As most, if not all of my readers already know, our world lost a beautiful and innocent soul on Tuesday, April 7th. Maddie Spohr, daughter of Heather and Mike Spohr, passed away after being admitted to the hospital earlier in the week for a cough.
She was 17 months old. At only 17 months, she was full of life, of spirit, and of joy.
I had the pleasure of being a guest at the Spohr’s home less than a month ago. Heather and Mike opened their home to a bunch of crazy ass bloggers. There was booze, there was good music, and there was no short supply of laughter at ANY time. I hadn’t met Heather, or even read her blog before then. But in meeting her and her husband Mike, I automatically liked them both. They are wonderful people. And the two of them reflected in their daughter. She wooed the whole room with her big blue eyes. She is, hands down, the happiest baby I have ever met.
When I read the news of Maddie’s passing, I literally felt my heart break a little. I sat and sobbed for a long time because I just could not understand why something like this would happen. It made me angry, it physically made me ache. It was so hard to comprehend.
I literally had stood in Maddie’s beautiful purple room and thought what a lucky little girl she was. I sat and listened to her daddy Mike brag about what a fighter she was and how she had defied so many odds in her 17 months. I watched as everyone loved on her, and she fought so hard to stay awake and be a part of the action as most kids do. She snuggled with her Dad for quite some time before walking over to her OWN chair, and falling right to sleep. The girl had important things to dream about.
I’m here telling the story of the day I met Maddie because the next time I make a memory of her, and of her mom and dad, I will be at her memorial services.
And that makes my heart hurt.
In the last 3 days, my faith in the humanity of people has been restored. I have sat here and watched a community come together, all in the name of this little girl. I have never seen anything like it. Instead of complaining about medicine ads, or Walmart, or other mundane things as bloggers so readily like to attack, we have come together and figuratively put our arms around Heather and Mike at this time. In 3 days, there has been over $22,000 donated to the March of Dimes. $22,000 in 3 days. There have been hundreds of posts written in Maddie’s honor. People have vowed to walk in her name at relays around the country. At this time, people are dipping into their couch cushions piggy banks and donating now directly to the Spohr family to help cover funeral costs. Food for the family has been arranged for the next few weeks. People will dress in purple on Tuesday as a show of support. Many will release balloons in memory of Maddie.
And we have only just begun I think.
For all the people who are sitting at their computer screens across the country, tears falling for Maddie, this is their way of helping. This is their way of supporting Heather and Mike during this incredibly hard time.
Because no one should ever, ever have to say goodbye to their child in this way.
It humbles me. On Tuesday, I will stand with friends, some of which I have never met, some I have only met once, and together we will mourn and celebrate the life of this little girl. On the 25th of April, I will walk with many of these people again, along side the Spohr family, in memory of Maddie.
To anyone who has shown any support of the Spohrs, to anyone who has hugged their babies a little tighter in light of this, to anyone who has wiped their own tears away… Thank You.
It is because of all of you that Maddie has left something in her wake. Her legacy. Had she lived, she would have done amazing things. That much I know to be true. Now, with her passing, she has achieved this, just a bit earlier than planned.
Rest peacefully Sweet Madeline. We’ll handle the rest from here.
November 11, 2007 – April 7, 2009
There are so many places you can find information about upcoming services, ways to donate, walks, and all the ways people are honoring Maddie. Two of those resources come from two ladies I had the pleasure of meeting the day I met Heather, Mike, and Maddie. They are amazing, and both have done wonderful things for the Spohr family.
Please go visit the Undomestic Diva for almost every single thing you might want to know.
As a community, we have raised so much for the March of Dimes. Now Heather and Mike are faced with the financial expenses that come with such tragedy. Please, if you have anything to spare, please donate it directly to this family. You can go to Megan’s site, AMomTwoBoys for easy links to the paypal accounts set up for the family. She also has links to some wonderful buttons that honor the memory of Maddie as well as ways to donate.