August 8th 2014 will always be the hardest day for us as a family. That was the last time we heard you breathe, felt your warm skin against ours, and kissed your soft cheeks. Yet today holds a close second in our hearts as it was the last time we laid eyes on you. Last year today, we saw you for one last time. You did not look like our Madox we have always knew, but we loved you just the same. You did not move, did not breathe, did not smile… just did not. The vibrant life you carried in your entire being was no more, and that hurt so much. You laid in your white casket while we stood at your side. Your face was still swollen from the last few months of steroids, but we were hoping it would have gone down. Another thing we wished for that wouldn’t be.
Family came to say their final goodbyes. We all took turns kissing your cold cheeks or forehead. We put your favourite stuffed animal at your side, with a few of your favourite toys. Things I really didn’t want to let go of, but just felt right to bury with you. Marco and I covered your body up with your blanket, making it the very last time we would ever tuck you in. I pulled it up right to your chin, as I was thinking how cold you were. Like covering you with the blanket would warm you up somehow. Valin wrote Madox a farewell letter that he gently added to your side. I couldn’t stop staring at your beautiful face. I still dream about that day, about seeing you lay so still without breath, without life. It is forever scarred into my soul.
At 2:00pm the funeral director came into the room to say it was time. My heart started to race knowing what that meant. We will never see you again, except in photos. My eyes began darting up and down your body, trying to memorize everything I could. Yet I know how silly that fleeting moment was as I know I would never forget your gentle face, your slender hands, or flexible legs. Tears came furiously as we three quickly leaned in for one last kiss. I felt as though I was going to hyperventilate as the director slowly began to close the lid. You were gone from our sight, but never from our memory. NEVER from our memory, or heart. Walking to our seats and most of the service was a blur to me. I don’t remember what was said during or after the service. I only remember staring at the closed casket and silently sobbing. I held Valin’s hand the entire time as he sat between Marco and myself. This day was very hard for us all, and the memory of it will linger for many years.
Today will be the last of all the years “firsts.” Some say it gets easier to handle after the first year, while others admit the second and third years without your child are the hardest. Whatever the case may be, we will try to get through each day as best as we can. With each other, fighting to keep Madox’s name alive.
This photo are of a few flowers I kept from the bouquet that laid atop Madox’s casket. After I dried them I wanted to frame them to keep them safe. They hang in our bedroom, with a few toys Madox enjoyed. I just wish this day never existed.