Saturday, March 10, 2012



One day this past week, the whole family overslept a bit, so our wonderful part-time babysitter ended up being the person who got Jackson dressed in the morning. When I saw his outfit, my brow furrowed in confusion. “What are those pants?” I said, even though I knew immediately what they were. “Did you get those out of the bottom drawer of the dresser?” Obviously surprised, she said, “Yes, was that OK?” I recovered as quickly as I could and said, “Oh, sure, it’s fine. Those are Hudson’s pants. All the clothes in that bottom drawer were hers.”

Her little brown corduroys. 12-18 months size, which is the size she was wearing when she died, along with some 18 months, too. They fit Jackson perfectly at only nine months.

I knew this day would come, the day when he started wearing that same size (of course, it has come sooner than I thought, because he’s such a big kiddo). Soon the day will come when I will buy bigger sizes for him than she ever got a chance to wear (the only 24 months sizes I ever bought were some jammies I picked up on sale after her first birthday—they were so cheap that I bought a few pairs for the following winter, and of course, they never got used). Soon he will no longer be able to wear any more of her hand-me-downs, because there are no more.

In only eight short months, Jackson will be older than Hudson ever got a chance to be. What remains so incredibly striking and awful about that is the recognition, if not truly the understanding, of how terribly short a time it was that we got to spend with her. He is already well past the halfway mark of her entire little life. How is that possible? He is just now starting to hit all those awesome little developmental strides that she started to hit right around this same age. He has so very much awesomeness left to grow into. Why did she never get that chance?

As I’ve said before, I’m working on not dwelling too much on future events and milestones, but it is so hard to imagine what it will be like to watch Jackson grow up when Hudson never will, to watch him hit every milestone she never did. Of course I don’t want Jackson never to grow beyond seventeen months and twelve days, but watching it happen will be hard nevertheless.

As we get closer and closer to the time very soon when we will leave the only home Hudson ever knew, I feel more and more the weight of the monumental shift in our lives that this move will bring. More so than ever before, I feel like we are moving on without her. Even though I know for certain that she will be with us wherever we go (how could she not be?), I still don’t want to leave her behind.

I am reminded regularly these days of the night we left her at the hospital. It was probably close to 11:00 by the time we had cleared everything out of her room. Ed and I walked out of the hospital with our friend Scott. The car was parked just outside the sliding doors. Ed and Scott started loading the car with all the detritus collected over a three-day stay in the PICU with a dozen friends and family members. I opened the front passenger door to get in and suddenly it hit me that we were leaving without our little girl. Forever. My legs buckled under me and I folded myself over into the seat and sobbed.  Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t run back inside, take the elevator back up to the PICU, and fling myself over her body to prevent them from ever taking her away. 

I see that moment in my mind’s eye over and over again every time I picture closing the door to this house behind us for the final time. It feels almost the same.  Part of me wants to fling myself across the threshold in that moment and refuse to leave without her. 

Part of me does not want to keep going on without her. Jackson will keep growing, I know. He has to. I want him to. But I also want endless hand-me-downs from his big sister for him to grow into.  And those I cannot have.


  1. Oh, Mandy. She should be with you in body as she is in spirit. I'm sorry. It's wrong.
    HUGE hugs,

  2. I'm so sorry. Your post struck a chord with me. We are currently trying to get pregnant since the loss of our Eva. I have a box of her clothes. I don't konw what to do with them. I will never, never give them away but I don't know if I want another child wearing them or if they should be forever hers. We have considered making a big quilt out of all her clothes. I don't know if it will make me happy or sadder to see her clothes on another little one. Thanks for the post.

  3. I hear you. I have so many things I selected for our future kiddos, of course with the intention of them being used by Jack first... As we prepare to meet his sister I'm taken aback by the realization she will wear these things first... The Moby Wrap? She'll be worn in it because he never was... It's heartbreaking...

    I'm sorry Hudson's life was entirely too short.

  4. Heartbreaking.
    When Vida was in the nicu for the weeks after her surgery at 2 days old, we had to go back to the apartment we rented each night without her. I imagined (almost physically felt) a chord that stretched between she and I - the further from her we went- down the elevator, onto the street, to the other side of the city to the apartment- the further the chord stretched and stretched.
    I know I am, for some reason, blessed with the miracle that Vida lived and is with us today- and I wouldn't presume to understand what you must feel, Mandy. But I can see and feel the same line between you and Hudson- always connected- keeping taut between you as you left the hospital without her that day, and as you move now to a different city. It is probably the very thing that makes it all hurt so much, that never ending, ever present chord. It is part of your soul, and part of your body.
    It serves as a unique anatomy you have with her that doesn't end- despite the fact that you can count the days until Jackson reaches her age and beyond, your connection with Hudson surpasses any calendar. The bond you and Hudson have doesn't discriminate between those who are here in flesh and blood, and those that are only here in spirit. And while i know you ache and ache and ache for her to be here in flesh, I hope that somehow, that chord between you will give you just a small bit of peace someday.
    Much love to you, as always .

  5. Mandy, I am so sorry you have to go through the process of leaving her all over again. For our parts, know that there will be people here to welcome the four of you ---you, Ed, Jackson, and sweet Hudson's spirit and memory -- down in Tar Heel Country. Not only will you bring her with you, but you will bring her to us and all of those people eagerly anticipating your arrival. I know it makes it no easier at all. Much love to you during what I know is a hard time.

  6. Mandy, I hear you. Clementine is younger than Daisy was when she died, but already heavier than her. Her weight was the thing I struggled with and now I'm facing dressing Clementine in the clothes Daisy never wore. I wish I had the answers for all of us who miss our little ones so desperately. Please know that you continue to be in my thoughts and my heart just breaks reading your beautiful words. Sending so much love to you all in the coming days as you prepare to move. Take care.

  7. Oh Mandy, it should never be this hard, and yet it is. How can that be? I find myself asking that all the time. It is so wrong and I am so sorry. Lots of love to you.

  8. I miss your updates. I hope you are well. I imagine you moved to NC since you last wrote. I hope Jackson is making you smile a lot.