My 22-year-old daughter, Maddie, moved on to another realm
on 10/26/18. I wasn’t ready. Who would be? We learned she
had cystic fibrosis at 4 days old. On our way to the neo-natal
clinic on day 5 of her fresh life, this beautiful white dove flew
in front of our car on Interstate 55.
I’ll never forget that bird because it signified HOPE for us. We
didn’t understand why this was happening to us new parents,
but it was. We were scared of the unknown—would Maddie have
to suffer a lot—how would we handle it if we had to watch her
die, and on and on.
Maddie lived her life on Fast Forward. She knew she needed
to squeeze every bit of “juice” out of it she possibly could. She
traveled all over the world from Paris to Australia to Hawaii to
Mexico and enjoyed every bit of it.
She fell in love with a special boy who drove her crazy because
he couldn’t be “pinned down,” and she loved him for this rebel
spirit, his big kind heart.
She became a healing code practitioner and helped the people
she was supposed to in her short time here in a deep, meaningful
way. It brought her great joy when she didn’t have to focus on
her own troubles, health, relationship or otherwise.
She had really really good friendships with people who adored
her, both female and male. She had a deep bond with her sister,
Chelsea, whom she told everything and loved so much.
She loved me and her dad beyond words. She loved her stepmom
and stepdad , her grandmas and grandpas and great grandmas.
Maddie was always given a great amount of love; she was adored.
When Life decided it had other plans for her on 10/26/18, she
moved on and left many of us feeling empty for a bit. I think of
her every day and will for the rest of my life.
One person Maddie made an impression upon was Michael Burke,
whom my husband, Steve, and I met at a CF family conference.
Michael is our age (we are now 50), and he looked great! This
fact alone gives CF parents much hope that our child will fare
the same fate. We invited Michael and his wife to dinner and got
to know them.
When Michael learned that Maddie had crossed over, he was
out riding his bike in St. Charles as was his custom, and he was
overcome with grief AND love, feeling Maddie’s presence.
He told an artist, Jo Harris, about this experience, and she
captured it on canvas. He was at the intersection of Highways
C and B, but Jo changed the road sign to MR for Maddie
Reynolds. Michael asked her to create a similar
painting for me (which is attached).
Maddie decided to take her own path in life, and it wasn’t the
path of CF which is represented by the black and gray of the
rainbow. She didn’t follow CF’s rules, but instead decided to
REALLY live fully, as signified by the vivid colors of the rainbow
as well as the flowers in color below the sign.
Yes, perhaps the consequence was a shortened
life, but that was OK with her. The month prior to her passing,
she said, “I’m at peace. I want for nothing.” I think she was
ready for a new body.
Jo is able to channel our loved ones, and she felt like, though
she didn’t know Maddie before she did the painting, she
knew her very well after, as she deeply connected with her.
After completing the painting, she fell to the floor, feeling
These are Jo’s words that accompany the painting titled,
“Until We Meet Again”:
“The flowers are always in bloom. The colors as extraordinary
as the daughter they represent. Love in full color shows the
bond of a mother and daughter, that is pure and unwavering.
An eternity in heaven, with perfect memories, perfect bodies
and an incredible God.
Heaven is paradise. God will be there…. Faith.”
I am so grateful to Michael Burke and Jo Harris for making
If you are experiencing fear in this exceptional time, know
that you are loved. And though we can’t fully understand
what is happening or WHY as we felt with the diagnosis of
CF and the loss of Maddie, deep in our hearts, we can be assured
that everything is going to be OK.