A Strong Wind

It’s been over a week since Maddie passed away and I am still aching for her loss. I hold my girls a little bit tighter because of it. This could have been them.

I wish I could just go back to writing about day to day occurrences, but I cant bring myself to do it.

Not yet.

When people would ask me how I knew Heather (when I would send Maddie gifts, or when they saw the Spohr’s holiday card on my fridge) it was hard to explain to non-bloggers. I mean“we met on the internet” just never seemed like it did our relationship any justice.

When I first started blogging it was as a personal diary for myself. I NEVER thought anyone would read it. I was going through infertility and just needed a place to vent and write; a place to sort out my feelings.

Then one day, I stumbled upon a website that listed blogs of women who were infertile. I asked to be added to that list, not sure why- not sure what I was expecting.

Sure enough, they linked  to me and I started getting readers. People started becoming invested in my life. I started getting advice about ivf from virtual strangers…. the strangers that ended up becoming part of my family.

When I was finally pregnant, and found out it was twins- I had people telling me which books to read, what symptoms I would feel, etc. It was comforting. I felt like if I ever had a question, I could just turn to my computer and ask.

Then I ended up in the hospital, and was told that I might lose my girls. I asked my husband to buy me a laptop so that I could reach out to my “friends”. He did and I blogged. I blogged about bedrest, hospital food, nurses, doctors and the fear that was inside of me. And they all listened, all commented and were all there.

I had my girls at 30 weeks and 4 days. Neve was 3.4LBS, Soleil was 3.10LBS (thanks to all the milkshakes and pizza I ate and drank during my 6 weeks hospitalization).

I became a NICU mom. Something I wish no one had to experience. The first time I saw my girls I was wheeled into the NICU and was in SO much pain. My girls were in the level 1 section which was the most intensive care. I was scared. They asked me if I wanted to hold my daughter (Neve, since Soleil was incubated) and I didn’t want to. She was small and weak and had several tubes running through her body. The nurses knew I had to hold her. 

 Nurse Joan took her out of her incubator and placed her in my arms.  It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair. Why after all I went through to become pregnant and all that I endured during my pregnancy- did they have to be this small? Why couldn’t it be a joyous occasion?

I remember a day after giving birth, as I was laying in my hospital bed a woman walked in and asked me which child was mine in the nursery and whether or not I wanted an official first picture of her. I explained that my girls were in the NICU and not in the nursery. She had a sad look in her face and walked away.

I so wanted them to have a picture. One of them looking beautiful, and not with countless tubes all over. Not a picture of them fighting for their lives.

My hand was held every step of the way by my fellow bloggers. No one “IRL” could hold my hand as strongly as them. No one understood more than them.

So again, if you’re not part of the “blogging community”- and you BETTER BELIEVE there is one, you just cant understand.

Heather is my soul sister. Our paths started off the same at the same moment. Our girls were due at the same time.  I love Heather as though she is someone that I grew up with, a best friend that I have known my whole life.  I love Maddie as though she is my blood. It’s just something that you cant explain.

When Maddie passed, the outpouring from this community was something NEVER seen before. The money that was raised for both the March of Dimes and for Maddie’s service was amazing. The bloggers who wrote about Maddie were by the hundreds.

 The women &men- some  of whom Heather had only met a year ago- took care of all the details. They made calls, raised money, brought awareness to the cause, picked people up, drove them to and from the airport, ran errands, brought Mike & Heather food and liqour… something you wouldn’t expect from a “blogging friend”. People came from all over to honor  Maddie, Heather & Mike (even as far away as Canada).

And the tears…

Prior to Tuesday, I had NEVER been to a funeral before.

I guess I was lucky. I lived 26 years before I truly lost a loved one… my grandmother (two years ago). The grief was and still is unbearable. The worst part about it was that I was 2.5 months pregnant and was told by my doctors that I should not get on a 11 hour flight.

 It wasn’t safe.

 So I had to mourn from a far, all by myself. And I am still not over it.

That is why I would have moved heaven and earth to be there for Maddie’s service. It was sad, I was shaking , and I almost passed out. I was given a xanex. It calmed me down physically, but inside I was a mess.

If this is how I felt, how did those who were with her day in and day out feel?

The church seated 250, but I would say at least 350-400 people were there; all wearing purple. It was a beautiful sight.

SO many people loved Maddie.

Maddie’s grandpas’ spoke and so did her uncle Kyle.

Then Mike & Heather spoke.

The speeches they gave were beautiful.

 So beautiful.

They were sad, sometimes funny. Always tugging at your heart.

No one should EVER EVER have to bury a child. No one.

Although Maddie lived a short life, it was SO full. Always out and about having fun, experiencing the world. They didn’t leave her in a bubble. What a mistake it would have been if they had. They did everything right with her.

But there’s only so much that’s in our control in this life.

I am a BIG believer in the after life.

I have a strange sixth sense, and I can predict things before they happen.

 Oh how I wish I hadn’t had that strong sense when Heather told me Maddie was in the hospital again… but I knew. I woke up at 4am on Tuesday night/ Wednesday because I knew.

Once the service was over, everyone was given a purple balloon on their way out. Everyone then stood in a circle with their balloons and we were told that on the count of three we would say “Maddie”, and let the balloons go. What no one has mentioned yet, was that AT THAT EXACT MOMENT an intense wind blew.  So intense was the wind, that I felt it in my soul.

That was no coincidence.


Maddie Spohr's Balloon Release. by mooshinindy.

Maddie’s life was celebrated.

Her life in no way was in vein.

She was a baby with an old soul- you could see it in her eyes. She was here for a purpose.

I believe that our souls choose their life’s purpose and their exits  from this world. We all choose how and who we will be and how long we will be here.

Maddie’s life has raised awareness for the March of Dimes. Money was raised, people will walk- all because of the little girl with the long lashes and the big blue eyes.

A few weeks ago my brother asked me if I knew the significance of 11:11 .

I told him I didn’t.

He proceeded to explain that 11:11 is a phenomenon. That many people always tend to look at the clock at exactly 11:11. Books have been written about this as well.

They say that our guardian angels draw us to this time to let us know that they are there for us. Always at 11:11 ( google it)

Maddie was born on 11/11  make no mistake about the fact that she is and will always be Heather & Mike’s angel.

 I will always be proud to have known her. Will always carry her in my heart forever.


19 thoughts on “A Strong Wind

  1. Insta-Mom

    I forced myself to blog about something else yesterday. Absolutely forced. Because as another NICU mom, I’m so afraid that if I don’t make myself start, I never will again. I can’t imagine the hurt, but I understand the fear they must have endured. I am still searching for ways to understand this, to make sense of it, to extend Maddie’s legacy. Because she was an angel, an old soul, a precious, precious gift.

  2. feistycali

    Beautiful post. I’m glad to hear how many people were there to support Heather and Mike and their families. I can’t imagine the pain they are going through, but having friends like you is the most important thing they could have right now.

  3. Heather's Auntie Lynn

    Maddie’s grandmother Linda sent me your tribute as she was very moved about your experience and your lovely words. Thank you so very much for honoring and loving Heather, Mike, and Maddie.

  4. Linda Buchanan

    Maya, what a loving, beautiful tribute to my Grandbaby Maddie. You are such a good friend to my sweet Heather. The outpouring of love and support from all around the world has helped me so much in these very difficult days. I knew how special Maddie was to her family, but now I know how much she impacted so many others. For that I am eternally grateful. I know both Mike and Heather could not have made it this far without the support from all of you. Thank you doesn’t seem to say it all, but I just wanted you to know that even though my heart breaks right now, it is filling up with the love you send our way…..

  5. anna

    Thanks for posting this Maya. Like feistycali said, it is nice to here how many people were able to be there to show their support. You are a wonderful person.

  6. Angela

    This is a beautiful post, I cried reading it. Just beautiful. And oh, how I’m glad the wind blew! I lost two nephews nine years ago. One passed away right after birth due to CHDs and just a matter of months later, his older brother died. Right after the baby died, maybe a few weeks later, big brother asked us why the wind blows, and my sister, without thought told him that it’s when his baby brother is hugging him. She says to this day she still doesn’t know why she said that, or where the idea came from. It just sort of tumbled out. A few months later, we lost him too, and the wind blew for weeks. I’ve attended a lot of funerals in my life, and since that day, I’ve yet to attend one where the wind hasn’t blown around us all day.

  7. Alison

    What a beautiful and moving post. She was definitely “a baby with an old soul” (that is the perfect way to put it!). How could she not be? She lived her short life with such meaning, living each day joyfully and being brave through the tough parts. Her curiosity, her humor, her generosity, her LOVE for everyone she met (minus the Easter bunny)… it’s not every little one who has all that.

    Hugs to you and your girls.

  8. Amanda/Baby A

    What a beautiful picture of the balloons and what beautiful words. I noticed the wind too. I think it was a way of Maddie reaching out to grab all her balloons and show us she knows what is being done to honor her and the support and love her parents are receiving.
    Heather is so lucky to have you as a friend.

  9. Jodi

    What a beautiful post. You are a beautiful person. So loving. This post moved me to tears. My heart is breaking for Heather and Mike. They are so lucky to have friends like you.

  10. pillarr1

    Thank you so much for writing this post Maya. It is comforting to know that so many people were there for Heather and Mike.

  11. Megan Gregory

    that was a wonderful post that helped us feel a part of the service. thank you for sharing and I’m glad you were there for them and for you. I think of Maddie everyday – thanks again. megan

  12. Sugar & Ice

    Maya, you and extraordinarily devoted friend. I am so glad you had the opportunity to form such a bond with Maddie and her mom. I didn’t even know her, and this has all just stunned me.

  13. Kirsten

    You just took my breath away…I am one that always seems to look at the clock at 11:11 and I never knew a thing about why but I always felt there was something behind it, but just never took the time to look it up. I told Daniel about it once before but he laughed it off. I just felt something every time I’ve looked at the clock and seen those numbers and it happens all the time for me. ALL the time.

    Your post was beautiful; thank you so much for sharing about this day. I have been thinking about what it must have been like and you took me there. You are an amazing friend.


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