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Experienced, but no wiser

If you’ve never attended the funeral of a child, I consider you to be blessed beyond measure.

I never fathomed that I could experience so many emotions at once…grief, pain, relief, joy, guilt, anger, shame, faith, doubt.  Not the day of my wedding, the births of my children, the deaths of my grandmothers have I ever felt so much bubbling turmoil peak in one moment.

I wish there was a point where attending the funeral of a child no longer shook me to my core, threatening the strength of my heart, feeling like my soul is dripping from me, tear by tear.

I’ve attended nine. Nine beautiful, terrible, reverent, shattering funerals.

I have YET to find that point.

I’m going to fly out to LA and Maddie’s funeral will make it ten.

I will, again, stand back and feel stupid and useless, totally helpless in the face of overwhelming emotion.  I want nothing more than to be there for Heather and Mike on this day, to let them know in some tiny way that their daughter had an incredible impact…even on those who never had a chance to meet her.

Because, in the face of such a tragedy, there is NOTHING you can say or do to make it any better, make it right again, make them whole, make it anything but the WRONG it will always be.

Perhaps in the same way I felt a burning need to find a way to not be helpless when Peyton was diagnosed, I am going to do something.

Something in memory of Maddie, something to honor the fight in her spirit and the laughter in her eyes.  The parts of her that resonated so deeply within me as I recognized Peyton’s kindred spirit.

Fighters don’t always win, but they never give up.

It’s nothing that helps Maddie now, but hopefully it will help a family in the future.  Maybe it’ll be the technology, the knowledge that makes the world a safer place for premature babies and give them a chance at a longer life than Maddie got.

I started a team for the March of Dimes (Heather is and always will be a March of Dimes mom) in honor of Maddie.  I encourage you to join and walk with us on 4/25 at the University of Tampa and to donate to our fundraising efforts.

But even if you can’t join or donate, take this opportunity to remember Maddie and to be appreciative of the countless blessings in your life.

**I will link to the Spohr’s site when it stops reeling from the influx of wonderful people sharing their condolences.**

17 Comments on “Experienced, but no wiser”

  1. #1 Maria
    on Apr 9th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Crying again. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through, Anissa.

    It’s so hard to find the light at a time like this.

    I’m so grateful you’ve organized the team here in Tampa. I hope that as we march in Maddie’s honor we are all able to find a little shred of peace or understanding in the face of this tragedy.

    Expect hugs.

    Marias last blog post..Girl Talk Thursday

  2. #2 Apryl's Antics
    on Apr 9th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Beautifully shared.

  3. #3 brittany
    on Apr 9th, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I’ve never attended the funeral of a child. I buried an aunt, some grandparents and a best friend. But never a child.

    Then, my friends lost their 3 week old daughter to complications from down syndrome three days ago, and the next day, came word of Maddie.

    This Saturday will mark the first time I attend the funeral of a child.

    The emotion i feel is…there are no words. The fear and guilt I feel when I look at my children…there are no words.

    Of all the things I wanted to do in my lifetime, this is one thing I would have been happy never experiencing.

    I don’t know how you do it, the strength you have is awe inspiring, and you are so amazing for being there for Heather and for participating in the walk in Maddie’s name.

    brittanys last blog post..Am sexy, y’all.

  4. #4 Lucie @ Unconventional Origins
    on Apr 9th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    I wish I could be there.

    I never knew I would find myself caring so much about people I rarely or never see, and learning so much about blessings in life through these things called blogs.

    There are no thoughts I can put into words, so **HUGS***

    Lucie @ Unconventional Originss last blog post..Michelle Obama and the intersection of racism and sexism

  5. #5 Bec
    on Apr 9th, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    I’ve been to one but I was present while two other babies died during Erin’s NICU stay. The things you never forget.

    As much as I never want to go to another, I’m disappointed (which isn’t quite a strong enough word) that I wont be able to attend Maddy’s funeral. I wish I could be useless and there then useless and a million miles away if that makes sense 🙁

    Becs last blog post..Madeline

  6. #6 Marie
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 1:51 am

    I went to the funeral of a child who I never met, also from a website I followed. It is the strangest feeling to grieve for, and miss someone you didn’t even know…but yet you did know them because they came into your home every day via the website. So I know how you feel, though for you it must be 1000 times worse knowing that you came so close to being the one having the funeral for your own child. Even if you don’t know what to say, I’m sure Maddie’s parents will certainly appreciate you flying all that way to be there for them.

  7. #7 Caffeinatrix
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 2:46 am

    You’ve had more than your fair share of dark times and yet you’re amazingly strong. When life is tough, you’re my inspiration. You really are. Heather is lucky to have you as a friend, as am I, and Peyton is blessed to have you for a mom.

    Caffeinatrixs last blog post..Sharing the Hateyness

  8. #8 always home and uncool
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Don’t you get tired of being a do-gooder?

    Jeez … I hope not.

    Best of luck with the walk, fundraising and the visit out West, A.

    always home and uncools last blog post..Milestones

  9. #9 Adventures In Babywearing
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Bless you, Anissa. I have chills from, the top of my head to the tips of my toes.


  10. #10 Megan (mommyesquire)
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    It’s never easy. It’s hearbreaking. It sucks. Even those words sound trite but I have no others. You are a good woman for doing this for them. Beautifully written.

  11. #11 Dan Cohen
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Maddie. I did not follow her story, yet I am saddened.

    And Brittany (who posted here) I am sorry to hear about your friend’s 3 week old daughter.

    Dan Cohen
    North Miami Beach, FL

  12. #12 Queen of the Mayhem
    on Apr 11th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I am sure just having you there…..as a show of support will help….even if only a little!

  13. #13 Marinka
    on Apr 13th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    My heart breaks at the mere thought of a child’s death. I imagine that there is no worse feeling. I have no doubt that your presence will be a great comfort to Heather and Mike.

    Marinkas last blog post..Whoever Said That Celebrities Are Just Like You and Me is a Liar. And an Asshole

  14. #14 Nap Warden
    on Apr 13th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    This story just rips my heart apart. I really have no words…

    Nap Wardens last blog post..Chocolate Overload

  15. #15 Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net
    on Apr 13th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    You are a sweet person! This was beautifully said…

  16. #16 Colleen - Mommy Always Wins
    on Apr 13th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Peace to you…

    Colleen – Mommy Always Winss last blog post..As good as a walk-off home run

  17. #17 Mary in ATL
    on Apr 17th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    My boss and his wife lost a three month old precious son years ago. SIDS …… He was their first child, long awaited. It was heartbreaking to see that little casket. They poured that greif into SIDS research, fund raising golf tourneys and eventually equipment for the childrens hospital. Reese’s birth certificate footprints are a SIDS logo –