Drew was my first, but for the longest time Madison was my baby. She became the middle child when Molly was born and in a way she became the oldest when Drew died. She was and is so special. Drew always did a lot of activities and Madi liked things that were more low-key. It’s sometimes easy to overlook the quiet child. She tends to  get lost in her head and sometimes does not have the need or the want to participate with others. As her mother I have had to coax her out of her comfort zone on a few occasions so she could be one with the rest of the world. In the last few years this has gotten better. I can see how she is growing and maturing.

Siblings are usually the silent grievers, people usually spend so much emotional energy making sure the parents are ok that they forget that the siblings have lost someone too. Not only did they lose their sibling, they lost their parent as to how they were before the death. I will never be the same, which sometimes is not always bad because change sparks growth, but change none the less. The siblings lose the connection to someone who knew them from birth and knows all their secrets. They lost their future because they will never have that adult relationship with. Drew and Madison’s relationship was just starting to change. He was getting out of the phase of being the mean big brother and they were becoming friends. The thought that she will never know that relationship makes me very sad for her and for our family.

Madi has always gone to small charter schools. She has always done best with an intimate circle of friends and people who know her. When she was starting high school she decided that she wanted to try the big high school here in town, she wanted to have more options for her electives. I reluctantly signed her up and crossed my fingers that my little Otaku would not get lost in the shuffle or not fade into the wood work. I should not have worried as much as I did because not only did she not fade away, she has started to find her own colors. She loves her school. Not only does she have a small group of friends that enjoy the same things she does she has stepped out of her comfort zone and started doing things I would never have thought she would do. Her freshman year she took a drama class and loved it. She found that she could talk to people and they would listen. This year she took several art classes. She took a computer graphics class and found out she has an aptitude for designing and figuring out how to work these programs. She took a regular art class and tried her hand at several types of art, charcoal, pastels, scratch art and drawing. She found out she loves creating and the more she does it the better. She is becoming such a neat woman and I can’t wait to see what else she tries her hand out.

I was worried about this school year more so than any other. Her brother died a few weeks before school started. I wasn’t sure how she was going to handle the loss of him and trying to get her school work finished. We had his memorial service on a Saturday, we had to go school supply shopping on Sunday and she started school that Monday. To say the least it was a whirlwind and so many changes happening at once. Madison is a very private person, she does not want to tell people how she is feeling and I worried that she will internalize the pain of losing Drew and not let it out. I got in touch with a grief group in our town that helps with children and loss, I registered her for group grief counseling so that she would have an outlet if she chose it. I try to be open and honest about my grief and keep telling her that I am here and able to talk to her if she wants. My worst fear is that she does not deal with her own grief because she feels she needs to “take care” of me. I try to tell her all the time that no matter what is happening in my life it is my job to take care of her and her sister and that means being there for her when she wants to discuss loosing her brother. I am not sure how much of this she believes but I keep saying it in hopes that she does not feel she has to handle this alone.

This girl took the school year head on and made it her best year yet. She joined the tennis team and realized she really loved a sport. She fostered friendships and found some really great girls that “get” her. She finished the school year with a 3.0 GPA. I don’t think she has ever had grades that good in her whole school career. Madison has had to struggle in her schooling because of her learning disabilities. She is starting to gain confidence and is thinking of her future. I love this girl with all my heart and I hope that loosing her brother at such a pivotal age won’t break her but make her stronger. I hope that she can work through the pain and acknowledge the loss. I hope that she can grab the moons and stars and ride them to wherever she wants to go. This girl has my heart and I would be totally lost without her. Losing her brother has opened a door for us to get closer and I hope that I can take advantage of it. I can’t believe in a week she will be 17 and thinking of what to do after high school. I pray that she can find her path. All because I love this girl.



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