days. I’m glad you have these beautiful photos to remind you of both your girls.
Precious girls…both of them…
Just letting you know I’m sending love your way.
Love to you guys.
I wondered, and worried, how you would handle the day that Annie became older than Maddie. I’m sorry it’s so hard. I understand why it would be.
I have no words, at least none that seem right.
Your girls are both beautiful.
It really is bittersweet, the day our living children are older than the one that is gone.
I could have written this post exactly. It echos how i have felt every time my kids have gotten older than Emma. It echos how I will feel when Elliott is older than Emma.
It is so hard and it hurts so much. I know.
Know that I love you so very much and am always here for you.
Sending a hug your way! And man, oh man, can you ever tell they are sisters in those last two photos! Both such beautiful girls.
Sending many hugs. You have two beautiful, amazing daughters!
Rachel R. says:
I’ll be praying for you all. Your girls are beautiful.
Lots of love and hugs for all of you.
Thinking of all of you xo
What amazing and beautiful girls you have! Thinking of you and your family during this difficult transition. I have been following your blog for a while now and pray for you all daily. Sending lots of love, even though you have no clue who I am:)
thinking of you and sending hugs. this is so sad.
I can’t even begin to imagine how hard today and tomorrow in particular are going to be for you. Sending you positive thoughts over these next couple of days.
I wondered when this day would come. I also knew that you wouldn’t miss it – these milestone mean so much. My heart goes out to you today and tomorrow. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to feel that you’re leaving Maddie behind in some way. But she’s always with you in her own way. Hugs to you, Mike, and Annie.
Crying. Wishing you peace and strength tomorrow.
Crying for you Heather. Those sweet girls love you so much and you give them so much love in return.
(((HUGS))) today and tomorrow to help you get through.
This is such a powerful post that shows how strong, and how real, you and your family are. My heart breaks for you, but swells for you with your beautiful Annie.
Rumour Miller says:
Oh, I can understand how this milestone is so hard. Thinking of you on Day 515 and beyond.
J in eire says:
Oh Heather, such a thing to have to go through, this really tough milestone, and to have the ability to put it into words the way you have, I think that’s Maddie guiding your heart right there. That darling baby and her unforgettable smile are forever in hearts around the world. You’re absolutely right, Maddie would want you to get up and take joy in your day with Annie. She found joy in all of her days – even the really tough ones. She was wise that way.
They are both beautiful girls.
Sending you and Mike hugs….
Peace and strength
Beautiful pictures and post. Thank you for sharing both. I hope that there are glimpses of Maddie on day 515, 516 and all the rest of the days. Sending you peace. Take care.
What a sad milestone. I am so sorry your girls will never be able to have those special sister moments. Thinking of you today and every day.
To Mike,Heather and Annie,
First of all huge hugs to you both, I am sure Maddie is watching and holding you both. May you feel her hugs in the breeze that blows gently by or the her kiss as the sun hits your cheeks. May Maddie love bring you comfort. I wish you and your family all the best.
What a beautiful, heartbreaking letter. You’re right that Maddie would want you to get up for Annie. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Sending love to you, Mike, and Annie.
Malou's Mama says:
It’s so hard to fathom, isn’t it? I wish you had both your girls to cuddle right now, and I’m so sorry you don’t. Lots of love to you and Mike.
Maybe, soon, Annie will string those words together to tell you about the dreams she has, that feel so real, of playing with Maddie. And her great aunt. And your grandmother.
I wish I could make this all easier for you. I’m thinking about you and your family.
Sending strength your way for tomorrow morning and the mornings that follow.
So hard, a beautiful post. Thinking of you often today and tomorrow.
Lori C. says:
We had a similar milestone a few months ago, and I still find myself reeling when I look @ the once younger girl, knowing she is now older than the ‘older’ girl ever got to be…(The ‘older’ girl was my niece, my mini-me, and the ‘younger’ girl is my oldest daughter. My niece and I were very close, but our connection was nothing in comparison to the closeness between her and my daughter…) Absolutely Overwhelming…There are no words…I’m so sorry you have to experience this reality…
wishing you peace in the quiet moments.
sending hugs your way
I can’t imagine how difficult this day must have been for you…and moving forward! But as everyone has said, you’re always together. I will keep you in my prayers. Much love!
Thinking of you today, tomorrow and always. Thank you for all that you do, all that you say/write and all the comfort you offer.
Sending you lots of love and hugs. You have written a beautiful letter to your girls!
Wishing you peace tomorrow.
I’ll be thinking of you and Mike and Maddie and Annie tomorrow….sending love and support to your sweet family. Xoxoxo
Roxanna (miguelina) says:
Big hugs to you and Mike, Heather. This was such a beautiful letter. I think Maddie is still on this adventure with the rest of you. But it isn’t fair that she can’t be here every day.
So many tears for you. A beautiful letter.
Alexandra :) says:
Wow, I haven’t commented in forever! That was beautifully written, Heather. It’ll be interesting to see what Annie says someday when she’s old enough to read it. It’s so cute how Maddie and Annie have the same eyes, smiles, little noses, and lovely curls (even though they aren’t the same color).
This was beautiful, Heather.
Sending lots of love your way, mama.
It’s so unfair that you only had 514 days with Maddie. I’m thinking of you and wishing I could do anything to make even a little of your hurt go away. I love you.
Dawn @What's Around the Next Bend? says:
Sending much love your way.
Oh sweetheart. I always wonder how you are … and have thought about how you would feel when this day came.
Thinking of you SO much. More than usual. Love love love
Expat Mom says:
It’s been a couple of days now, but I just wanted to say I’m so sorry this unpleasant milestone had to come. And I’m so sorry your girls couldn’t be together. I tried to translate this post for my husband, but I couldn’t, because it made me cry.
Sending you love.
judi mitchell says:
what a beautifully (and heartfelt) written post….
i’ve been reading your post for a while now and never commented.. this one just really brought me to tears. i think you’re amazing, mike is amazing, and the way in which you both share your story is incredibly brave.
Such beautiful curly-headed girls. So different yet so much alike.
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight”
from the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Sending love your way!
God~can’t even imagine the turmoil of emotions. Sending much love to you and yours.
Becky Colley says:
This post ripped me to pieces. I lost my sister when she was 4 and though she wasn’t my maid of honor last year at my wedding, I knew she brought us the gorgeous fall day, unexpected and joyous surprises and endless laughs. I felt her there, always have, always will. Everytime I see a sun ray beaming through a cloud, I think of her and silently say hello. I know that she’ll always be there protecting me.
My heart goes out to your family. Annie will always have a sister.
My heart goes out to you, in a tight hug.
Tears rolling down my eye.