Posted by on April 8, 2009

It’s with a sad heart that I sit down this morning to collect my thoughts. I didn’t sleep well, instead tossing and turning all night thinking about Maddie, the incredibly precious little girl I never knew but had heard so much about from her loving and devoted mother, Heather. Maddie passed away last night after being brought to the hospital yesterday for respiratory distress.

My deepest, most heartfelt sympathies to Heather and Mike Spohr for the loss of their little angel, Maddie. May they eventually find some kind of peace and understanding in the midst of something so unfathomably tragic and unfair.

If you’re feeling as helpless as I am, how about making a donation to our March of Dimes “March for babies” team “Friends of Maddie?” We’re walking April 25th at U of Tampa and want to raise as much money as we can in Maddie’s name and in hopes that someday ALL babies will be born healthy and stay that way.


I’ve learned the hard way that life is too short and too precious to take for granted. I live with this knowledge, both a curse as well as a blessing, every day of my life. It’s what sends me out to the car in the morning, in my underwear, to tell my kids and husband, one more time, that I love them and to be careful—just in case. It’s what makes me regret anything harsh or unkind that I may have said or done during the course of a day because what if it’s the last thing I ever said to them?

Stay with me here. There’s a point to all of this…

A couple weeks ago, when my three year old son was stricken with an unknown virus that rendered him unable to keep anything in his stomach, he ended up in the ER for dehydration, which unbeknownst to me, can be fatal. I heard a toddler-aged girl on the other side of the curtain squalling and crying helplessly, endlessly. I could hear the doctors talking. I knew she was pretty sick, too.

I can’t tell you how awful it was to be confronted with the mortality of small children like that. It was heart-wrenching because they’re just babies. Just like Maddie. That they could get so sick and possibly die was just too awful to think about and yet, I know from experience that people will die without warning, without giving you a chance to say goodbye, make amends or tell them you love them.

The night before we went to the ER, when his temp was close to 104, I knew that my son had taken a turn for the worse and I knew we’d probably end up going to the hospital. And while we sat in that ER waiting room for close to three hours, I  watched my baby go from being miserable but awake to miserable and limp. It felt like the life was draining out of him right in front of me and it was terrifying.

But ultimately, despite all my fears, I was one of the lucky parents in the pediatric ER. My child left the hospital eight hours later in better condition than he came in. He was still sick and feverish but he was going to be fine.

Once again, the fates had reminded me that life is fragile. Unlike Maddie’s mother, I would have more time and more opportunities to enjoy and cherish my son—and everyone else who matters in my life.

I hope you will do the same, today and EVERY day, because you never know what tomorrow holds…


  • Lucie @ UO says:

    Having met and talked about our children, you know that despite my rookie mom age I have three boys. Two of them we only see 10 weeks out of the year. I try to tell their father that even if it’s unfair we are lucky, because they are healthy and happy. This is why that is true – in a second your child can be gone. I don’t think there is a thing more important in this world than the health of my children.

    I don’t know if that comment even made sense – I am in class crying, stomach all clenched up in pain, and I didn’t even know any of the people I’m crying about. It hurts so much when a child dies, I cannot imagine what Maddie’s parents are experiencing. It just shatters my heart.

    I am so glad your son is better, though. Big hugs.

  • MrsMessiness says:

    It is amazing how deeply we feel each other’s pain. Reading your story, and of course following Heather’s tragedy, my heart just rips in half. Our babies are all we have, really, and loosing them or knowing they are hurting is just unbearable. I am so glad your son is alright – and am praying for Heather’s loss. Thank God for healthy babies and that He let’s us have them for the time that we do.. I just cannot fathom having to give them back- ugh.

  • Cara says:

    I have been thinking about poor Maddie, Heather and Mike all morning. Many of the same thoughts going through my head that you have expressed. As a mother, as I never was before, I find myself unbelievably emotional when it comes to children. The loss of a child…unfathomable.

    I am so glad your little one got better. It is on days like this that we can be even more thankful for those blessings.

  • Aprylsantics says:

    I watched it unfold yesterday on twitter and was saddened by the news this morning when I logged on to find out it ended so tragically. I can’t imagine what Heather and Mike are going through this morning.

    Hug your kids extra hard today and lots more than you normally do.

  • Been thinking of Heather, Mike and sweetie Maddie all day. Thinking of how all of us had so much fun together at Blissdom in Nashville. Wish we were there.

  • Abby says:

    Thank God that your son is well! In the midst of all the tragedy this week, it is wonderful to hear that there are parents who are able to continue on in the joy of seeing their beautiful babies every day. I love your background! Dallas, TX is wearing purple for Maddie, too :)

  • Mylene says:

    Poor Maddie…I hope her parents are doing well at this time of sorrow. Thankfully, your son is healthy and well. :)

  • MelissaQ says:

    I cant even begin to imagine losing a child. I have two healthy daughters. One is 10 years old and the youngest is 2 years old. I prayed for many years for both of them. It took a long time to get them but, every day I thank god for them. I made a small donation to support you in your walk for Maddie. Like you said, that helpless feeling could only be erased by helping in some sort of way. I know it wont bring her back to her mommy but, I pray it helps save other babies from having to suffer that fate. Thank you for the link to her parents site and bringing little Maddie to life for us who never will know her or her parents. Please pass along my family’s heartfelt condolences to her family. It’s all I can do. In Jesus Name I pray that little Maddie rest in peace in his kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

    • Janet says:

      Your heartfelt comment made me tear up. Thank you for your kindness to the Spohrs and for making a donation. I really appreciate your supporting our “Friends of Maddie” team!

  • turnitupmom says:

    Thanks for making me stop and count my blessings. I’m going right now to tell my husband and daughter how much they are loved. This heartfelt piece resonated with me.

  • gavinzhu says:

    You cannot believe how long ive been searching for something like this. This is very a good read blog. I Through 7 pages of Google results couldnt find diddly squat. Very first page on Bing. There was this…. Really have to start using it more often!

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