Unexpected Gift; the Life of Maddie
(Omaha, NE, USA)
Maddie running the mixer to make cookies for her teachers
Late one Friday afternoon, I got a call that would change the entire direction of my life. "Would you take an infant with a mild developmental delay and a vision problem?" Sure. I love kids and I'm always game for a challenge.
The infant had a head full of curls and big brown eyes. And she had a host of medical issues I still have trouble pronouncing a couple of them. She crawled right into my heart. Before she was six months old she was sent home on pallative care for the first time. I could not imagine her dying without family so I started the adoption process. Maddie was sent home on pallative care three more times over the years and every time she surprised the world by coming back stronger.
At her adoption I gave Maddie the middle name of "Halla" which means unexpected gift in an African language (part of Maddie's heritage). She was always my unexpected gift.
Three days after her 15th birthday, she decided to stop all medical treatment. In the days that followed she invited people she loved to come see her and planned her entire "Celebration of Life" service which was as unique as she was. I tried to drink in all that she was and commit every second to memory.
On June 27, 2011 just after one of my left for a minute, Maddie's breathing changed. I picked her up and rocked her for the last moments. Then I gave her a bath just as I had done the first day I brought her home.
Somewhere in the those first months I read that the second year is the hardest. I didn't know how it could be more difficult than the first but it is. I miss Maddie so much!
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