I always kind of rolled my eyes whenever someone would say “but I just say them” in response to the news that said person had died. Well, I’d think, it’s not like Death sends a calling card to mention He’ll be popping by in the next couple of days. Someone was bound to see the deceased before they passed. And this time, lucky you, that someone happened to be you.
Today I woke up and learn of the passing of sweet Maddie Spohr. My initial response was an unpredictably predictable “but I JUST talked to Heather yesterday and Maddie was getting all kinds of feisty! She was GETTING BETTER.”
Maddie was going to marry my son, did I tell you that? Alex got engaged months (years?) ago when I first met Heather. My initial thought about Heather was “holy shit this chick is funny. I wish I could be so funny” and it was immediately followed by a “holy shit that baby is cute. I wish my baby was that cute.”
(Alex, Ben, EARMUFFS!)
So, I always thought of Maddie as my future-daughter-in-law. Honestly, I did. I loved her like my own and always devoured the pictures and anecdotes Heather posted regularly to her blog.
I can’t believe she’s gone. I just can’t believe it.
I spent today flitting aimlessly around the house, trying to focus on something, anything to get my mind off Maddie Spohr. And every time I’d start something, it would be dropped because I simply couldn’t focus on it. I roamed restlessly, tearfully from room to room in my house, wringing my hands and crying and wishing like hell that I could do something, anything for Heather and Mike. I nearly jumped a plane out to see them before I reminded myself that I probably could stand a shower before I got too close to anyone.
I sat most of the day here, at my computer where I sit now. My heart oozed out from my chest into a gooey pile on my keyboard as I wept, my eyes melting with grief. My chest hurt with every gasping breath I took, the oxygen searing my lungs and stinging painfully. I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I can’t stop the hurt.
Sleep, always an elusive mistress for your Aunt Becky, an insomniac of the most pathetic order, fails me and I feel like I’m going to explode at any second. Like my body has somehow filled with some sort of liquid pain and the slightest prick of pressure will send my insides outside to spatter my walls with guts and goo. I hurt. I physically hurt.
I did what I always do when I’m devastated, I made the pain physical. I did hundreds upon hundreds of sit-ups today, my muscles aching and sore after months of disuse. But the ache helped somehow. It felt as though I was punishing myself, making my pain real and raw and not just mental anguish.
And I should hurt. We ALL should hurt. All of us who knew Maddie and Heather and Mike should all hurt. We should hurt so badly that we cannot stand it. So badly that we don’t know if we can tolerate another second of this torture. Because if a life can be measured by the people whom it touched, the whole world is hurting now. Maddie touched us all.
We all will miss Maddie, the most striking child I have ever seen. We all will hurt for her. We will all hurt for the empty chasm that was left in her mom and dad when she passed. We will mourn for her, we will celebrate her, we will love her, and we will cherish her memory, raise up her life and hold her in our hearts. This will be her legacy.
Because Maddie Alice Spohr was here, dammit, and she mattered.