I am a big fan of other people’s blogs. This really isn’t a secret. I love nothing more than logging onto my computer in the morning, and see what Jen, Heather, Jennifer, and Jess have to say. Occasionally I’ll even check in on an ex-boyfriend…pretty sure he does the same. So goes the world of the internet, you become best friends with people who don’t even know you. You know details about their lives that would creep out normal people if you ran into them on the street. But they are bloggers, and that is the way it is.
There is one blog in particular that I just started reading on April 7th. I know the day, because it is the day that Heather and Mike’s daughter Maddie passed away. Heather started her blog as a way to communicate information to family and friends about their premature daughter, Maddie. Over the next year plus, it became extremely popular, Heather takes wonderful photos and Maddie is beautiful. Besides that, she is a fantastic writer.
Maddie had a horrible start to life; they didn’t think that she was going to make it. Several times, Heather and Mike were told that she might not make it through the night, and they thought they were going to lose her. But she did. She persevered. She made it home from the hospital after 68 days in the NICU. She made it to her first birthday. And she was thriving. Her lungs were weakened from being 11 weeks premature, and so she would sometimes have to be on oxygen at night. But other than that, she was living life to the fullest. There was no reason not to plan for a very bright future for Maddie.
On Saturday April 4th, she had a cough. On Sunday, she had congestion. On Monday, she was admitted to the hospital because her oxygen saturation was only 65-75, which in Heather’s word, WAS BAD. By Tuesday, April 7th, she had died. She was 17 months old. As a parent of a premature child, Heather knew that her daughter’s lungs were weak, but after all she had survived, dying didn’t seem to be possible. Not anymore. Because a parent isn’t supposed to lose a child.
Heather’s latest post took my breath away. It was so raw, so filled with emotion in such a simple way. She is in pain, the kind of pain that, God willing, I will never feel. I can’t even comprehend how she gets out of bed and is able to write a blog, and post pictures and video. I am in awe that she is so open, so willing to share her feelings with the world. And the world has responded in a positive way. Other than card and letters, they have donated thousands of dollars in Maddie’s name to March of Dimes. Maddie wouldn’t have made it home without the treatments that March of Dimes pioneered.
I hope that someday I have the courage to be open like that. Right now, I am kind of in a funk, but I can’t talk about it here because, well, I need my job. I try not to talk about it much at all, because I don't want to be that person who is always negative, always complaining. I can't do anything about it, just live life and enjoy my own little girl, because I have her, I am able to hold her and kiss her. I’m hoping that as time goes by, I’ll get used to things, but it’s not something I like to hear from other people. “It’ll get better”is the single most sentence in the English language that I despise. I read Heather’s posts, and my heart breaks for her, and then I run home and hug my own daughter. Because I am able to, and thanks to Heather, I appreciate Samantha just a little more.