After Rick and I left the hospital we wanted to get our boys... We wanted to hold them and love on them and never let go. As we drove to where they were, we were in shock. We were in a daze, still in a dream. Had this terrible tragedy really happened? And had this really happened to us, to our lives? It seemed so unreal. It still does.
I don't remember much else of what happened other than the fact that when we pulled up to get them at the house, I ran to them. I hadn't thought about it but they had no idea of what was going on. They had spent the night with their grandma and the last they knew was that they were coming home in the morning to see us and see Maddie Grace.
So, what was the first thing they asked when they saw us?
Where's baby Maddie? I thought I would hit the floor. I remember gasping for breath and grabbing them. This wasn't fair... How do I tell my 5 and barely 3 year old that Baby Maddie had passed away. A sister that they had been looking so forward to for months. A sister that they had just held the day before... It just wasn't fair.
I don't know how he did it, but Rick had enough strength to get the 3 of us into the bedroom so we could talk. The boys continued to ask the whole way there. "Where's Baby Maddie?" "Where is she?" I thought I would die as I saw Noah's eyes fill up with tears and as Rick said "We need to talk to you boys about Baby Maddie." It was like Noah already knew. He was forcing back his tears as Rick explained that Baby Maddie had a hard time breathing and went to Heaven to be with Jesus. I looked into my boys faces and I was crushed. I couldn't understand why? Why our family? We loved Madeline. We wanted Madeline. We needed Madeline.
Elijah didn't quite understand much of it but I remember him looking so sad. He knows what Heaven is though, and he did repeat back to us that she was there after having it explained to him. The four of us sat on the bed and we cried. Rick held me and we cried. Then I saw Rick do something that still amazes me to this day...
He reached into his pocket and pulled out Madeline's pacifier. The one that she had sucked on for the last day and a half. He handed it to Noah and told Noah that Baby Maddie wanted him to have something special.
Then he said "Do you remember when Baby Maddie was getting her bath and she kept crying?" Noah answered, "Yes" in a weak little voice. Then Rick replied, "Well, Baby Maddie loved that you calmed her down and made her stop crying. You soothed her, Noah. Just like this pacifier soothed her. She wants you to have it." I watched as my precious son reached his tiny hand out and took the precious pacifier from his daddy. He held it tight in his hand and told us he would always keep it, always.
After talking with the boys, they were taken out of the room. Rick and I held each other and sobbed. Our hearts were broken, for the loss of our daughter and for the heartbreak of our boys...
After a little while I told Rick I wanted to take the boys home. To do what? I wasn't sure. I cried the whole way home and I've never felt so weak. It was a feeling that I didn't know I would still be feeling 2 1/2 weeks later, to the same degree. It's like my heart has been removed.
When I walked in the house I went upstairs to our room. I went to the place that we had just spent an amazing first night at home with our little girl.
I saw her blanket laying on the bed. The bassinet was still right there, her hat was laying inside. I fell on the bed and wept. How was this happening? This can't be my life. I kept pitching myself, truly trying to wake up. I thought I would look over and see Maddie in her bassinet sleeping away. It was all a dream. It had to be. It wasn't.
Rick had to come in and pick me up off the floor. He wanted to take me from the room. Take me from the place that I had my last moment on earth with my little girl. I just couldn't leave. I was a complete mess. We both were.
I clung onto her blanket and put it to my face. I just held it. There was still a diaper on the night stand. Rick took it out. He made the bed and cleaned up the room. All the while I sat there, so empty, so broken. I knew it was how he coped and I understood.
People had started arriving to the house. I was numb. Everyone wanted to know the same thing. What happened? She was the picture of health. I wanted to know too. God wanted her. He just wanted her. This was what Rick and I kept telling each other. We didn't know what else to do. I remember never getting mad. Just feeling like she had been taken from me, way, way too soon.
Our friends and family just sat and listened to us talk and cry and they held us. They prayed for us.
I don't even remember much more of the day. I remember people telling me I needed to eat and sleep. I couldn't do either. Rick and I went up to our room at one point to try to sleep. We couldn't. We both had the events of the day so fresh on our mind. I kept picturing Maddie's face in that moment of panic knowing something was wrong. What could I have changed? What else could I have done? Rick reassured me over and over, it wasn't your fault. But I just felt like something had to be the blame. What was it? It was one of those unexplained moments in life that you would die for an answer to.
I layed there and he held me and we cried. I remembered holding her after they told me she was gone. Putting her face to mine and trying to cherish the last moments of her in my arms for there would be no more. I wasn't going to watch her grow up. I wasn't going to see her again, ever in this life. How could this be...
I remember Rick praying and praying as we cried out. Praying for help and strength and comfort. Praying that God would help us. I'm so thankful He was there. In the darkest moment of my life... He was still there holding Rick and I up.
As the day came to an end and everyone was gone and the boys were asleep, I soon realized that my life would never be the same. A part of me had gone to Heaven. A part of me was no longer here anymore. There was a hole in my heart, there still is. How will I thought "How will I get through this night?"