For the first time since her passing in November, my dear friend Maddy visited me in my dreams. She was dressed in ACUs and I was helping her pack her car. She looked beautiful as ever and I apologized to her for not doing something to save her life. In true Maddy fashion, she said, "don't worry about it." I could tell she even meant it and continued to let me know that she was doing ok. I think it was her way of telling me that she is in Heaven, and truly, she is ok. I want to live in that dream forever where she is still alive, but since I can't, I decided to post the eulogy I wrote for her. The world needs Maddy to live on forever, so if you have the time, take a moment to read about this wonderful, beautiful person, who continues to let me know she is ok, even in Heaven.
The other day I sat down and just started writing. I didn’t know what would come out, but I knew I had things to say and I knew I had to say them to Maddy, so I wrote her a letter. The one thing I knew I needed to say was “I’m so so sorry. “ The letter continued like that for a few pages, but before I knew it, it turned into a thank you letter. Thanking her for all the amazing times we’ve had, moments we’ve shared and most importantly, for always showing me how much I meant to her. Maddy was the best example of treating others as you wish to be treated. Her life was basically a life lesson to us all that I only hope I can start to follow. So instead of focusing on all the things I wish I could have done differently, or all of the should haves would haves or could haves that won’t leave my head, I want to share the lessons Maddy has taught me over the years. The lessons that may make all of us unite in laughter and love, so that she can be with us here today and know she made a difference in so many of our lives.
Lesson #1- laugh at the corny, quirky and even the dirty jokes because they are, actually, funny. Maddy was such a wonderful quirky soul and a good joke, whether I got it or not, always brought out the best laugh in her. There are many times I hold back laughter in my life for strange unknown reasons, beside the fact that I usually just don’t get it,but no longer. For you Maddy, I promise to let myself laugh at all the corny jokes.
Lesson #2-Be frugal, it’s worth it! Last year we held a Friendsgiving at our place for Thanksgiving. And of course Maddy came and brought a delicious dish to pass, but I think she was most excited about Black Friday the next day. Because not only did she stay to shop with me and show me where all the deals were, she also drove home that day and hit all the food deals on the way back! She sure knew how to eat and save money while doing it. A large five dollar pizza from Little Caesar’s was basically 3 meals for less than a 2 bucks each.So even though I never got to that half price sushi on Monday’s, I’m sure going to go now.
Lesson #3-even though you have 1,000 coffee mugs, you could always use just one more. I don’t even know where Maddy found or kept all of her coffee mugs, but her mugs sure did have mottos to live by. I frequently drink from the one she bought me that reads “wake up and live” because it actually does make my day better, so I promise not to pass up the next opportunity to grab yet another mug that makes me smile, just because.
Lesson #4-Always leave room in your bag for souvenirs, you have 100 people to buy things for no matter where you are going. Maddy was so amazing at this. She’d always came back from her trips with the sweetest, simplest gifts that told you “I thought of you, I took the time to buy this for you, and now I am coming to visit you to give it to you.” Even if I could not read the instructions on those facial masks, they sure do feel wonderful! I can’t remember the last time I bought a souvenir for anyone, even when I saw the perfect gift, but no longer will my bags be packed to the top when I leave home, I will now be leaving room for souvenirs for those I love. For travel really is better when you can share it with others.
Lesson #5-Cheap t-shirts with corny sayings are worth the smiles and laughter they will bring. This one is definitely something missing from my wardrobe. I remember asking Maddy one time what I could possibly get her to make her smile the way she makes me smile with her gifts, and she mentioned these T-shirts. You know the ones that say But first coffee, or Wineousorus with a picture of a rhino. I even still have one in my amazon shopping cart that I was going to give her that says “I got your back” with a stick figure holding the stick torso of another stick figure. I knew she’d laugh at that and Why I never purchased it, who knows, but I will now and I will wear with pride and laughter thinking of Maddy.
Lesson #6-you’re never too old to dress up for Halloween, eat candy and drink slushies and bottomless soda. The day I learned of Maddy’s passing I said enough already! I’m eating the candy, drinking the soda and getting a slushie! So I drove to Kwik trip to get gas and for the heck of it hit print at the pump to see what coupon I’d get before going to get my candy. Wouldn’t you know it, “Maddy” sent me a coupon for a free Big Buddy. She especially loved the Big Buddy’s for her slushies because they are delicious AND cheap! Win win for Maddy! And her Halloween costume this year even had the Starbucks barista laughing! Such a beautiful girl transformed into Sophia from the Golden Girls is something you can’t help but smile at! So while I may not have her artistic abilities, I will at least attempt to dress up for Halloween and eat the candy because it is fun and so so good!
Lesson #7-If you can make something or buy it, make it! I remember her asking me what she could get Bekytt when he first entered our lives and I described how I so badly wanted this Montessori mobile for him. When she looked it up online she excitedly exclaimed “I can make that!” When I said I needed to order an engagement cake that looked like a kettlebell she’d say, “no no, I’d love to make that!” And she did. Even ceramic coffee mugs, wall art, and succulent plants she’d either make with me or for me. I didn’t come close to her artistic abilities, but the time spent together making things and the memories the pieces she made for our family hold, are so much more valuable than any store bought item.
Lesson #8-Be Present. When Maddy was with you, you were the center of her attention. Her ability to listen, respond, and engage with those she was with was amazing. She made you feel like the most important person in the world simply because she was present. Or because she’d order an “operation hug ma’am” and send Evac platoon in for the best group hug just to make a hard day better. All too often we are waiting for our next turn to talk, or the next to do on our agenda, but not Maddy. She would be there with you for as long as you needed. I often think this is why her and my son Bekytt bonded so easily. From the day he was born he accepted Maddy’s love so easily. She held him, fed him and loved him like he was her own. And in turn, he trusted her and felt safe with her. I think all of us that know Maddy would agree she was so loyal and trustworthy that we could share our deepest emotions with her without judgement. For you Maddy, I promise to be more present with those in my life.
Leson #9-A clothes steamer is the perfect housewarming gift. Our mutual friend Kim and I were talking about Maddy shortly after she passed and trying to focus on her amazing life and she shared a memory of Maddy with me that had us both laughing through our tears. She told me when her and her husband bought their house, Maddy came to visit and brought them a clothes steamer saying “it was the most adult thing I could think of for someone that owns a home.” So practical and so Maddy.
Lesson #10-Be Kind. Maddy was the definition of a kind heart and soul. She was gentle, gracious, compassionate and just so kind. In every word, action and thought, Maddy focused her life on how to make others happy. She had a tremendous impact on so many people’s lives, even those she didn’t know through her volunteer work. If we could all just take one ounce of her kindness, and live it out every day, this world would be such a more joyous and peaceful place for us to call home.
We miss you Maddy, we love you, and you will live on forever in our hearts.