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It was on this Tuesday a year ago (10/23 last year) that
my daughter, Madeleine (Maddie) went into respiratory
failure. She was on life support for 3 more days before passing
away with Cystic Fibrosis complications on 10/26/18.

The year has been hellish and also beautiful. I was blind
sided by her leaving so abruptly. I thought she’d come out
of the hospital like she had many times.

When you experience a trauma like this, one can become
hyper-sensitive to feeling hurt, abandoned and rejected.
And I did. I felt hurt and betrayed by people who didn’t
know how to grieve with me. I get it—many people will
avoid and withdraw when life gets too real.

But many others were so kind and continue to be….

Today (Tuesday) is bitter sweet because it’s also my 17th anniversary
to my husband, Steve. It’s hard not to associate losing Maddie
with this time of year.

We had a celebration of life last November, and I want to
express gratitude to my friend, Elizabeth Gerrity, who
volunteered so much of her time and love to pull off the
celebration in record time. It was a great honoring of Maddie.
She would have been proud.

At the celebration and afterwards, I had at least 3 very spiritually
connected women let me know that Maddie would be guiding me
from the other side.

About a month before Maddie passed, she told me, “Mommy,
I want you to hire Theresa Kaputo (of the Long Island Medium)
to talk with me.” I didn’t promise her because I didn’t want to
think about it.

This last April I went to a women’s networking event and saw
an old friend, Catherine Hughes, who communicates with both
animals and people who have passed. She came right up to me.

I told her of Maddie’s wishes for me to hire Theresa, and she
said, “Well I don’t have a two year waiting list and I’m a lot less!”

So I did a reading on May 2. And this was very healing. I felt
Maddie come through. She knew about a purple journal that I’d
picked off of my book shelf (that had been signed by her but
not used). She said she’d be coming to me in the early morning
hours with messages, and she has.

Maddie also communicates with me through a lovely set of
wind chimes that my friends, Chris Marshall and Laura Laurie,
bought me, with her named engraved on them. Even when the
wind doesn’t blow, they will chime, when the other chimes next to
them don’t.

I can also feel her presence on these days. Our dog, Mars, will
climb onto her bed on such days. Today the chimes have been
going all day, AND I found Mars in her bed.

I went to a women’s spiritual retreat in early August around
Melbourne, Florida. On Saturday, I was sitting out on the
balcony that overlooked the beach. It was a cloudy day, slightly
misting…there was only one person on the beach, sitting in
a chaise lounge.

From behind, this young woman resembled Maddie. Same
long brown hair. Same slight build. I was staring sadly at her,
thinking to myself, ”If only I could hold her one more time…”

After lunch, we did breath work. So I found an open yoga mat.
With breath work, you have a partner who observes you breathe
(the sitter). One person lies on the mat and begins to breathe
somewhat rapidly through the mouth (circular breathing), while
wearing an eye mask and listening to very emotional music.

The sitter holds space for whatever experience the
breather has.

My sitter was a kind woman named Daylight. I was lying there
breathing about 50 minutes. After about 15-20 minutes, the
energy pulsing through my arms and legs was intense. It felt
like pins and needles, and I kept making fists with my hands.

Our facilitator, Elizabeth, came to me and asked me to push
against her hands. So I pushed real hard 3 times, and after
that something broke loose from within me. I felt a rush of
extreme emotion, sadness and grief, for the loss of my Maddie.

I don’t typically cry in public. I grieve alone, not even with my
direct family. But that day was different. My pain was unleashed.

At the same time, I felt this loving presence descend upon me.
It was palpable, this energy, and it felt like the air was literally
shaping itself around me. My Maddie was embracing me.
Then it felt like our Creator was holding me. There was such
Love as I’ve not experienced before.

In a few moments, Elizabeth (the retreat leader) came up and
whispered in my ear, ”Maddie asked me to hold you.” She
proceeded to roll me over on my side (I’d been on my back)
and lie beside me on the floor, caressing my hair and holding
me tight.

Then Daylight (my observer) came up behind me and held me,
”This is what’s called an Angie Sandwich,” she said tenderly.

I have never felt so loved and supported than in that moment. I
realized why Chelsea (my other daughter), Cathy (a friend), and
I had traveled over 16 hours one way to attend this retreat.

It was such a beautiful experience! I’ve since done another
reading with Maddie on 9/2. She validated how the work I’m
doing with Morgan Higdon will have a great impact.

I miss Maddie more than everything! Nothing will ever be the
same without her. However, after about 8 months, I decided
that I don’t have to move forward without her. She is still with
me. We are moving forward together, and I’m honoring Maddie
by being strong, resilient and loving.

Maddie in this last reading said that she always wanted to help
others and she can do it so much more easily from the “other
side” than she ever could here in her sick body.

The first weekend of October, we went on our traditional Spoon
River Drive craft fair girls weekend (Maddie’s most favorite thing
in the world). There are tons of crafts and things to see. I didn’t
buy many things this year.

On Sunday, just as my mom and I were heading to the restroom
before our long drive home, I felt pulled to stop at this obscure
booth. I was standing there as my mom was talking to the booth
owner, and started to walk away.

Then I paused and looked on the inside periphery of the booths—
most everything is located on the outside where people can
easily view items. But this one table was on the inside.

I thought it a strange location. So I decided to have a look. I
went straight to this $2 item (on the 1/2 off table). It was a tiny
elephant sitting on some blocks, and it said I Love (heart) Mommy.

I was blown away! Maddie and I got matching Elephant tattoos
last July, with a mom and baby elephants whose trunks entwined into
a heart. I had not seen one other elephant there the whole weekend!

Maddie called me Mommy, not Mom. It was priceless! I immediately
purchased the $2 treasure and felt my weekend was complete.

If you’ve ever lost someone very close to you, give yourself the
space to grieve (when alone) and mourn (with others). Go at your
pace. Be gentle on yourself.

It’s my bias that our loved ones remain with us, even though
we can no longer see them in the flesh. If we are open to it, they
may guide us “from the other side,” as my Maddie has done.

Maddie, I love you! I miss you, and thank you for guiding so
many and having more impact now than you ever could while alive
due to your physical limitations.

Courageously,

Angie Monko