A little bit Selfish


To MY daughter Haddie Bo Bo,

I know it’s been awhile since I have written.  But know that you are in my mind all the time.  Literally….ALL THE TIME.

This will be our 4th Christmas without you.  Just typing that out I can feel my eyes start to fill and the blood drain from my head, to my arms, and on down to the rest of my body.  How is that possible?  This is the first year I set up our big Christmas tree since you left.  After I did it I almost immediately regretted it.  Not because your little brother starting chucking the glass ornaments like they were baseballs.  But because of what this symbolizes.  Does it mean I’m ok?  That we are moving on?  That the holidays without doesn’t hurt as much?  I’m sure that the people around us think that….maybe HOPE that.

But it couldn’t be farther from the truth.  As I sit here watching my Hallmark Christmas movie for the night, and stare at my Christmas tree, guilt washes over me.  I can already hear the comments coming in, “Don’t feel guilty…Haddie would want you to celebrate…She is always with you…”  While I truly truly appreciate the meaning behind these words they mean nothing.  They change nothing.  Our joyous moments will always be mixed in with our sad and devastating moments.

No matter how much people want that not to be true…it is.  I know that people want and hope that things get easier.  Somethings NEVER will.  In somethings the pain has become less raw….and has developed into something else.  A different filter?

I know that people talk.  I know that people don’t understand.  Maybe they think I’m being selfish.  Maybe I am.  But when your whole world is turned upside down….never to be right again.  I think you earn the right to be a little bit selfish.  To make those decisions that are right for you…for your family.  To preserve your memory.  Your spot in this family.

Today we had your sister’s school conferences.  She is sailing through school with expected brilliance.  She is so smart.  Her teacher showed us this picture and story she made about our family.  It was the first picture she has drawn of our family that she left you out.  Or she forgot to draw you.  As I looked at the picture, I was so proud of her work, but a part of my heart sank.  She’s forgetting.  I’m forgetting.  Others are forgetting.  And as much as I consciously try to keep you here I know that it gets harder.  It gets harder to keep you a part of everything.

But please know baby girl I would do anything to go back.  To change that day.  To have you here with us.

I love you,



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Today…I can’t find the good

haddie's calling safe sleep
I love how you have your hand on Elo’s leg

Haddie Bo Bo,


Wow life has been busy, distracting, and moving along.

Today I can’t find the good.  Usually I can find something positive to distract myself from the feelings that I have about you not being here.  Today I can’t.  Your face is what I see when I close my eyes.  My thoughts are running over the what if’s, if only’s, and I wish I could change…  The hole you left is big and no matter what I try to do it can not be filled.  Not that I want to fill it, but I think it’s something that naturally naturally happens.  I have two little kids at home always needing something, I have a mom that is having health issues, I have a busy neighborhood with something going on at all times, I take pills that are supposed to make me mentally stable, and today….I am aching for you.  Today I am thinking of you, wanting you… Today none of that busy-ness is taking away the pain or distracting me from it.

Elo has been having a hard time recently.  She has been talking about you a lot.  A couple weeks ago she came up to me riding her scooter and exclaimed, “Haddie is leaving my brain.  I can’t remember when she bit my butt.”  She cried for you.  I got angry.  Not at Elo but at this situation we are all in.  She tells her friends about you and it warms my heart.  So many times I don’t know what to say or how to comfort her.  I usually say the things I am supposed to say, “Haddie is always with you, we will see her again in heaven.”  But I lack the believability behind the words.  Because I don’t find those words comforting, or enough to get me through.

Your birthday is approaching.  You would be 4, on August 4, your golden birthday.  We went to visit Grandma in the hospital last night and Elo and Fitz were running through the hallways singing and talking loudly.  Elo was ahead of Fitz and I asked your Daddy, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if there was 3 of them?”  There should have been another little one running between them.  I tried to imagine you there where you should be, in the middle.

I recently watched this documentary on HBO called There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane.  It was about a mom who drove the wrong way down the highway, killing herself, her daughter, and her 3 nieces.  The mom of the 3 girls that died wrote a book called, I’ll See You Again.  She talks about what happened and her grief.  The story was gut wrenching….but I identified with every word she wrote.  She talked about not wanting to live with out her girls and just wanting to be with them.  But then she ended up having another child and knew that she needed her more than her girls.  This book made me feel normal.  That I am not alone.  That all the ups and downs, irrational thoughts, fights, screaming, are all normal.  This is my normal now; happy and sad all rolled into one.

I treasure the times we had together, even when they are painful.  It seems like another lifetime and I find myself questioning if I really did live that life.



Your Mama

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I dream

haddies calling, safe sleep
Dedication Day at church

Haddie Bo Bo,

I’m a dreamer.  I always have been.

When you dream of what your future might hold you dream big.  At least I did.  You think about your dream job, your dream house, the family you will have.  You dream about the places you will travel and the memories you will make.  You dream about the kind of life you will give those you love.

No one dreams of a tragedy.

No one considers the things in life that might alter those dreams.  Alter them in a way that you feel you cannot recover or that you spend the rest of your days trying to recover, make-up, or some how survive.

I was at your sister’s t-ball game yesterday and the sun was shining, your little brother was on my lap, we were sitting in the grass, and I thought this is the life that I dreamt.  Almost.  Because once I thought about that then I thought about how you aren’t out on that field with your sister playing in the dirt instead of watching for the ball.

Last Sunday we tried out a new church.  It was baptism Sunday and these parents were their to baptism/dedicate their babies.  I did that.  I dressed you up, I wrote you a letter, I prayed for you, I stood in front of church and dedicated your life to God.  I promised that I would care for you and teach you about Jesus and how much he loves you.  I did NOT stand on that stage and think that 4 months later I would be closing your casket never to see your face again.  I’m sure the parents that stood on that stage never have the thought that the baby they are holding might die.  Who does?  Then they ended the service with the David Crowder song “Come as you are” and there is a line in that song, “earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal”.  I just can’t sing those words or even hear them.  Because right now this isn’t healed no matter how much I pray that God heals my heart it doesn’t seem possible.  The only way my heart will be healed is when I get to heaven and I’m reunited with you.

I still dream.  But the dream is different.  I’m constantly dreaming the “what if’s”.  I dream about what your passions would be.  I dream about the relationship you would have had with your sister.  I dream about what life would have looked like for you and siblings when you grew up.  I dream about how our family would have been.

I dream about when you were here.  I dream about your bald little head that I used to rub with my hand.  I dream about how you would cling to me when there were a lot of people around.  I dream about how you would smile at me when you saw me for the first time after a day at daycare.  I dream of your cry, of your laugh, and your toothy grin.

I dream of our “normal” life.  A life where I wasn’t constantly dreaming of what was and what could have been.  I dream of days that I don’t have hide my tears from my husband, my kids, from my friends.  I dream of days where I am not annoyed at my kids because they won’t just let me sit and cry for you. I hate when I feel that way. I dream of vacations that I don’t have to write your name in the sand because you aren’t here.  I dream of family pictures without a shadow where you should be.  I dream of holding you in my arms and not your ashes around my neck.  I

I will never stop dreaming of you….and dreaming for you.

Love you so much!




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Seeing You Hurts

Haddie Bo Bo,


It almost seems like a sin to say but today I saw a video of you and at first I looked away.  Then realizing what I did I forced my self to look at your face and stare into your eyes.  It hurt to see you so alive, moving, and babbling.  I almost felt a sense of shame??? I remember you everyday.  But today the feeling I felt when I saw you I can’t describe in words.  So much of your life feels like a dream that I once lived.  So long ago.  A different lifetime.  I was different when you were alive, our family was different, my marriage was different.  Some how things made sense when you were here.  You are the missing piece.  You will always be the missing piece that makes this family whole.  That makes this life make sense.

Last week I was away for work.  So I spent a night alone in a hotel room.  I had all of these plans to relax, sit in the hot tub, maybe go shopping with out your brother screaming at the top of his lungs.  But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t seem to remove myself from the bed (after work).  I sobbed the whole night and again in the morning.  I’m not sure why, other than I was alone and I could grieve you freely.  Without judgement.  Without scarring my children.  Without eye rolls.  Without having to give an explanation.  I have had many many good days and I have shed considerably less tears in the last few months.  I guess it was just time to release them.  You were a big deal.  You deserve every tear, every thought I have to give.

Sometimes when I am missing you, and I may look sad, I get the question, “What’s wrong?”  Inside I am thinking “Are you really asking me this question?”  You aren’t here that’s what’s wrong and that’s what will be wrong for the rest of my life.  I hate trying to explain myself because I can’t.  There are times where there is just sadness looming and not a specific reason that I can point too, or something that has triggered an emotion.  I think its deep within my soul.  A feeling that is always there under the surface at all times.

At the end of the day I may be the only one that remembers you.  And that’s ok.  You were a part of me that can not be replaced.  Even though I know subconsciously I am always searching and trying to fill that void whether I want to admit or not.  I think it’s natural to try to fix something that is broken.  Even when it isn’t fixable.


Today I remember you even when it hurts.  I love you




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What is this thing called “peace”?

Dear Haddie Bo Bo:

What is this thing called “peace”?

Does it really exist?

How do you find it?

I see people who have also been chosen to live this journey of losing and child and they seem to be at peace.  Maybe I am wrong and they aren’t at peace.  Is it a choice?  Something you pray for?  A decision?  Does it just come?

We had a fantastic holiday season.  It was our first time that we spent it at home since you passed.  We made many memories dancing in the kitchen in our Christmas PJ’s, going to see Santa, cuddling on the couch on Christmas Eve, opening our stockings Christmas morning, and being around the table enjoying a holiday meal.

In that same breath there were many sad moments this holiday season; dancing in the kitchen in our Christmas PJ’s, going to see Santa, cuddling on the couch on Christmas Eve, opening our stockings Christmas morning, and being around the table enjoying a holiday meal. You were missing from those moments.  We set a special chair for you around the table, and lit a candle in your memory.  After we opened our stockings I looked up to where they hung and there was your stocking still hanging alone…and empty.

There is a side of Christmas that I don’t let other’s see, even your Daddy.  There were tears shed in the car when I had to “run out” and grab a last minute item.  Or the moments I would cry with my head in a closet and popping a Xanax to get through the day.  I love Christmas I always have and this year I wanted to do “Christmas” in every way possible.  I decorated the house pretty much up until Christmas Eve, hosted 2 Christmas parties for friends, saw the lights in Chicago for a moment, and the lights here at the ballpark.  I guess I hoped that the bigger I made Christmas the smaller I was hoping your absence would be.  Although it made the season super fun and memorable….it did not come close to filling the missing hole in my heart.

It makes my day when someone remembers you…whether it’s in a big way or the smallest way.  One of your Aunt’s remember you by making a donation in your honor.  Someone gives us a ornament every year with your name on it.  This year one family member mentioned to me that she was thinking about how it would be if you were here in your Christmas dress and opening your gifts.  She also said that she couldn’t imagine how I feel during this time and how I must imagine you being here constantly.  It was such a gift to have her acknowledge your absence.

There may be parts of your passing that I will come to have peace about.  But I am beginning to think that I will never be at peace about you not being here.  I’m still mad.  I still ask God why this happened to you and our family.  I still tell him I am hurt.  It is a journey to find peace.  I also think it’s a choice.  There will be moments of peace, maybe even seasons of it. But there will also be relapses…..

Even if everyone else forgets Haddie….I won’t.  I promise.



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You Completed this story


Haddie Bo Bo,

You were small.  You were just a baby.  You hadn’t spoken your first words yet or taken your first steps.  You hadn’t lived long enough for people to know who Hadley Sue Bromley was all about.  In fact the only people who really knew you were just a handful of us.  You didn’t make any art work for me to hang, or write anything for me to reread.  I guess you could say that you hadn’t made your mark on the world yet.  You hadn’t experienced a lifetime of living like someone who dies at the end of a “good life”.  You didn’t have stories to tell or advice to give.

But none of that matters. I KNEW you.  9 months is a short life and hardly long enough to say that you truly know someone.  But I knew you.  You changed my world completely and then you changed it again when you left.  You may have been small but the loss of you is BIG.  It is ginormous.  It fills my mind, and my heart. It defines me. I am a different person because of you and forever changed.  To me you were more than just a baby.  You were MINE.  I had so many hopes and dreams for you and our family.  You completed this story.

The other day Eloise was at the neighbor’s house.  She met their “Papa” for the first time and in true Eloise fashion she sat down and told him everything she wanted to share.  She told him about you “her sister” and of course she told him that you died.  She then told him that I keep you in a box with a “bunch of sand”.  This made me laugh out loud.  Oh Eloise…someday it will all make sense to you and I am sorry.  I show Fitz your videos and I tell him all about you. It’s painful.  I will probably be that Mom that they talk about amongst themselves. That is until they have their own children and realize what I have lost.  What we have lost.

Love you Hads,



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I’m sorry that I am not sorry

Haddie Bo Bo,

It is so true that grief will catch you by surprise.  One minute you are laughing, interacting, and having a great time.   Then within minutes I am flooded with memories of you, my body becomes hot, and tears well up in my eyes.  In that moment surrounded by friends, strangers, and Daddy sitting beside me I feel alone.

Bryce is our neighbor and today we celebrated his birthday.  His daddy put together this amazing slide show of his 3rd year.  It just hit me that these are the moments I am missing with you.  The day to day, funny things you would be doing, that I would take a million pictures of and videos to document them.  This slideshow showed a whole year of the little moments that Bryce’s family enjoyed with him.  I wish I had these moments with you.  I am glad that I watched the slide show for many reasons.  One being that Bryce is such a happy, joyful child, and he is just so cute!  Another being that I could imagine the moments that we would have had with you, and yes that made me sad but it also let me dream.

I try so very hard to keep you a part of our day to day lives.  I bring a picture of you to our family pictures.  We include you in our bed time prayers.  When people ask me about my family I always include you.  But the harsh reality is you are not here.  You are not part of our everyday life.  Although I do not cry for you everyday there are still moments in my life that I completely shut down.  I get angry.  My parenting begins to suffer.  My marriage suffers.

I put up our Christmas tree for the first time since you died.  It sucked.  Grammy came over and helped me.  I didn’t let her see my tears.  I love the Holidays I always have, I want to love them again.  It’s an inner struggle.  If I let myself love them again does that mean I am moving on?  That life is back to normal?

Unfortunately our neighbors across the street have also suffered the loss of child so they get it.  She has been helping me decorate and it has been fun.  Yes we are very blessed.  I love my children beyond words.  I am NOT moving on….and I never will.  I read this quote somewhere, “I am not doing better, I just got better at hiding it from you”.  I can totally relate with this quote.  Although I do know that I AM doing better.  I can function somewhat normally most of the time, there are still moments that my grief brings me to my knees.  I still have those times that I sob uncontrollably in the car.  I still think crazy irrational thoughts from time to time.  But I think that is part of my “new normal”.  I’m sorry that I am not sorry if it makes others uncomfortable.  I am not in the business of being fake or pretending to make others feel good about themselves.  That’s not real life.  I don’t want to have a relationship with someone that I have to pretend with, I do not have the energy for that nonsense.

I am looking forward to watching Elo and Fitz on Christmas morning and experience the magic that is Christmas with them.  We will remember you always and even though the Christmas tree is up….it does not mean that my heart hurts less for you.




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I want to go home


Dear Haddie Bo Bo,


Today I am ready to go home. Not to my house. I’m ready to go home to heaven to be with you. I am tired. I am so tired of carrying this burden around. Today it is really weighing me down. My chest feels heavy and my mind is racing. I am longing for reconciliation for my pain. I want to go where my tears stop. I am done with the drama of this life, the bad, and the hurting that seems to never cease. I want my family to be whole again. All week I have been feeling this and now it seems too much. (Disclaimer: I am not suicidal just sad and longing for heaven).


Today I am here at an event for families. I am passing out your sleep sacks and telling your story, which feels good. It makes you real. I cried the whole way here.


Eloise has asked me more than once if we can have a new baby girl and name her Haddie. Her sweet little heart misses you so much and I know she just wants you back. I know this is her way of trying to keep you close to her.


Yesterday we met Aunt Alisa for ice cream. I asked your buddy Crew how old he is going to be on his birthday. He held up 3 little fingers; he got a huge grin and with ice cream dripping down his face, and proudly said three!!! I smiled, because how could I not, he was so cute. But I also saw your face. I imagined you running around with ice cream on your face, and proudly telling people you are turning 3. It felt like someone reached into my chest and ripped out what is left of my heart. I asked Crew this question without thinking about the after effects, or where it would make my mind go. It’s a hard time of year. It starts in May with memories of how we spent your last weeks not knowing you weren’t going to be with us much longer. Then June 2nd the day you died, and the memories of everything that went along with that visitation, and your funeral. Then we celebrate your birthday. But summer is also many of your friend’s birthdays too. While we love them all so much it is hard to see everyone turn 3, get older, accomplish all their milestones, and think about what should be.


I am just missing you. I am feeling alone. I want to go back to when I had my “perfect” life instead of watching everyone else’s.


Love you,




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New Losses

Haddie Bo Bo
I am sitting on the couch in the basement of our new house. We did it, we moved.

Moving day came so fast. I didn’t really have time to think about what it all meant. It was probably for the best. Your room was the last room that I packed. The day of the move Daddy and his helpers moved everything possible first. Then Aunt Alisa came over to me and said, “Chris said they need to put Haddie’s crib in next”. I froze and started to panic in my head. I ignored it and went to the basement to “pack” more boxes as I sobbed. Another hour went by. Finally it was time and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Your daddy and I went up to your room. He said we had to take your crib apart because it wouldn’t fit through the door. So I took your mattress off. I will be honest your mattress is gross!!! It still has spit up and drool stains from you. Now since it’s been two years it has started to turn yellow from the sweat on the crib sheet. I sat it up against the wall and I put my nose right on those yellow spots and tried to smell you. This was your sweat it came from you and no matter how gross it is I treasure it. After we moved the crib we found 3 little white socks. Ones that you had kicked off your feet at night. You did that. Finding these were a reminder that you were here, you were alive, you were real. This was hard. I cried a lot and Daddy promised he would set your crib up at our new house. Once we were packed, we got in our cars and you sat on my lap as we drove to our new house.

Monday night I went to my first grief group meeting. I hadn’t given much thought to attending, but as it got closer in the day I started to shut down. Just walking through the doors of the church I could feel the lump in my throat. I’m not sure why it was so hard. Never in my life would I think that I would be attending a group because I lost my child. That just never crosses your mind. We were asked to share a little bit about our child. This should have been easy for me. I love to talk about you, and I tell your story often. I could barely get your name out of my mouth. I wanted to be there, I needed to be there, but at the same time I was pissed that I was there. I am still very angry and bitter that you aren’t here. I struggle with the lack of control that I have over this situation. That can get pretty ugly and unfortunately Daddy usually gets the brunt of it.

One thing that stuck out to me was the phrase “new losses”. Every day I feel your loss. But as we live this life with out you there are times we experience new losses. Moving into this house with out you felt like a huge loss. This fall I will watch your friends go off to their first year of preschool with out you. Sometimes new losses can be anticipated and other times they surprise you. Being surprised by them is the hardest for me.

We are excited to be here in our new house, closer to our friends, and family. There are a lot of kids in our neighborhood and what I wouldn’t give to see you run around with them. I really think you would like your new room. I love you Haddie and my heart continually aches for you.



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Don’t EVER think you have a lifetime

Haddie Bo Bo,

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where I relive everything that happened up until you passed away. Then when June 2nd comes around, the day that you passed, I start to relive that and everything after that too.

It was Mother’s day a few weeks ago. 2 years ago your Daddy and I decided to go on a cruise just the two of us. When booking the travel agent had said, “This cruise is over mother’s day, is that ok?”. I remember saying yes, thinking I would have a lifetime of mother’s days with you. Lesson number one don’t ever think you have a lifetime. That is faulty thinking. So now my Mother’s Days, and the days leading up to them, are spent figuring out how I feel about it. I would like to let the day pass, like it was any other day. I don’t want to stand in the card aisle trying to pick one out. But is that fair to Grammy and Mimi? They are amazing women who deserve to be celebrated. Is it fair to Eloise and Fitz? They deserve to celebrate their mom too. But I feel so stuck in my hurt and grief on days that should be celebrated, that I can’t seem to blend the two yet. I fear that I won’t be able too, or maybe it’s that I don’t ever want too. I just keep thinking, what about Haddie? What about this trauma we lived through? Are we supposed to forget it? Live life like it never happened?

June 2nd is a sad day. That’s what it is. Some people ask what we will do to “celebrate” or “honor” you on that day. I do not think we need to try to change this day to a happy event. On August 4th your birthday that is when we celebrate your life. June 2nd is a day that reminds me that you are dead. Your life was stolen from us, and you should be here. We drove to the beach and had lunch, sat in the sun, and talked about you. We came home and I took your ashes out of your box and I held them. I went through your trunk of memories and looked at everything. I sobbed. I ached for you. Then at night your Mimi and I decided to get tattoos. I made the decision this year that I want to get a tattoo for every year that you are gone. It took me awhile to decide what I wanted. But since you have been gone every night Eloise prays that Jesus would give you, “Hugs and Kisses on your forehead”. So I got “XO XO” tattooed on my side for the 2 years that we have lived with out you. That felt right.

We are moving in the next two weeks. We have begun packing the house and almost everything is packed except for your room. I think that will be the last room I pack. You will have a room in our new house and I made sure when we were looking that there would be a space for you. A good friend suggested that your room could also serve as my Haddie’s Calling office. While packing I found a piece of your car seat. It was the part that goes around your head. I put it up to my nose and inhaled deeply. Shocked I realized that it smelled like you. It’s been forever since I have smelled that smell. It made me happy.

Today I woke up and I had to go to the dentist to get a tooth filled. My appointment was at 10:00 am. I was laying in the chair with my laughing gas starting to relax and I received a text from one of your Aunts. She said I am thinking about you today and I love you. At that very moment I hated myself. I knew what day it was. I should have known what day it was. The fact that I had been awake for 2.5 hours and not known what day it was made me feel immense guilt. Tears streamed down my face. The dentist asked me if she was hurting me. I had to explain that it wasn’t her and that I just remembered that today was the 2 year anniversary of your funeral. The last time I held your body and saw your face. The last time I whispered in your ear that I love you, and I am sorry. I remember I couldn’t shut your casket and I had asked Dave our funeral director to do it after we left the room.

I carry you with me Haddie. Always. It still hurts.



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