Monday, October 24, 2011

529 Days

Sweet, sweet girl—

Today is the day. Today is the day that you have been gone an entire lifetime. Your entire lifetime. We got the honor and joy of living with you here on earth for 529 days. And today, you have been gone for 529 days.

What has hit me the hardest about this is realizing how very short a time we got to spend with you. As this day approached, all I could think about was how the last day you were with us still seems like yesterday to me. Even though so many days since you died have seem to crawl by interminably, the time has still been so very short. And when it occurred to me to actually count the days that you lived, I was shocked to see how few they were. Your entire lifetime was only 529 days. 529. I’ve already gotten to live 13,047 days, what I hope is not even half of my lifetime yet, and you only got to live 529 days. If I am lucky, I may still get to live your entire lifetime more than 30 times over. I can’t say enough how very wrong it all is, Hudson. How heartbroken I will be forever. You were robbed. We all were robbed.

Most of the time, I still can’t even believe you are gone. And yet you have been gone as long as you were here. Last weekend, your daddy, Jackson, and I came home from a visit to see all of your grandparents, and I found myself disappointed to realize that you were not waiting for us here at home. I don’t understand how it is that my brain can still think that way, but there is just part of me that still refuses to believe that you are gone forever, that I won’t ever get to see you again in my entire lifetime (your lifetime so many times over).

And I miss you. Oh, how I miss you, love. I spent some time with one of your friends the other day. She is about six months younger than you, so she is about two and a half now. I couldn’t believe how much she was talking, asking questions, making us laugh, learning all about the world around her. It was amazing to think how you would be if you were here, six months farther ahead than she is. It was nice to have some idea what you would be doing, but it also made me so sad that all we can do is imagine those things. All we can do is watch your little friends grow up, as they live their whole lifetimes. All we can do is watch them and imagine them as you.

How I wish I had thousands more days with you, my girl. How I wish I had many, many more of your entire lifetimes to live with you. I never dreamed I would not get thousands of days with you. Thousands of days to be your mommy, and later, your mom (because I imagine you would eventually think you were too old to call me “Mommy”).

I want you to know that I would have tried so hard to be a good mommy and a good mom to you, Hudson. I would have helped you learn to use the potty, to swim, to tie your shoes, to ride a two-wheeled bike, to read, to write your name, to write stories. I would have kissed all your booboos and made sure you had your own special band-aids for them. I would have sat with you and stroked your forehead and served you ginger ale and soup and crackers when you were home sick from school. I would have helped you sell whatever crazy things you’d have to sell for your school fundraisers. I would have helped you create awesome Halloween costumes. I would have hugged you tight and wiped your tears when you got your heart broken for the first time. I would have come to all your games (or your band performances or your plays or your recitals or whatever else you liked to do) and I would have cheered you so loud that it embarrassed you, at least until you told me to stop. I would have helped you with your homework. I would have helped you shop for school clothes. I would have taken you to look at colleges and tried to help you make the best decision about where to go. Or if you decided that college wasn’t exactly the right thing for you, I would have tried to help you figure out what was the right thing. I would have called you at 7:19 AM every December 1 to wish you happy birthday and remind you how much you changed my life in so many wonderful ways. I would never have let you pay for a meal. I would have always given you gas money when you left our house to go back to wherever you lived. I would have stocked your refrigerator with groceries every time I visited. If you got married one day, I would have helped you plan whatever wedding you wanted. And if you had children one day, I would have been there when they were born and would have smothered them with grandma goodness. I would have stayed and helped you as long as you wanted me to, or if you didn’t want me to, I would have bitten my tongue and gone home.

But even more important than all of these tangible things I would have done (all of which are just my romantic imaginings of what it would have been like to be your mother), I want you know that I would have always been there for you, sweet girl. I would have encouraged you always to be yourself, to love yourself, to love your body, to love your life. I would have encouraged you to try things even though they were hard. I would have encouraged you to fail spectacularly at things, and I would have been there to help you back up, but only if you wanted me to. I would have encouraged you to dream and create and laugh and love, and to do all of those things with wild abandon.

I would have been there for you, sweetheart, as long as I was able, for your whole lifetime. I guess in a very strange and bittersweet way, I am lucky as a mother that I did get to be there for you for your whole lifetime. But of course, I would give it back in a heartbeat in exchange for those thousands of days we were supposed to have together.

I am deeply grateful for every single second of each of the 529 days we had with you, my girl. And I have missed you and ached for you every single second of each of the 529 days we have had to live without you.

An entire lifetime already lived without you. An entire lifetime still to go.

I love you, my precious girl.




  1. What a beautiful letter. Hudson is very lucky to have had a momma like you, just as you were to have such a beautiful daughter. Thinking of you. :)

  2. Tears. You are an amazing mommy and mom, Mandy. How you articulate the gratitude and the sadness... Wishing that the last 529 days and the days to come were very, very different. Sending you love and Light and hugs.
    Rachel C.

  3. I don't think better words on how to be a parent have ever been written. Our hearts still break for you, but my heart also thanks you for what you said here. I wish that you had thousands and thousands more days with Hudson.

  4. Your words are so poignant, Mandy. I'm so sorry that Hudson will never get to share with you all the milestones and everyday joys you mention. I'm so sorry that you are missing out on seeing her grow into the amazing person she was on the path to becoming. As you said, it is just so wrong. Unfathomably, inexplicably, cruelly wrong.

    I can only imagine the pain of missing her, of knowing how very much you lost. What profound, boundless, and complete love you gave to your girl. Hudson embodied that love in its purest form. Thank you for sharing that love with all of us. Crying with you tonight. Abiding.

  5. Sending love as you cross what must feel like such a great divide. xo.....

  6. Crying (once again), Mandy. Really beautiful. I have to think Hudson is sending you hugs.

  7. Mandy, what a lovely letter. I believe that somehow, somewhere, Hudson hears your words. And I want to thank you, as I have done several times in the past 529 days, for helping me appreciate all of my moments with Ellie - the occasions and celebrations, but most of all the everyday - because I reflect so often on your words and the story you keep bravely telling us here. Much love from the Everetts in Durham.

  8. Beautiful letter. I love the way you put words together, that paint a picture.

    Keep on Keeping On

  9. Though she may not be with you, she is always with you. Hugs and love on this very difficult day <3

    Kelly S.

  10. It is so so wrong that you will not get to do all of those things as Hudson's mommy. Jackson is so very lucky that he will grow up with you, but it is beyond cruel that Hudson will not. Once again, beautiful, heartbreaking words. Thinking of your family.

  11. I am heartbroken for you that there is even a need to write this letter. Love, hugs, and tears from Durham NC....

  12. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful life.

    I don't seem to have a way with words like you do, for I have typed and deleted about ten times now...but I am moved to tears by this loving letter to your precious girl. You are the epitome of what I hope to be as a mother.

    You are amazing.

  13. So sorry for all that pain you have to endure. It is just not right, not fair.

    You are a perfect mother, you really are.

  14. What a great "recipe" for being a mom. Thank you, Mandy, you have a talent with words.

    I heard a phrase the other day on TV that made me think or you and Ed and Hudson. Acceptance of loss is a form of insanity. So your brain is trying very Hard to keep its sanity these days. And we all have been very blessed that you allow us to witness your journey.

    Love to you guys, Kirsten L.

  15. Like my very wonderful wife, I too am grateful. Grateful that we were a part of, what, about 400 of those days. Grateful that we will play some part in Jackson's many days and weeks and months, both passed and to come. Grateful that you and Ed are such outstanding and willing role-models for parenting and marriage. Grateful that, when the wind blows and I am on the shore, I can look out and picture a strong sea turtle quietly plying the seas, carrying Hudson's spirit to all the corners of the world.

  16. I am sobbing. You deserved to have all those times, tangible and intangible, with your daughter. You will do those things for her brother and any other siblings she may have, and with each one, you will be in contact with Hudson.
    Oh, Mandy, I am so, so sorry.

  17. I have no doubt that you would have done all of those things for Hudson, and that you will do them for Jackson, and any other children you may have. What a beautiful way to bring up children, with the support to figure out who they are and to become who they wish to be. Thank you for sharing this with us. I know it will help me be a better mom myself.

    I offer you my anonymous support from afar. I have been reading your blog since Ed lost his journal, and I think you are such a special person. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this enormous loss.

  18. So sorry Mandy. What a difficult anniversary to experience.