Saturday, April 30, 2011

Remembering Hudson at the National Arboretum

It’s the last day of April. The last day of a month that we filled with so many sweet memories this time a year ago.

Tomorrow, it will be May. May. The last month in which our girl was with us last year. The month our boy will join us this year. We are counting down the days to the terribly sad anniversary of our daughter’s death. And we are counting down the days to one of the most joyous events of our lives in our son’s birth.

As you know if you read here even semi-regularly, some of our fondest memories (and best photographs) of Hudson come from the many afternoons we spent with her at the National Arboretum, where she loved to toddle through the flower-filled meadows and trails. Now, thanks to the leadership of our friends Kim and Shawn, and the generosity of many other friends and family members, the Arboretum will soon install a memorial bench in honor of Hudson, fittingly placed in one of our favorite spot—the Dogwood Collection. We are very grateful to Kim and Shawn and to everyone who contributed to help remember Hudson in such a fitting and beautiful way.

On the anniversary of her death, May 13th, we will spend some time remembering Hudson at her bench. We invite any of you who are (or will be) in the DC area that day to join us in the Dogwood Collection at 3:30 pm that afternoon. We will not have a formal service, but we will share some words, a moment of silence, some bubbles, and a song with those of you who are able to come. The Arboretum closes at 5:00, and we understand that this may be a difficult hour for some people to join us. Please feel welcome to bring your children or dogs to share this time with us. Dress will be very casual and we will provide the bubbles, so no need to bring your own. There is no need to RSVP. The only reasons we might not have the memorial that day is if it is raining or if we are in the hospital with Jackson. So just check back here closer to the time to be sure it is still on.

If you are unable to join us, we would love it if you wanted to blow some bubbles in Hudson’s memory wherever you may be that day or evening and email me photos of them if you’d like—I will post them here on the blog afterward.  A friend has also set up a Facebook page for Blowing Bubbles for Hudson where you can also post photos if it is easier for you. 

The Dogwood Collection is at the far northeast corner of the Arboretum (you can find it on this map). Parking is available at the Dogwood Collection and at the nearby Asian Collection and Conifer Collection. You can also park on the sides of the nearby roads (just stay on the pavement) if these lots end up being full.

Unless the Arboretum changes its policies, Hudson’s bench will be around for at least 30 years. It will have a plaque with her name and some special words about her. We hope that you and many others will be able to visit her bench and find some quiet time there to smile, to play, or to contemplate, just like Hudson used to.

And now, as we close the bittersweet month of April and enter the bittersweet month of May, I wanted to share the beautiful photos from our final trip to the Arboretum with our sweet Hudson, in April of last year.  These are also the last set of photos we have of Hudson as a toddler, save one that was taken two days before she got sick.

Oh, my.  “Bittersweet” doesn’t even begin to describe how this feels.


  1. mandy-these pictures are beautiful. I think the bench is such a great way to honor Hudson's memory. Radha and I will definitely try to make it down on the 13th - if we cant, then we will be blowing bubbles in her honor at 3:30 in philly - and thinking of her and you all.

  2. Wonderful, wonderful pictures...beautiful memories of your amazing baby girl. I love that she will have her own bench in the arboretum, and wish that I could come to be with you---but we have a Matt's Trees planting that week on the 14-16-17 so I'll be in NOLA. But on the 13th I promise to be with you and Ed, Hudson and Jackson in spirit if not in body, and whether I blow bubbles or not, I will hold Hudson in my heart and will be thinking of you all.


  3. Mandy,

    What a happy, happy, beautiful baby girl. So very much to miss, I'm so sorry.

    I will continue to hold you in my heart, and will think of you, Ed and sweet Hudson especially on May 13. Being a year ahead of you on this horrific, exhausting journey of grief, I know that the approach and anticipation of these "special" days is awful. Sometimes worse than the actual day itself. If that is possible.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers; much, much understanding, Carol (Caroline's mom)

  4. Those pictures are breathtaking. I teach preschool, and I think my afternoon class would just love to blow some bubbles on May 13th. I will be thinking of Hudson the whole time.

  5. We are ready to blow bubbles from Atlanta!

    We continue to hold your hand now and will be holding you for the long haul.

    We all love you, Hudson!

    Candy and Daz

  6. Such a beautiful child - so cherished. Praying for your comfort and strength and for your sweet children.

  7. Will definitely blow bubbles here in Los Angeles. A wonderful idea. Thinking of you.

  8. Mandy, the pictures are gorgeous and I know the bench will be such a special place for everyone who knew Hudson or knows you and Ed. I've been thinking of you so much as April turns into May. Know that we are continuing to remember Hudson, to smile at her pictures and videos, and to share your sadness. We will absolutely be planning a Hudson-inspired session of bubbles and songs for May 13. In the meantime, peace and love to you and Ed.

  9. Such beautiful photographs and a lovely way to honour your beautiful little girl, with a bench in such a wonderful spot.
    Will be blowing bubbles in the UK on the 13th. Thinking of you, especially so this month with all it brings with it.

  10. Every time I look at her pictures I am amazed at how many beautiful pictures you got of her. She is just beautiful.. I wish I could be there with you on the 13th.. I will be in spirit and I will light a candle for Hudson as well.

  11. Hi-I know you don't know me, but you are friends with my mom on facebook. And she passed your blog onto me after we lost our son at 21w. But I wanted to let you know that I will be thinking of you, Hudson and your family and blowing bubbles at 3:30 on the 13th!

  12. I will be blowing bubbles for sweet Hudson on the 13th. at my home in Singapore.

    We have this pond in our garden with little green turtles. Since I know of Hudson, I look at them in a different way and your precious daughter comes to my mind all the time.

    Be strong, take care!


  13. Mandy -- what a wonderful way to memorialize Hudson. Wish I could join you on the 13th, but will certainly have a bubble party with my kids and remember your sweet little girl.

    Also, please give yourself a have survived a year of the unthinkable. You've not only survived, you've managed to create a lasting legacy for Hudson and soldiered on to bring a new life into the world. You are an inspiration to anyone dealing with tragedy. I'm so proud of you, Mandy.

    Lots of love, Olivia

  14. Mandy, I just wanted to let you know that some of Hudson's extended law school family in Charlotte will be gathering together on the 13th to blow bubbles in her memory. Thinking of you and your family often.


  15. Jason and I will blow bubbles in Hudson's memory here in NC. You all will be in my thoughts.

    J Wicker

  16. If our parents die, we are orphans. If our spouses die we are widowed.There is no word to describe us when our child dies.People couldn't bring themselves to speak the word if there was one. Voices lower when they mention it, and they explain to others behind our backs ,"Their baby died."and everyone universally makes the same sound when they find out,"ooooooooooooooo."I am very sorry you lost your dear Hudson, and i am very glad your son is on his way.It is very hard to believe, but you really aren't alone, even though it feels like you're separated from all other parents by a huge chasm. Time doesn't heal ,not really, but it does pass.we bought bubble guns for my grand daughter and i to shoot.we filled the air with bubbles . we had a practice run . it makes gazillions of bubbles and on the 13th, every single one of them will be for you.