Em was just over six months when Maddie passed away. Up until then, when we'd put Em down for the night, we didn't dare enter her room. The fear of waking her and having to soothe her back to a peaceful slumber didn't seem worth the risk.
Hearing about our friends losing their 17-month-old baby girl changed that, though. From that night forward, we've crept into Em's room to watch her as sleeps.
We stand over her, often laughing at whatever strange pose she's taken -- tush in the air, arched backward like the letter "C", an appendage out the slat. Regardless the pose, Em always looks so peaceful. No tantrums, no demands for snacks, just a cherubic little girl.
Each night as we watch, I think about the Spohrs and their loss. Hearing horrific stories that involve children has always been heart-wrenching, but the way those losses touch you after you become a parent? And when they happen to families you know and love?
You ache on their behalf.
You want to take away their pain.
You want to rewind the clock and give it all back to them.
You curse the universe and ask why such a beautiful family and why such a beautiful little girl.
We stand over Em in her bed, wondering what adventures await her. Two years later, I wish that just a few miles away, the Spohrs were able to do the same.
Heather, Mike, Maddie, Annie, and your entire family -- we remember, and we love you. You're always in our hearts.