For many people, today is a day of mixed emotions.
Woody and I have had a certain birth announcement on our refrigerator for almost two years now. No offense to anyone else who has sent us birth announcements, but this one is the most gorgeous and wonderful one we have ever seen or received.
It is for a little girl by the name of Maddie. Madeline Alice Spohr, actually. Her parents are two of the most creative, easy going, kind, and fun loving people I have ever met, so we were expecting something different for Maddie's announcement, and that's exactly what they did. After months spent in the hospital and living hour to hour, we were finally all able to celebrate Maddie going home! Heather and Mike were able to send out this proclamation to the world that their daughter was an angel on earth. Her big, beautiful eyes and smile can make even the toughest heart melt.
Heather went through a difficult pregnancy to bring Maddie into this world. I will always feel badly that we weren't in touch more during the time (we live on opposite coasts, which made it difficult to visit) but I was always thinking of them and I knew they had a HUGE support system for every day that passed.
Maddie came into this world more than 11 weeks early and weighing only 3lbs and 1oz. The days and months that followed were more difficult that I can put into words, and really, I have no concept of how hard it must have been. I have no idea how Heather and Mike were able to make it day to day, but I can only imagine that they were inspired every time they looked at that beautiful face.
Every day I would check Heather's blog for the latest update, hoping to hear good news. Eventually, Mike and Heather were able to take Maddie home and introduce her to her new best friend Rigby (their dog). They laughed and played, sang and danced. Hoped and dreamed. Knowing her parents, I can only imagine the things that were going through that little girls mind each minute of the day. She instantly captured the hearts of everyone she met, and even those who never met her in person but knew of her via Heather's blog.
I met Maddie in March. I was in LA for business and was able to meet Heather and Maddie in Santa Monica for breakfast one morning. She laughed and played. She was beautiful and loved her mommy more than anything. I am so glad that I had the chance to meet her.
On April 7th, Maddie became sick and they made their way back to the hospital. She passed away that day and our angel on earth went into the Heavens to watch over us. She is deeply missed every single second of every day.
Since Maddie's passing, over $100,000 has been raised in her memory for the March of Dimes. Heather and Mike have started a non-profit organization, Friends of Maddie, to support families with pre-mature babies in NICU's across the country. Heather, Mike, and beautiful Maddie have made such a huge impact on so many people's lives, but I think we would all give that back to have Maddie here with us again.
Today, I want to wish our beautiful angel a Very Happy Birthday. She will be with us forever in our hearts and memories.