Have been meaning to sit and write for a while now. Just been so busy with our fundraiser and the kids. We had our 2nd Annual Cocktails For A Cure - Maddie's Mission of Hope on April 9th. It was another great event. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. We raised just over $20,000! That will go a very long way in helping children and their families fighting cancer.
I was especially touched when the framed copy of Maddie's "Never, Never, Never give up..." went for $250 in silent auction! Who would've ever thought that when Maddie wrote those words on that piece of paper, she would be helping so many other children because of it? That one really got to me. Still does.
I know Maddie was at the event with all of us, and her best pals. I knew she would be there. She let me know it a few days prior. I was driving around, running errands, thinking about the music for the event. I was thinking about My Wish. Thinking I wanted to request it, when would he play it, beginning of the night, at dinner, towards the end? Would it make people happy or sad? Just thinking about it and said to Maddie, "Maddie, I'm going to play it for you and please let me know you're there with us somehow." At that exact moment, "My Wish" came on the radio! I swear to you! I almost had to pull over, I was SO blown away! Maddie was sitting right there in the car with me. Listening to my heart, my thoughts, my words. It was incredible. I wanted to tell the whole world what just happened! I thanked Maddie, went home and emailed the DJ that song request.
The DJ chose the perfect time, towards the end of the night, when all was quiet and I could take a moment and heard it. Ernie and I danced. During our dance, my heart got really heavy. Just missing Maddie so badly, looking around the room, being with her friends, all grown up and beautiful, looking out into the crowd of loved ones, friends, who all came out in support, just all overwhelming. Just wish we didn't have to be doing what we do. I love a good party, for a good cause, but not for our reason. Just want my girl back...I felt very sad.
Then Maddie snapped me out of it! When the song ended, the very next song was "Bringing Sexy Back!" I had not requested that one and the DJ knew nothing about it. I told him the story about that song after it was over. That was her silly song. He was blown away! It was unbelievable! Of all the gazillion songs the DJ stores in his machine. It was like Maddie was saying, "Mom! Don't be sad! I'm right here! Have fun!" Her friends ran out onto the dance floor and I danced with them. Probably looked like a complete fool with all the beautiful, cool teens, but I didn't care! Maddie wanted me to dance!
Thank you so very much to everyone who supported us! Thank you cards are in the works. Please bare with me - might take a long while!
I hope you'll come back next year! It's not too late to donate. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, please make your check payable to PMC Jimmy Fund (Tax ID 04-2746912) and mail to 43 Park Street, Norfolk, MA 02056. Or you can donate online. Click here or Go to the PMC website: www.pmc.org, find my name, then click on Donate To My Ride. I am rider 56837-7. Every penny makes a difference! Thank you!
Since my last entry, my parents have settled nicely into their condo, 12 minutes away. Took a lot of painting to get it ready for them, but they are very happy. It is nice having them so close by.
On a lighter note, William turned 9 on April 3rd! Hard to believe! Remember his birth like it was yesterday. He's so damn cute. Keeps me laughing!
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter with your families. Had my parents over and my sister and her family. It was a nice afternoon. As always, loved watching the kids look for the eggs in the backyard in the morning. Of course, missed Maddie and her delight in every holiday. The way she helped the younger ones find the eggs...Thank you to all her left her Easter gifts at her site.
Thomas has been loving playing soccer and baseball. It's so fun to watch these games. Michael is still enjoying lacrosse. His games are real exciting to watch!
Mother's Day has come and gone. It was a hard day for me, Ernie and the boys made it nice. Ernie gave me a beautiful Pandora bead for my bracelet, William gave me a heart shaped jewelry holder (free promotional gift from Pandora!), Thomas gave me $25 (that he took from Ernie!) and Michael gave me a card he picked out all by himself. I was so anxious to open the card and read all the mooshy, sentimental things he wanted to say to me...it was a goofy birthday card with an old lady bowling on the cover! Huh? I don't get it! Oh, ok. you're being funny right? He giggled and asked me if I liked it. Great sense of humor on that kid!
Maddie gave me a gift too. I was standing in front of my dresser, getting ready for church and wondering what jewelry to wear. I must have lightly bumped the dresser, although I didn't think I did. I heard a clank, looked down and from under my dresser, out shot the pin Maddie made me for her last Mother's Day! Shot out, like a slot machine winning! It says "#1 Mom" I couldn't believe it. I hadn't even noticed it was missing from the top of my jewelry box and then the fact that it shot out from under...Maddie sure let me know she was there. I cried, I smiled, and I proudly pinned it on and wore it all day.
A few days before Mother's Day, my friend, Colleen, and I, were interviewed by The Boston Globe. I'm sure you all remember me talking about Colleen. She's Meghan's Mom. Meghan was Maddie's friend who passed the year before she did. The article was originally supposed to be a PMC pitch, but the writer focused more on the story about the friendship the girls shared and the friendship Colleen and I have forged and what we do to fundraise in memory of our girls. It was a beautifully written piece but the interview was very difficult.
We sat and talked for 3 hours, each of us crying, passing the tissue box. Colleen and I were each asked to re-live the moment our girls were diagnosed to the moment each passed. I wasn't prepared to go back and re-live all of that. In fact, I had a cheat sheet in hand on all of the PMC facts. I had a very hard time for several days after the article was written. Just really knocked me down, set me back several steps in my grief and has taken a while for me to get back up. Just re-thinking everything, re-living it all, and dealing with things I hadn't remembered. Things I was too in shock to remember that now had surfaced. In fact, I suddenly had the need to know answers to some things. Questions about conversations, visits, last days in the ICU, the wake, the funeral...just didn't want to go back there, but I know there is a reason for everything. Maybe I was supposed to relive certain things in order to try to continue to move forward. I don't know. In the end, the article was beautifully written and it was a beautiful tribute to our girls. The picture of Colleen and I...now that's another story! At least one thing we could find humor in and chuckle about!
William made his First Holy Communion last weekend. He looked so handsome all dressed up. He was very nervous but did a great job. He wore khakis, a white dress shirt, navy sports coat and tie! So cute! He proudly placed his hand made flower in the gift basket as he approached the altar, along with the other kids. All had written a prayer on their own. William's said, "I pray for Maddie." My parents, sister and her family, brother Art and his family from CT., all came and stayed for brunch. No big fancy party, just an intimate brunch. We are very proud of William.
Spent this past Sunday night in Norwood Hospital with Thomas. He had a fever, vomitting, double ear infection and a very bad bronchial infection. On the edge of pneumonia. When he crashes, he crashes fast and hard. So, we spent Sunday night into Monday night there. I always dread going back into a hospital setting. Try to avert my eyes away from things and talk to myself in my head, to drown out the sounds of the machines. Had to get a chest x-ray. So many memories of so many tests Maddie had to endure, came rushing in. Countless numbers of tests. I tried to focus on the funny time when the x-ray tech spoke very poor English and had Maddie posing in the most ridiculous positions for x-rays. Poses we had never seen before. Maddie I and couldn’t stop cracking up every time we looked at each other and I imitated the poses behind the tech’s back. The tech was getting very frustrated with us and had to retake several shots. Still love the memory of Maddie sticking her tongue out in a head x-ray. That one was priceless!
Thomas was so brave and calm, but once they hooked him up to the Pulse Ox machine, to measure his oxygen levels, he got very anxious. Became fixated on the numbers. Every time he started to doze off to sleep, and his numbers went a little lower, he widened his eyes and fought the sleep. He said to me, "Mom, you know what happens if my number goes to 0. I can die." He had tears in his eyes and of course I had to reassure him, as I was in the bed with him, that I would not let his numbers get to 0 and that he was not going to die. It was very sad. He finally fell asleep around 4am, just as we were getting wheeled into our room.
When I was finally able to close my eyes, still laying in the bed next to Thomas, I held his little hand, wrapped my leg over his body, giving him a “leg blanky” as I always did for Maddie, and closed my eyes. I listened to the machines, felt his warm little hand in mine, and imagined I was with Maddie. I felt guilty at that moment. Was it wrong of me to imagine I was laying with Maddie? This was certainly not the place I wanted to remember Maddie in, but I just needed to feel like I was hugging her again. How can you not imagine when you’re in that setting? I was there for Thomas, truly for him, but I needed to feel Maddie. I so desperately wanted to open my eyes and see my girl in the bed with me. I wanted to comfort her, smell her, kiss her, giggle with her, tell her I loved her, just one more time…
We spent the next day watching movies and playing Candy Land. Ernie and William came in for a visit, and William stayed. The cutest thing was when William hopped right into bed with him, put his arm around him, Thomas laid his head on William's shoulder and William rubbed his head. It really was precious. They have such an awesome bond. Shortly after his arrival, William raided the family room fridge. Hooked himself up with crackers, popsicles, jello, and soda! Thomas has been home from school but will go back tomorrow. He's doing much better.
Took the two younger boys to the "feelings doctor" this afternoon for a check in. Guess they didn't feel much like chatting or being serious. William sat down, looked down at his pants, looked at the therapist and said, "Hey, do you think these pants make my butt look big?" Oh my gosh! Where does this kid get his material?! Was laughing hysterically on the inside, but giving the serious look of disapproval on the outside!
Maddie's tree downtown has really blossomed beautifully! Beautiful pink flowers! I love it. William and I went down the other day to water her flowers. William was leaning on the car and I walked over to her tree. As I was asking William if he thought I should take some ornaments off the tree so they don't get in the way of the flowers, I looked up to the top of the tree and there was a huge hawk, hovering above the tree! just hovering right above us. Of course, I exclaimed, "A hawk!" William looked up, gasped, and said, "Mom! I just prayed to Maddie for one and there wasn't one there a second ago!!" I said, "I know it wasn't there because I just asked Maddie for one too!" We both stood there staring at the hovering hawk, as it stared back at us, and thanked Maddie. We really are blessed by the incredible signs we receive!
I'm sorry it has taken so long to write this entry. I sometimes wonder if I should continue. I do it for my own therapeutic reasons, but I was reminded the other day of why I still write on this site. I went to CVS to get Thomas' medicine and the woman behind the counter told me she knew me. Her child was in Maddie's class. She told me how she continues to read the website. When she is having a bad day, she comes here, feels encouraged, and puts things in perspective. I was so touched. Truly touched. I hope this site is doing something good for others. Whatever it may be. If so, I know Maddie's legacy lives on. Her lessons, her gifts...
I will try to post pictures from William's Communion later today or tomorrow. Have a good day. Enjoy the small spurts of sunshine!