Can you tell us a little bit about your beautiful daughter Maddie, and some of the things that made her so incredibly special?
She was so calm and sweet. She had a lot of rough things happen to her in her short life -- hospitalizations, procedures, etc. -- and she always had a smile on her face. She made a friend out of everyone she encountered. Her smile drew in everyone.
After Maddie's passing, you wrote through your grief and your posts were widely appreciated by other people who had experienced the deep pain of losing a child. Would you tell me about how it felt for you emotionally to interact with others who had also suffered when your grief was so raw?
It was really hard at first. My emotions would explode all over the keyboard, and then I had to leave it. I haven't been able to read most of the posts I wrote after she died. I couldn't reply to any emails for a really long time. When I finally could, I started with people who were further along in the grief process, and they were so helpful and kind to me. Now I get emails from people just starting their grief process, and I try to be as helpful and kind as the parents who helped me at the beginning.
In honor of Maddie, you have worked closely with the March of Dimes. Can you tell me more about your support of this important organization?
The March of Dimes helped me so much before Maddie was even born. When I was on bed rest, I'd spend hours reading their website, educating myself on prematurity, side effects, and treatments. After Maddie was born, March of Dimes was there for us in a literal way, bringing materials and gifts directly to where we stood at Maddie's bedside. My husband and I swore that we would always give back to the March of Dimes.
What are some of the things that Maddie loved best?
Maddie loved people. She would laugh and clap and smile whenever someone was around. She wasn't shy, she'd go to anyone who wanted her. She especially loved other little kids, and even though she was small, she was always right there with the other kids, playing.
Tidbits about Heather
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say or do when someone has suffered such a tragedy like the loss of a child. What do you recommend to people who want to help or be there for you, but don't know the right words to say?
Just say ANYTHING. Saying you're sorry is better than saying nothing at all. The person suffering the loss won't forget who was there for them, nor will they forget who wasn't. I wrote extensively about this, as it's one of the most common questions I'm asked. I even filmed a Momversation about the topic.
Your second daughter, Annabel Violet, was born in January of 2010. Tell us a little about Annie, and how she has given you the courage to go on?
Annabel is SUCH a dynamo. She's as loving as Maddie was, but Annie is rough and tumble, always testing her boundaries, always causing trouble and getting into things. Knowing I was pregnant with her gave me a reason to live, and I will always be incredibly grateful to have such a spunky crazy girl in my life.
Your husband Mike is also an incredible writer. What's it like to co-blog with him?
It's wonderful! He is the trained writer in the family, so when I write, I'm always trying to impress him. But having him contributing to the blog really makes it feel like a family endeavor, and I am excited for our kids to one day look back at everything we've written.
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