Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Better late, than never

It has been so long since I sat down to write my feelings. I have thought about it often but for many reasons, I do not write. One of them is my lack of ability to express my feelings lately. I have really been in a state of feeling emotionless..if that is really something you can feel. As I read and talk to other people who have experienced grief like only a parent can, this is just part of it. I am glad to know that I am not weird or unloving, but just at a place where I feel numb and can not for the life of me describe it. Maybe it is part of the healing.

It has been exactly five months since Madeline was born and then left us. There were times when I thought I would never make it here, but life has a way of pushing you along even when you refuse to move. Not a single hour goes by that I don't think of her or miss her, but I can now smile when I think of what a special baby she was and how blessed I feel that I was chosen to be her mother.

My own mother and sister still have difficulty talking about Madeline without lots of tears and I know they both wonder about me sometimes, when I am the only one not crying (I credit some really great meds too!) but I have come to a conclusion that has helped me to cope with losing Madeline. When I found out on January 8th that Madeline had this terminal diagnosis, I began the grief process then. The idea I had of a healthy baby, a healthy daughter that would be my soft spot in my world of boys, was crushed. I felt like all my hopes and dreams were lost. But what I did not realize then, but know for sure now, is that Madeline would not be who she was intended by God to be if she had been exactly as I had planned her. It really is a blessing that we are not in control of our lives because I never would have written mine with this outcome. God knew how badly I wanted a little girl and He could not have given me a more perfect one than Madeline Grace Hopkins. And even though she is not the child I had planned or dreamed about, she is even better. I knew early on that Madeline would not be "normal" and that I probably would never parent her like I have our other children. I was able to grieve the loss of that dream and it is only recently that I knew that as badly as I missed her and wanted her here to share in our life, Madeline would not be herself if she were able to do that. She was exactly as God intended her and I would not trade her for a healthy daughter anyday because that would mean changing her. Madeline was perfect in all ways, in our eyes and God's.

We still have moments when sadness looms and feels like it is taking hold and I think that it seems like just yesterday that we buried Madeline. I drive by the cemetary and sometimes can't stop. I guess denial makes it a little easier too. It all seems unreal that we have lost a child, one we hardly had a chance to know and love. We miss her and the boys still talk about Madeline and pray for her. Maxwell always thanks God for taking care of her for us and Harry commented just yesterday that he didn't ever get to meet Madeline. They will always "know" her because we will never stop talking about her or sharing all the blessings she brought into our lives.


justabeachkat said...


What a sweet sweet post. One I know had to be hard to write though. Thanks for sharing your very personal feelings.


Emily said...

You bless me. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your precious girl. You are so right. Madeline Grace could not have been any more perfect.

Laurie said...

Hi Mandy,
What a blessing to come here this morning to check in on you, and find you.:) God is carrying you through and you are right where His plan has been all along. The more I read about grief, the more I realize that no two people walk it exactly the same. And I am encouraged to see that He walks with each person so personally, and He meets them where they are. How great to know how truly personal His love is for you. The more you walk this path and share it here, it is not a grief instruction manuel for other mothers carrying these precious babies to know how to grieve, but what a blessing for them to be able to read your story, Emilys story, Boothes story, and be comforted that God is in the center of each one, personally meeting each one of you where you are. A reference point for them, to free them up to grieve in their own time. It was good to read about the boys and know their sister is in their hearts, she always will be and yes Mandy, she is perfect in every way. God does not make mistakes, ever. May He continue showing you His heart as you seek after Him with your heart. Madeline will always hold her place in your family of Seven. May God bless you and keep you and give you the desire of your heart.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

So Blessed said...

I am praying for you and your family today...and trusting that our loving Father will sustain you in your journey of grief. How comforting that He carries us in His arms each day. Your beautiful spirit and testimony bless me and countless others who read your blog.

Kenzie Stanfield said...


As we walk this road each day, knowing the God of miracles is also the God that can say no to certain prayers, I am anticipating a time with my Maddox very similar to the time you had with your Madeline. Thank you for your offer of support... I would love to talk to you! Also, thank you for sharing your story of your time with you precious little girl, she was absolutely beautiful. (Your boys are so adorable as well... definitely some good reasons to smile!) So you have my email, its As I mentioned to a few other girls of T18 babies, I would love to put a link to your site on our blog. So many of our friends think that we are going through this alone, and so I think it would be reassuring for them to know that we aren't... plus they can be in prayer for your family as well.

I look forward to talking to you!
God's richest blessings,

Kim said...

Hi Mandy, I just read your post to my blog. I actually have you as a link on my page because I have been reading your story for weeks now. My favorite picture is of you kissing Madeline and your little boy kissing her foot. How precious those moments are! I am so glad you got to spend time with her and I just imagine you and your husband giving Madeline a bath and I can't help but to think of every detail you must have got to take in. I am sorry for your loss but uplifted by your strength. It gives me hope of actually being able to function.
Thanks for reaching out to me. God is using you and your family and especially Madeline in a might way. She is perfect!

Emily said...

Thinking of you today.:)

Laurie said...

Hi Mandy,

I'm just stopping by to say Hi this afternoon and tell you I think about you every day and pray too. I hope this weekend will be uplifting and special in some way that brings joy to your heart. You are a blessing to me.

Love you, Laurie in Ca.

Laurie said...

Thinking about you today as a new week begins, and hoping it holds many blessings for you and your family. I think of you every day along with all my other girls and one common thing rings true for all, children are the best gift from God. Madeline grace is a gift and she is perfect Mandy. She is touching many hearts and is always remembered in my home.
Love you, Laurie in Ca.

juliekeefe said...

This is beautiful. I am humbled and encouraged by your honesty. Praying for you, your husband,your boys, and your very special little girl tonight.

Ivey's Story said...

Seems like you are doing just fine. It is enough to wake up each morning and put one foot in front of the other. I hope you have a very blessed holiday season. gwen

Laurie said...

Just stopping by on this last day of November to let you know I think of you so often and pray that your heart is lifted in His love. I thank the Lord for your sweet and honest heart.

Love you, Laurie in Ca.

Jessica said...

I love this post. Your thoughts are just so perfect.