Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Madeline Alice Sphor

She was just the tiniest girl.
I never met her.
She was born too early and and too little. Eleven weeks premature, three pounds, 1 oz.
She spent 68 days in the NICU.

And despite all the odds, she survived and went home with her parents.
Madeline Alice Sphor went home with her mommy and her daddy and they all lived together with their dog whom Maddie adored.

And her mommy and her daddy wrote about her all the time. They blogged about their worries and their joys. They blogged about having to put oxygen on her at night, the frantic hospital and doctor visits. They blogged about her laughing, her learning to walk, her first birthday, her difficulty with gaining weight. They took hundreds and thousands of pictures.

And I read their blogs. And I left comments saying things like, "That is the cutest baby in the world and look at the spirit you can see in those eyes!"

And then on Monday, Maddie got very sick and then she was back in the hospital and then this morning I found out she died last night.
That tiny girl, still only fourteen pounds, that spark of a human, that fireball of a child, that struggling, laughing child- she died.

I read the words and I was hit with tears just like that.
I never met Maddie. I didn't know her or her daddy or her mama.
But I am part of some sort of community here with these words of mine, and so, somehow, Maddie was part of my community and I cared about her.

And yesterday I wrote about lost babies.

Look- I have freely admitted so many times that I do not know everything. I don't know everything so much that I can't even begin to know the bare sliver of the edges of the vast amount of things I don't know. But one of the biggest things I don't know is why children have to die and another is what to say when they do.

Maddie's death is already all over the blogosphere. We're all trying to figure out how to say how sorry we are, how profoundly we are sorrowful, how much we wish we could comfort her parents.

But even in this place where words are what it's all about, we have no words.
There are never words when a child dies. There are only tears.

I wish I had some sort of uplifting, inspiring thing to say that would serve to comfort anyone whose child has died. And there are plenty of things out there that purport to be those words.
But I don't think, if the child was mine, they would even begin to register in my mind, much less do one damn thing to make me feel one damn bit better, to lesson the sorrow of my heart by any of the smallest measurement a scientist would know.

So all I can say is this- Madeline Alice Spohr lived and her parents shared her with all of us and I thank them for that.

You can't even hit their website right this second. That's how many people Madeline captured with that smile. Everyone is going there. Everyone is trying to figure out what to say, and how to say it.

But no one is going to succeed because they are no damn words. None at all.
There's just light somewhere and if I know one thing, one thing at all, it's that Maddie is part of it now.


  1. That is so sad. My heart hurts for her parents. Its so difficult to understand when a child dies.

  2. That is just so sad. She did have the most amazing light coming from those eyes of hers.

  3. Lady Lemon- It's beyond comprehension.

    Gingermagnolia- I know.

    HoneyLuna- How many times have I said, "You want to see a picture of the cutest baby in the world?"

  4. Heather's blog was the first blog I clicked on this morning, just by chance. My heart is broken. I've spent the last 2 hours reading blog posts talking about it, as if I can somehow absorb the reality of it if I read it enough times. I am so completely sorrowful for Heather and Mike. I left a measly little comment saying how sorry I was for their loss--words which are just not enough. I'm just so sad.

  5. Ms. Moon -

    I have read your comments on BHJ's site for awhile now, and for some reason, I clicked on your site this morning, after I had read BHJ's post about Madeline...I had not ever heard of Madeline before this morning. The irony of your post yesterday about lost babies struck me immediately.

    The picture you included with your post today ABSOLUTELY shows an amazing spirit radiating from her eyes!

    You are so right; there just are no.words. Although I had never heard of her before this morning, I cannot stop the tears. I do not want to even try to imagine their pain, and yet I can't help but do that very thing. I imagine what it would be like to lose my 2 year old son right now. And yet, I know that however HORRIBLE I imagine it, it must be a million times worse than that.

    What a sad, sad day.

  6. Look at her face. No words, no.

  7. Lora- I know. It's like how you want to be with people you love when someone you all love dies. Here we are, somehow loving this child.

    JustMe- You're right. What a sad, sad day. Every child's death is so universally sorrowful. That picture came from Heather's website before they took it down.

    Nicol- And I think those are the words I was searching for.

  8. Maggie- It's impossible to look at that face without crying, isn't it?
    Sad day for child news. I keep thinking about Sandra, whom you wrote about. Impossible to think of her without crying, too.

  9. She reminds me of a little impish elf who is up to something! What a face.

    I just cannot imagine that kind of loss.

    Since there are no words, I will meditate and send unconditional love and healing buddist style.

  10. I feel so sad for them. It is truly an unfair world we're in, where terrorists live to kill over and over, and innocent babies die and their parents are left to wonder why.

  11. She was supposed to be my son's wife.

  12. Petit Fleur- Thank-you.

    Rachel- And that is a question- why did my child die? that no grieving parent will ever truly have an answer for.

    Aunt Becky- And she was supposed to grow up. I take a deep breath and I say that her energy is part of the universe, still, but in a different form. One that unfortunately, no one can hold in their arms.

  13. Just too much. Just too sad.

  14. XBox- That tiny girl. There are people mourning the world over.

    Sally Moon- You know. You know.

  15. Someone Retweeted about this on Twitter. I just wanted to search for someway to express my sorrow. I am truly sorry.

  16. o wow

    ms. moon. thanks for sharing today.. what a difficult time for so many.. truly. And no rhyme or reason to any of it at all...but im thankful many were able to appreciate that little girl for the (too)short time she was here.

    best to you,

  17. Your post was beautiful - so right - there are no words, just tears.

  18. Laura- I know. I just had another spate of crying myself.

  19. And the parents could never survive the loss without all of you (blogosphere) absorbing the pain and diffusing it, holding them up when the ground's been ripped out from under them. And god bless all of you for it. And god bless that sweet golden light.

  20. Quiet Girl- Do you think it will help? Would anything? I don't know.

  21. I don't think it will stop the pain. But I think it will make it survivable. Sometimes the pain has to be felt. The difference to me is if it kills us or not... But I do realize that of all the hell I've been through, I've had a blessedly small amount of bereavement to process through. And while I do not wish this otherwise, there's somethings I haven't felt and cannot know. I only know what I know, you know? But I believe we are connected, and I have felt how we support each-others pain in a way almost supernatural. But I sure hope you are dyeing eggs right now surrounded by family, by sunlight, and it makes me happy to know you are. That is all. :)


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