Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter, Sweet Hudson

This is a hard one. I am now only about a handful of photos away from the end of the huge digital memory pool of Hudson. And then there will be no more. I still have lots of unshared photos from when she was a baby, but I am coming to the end of those that memorialize the incredible little person she was becoming when her life was so cruelly and abruptly stolen from her.

As a non-Christian person, I see Easter as a celebration of new life and new birth (in part thanks to an explanation by a member of Jessica’s Unitarian Universalist church, who gave a sermon around Easter 2009 about the pagan origins of the festival of Easter and the corresponding symbols of eggs, for new life, and bunnies, for fertility). As I sit here this Easter morning, it is difficult not to think about the obvious symbolism it should hold for me, with my swollen belly as a very tangible sign of the new life that will greet us very soon and the hope engendered by that prospect.

And as much as I want to focus on that, it is just impossible not to think about and mourn what should be today. It is a gorgeous spring day here in DC, almost summer-like, actually. We should have spent the morning watching Hudson find her Easter basket, hunting plastic eggs in the backyard, decorating real ones here in dining room, and preparing for an adventure to the Arboretum or the zoo or Gravelly Point for airplane watching or some other place where a family of three, soon-to-be-four, with an active and curious toddler, should be spending a beautiful day like this.

But that is all in my imagination. In reality, I am sitting here, writing on this blog that I wish didn’t exist, and poring over these lovely pictures from last Easter, looking at every detail, every smile, every expression, every pose yet again, as if I haven’t had these images memorized since those early days after Hudson died, when every photo suddenly and shockingly became not simply a childhood memento which we could stock away to laugh and fawn over for decades to come, but part of the record of little girl’s all too short and so very sweet life.

I know I keep saying that each set of pictures I post is one of my favorites. These are no different. I guess when you only get 17 months of photos to remember your child by, they all quickly become your favorites. But as I’ve also said so many times before, these last pictures, these photos from March and April of last year… they just tell such a wonderful story of a life so very well-lived by all of us, and they capture so well the incredible joy that Hudson brought to our lives, joy that we so deeply miss and grieve now.

We started Easter last year with an early morning trip down to see the cherry blossoms, an adventure I posted about at the beginning of this month. We figured Easter morning might be a good time to avoid crowds, and for the most part, our strategy worked.

When we got back home, I “hid” some plastic eggs in the backyard and set Hudson loose with her new Easter basket to find them. She took to this task as if she’d been doing it for years.

A little later, we headed back in to decorate some real eggs. While we didn’t let Hudson do any of the actual dyeing (which might have been a little ambitious at her age), she was very happy with her job of putting stickers on them after they were colored. I absolutely love the looks of serious concentration on both of their faces.

Another of my very favorite pictures of our girl.  I think I’ve written before that I imagine this is the closest we’ll ever get to knowing what she would have looked like as an older child.  So much wisdom in that face, it seems.  Her teacher, Ms. Barbara, told us that Hudson seemed to have an old soul, like she had been here before. 

But the most fun I think all of us had was at the Easter egg hunt at Hudson’s school, St. Ann’s, a few days before Easter.  I feel like I must sound so repetitive, but gosh, so much of Hudson’s spirit just shines through these pictures.  She was such an incredibly happy kid.      

Offering the bunny an egg

Even better, offering him a kiss

Hudson and her friend Maddy

Oh, this picture makes me swoon.

Finding her first Easter eggs

I love the egg in her pocket (even though I put it there).

“So what do I do now?”

Do what you do best, sweet Hudson.  Smile. 

Happy Easter, my girl.  And Happy Easter, everyone. 


  1. Oh, what a treasure you, Ed and all of us have lost, Mandy. She was such a juicy, wise, curious and loving little girl. I love the photos and your comments too.
    Hoping that you, your swollen belly aka Jackson, and Ed can savor some of this beautiful day.
    Much love,

  2. I've been thinking of you today. Thank you for sharing a little more of Hudson's magic with us today. She continues to inspire and radiate love.
    Rachel C.

  3. Swooning along with you, Mandy. What a glowing little girl. I'm also crying for her, and for all of you, with such an enormous and ongoing loss to carry. A life well-lived, indeed. She was blessed with such rich love in her way too short life.

  4. Happy Easter, Hudson, Jackson, Mandy and Ed. Love, Kate Z

  5. Sending love and light today, as always.

  6. Happy Easter, Mandy. Thinking of you today and always.

  7. I LOVE these pictures, Mandy. Treasured memories.

  8. Been thinking of you today, friend.

    These pictures, they make my heart ache, they make me smile, they make me scream at the unfairness of it all, they make me realize love.

    Love you,

  9. I will share this blog with everyone at St. Ann's thank you for sharing..Happy Easter and Happy Spring..

  10. So much love to you Mandy... and as every time I read one of your posts.. a tear with a smile for Hudson....

  11. As I followed my little girl crawling along through her first easter egg hunt yesterday, I had to duck my head as I unexpectedly felt tears in my eyes. I was happy to be experiencing the moment, but I was also thinking of Hudson. We've never met, but I've been visiting your blog since my girl was a few months old. I think the reason I keep stopping by is probably why so many of your friends do as well--because I wish so fervently that, by being with you here, I can somehow share the burden of your grief, just a little. There is so much love for you and your family, and such deep yearning for your peace and healing...

  12. Such joy and life—that must sometimes make the uncomprehendable truth even harder to believe. She is beautiful.
    I think that knowing what it is to have only a limited number of views of my baby is what makes me reluctant to delete any pictures of my girls—even the ones that are obviously bad pictures.

  13. Oh, how Hudson makes me smile. The joy and vitality literally leap from each picture; easy to see why many can be labeled "favorite". Please know I am thinking of you this evening and often, Mandy, wishing there was a way, any way, to ease your pain.

  14. My heart breaks for must've been so hard to post these photos of your beautiful Hudson. I hope you take comfort in the memories attached to them.

    Its just so sad she isn't here. I know I have similar ones of Savannah that tug at my heart when I look at them.

    Sending love to you Mandy. Thank you for sharing your precious photos with us. They are a reminder to appreciate and cherish making every day special.

    Diana x

  15. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories....I just read an article on CNN that the FDA has approved the meningitis vaccine that is used in older children for use in infants as young as 9 months old.....maybe this is something you can look in to for your new little guy and a little extra peace of mind. We have never met, but i saw this article and thought of husband had viral meningitis when our son was 2 and I remember how scared we all were while waiting to find out if it was viral or bacterial...Laura in SC