For Maddy On Her 18th Birthday

Madison’s 18th Birthday is tomorrow, the 27th of June. Just like with many other milestones one can face after the loss of a child, the days leading up can prove to be challenging. Anticipation has already been hitting me pretty hard.

There have been many difficult milestones to get through this year. Just like any other 18 year old, this would’ve been such a busy year for Madison, and it’s been difficult seeing just how much she has missed out on. As her mother it has been downright torturous at times; watching others her age go through all these life events, while knowing in my heart that she too, should still be here going through it all herself.

I’ve been pondering a while now on what I could do to possibly honor her special day. My desire as her mother to do something “for her” on her birthday each year will never go away. I honestly cannot see that desire going away. Her birthday will always remain one of the most special days of the year to me. She is and will always be my baby. It hurts to my very core not being able to give her presents and do things with her on such an incredibly important day anymore. What can I do for my girl now that she is no longer here with me?

Oh, how I long for her….everyday.

So this year I have decided to get a memorial tattoo. Madison always wanted to get a professional tattoo. Beginning promptly in her early teens she started wanting to know exactly when the very earliest date which I would allow her to have it done was. I always told her that she would have to wait until she turned 18 (the legal age).

So here we are now, already a day away from that time.

I do have other tattoos from my younger years, but I am not a tattoo addict by any stretch. I have however, wanted to get a tattoo in her honor since the day I lost her. I’ve been patiently waiting for the perfect saying, object or picture to come to me for over two years now. I didn’t want to get anything that would not thoroughly represent my angel or be the proper representation of what’s in my heart. It finally happened though. I decided to use a saying from a poem I wrote about a recent dream I had of her and I. My tattoo simply reads “I have been set free” along with a small bird which represents her freedom, with purple accents, her favorite color. These 5 words might not mean too much to anyone else, but they absolutely mean the world to me. I can think of no better way to honor my angel for her birthday.

You can read my poem here:  In a Dream of You & Me

Since Madison cannot be here to get her first tattoo on her birthday, I got one for her and in memory of her. I thought it would be a tough thing to do emotionally, but it mostly felt bittersweet. I’m sure it will all hit me later, especially tomorrow.

Sometimes I feel like it would be better to hide in the darkness of my bedroom, with covers pulled over my head until these milestones pass me by. But I typically cannot do that, there are just too many milestones to get through after the loss of a child. I cannot very well spend every moment of every day in bed, hiding away from the world, even though I do so a great deal of the time anyway. It’s fairly easy for my grief to take over entirely, while hiding from everything and everyone, staying in the comfort of my own home. It’s a battle I face every day.

Today, I chose to face another milestone, just like I faced her graduation day. I have to allow myself to feel just a little bit proud for doing so too. It hasn’t been easy, but I did it anyway.

You can read about her graduation here: The Empty Chair

Tomorrow on her actual birthday, I do plan to visit her and put out new flowers in her resting place. I will be sure to tell her all about the tattoo I got for her, in her place.


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