Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Remembering Mackenzie

I found this charm when I was searching for beading supplies recently and ordered it, along with a tiny emerald crystal, May's birthstone, to glue in next to the footprint. I have been wearing it next to my heart all week as a tribute to my daughter Mackenzie, who was born seventeen years ago today with a very rare genetic defect called Trisomy 13. I miss her every day, but I feel a special emptiness on her birthday. Today, as the hours ticked slowly by, I couldn't help but wonder how life would be different if she had been healthy and survived. Would we play piano duets together? Would she be the beta reader of my novel? Would she enjoy making jewelry, too? Would we have shared that dark chocolate bar after dinner?

As a result of last year's post, I "met" a wonderful woman named Melissa, who also had a Trisomy 13 baby, and started a blog for him, called My Baby is an Angel. I had never spoken to anyone else who had been through that experience, and it meant a lot that she wrote to me. I have enjoyed getting to know her through her writing on her blog and on Facebook. She is a tremendous resource for anyone experiencing a difficult pregnancy.

I am truly blessed. I have three wonderful children, work that fulfills me, loving family and friends - even two sweet young ladies who claim me as their mother on Facebook. But I am selfish. I want Mackenzie, too. Instead, I must content myself with a handful of memories and the occasional whisperings of her spirit. And I am reminded to make the most of every moment - to be loving and generous, authentic and open.

To be the kind of woman Mackenzie would be proud to call her mom.

27 comments:

Megan said...

Oh, Pam, I had no idea. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I wish the world had had the opportunity to get to know her.

~Crazy 4 Daizies~ said...

~Happy Birthday Mackenzie! Thank you so much for leading me to your wonderful Mama! Pam, this post touches me deeply, more than words can truly express. I love those charms---baby feet are a weakness, especially Nimkee's. He had 6 perfect toes on each foot! Holding you and Mackenzie close to my heart always xxoo

V.K. Tremain said...

That was beautiful, Pam! I'm sure she's looking down from above, and very proud of you. It's wonderful that you honor her memory every year. No words an console, but as you know she's in your heart and spirit.

Ashley Nixon said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Pam. I kind of know what your going through. My sister lost three children--two sons and a daughter. They were all premature. Her daughter was named Mackenzie, too. :) I wonder everyday what it would be like to have had them living as my niece and nephews. It was a scary reality for everyone because my brother and I were premature, and we knew my sister couldn't try and have children anymore.

I know it's worse for you because she's your daughter. I know what was worse for my sister was being able to see her children living one minute and not the next. But we talk to them everyday and never forget them, cause they're always there for us. :)

Sadie Hart said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful charm, a great way to capture that feeling of remembrance for such a special soul.

Pam Asberry said...

Megan, I wish so, too. I went to the hospital with bleeding, had an ultrasound, and the tech told us it was a girl. I had about five minutes of pure delight before we found out there were problems. But I know she would have been amazing. What am I saying? She WAS amazing. She touched so many lives in her six short days on earth. Thank you for writing!

Pam Asberry said...

I know what you mean about those tiny feet, Melissa. Mackenzie was misshapen and deformed but I thought she was absolutely beautiful. Thank you for your friendship.

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, V.K. It helps so much knowing you are out there!

Carley said...

No words to add to this one as the tears just trickled down my cheeks as I read it & remembered back when she survived her birth which even amazed the doctors. Her time was so short & precious, but Daddy dreamed about her one night & in his dream he was meeting her as a beautiful young lady & that's really about all he remembered. I though that was unusual after all these years, but somewhere beyond the mystery that we don't understand in this life God knows & has a reason for every thing that happens during our earthly journey. I've been sad this past month from losing our Greg 3 yrs. ago after God let us have him for 44 years. Even though I have all faith & trust in God it is impossible for me to understand why his time had to be up at such a young age when we feel that we needed him so much especially now that we moved here to live close to him in our declining years. This loss just added to our loss of our Jim, Jr. @ 19 yrs. of age which is now 30 years ago which at times seems so long ago & yet with a memory of like it was yesterday. So many tragic things take a toll on one's life & leave scars forever, but I realize I will never understand it & in order to survive until my purpose is finished that I just have to let go & trust God completely. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us so that is enough to keep me holding on. I love U & I know the pain that tugs at your heart strings. Your blog was a sweet way to honor her memory & she would be proud of her mama.

Pam Asberry said...

Hi Ashley. I got to hold my sweet baby for six days. Every moment was so precious. It is so hard to let go of anyone we love, terribly hard to let go of a child. But you are right; we never forget. They are always with us in our hearts. Thank you for your comments. Please give my love to your sister.

Pam Asberry said...

Hi Sadie. I am making a mother's bracelet for myself, with the names and birthstones of my three sons, and I am going to add Mackenzie's charm to the clasp. She is gone but not forgotten. Thank you for your kind words!

Pam Asberry said...

Hey Mom. I don't think I understand much of anything most of the time, but love remains. I miss you every day and wish you and Dad were back in Atlanta. (((HUGS)))

Julee J. Adams said...

{{{hugs}}}to you and your mama. I remembered hearing, but don't know if it was from Debbie or a Christmas letter. It's right that you're honoring her, remembering her.

One reason I didn't have children is there seems to be a "curse" on first born males on both sides of my family and on my husband's that involves miscarriages and accidents and deaths in childhood or the mid-20s. I am not as brave as you in a lot of ways. So, my children are my characters in my fiction. I gave Will the line "We love 'em while we have 'em."

That's true, isn't it? Thanks for sharing your memories and know she will be remembered.

Sandy Elzie said...

Pam,
I've never lost a child, but my mother lost one at 23 hours old and she kept him near her heart until she died. There was a special bond with that child she lost...and like you, always thoughts of what he might have grown up to be like.

I know I'll meet my brother...Alan Dewayne Brunson...when I reach heaven, but it would have been a hoot to have had two older brothers.

We don't always understand why God leaves some and takes others, but He gives us the strength to make it through all of life's up and downs.

I love your charms and I send you a really tight hug.

Sandy

S.M. Carrière said...

That was so touching. Happy Birthday to you, Mackenzie and my deepest condolences to you Pam. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like.

Pam Asberry said...

You don't remember, Julee, but you sent me a lovely card after Mackenzie died. I have kept it all these years, along with the others. As you know, I had another child after Mackenzie - that was Nathan. It was a terrifying 40 weeks; by then I was over 35 and there was a 1 in 100 chance that he would be born with Down's Syndrome, much higher than the risk of having a Trisomy 13 child. But I am so thankful I took that risk. You are right; in a way, our characters are our children. Maybe I will write Mackenzie into a future novel. Thank you for the hugs.

Pam Asberry said...

Hi Sandy. There are going to be a lot of happy reunions in the heavens one day. Thank you for stopping by and for the hug. :-)

Pam Asberry said...

You are a good friend, S.M. Thank you for your kind words.

Vicki Keire said...

What a beautiful and touching post. Thanks so much for sharing what's in your heart. I love the jewelry.

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you for your comments, Vicki. I feel so much love and support here. It really makes a difference!

Jo Schaffer said...

This is sweet.
I have three wonderful sons, too.

My youngest has KS and we were afraid for his life the first couple years of his life-- he was in surgery a lot. He's five now and counting.

Sorry for your loss-- it probably still feels fresh.

Pam Asberry said...

Wow, Jo, that must be hard. I know you are thankful for every day. You are right; it is hard to believe that 17 years has passed since I held my little girl in my arms. It seems like it was just yesterday. Thank you for your comments.

KendallGrey said...

Thank you so much for this amazing post, especially so close to Mother's Day. It reminds me how grateful we should be for the people we love and those we've lost. Though she's not here in body, Mackenzie is still with you in soul and always will be. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter!

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you, Kendall. Mother's Day actually fell during the six short days of Mackenzie's life. I knew it would be my only Mother's Day with her, so it was bittersweet. Thank you for your beautiful comments.

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Pam!

I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. Like the others above, my heart goes out to you.

We've all had things that have happened and no matter how much time goes by, those anniversaries are (and always will be) the toughest. I hate that you hurt like this, but it also shows the dedication you have and the strength you carry with you in life. To have gone through what you have and to still be the wonderful person we all know, that is proof that you can take on the world.

I wish you the very best in everything you do, be it writing, piano, beading or even finding that one true love.

Hugs

Tami

Pam Asberry said...

Tami, your post brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for your kind words; they really lifted me up tonight.

Christine said...

Pam, I too have never lost a child, but I know those who have, and I have lost a brother far too young. You have all my empathy and admiration for speaking out. Sending you love and hugs.