Monday, February 1, 2010

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Maddux Achilles Haggard
February 4th, 2005-February, 10th, 2005

February is an incredibly stressful month for me. I wanted to write this note earlier than later this week, due to an already full schedule for me this week. February 4th, marks the 5th anniversary for the birth of my son, Maddux. If life had gone according to my plans, I would have a little boy celebrating his 5th birthday. He would be an official "Big Boy." His birthday would have been centered around Avatar, a movie he would have probably seen 10 times or more by now. I'm sure he would have figured out how to turn himself blue, too. (something Chase or Natalie would have helped him with...) Would he still be playing T-Ball or would he be starting coach-pitch baseball this spring? I know his daddy would be coaching, and his big brother Chase would be helping. He definitely would be the lead batter... I know he would not be in cheerleading, (his daddy definitely put his foot down on that one...)maybe a tumbling class or two and definitely NOT be playing Lacrosse...maybe he would have liked football? He would be having his preschool graduation in a few months. 2010 would mark his entry into kindergarten. This fact alone, would excite me, because that would mean, no more preschool payments. But this fact, would also make me the saddest. Because it would mean that my little boy was growing up. Starting school. There would be a new emptiness to my day. What would I do without him............

These are things I will never know, but things that always run through my mind. I call them the 'what-if's.' When you lose a child, especially a young child, (Maddux was 6 days old when he died...) you don't forget. I have hit every milestone with him, like I have with my living children. You just can't see it. I have vivid details in my mind. I can tell you that his baby picture looked like Natalie, but I can tell you right now, that he has dark hair and looks more like Anna. He is very athletic, and stockier than Chase or Natalie. He is gentle and kind, just like his big brother and sisters. And, yes, he and Natalie fight! Chase is very protective of him (must be a brotherly thing) ...and Anna just watches, glad that it isn't her. But seriously, they would have all made wonderful big brother and sisters. Especially Natalie...(when Maddux wasn't tormenting her...)

I can tell you that I am a different person, than who I was before he was born. And a totally different person again, after he died. I am a different wife, a different mother and a different friend. A different human being entirely! I know what is important to me, and what isn't. I know the meaning of having true friends...friends that are with you for the journey, no matter how long or how rough it might be. And if we are friends, we are both blessed!

I can't believe it has been 5 years. Sometimes it feels like such a long time ago, and my memories are dim and fuzzy. And then there are days that is seems like yesterday, and the pain is so fresh and raw. There is no set time frame for my grieving. There is no order in which I grieve.

Something beautiful was created from Maddux's death...and if you don't know what it is, please visit For the first two years, all my time and energy was focused on creating this organization. This was my outlet for my grief. Some of the most beautiful things in this world are created from the broken hearts of others. This organization has grown beyond my expectations. Now with nearly 8000 photographers in over 27 countries...It is humbling and honoring at the same time.

Happy 5th Heavenly Birthday, Maddux...Mommy misses you.


Shanna Gourley said...

Thank you for sharing this very special celebration. I wish your son a happy birthday! Thank you for starting NILMDTS, your organization helped my friend's sister who is getting ready to celebrate her daughter's first heavenly birthday.

Laura said...

Much love to you - Maddux will be in my heart and thoughts especially in the coming days.

Amy said...

Just wanted to say Happy Angel day to Maddux! I hope its a peaceful day for you guys.

Lori said...

I'm so sorry you are not able to celebrate with Maddux, but am amazed at your ability to see him still...I hope to be there one day.

I cannot, cannot, cannot thank you enough for sharing your grief with the world in such a miraculous ministry. I never got to hold Matthew once he was born, and the pictures from NILMDTS are truly priceless to me. God bless you for your strength and dedication.

The Gustafson Family said...

Thank you for sharing this celebration with us! What a special boy born to an amazing family!!

I am an inspiring photographer who has known about your company. It truly inspires to move beyond this world and capture God's greatest love in a time when life can seem so empty. Christ has called me to I just to find my confidence! What an amazing person you are and what a gift you have created!!

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon this site while searching for something else. You write beautifully and my heart breaks for you as you continue to grieve for your son.