Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May… Again

Where even to begin? There are so many places I could start after such a long hiatus, but the most important one, perhaps, is to thank so many of you who have continued to return to this page regularly to check in on us. So thank you.

We are here. I am here. I am, in fact, much more than just here, which perhaps accounts in part for this writer’s block/avoidance of many months. Even after all this time spent thinking, pondering, mulling—I can still barely begin to process all the events of the last year, and of the last half-year in particular.

You see, I learned in December that we are having another baby. Not even three months after finishing chemotherapy, and with no help from our fertility preservation doctors, I turned up pregnant. Let that one sink in a minute. Or, if you are like me, it will take a lot longer than that.

And then, about a month later, we learned that we are having another daughter. Another little girl. Another sister for Jackson. Another sibling who will wear Hudson’s clothes and kiss her picture and say her name but never know her in life.

And then, about two months after that, we finally moved into our newly renovated house. A house that Hudson never knew. With floors that her little feet never padded across. With a front door she never stared out of. With drawers that she never emptied. A house in which we plan to spend the rest of our lives, even though such a huge part of our lives is missing from it and always will be.

And then, here it is May again. In twelve days, it will have been three years since we last saw our little girl.

In just one year, a cancer diagnosis and (hopefully) a cure, a new (old) town, a new home, the prospect of a new baby. The beginning, at last, of what will be the rest of our lives. All of this without Hudson. All of this without the child who turned us into parents, the child who turned me into a mother, the child who made me feel for the first time like my life had begun in earnest.

I am at a complete loss. More than ever, it feels as though we are moving on without her. She lives in this home only in the forms of ashes, photos, many precious memories, her smile on her brother’s face, and a deep and abiding love and longing for her. I know these things are not nothing. They are not really “only.” They are so much. But as I predicted so long ago—not very long after she died—the gaping dark hole that her death ripped into the fabric of our lives feels different three years, another child, one cancer diagnosis, one new town, one new house, and a third pregnancy later. It’s not that the hole has gotten smaller in absolute terms—it’s that our lives have gotten bigger, so the hole is smaller in comparison to the rest of it. And as I predicted many times then, I fucking hate how much smaller, relatively, it has grown. I not infrequently find myself wishing we could all go back to those first several days after Hudson died, when her death was the center of our world and the worlds of everyone around us, when it seemed like indeed the entire world had stopped going when she stopped being, even for just a few moments. Because sometimes I still want the world to just stop. I want it to stop turning and turning and turning without her.

But it doesn’t, of course. It keeps going. We keep going. May keeps coming. We keep honoring the anniversary of Hudson’s death one May day and celebrating her little brother’s birth not many days after.

Imagine that. Five months without a substantive post, and as it turns out, I can still really only say the same thing I have been saying all along. I miss her. I want her back. I can’t have her back. So I go on. I go on and make, if I can, the very most of all that she left behind.

“May, she will stay… resting in my arms again.”


  1. Gorgeous as always. When do we blow bubbles?

  2. As always, poignant and beautiful. I'll blow bubbles with my kindergartners on the 13th in honor of Hudson.

    Sending so much love and good vibes, especially for a healthy baby #3!

  3. Thought about you when I was struck by the changing of the months today-the celebration of both Hudson and Jackson and the preparation for a new baby as we move from spring to summer, the season of her expected arrival. As with so many, I will hold your family in my thoughts more than ever this month, as you remember and celebrate sweet Hudson and as you celebrate a 2nd birthday for Jackson. Take care.

  4. Three years on, still having not met any of you, and still I weep. I'm so sorry and I send my deepest love to all of you. XOXO

  5. Might be the same thoughts but somehow you still put them into words in new ways that make sense. Struggling with my May also... this helps. thanks. Love you, Jess

  6. We are here and yes we will blow bubbles and if I can figure it out will post pictures for you.. and it is not fucking smaller for us..every year is a bigger..she remains a constant for that we will honor..our Hudson! Forever!

  7. Congratulations on the pregnancy! What a year.

    Three years seems impossible for all the reasons you listed... And yet here we are.

    I hate it.

  8. I have been thinking about y'all so much. Congrats on the pregnancy! What an amazing blessing!

  9. I don't really know you, except through your blog, yet I checked in today because of Hudson, of her anniversary, and of Jackson's birthday. See? She's impacting and alive in the world, even in heaven (or wherever you feel she is). She did make a difference, and will continue to with complete strangers! Some people, who continue to breath, don't have that much impact on the world! And congratulations on baby #3! How wonderful!!! Babies are always cause to celebrate. Just know that even here in Ohio, with complete strangers, Hudson is still very much remembered. Thank God for the internet!

  10. Mandy, Ed & Jackson,

    You're right. Hudson's Day (as I think we should call it) snuck up on us all. You're right - making new memories without her sucks and makes the time seem to have never moved. You're right - her hole is still a part of all our lives - though in yours it is and always will be so much greater.

    I think of how far Marcella has come in just the last 6 months - no longer a toddler; definitely a little girl. I think of what she, Hudson, Emma, and Maya could be doing together (making beads, telling stories about their little brothers, blowing bubbles on the porch). But mostly I think of how Hudson's loss was really her first loss, and how every discussion of illness and death now leads her right back to Hudson - whose passing I don't understand any more then Marcella does.

    I also know that Hudson and Jackson continue to be One Good Thing; that you and Ed continue to be One Good Thing; that if it were not for Hudson, our paths might never have crossed so that we could not share in your joys and your horrible,never ending, always present sadness.

    I can't share completely in your grief - but I can tell you that all if us (all 6 of us) are here holding you all in our hearts, and we will be for as long as you hold Hudson.

    1. All of our discussions about death come back to Hudson too, in a raw and honest and innocent way. We look at pictures of our sweet little friend all the time and Emma blew me away recently when she saw Hudson's photo on Facebook and we smiled together and Emma said "I don't remember her, but I know her." I think that sums it up.

  11. Oh Mandy. Congratulations to you and your beautiful family, a new baby! This is lovely and exciting news. Sending warm wishes your way this May, and always xx

  12. Your writing is such a gift, and sharing Hudson with "us" is a gift as well. So for that, I thank you. I have thought about you numerous times since your last post & checked frequently for any glad to hear from you again. HUGE congrats on your pregnancy ~ I hope you sail through it with ease & comfort. And it doesn't matter how long it's been since you last wrote, and we don't care if you still seem to be saying the same things...your love & longing for Hudson will never change, so why should your words? Much love to you, you dear & inspiring mother...and happy Mother's Day to you also.


  13. I check back occasionally and knew I needed to come today...but before I comment on the later posts, I do need to say congratulations to you on your pregnancy. Now *that* is a very good thing. :-)


  14. Thought about Hudson and you guys all day today...she leaves a hole in so many of our hearts, Mandy. Sending love and light your way, and hoping that you felt Hudson's presence today - maybe in a bubble, maybe in a dandelion, maybe in a stray turtle like you came across at the National Arboretum that day. I'm sure she was smiling down on her Mama, Daddy, little brother, and baby sister today. May you always feel her presence. Love you so much.