Wednesday, April 7, 2010

For Maddie

I don't think I understand death, not really.

I've been following Maddie's story, and whenever her mom or dad writes a post about mourning the loss of their daughter, I take a moment and feel it for them. I hurt for them. I remember their daughter. I am aghast that she is no longer here. I try and put myself in that place, even for just a nanosecond, even as unequipped as I am to actually understand.

It's the least I can do, this remembering their daughter. Trying to understand their feelings of loss. Feeling outraged for them- for there are no good "answers" as to why. It's the least I can do, to take these small moments of my time.

But then, when I see photos of her- looking very much alive and vibrant- part of my brain thinks she's not dead. And I have the ability to be able to do that- to deny their awful reality- because for me, Maddie is in the internet; I can visit her there anytime. She's not missing from my arms, from my bed, from my car seat. I don't have empty clothes, and empty high chair, a silent piano. I only have the internet, where Maddie smiles at me any time I click in the right places.

This line of thinking usually makes me feel so very "lucky" to not have experienced death very often or very hard in my lifetime. But then I realize that "luck" has nothing to do with it... for if we all die- and news flash, self: WE ALL DO INDEED DIE- then at some point death will visit me too*. Or perhaps it's better to say that death will visit someone that I am not ready to part with.

*Joan Didion points this out too, in her book A Year of Magical Thinking, this concept that facing the death of a loved one will catch up to all of us, eventually.

And this brings me back to my original statement: I do not understand death. Also, I cannot prepare myself for death. So instead, I take a moment. I take a moment for Maddie, but mostly I take a moment for her mommy. For her daddy. And I try to feel it as they are feeling it- and I fail... but oh, do I try.

Other times I just enjoy her smile, enjoy reading about her parents' memories of her. I let her "be alive" for me. Here, in the internet.

It's a small token- a speck, really- remembering. I don't have anything unique or elequent to say about death or about Maddie or about how to keep on living. Nothing that hasn't been said, and said better, elsewhere.

Holding my own babes close. Kissing their curls and thinking, however briefly, of her. That's what I do.

But it's the least I can do... in fact, it's all I can do.

For Maddie.


Jess said...

I am the same way. I cannot grasp the concept of death even though I have experienced it before. I can't even envision Montana dying, and it is entirely beyond my abilities to envision Torsten ever dying. And the worst part about a child dying is that normally that isn't something that you would ever need to really grasp. It's the kind of thing that most people can happily leave out of their minds and never have to deal with. I still can't totally wrap my mind around Maddie being gone, or any of the other beautiful children who have died too young.

d e v a n said...

Well said. I know death catches up to us all. I just pray I never have to know the kind of pain Maddie's parents are.

KS said...

A beatiful tribute to a beautiful girl. I think of her often, probably daily. Death of a child is unfathomable to me. I don't have any idea how you'd move on. Every time I read Heather's posts about Maddie, I am also overcome with guilt. I get to read her story, shed some tears, and then I get to hug my kids. She doesn't. Maddie's story and her parents' horrific heartache makes me appreciate my kids more--and that just seems so unfair because that's an awful price to pay. I am not sure I am explaining this well... I just feel so devastated for them--and guilty that I get to experience things they don't.

Sunny said...

I don't know this Maddie, nor her parents...but i do know first-hand about dealing with the death of my child.

It's an unholy hell that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

I think of Clay every day....every place I go reminds me of him as a baby- a little boy- a teen- a young adult...who at age 23, just as he was really beginning to live his life- was taken from it by a God I'm not sure I can understand or forgive.

There is a hole in my heart that will never heal that appeared the night I opened the door and saw his pregnant wife and her mom in shock, standing there with my son not by her side.
There was no drugs or alcohol involved- Just deer crossing the road in a blind curve in the early morning hours when he was on his way home from work.

I know God has a plan.....but the loss Maddies parents are's indescribable unless you have lived it yourself.

God Forbid.

Marie Green said...

Sunny... I'm so sorry.

amber said...

Er...I was just going to tell you (after reading DuWax's blog) that I've read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and it isn't really scary at all. It's awesome! Fully recommend.

Seester said...

I can not get into that book "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" does it get better after 50 pages? it better or I'm giving up