Monday, November 26, 2012

Do One Good Thing for Hudson’s Fourth Birthday

I am working hard to write this one. I don’t want it to be hard work. I don’t want this post to be about me. I don’t want it to be sad. I don’t want it to be about anything other than helping celebrate my beautiful daughter’s life on her upcoming fourth birthday.

But this birthday feels so much different than the two before it that we have celebrated without her. We no longer live in the town where she lived. Our dear Arboretum is no longer a ten-minute drive away. I no longer pass the hospitals where Hudson was born and died on a daily basis.

She feels farther away from me than ever. Her death feels more surreal than ever. And what’s even worse, her life feels more surreal than ever. I’ve written many times about how her death seemed like a dream, but only a few where it seemed not that her death had been a dream, but her life itself. I’ve been feeling that so much lately. I feel so separated from her, especially as our lives just tumble forward, totally unhindered by my grief.

But her birthday is here again. Her fourth. Our third without her. And the best (and really only) way we know how to celebrate it is by trying to help her spirit keep working in the world by doing some kindnesses for others. In DC, we donated toys and books that had been favorites of Hudson’s to Children’s Hospital, which took such exquisite care of her until she left us. And we donated dog treats and toys to the animal shelter, in honor of Hudson’s love of animals, especially her Bess. And we donated and visited the Arboretum, in honor of her love of the outdoors and in memory of the many special times we spent with her there. We are still pondering what One Good Things we will do here in our new-old home, where we will celebrate the rest of her birthdays for all the many years we must live without her. It’s part of why this birthday is so hard. I will get back to you once we decide what to do.

But meanwhile, as we have each of the past two years, we invite you to do One Good Thing sometime this week or on December 1st. And please share with anyone else you know who might want to help us celebrate her life in this special way. And as in years past, if you are so inclined, we would love to hear from you about your One Good Thing, so feel free to leave a comment here about it.
I will end the way I have each of the past two years. We can’t stop it from coming. We can’t bring Hudson back. But in the spirit of the lesson she taught us, we can continue to help her light shine in the world by finding the One Good Thing, and this week, that means doing One Good Thing.  Thank you all so much. 


  1. We think about her each day and especially at this time. Our thoughts still with you all and so glad Jackson is doing so well..and you sound so strong..Your St. Ann's family wishes you some happiness this Christmas season..and a big shout out from all of us!!


  2. I've always found birthdays the hardest, much harder than the anniversary of death. Thinking of you and your sweet girl today.

  3. Hi Mandy. While our situations are so different, I feel very similar to how you feel right now too. Was only writing about it today. Surreal is a good way to describe it. Am still here thinking of you and your beautiful family. Lots of love x

  4. Thinking of you, Mandy, this week as always. We will join in doing One Good Thing. Love, Kate Zeller

  5. We had the pleasure of meeting you and your little Hudson at Maddie's first birthday party (Zeller), and I have to tell you my heart always skips a beat--sort of like time freezes up for a moment--when her birthday rolls around again. I can't imagine what you have been through. We have a five and two year old, so your loss that in so many ways was private, was very personal to anyone who has had the gift of sweet babies. We'll honor your daughter's memory on her birthday. And we'll honor all the parent's who have experienced the unimaginable. You two are different people now because of Hudson. And that is an odd/sad/poignant gift. I'm guessing she'd want you to feel a bit more joy and a bit less pain every year. Surreal is still real. Memories may fade, but love NEVER does. Blessings and Blissings. -Monica

  6. You really are inspirational, a truly beautiful person. Thinking of you all this week.

  7. In our town there is a toy drive held every year by a family who lost their little girl to a devastating form of childhood epilepsy when she was about 20 months old. The family collects toys for pediatric units at local hospitals. Every year we donate a toy in honor of our son, something for the age that he should be right now (he should be two and a half). This year we will also pick out something that would be just right for a four year old girl, and donate it in honor of Hudson.