Friday, April 1, 2011

April Come She Will

I have been humming this Simon and Garfunkel tune in my head for the last several days as we approached April. It is both hopeful and mournful at the same time, although in this tune, the hope dies early and is followed by mourning. While it is too much for me to hope that this April (or any other point in the future) will bring just the opposite—the end of mourning and the triumph of hope—it does bring more of the promise that the two can and will live side by side, finding a rhythmic harmony in one another within which we can continue to rebuild our shattered lives.

April. I can’t even fathom how we got to April. Last May, after Hudson died, I couldn’t imagine how we’d get to the next day, and yet here we are in April. Here we are a mere six weeks from the anniversary of Hudson’s death. Here we are waiting for the arrival of a new life. All things I could not foresee so many months ago.

April. Last April was a wonder-filled time for us with our girl. Just like the cherry blossoms and the tulips we visited during the first weekend of April, Hudson just seemed to be bursting into life. She had been growing into an amazing little person long prior to this time, and maybe it’s just because my memories of April are so very vivid (assisted by wonderful photos of our many adventures during the month), but for some reason, I just remember April as a time when she was starting to grow up right in front of my eyes.

We have so many photo memories from that month, and yet, of course, they will never be enough. Because there’s no way I could cram them into just one day on the 13th, and because I want to savor them as much as possible, I’m going to spread them out over this month and spend a little time remembering each of our many escapades last April: a trip to the cherry blossoms, an Easter party at home and at school, a trip to Chicago to visit friends and family, a trip home to North Carolina full of “firsts,” and, happiest and saddest of all, our last trip with our beautiful girl to the National Arboretum.

Today is the final day of the peak blooming for this year’s cherry blossoms. So even though (or maybe especially because) it is cloudy and chilly on this April 1st, as we enter this month of April, with all the hope I’m counting on it to bring, it seems fitting to remember our trip to see the cherry blossoms last year.

(rhymes with cows, of course)

I adore this picture.  I loved it from the moment I saw it on the camera screen.  She was actually fussing for some reason (I can’t remember why), but this face was just too funny to me.  Ed later had it made into a refrigerator magnet and a notepad that says I love my mommy! and gave them to me for Mother’s Day. Four days later, when we returned home from the hospital after Hudson died, I found them on the table. The magnet has been on the fridge ever since, where I kiss it or touch it almost daily.  The notepad is still unused.  I used one sheet of it the other day, thinking what else was I going to do with it, but then I changed my mind.  Another relic of a time I wish I could go back to and live in again.


Oh, how I wish she were smiling in this picture.  We are woefully short of photos of the three of us (a mistake we will not make again with Jackson) and I believe this is the very last one we ever took.  It makes me think perhaps she was a little more wary of strangers than we realized.

Ah, our little thinker...

“Hudson, where’s Mommy?

And there’s the smile we all know and love so well...

This is not the very last picture of us together, but it is the last one that is frameable. (After Hudson died, we found two slightly blurry photos Ed had taken on his Blackberry during our trip to Hudson’s aunt and uncle’s farm; our friends found a video that has both of us in it as well).  I don’t know how that happened, given that this was six weeks before she died, and the intervening weeks were filled with so much fun. Ed was so often the one with the camera in his hand, but I must have been monopolizing it for some reason, because there is not another photo of the two of us from our camera after April 4, 2010. 

I have that last photo framed on my desk at work.  I love it and hate it at the same time.  I love it for obvious reasons.  I hate it because it is far too precious than it ever, ever should be, and because there will never be another one.  Ever.  And that is still unbearable to believe.  

But we made it to April.  And we’ll make it to, and through, many more without her.  As sad as I am in this moment, I just have to hold tight to each and every one of these joyful memories with our girl and hope that one day, the sweetness will at least be louder than the sorrow. 


  1. Mandy, I hope this spring brings you so much peace and hope. Wow, how you must treasure these gorgeous photos. I am still impressed with how well you and Ed photo document your lives...even the ordinary, day to day events. I still get "too busy" and forget to record things. So glad you didn't fall into that trap.

    Much love on this first day of what I hope will be a month of continued healing,

    Ashley D.

  2. Mandy,

    These photos are gorgeous treasures. You are all so beautiful. Thinking of you.

  3. She is such a delicious baby. I am so sorry you were not able to hold her so much longer.


  4. What wonderful photos of your precious girl. April, come she will, indeed. One of my favorite songs, for so many reasons. May hope reside equally, side by side with your grief, as the time of Jackson's birth approaches. I think of you often.

  5. Missing Hudson with you. I so wish I could have met her. xo, Olivia

  6. Oh, Mandy.

    Sometimes, I just don't have the words. Maybe I've said this before, but I once read about an African tribe that had a practice of sticking out their tongues at funeral processions to convey to the grieving family that they literally did not have any words in their mouths to express adequately their sympathy. That's how I often feel when I read your words and look at the pictures. I know that the pain I feel for you must be one trillionth of the pain you feel when you look at the beautiful images of your precious girl, but still, I have no words to convey even that level of sorrow. And yet you are able to convey your emotions so well. It truly is a gift. So I am sure I speak for many when I say that I read them, I bear witness and I am here to listen, even when I cannot find the words to speak.

    Much love to you and Ed, Jackson and Hudson.

  7. Mourning and hope, joy and sorrow will begin to live together. Slowly. It happens.
    Beautiful pictures!

  8. It's easy to see what a very happy girl your Hudson was! So glad you have these pictures.

  9. Sometimes.. no a lot of times.. I don't know how you do it. I don't know how any of us does it but I admire your words more than you know.
    I had to tel you this tonight... do you know what I see when I look at each and very one of the pictures you post of you, Ed and Hudson?
    Beauty, life, and love... so much love.

  10. What lovely photos. It sure looks like Hudson was enjoying herself with you down at the Tidal Basin.


  11. God what a I miss her...

  12. So sad. I found your blog today because I had heard this beautiful S&G song on the radio this week. The song always hits me hard emotionally, and in a free moment, I was searching the web to see if I could find anything interesting about it. You're right, the song's both hopeful and mournful - it's about our inevitable submission to the seasons, to nature. We all must submit. What would life be if this wasn't the case? The fact that things end, everything ends, defines our life. Your daughter was beautiful. Wishing you peace.

  13. And wishing you strength and success in facing your recent diagnosis. I just read your latest blog entry. Life's not for wimps. I really want you to get better.