Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 14, 2016| Dear You, The Reader

This letter is to you, the person reading this..
Never was it ever supposed to be easy, or without heart ache.. However this time each year I open my heart a little more and more to all of you.  Without edit, without filters.  Crystal clear, shiny like a diamond, transparent so you can see me in my rawest form.

Friends, more than anyone, I know how hard it is to pop on to my social media accounts, reading bits of what my life was 11 years ago... Kneeling in the PICU, I knew I could never live a life where I didn't speak of my daughter..  We've met through various adventures on this path I am on, but this time, this season, is forever dedicated to the angel God so graciously blessed me with.

Through our daily lives, there is never an opportune time to discuss things that make our hearts weep, make us uncomfortable, when all we would rather do is turn the page, scroll a little faster through our timelines, or cover our eyes, because things hurt us.  I get that more than you could ever imagine.. However this story, Madilyne's story does not reside to have a devastating end as her life did.  Her legacy serves purpose, she lives in my heart, and the mountains we have claimed, the rocky paths that have cut our feet, this story is destined for the happiest ending it could have..

What I do know, is this subject bothers me just as it bothers you.  An innocent child taken too soon, in the most unimaginable way.  Looking back over the past 11 years, at times I have truly wondered how I have survived.  Then I remember that one string of hope I never ever let go of.. one I kept locked in my heart, huddled so closely.. that is this hope, this love, this desire to not just survive but to thrive, and that is God..

Thousands know her because of her legacy.. Many families brought into my life for various reasons all surrounding the loss of her life.  Having the chance to share her story with children, adults, and beyond is such a blessing in itself.. however the most delicate, most rewarding, is knowing that when I take off these bandages for the world to see my true wounds, I can give another grieving mother a glimmer of hope that it is possible to take steps forward, often tiny, unnoticed steps, that over time compile to make a beautiful journey, after tragedy..  We mustn't quick moving, because we will never ever move "past" what has happened to us, but we can navigate through the pain, the heartache, and paralyzing destruction that is the loss of our children.

To the mother reading this, that is somewhere on her journey, trying to push through, or grasping at strings, ready to give up.. Its ok to fall down, to release all the strings that we are grabbing at on our way down.  You are ok, you will be ok, I promise you.

To the friend reading this trying to comfort us, thank you.  Thank you for standing beside us, without pressure, without attempting to claim to know our pain.

To our family.  Our pain is so different for each of us.  On my good days, you may not approach me with your hurt, and on your good days I may not approach you with my heart ache.. Just stick together, and hold on, because without you this path and road is challenging and painful..

To you, my reader.. Thank you.  Thank you for allowing me to share my heart, to share Madilyne with you, and not having an expectation that this path gets any easier as time passes.  Thank you for speaking her name, and remembering her.  That is music to my heart, and the playlist to my being..

Today we release balloons, and we wear pink.. for you Madilyne.

Join us on Instagram @penpalhappyness

Thank you friends, so much,


  1. Sending prayers and hugs but also sending thanks. You are a blessing. Thank you for sharing Your beautiful baby girl with us. I never knew about shaken baby syndrome until I ran across your story of what happened to your little girl. I had 2 kids and was pregnant with my 3rd but I had never heard of SBS and I am so glad to have learned so much through Madi's story. Thank you so much for being BRAVE and RAW in your pain someone else doesn't have to live through a loss like yours. Wearing pink for Madi today.

  2. Thank you Rachel for always sharing your little girl, your story, your thoughts, and your feelings with us for so many years. I had never heard of SBS until I heard of Madi's and Little Alex's story and I thank you for bringing awareness to me so that I can spread awareness to others.
    I continue to send prayers to you every single day and you are never far from my mind. Big Hugs and Lots of Well Wishes.

  3. continued thoughts and prayers for you during this time.


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