I remember when Maddy was sick. I remember sitting with my then 1 year-old daughter rocking her to sleep and weeping over the injustice. How could this be? She is a mom just like me. Her babies need her! But the truth is I was also weeping with relief. And with fear. Relief that it wasn’t me facing the end of my life or facing my children, and knowing, this was all I would know of them and all they would ever know of me. But also weeping with the sudden knowledge and fear that it could be. The fear that death was lurking around every corner. That, like Maddy, I was healthy and active and young. But knowing that this could change in an instant.
I come from a very close family. Many people barely know their cousins. They see each other once a year at a wedding or the obligatory visit to their extended family but really never get the chance to be more than acquaintances who happen to share the same grandparents. But that wasn’t the case for me. I have many hilarious memories of mischief the cousins caused together as kids. We would play elevator tag in our grandparent’s condo, we spent hours sliding off the roof of my uncle’s snow covered house, hid from our parents in the hopes of securing a much sought after sleepover on a school night and at times we would use Maddy’s petite stature and go-get-it attitude to weasel our way to the front of the long lines at Canada’s Wonderland.
Six years later and I still remember her smile and easy-to-love personality. She was a person people loved to be around. She had a quiet confidence and self-deprecating humour that drew people in. She was a committed and loving mother. She is very much missed by those who knew and loved her.
So today I will remember all that has happened in the last six years. The gift of life that has been mine since Maddy died. I will appreciate everything I have that she did not get to experience because she left us too soon. I will embrace the challenges and realities of aging as the treasured gift of time it truly is. And, as a tribute to Maddy and all of the other mothers and fathers gone too soon, I encourage everyone to do the same.