A couple of weeks ago, during the Ultimate Blog Party, I attended one of the live events – a performance by Chris Mann, hosted at the house of Heather Spohr in Los Angeles. At the end of the show, Chris reached over and briefly held a little girl – who immediately captured my heart.
She was adorable, hanging onto her mom’s iPhone and looking into the camera with beautiful eyes and a mop of curly hair.
Her name, as I discovered – was Maddie. She was just about 17 months old.
Heather’s blog wasn’t one I was familiar with at the time, but I just had to find out who this sweet little baby girl was, so I took what initially was meant to be a brief visit over to The Spohrs Are Multiplying.
Over an hour later, I had read all about Maddie. How Heather had been on bed rest, then diagnosed with Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes during her pregnancy and hospitalized for the duration. How Maddie was born 11 weeks prematurely and was in the NICU for 68 days.
Since then, I’d lurked around on Heather’s site and read her posts, and followed her on Twitter. But I didn’t ‘know’ her and she certainly didn’t know me.
Last Tuesday night, I was working on posts on my laptop after the girls were in bed, and happened to catch a tweet out of the corner of my eye on TwitKit that is usually running in my browser’s sidebar. I forget now whose it was, but it mentioned something about Maddie being with the angels.
I was a bit behind on my feed reader, so wasn’t aware that Maddie had been ill – and had been rushed to the ER the day before.
When I read this post, my heart stopped for a split second and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Maddie, Heather and Mike Spohr since.
Neither has anyone else – the blogosphere and Twitter have been afire with the news of Maddie’s passing. Over $20,000 has been donated to the March of Dimes in her name. A Paypal fund has been set up for her parents to help with expenses, and all over the world other families are releasing balloons, wearing purple, putting together slideshows and honoring Maddie in so many other ways as well. Blogs and Twitter are turning purple, and #Maddie has been a trending topic on Twitter. Celebrities have tweeted their support for Heather and Mike, and the LA Times published a story about how the blogging community has come together over Maddie’s loss.
There’s nothing that anyone can do to ease her parents’ grief and pain, and most of us can’t even begin to understand what they must be going through right now. It’s just so NOT right for any family to have to deal with such a loss.
Good night, sweet angel – you will be missed by so many, even those of us whose lives you only touched briefly through your mom’s stories and photos.