Monday, November 3, 2008

In Memory of Maddie

Ten years ago today, a little 8 year old girl named Madelyn Rae Clifton went missing from her front yard. After being kissed by her mother, Maddie had gone out to play as her 11 year old sister was inside practicing piano.

My firstborn was 15 months old at the time. I held her close as I watched the news coverage every day hoping and praying that Maddie would be found alive. Maybe she was hurt and just couldn't make it back home. Maybe someone had her, but would let her go.

I took fliers with her picture and put them up around the condos where we lived at the time. I looked at every child I saw, hoping to see Maddie and help get her home.

And I prayed. The whole town prayed. The whole town searched.

Maddie's family was on tv begging for her return.

One week after Maddie vanished from her yard, her body was found stuffed under her 14 year old neighbor's water bed. His own mother found her there and had to turn her son in to the police. He was later tried as an adult and is serving a life sentence.

And the whole town moured. We mourned the loss of this precious little girl. We mourned the loss of innocence. We mourned for the two mothers who's lives were devastated that day.

I went to visit Maddie's grave after the funeral was over and her family had left. I signed the guest book. I don't know exactly why I needed to do that, but I felt it was something I just had to do. I held my own daughter, and I felt the loss and grief that Maddie's mother must have been feeling. Must still feel ten years later.

I am an extremely overprotective mother. I worry sometimes that maybe I am too protective. Maybe I need to start letting go a little. Then I remember Maddie, and I just can't.

I look at my daughters, almost the exact ages of Maddie and her big sister on the day Maddie vanished, and I cannot imagine my life without them. Just as I can't imagine their lives without each other.

And so, I hold on too tight, and I pray for the wisdom to know when to let go.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6


Brandi said...

I too have a mother's grip on my daughter's. May God wathc over them and grant them saftey mercy every minute of every day! Love you!

My Three Sons said...

I'm right there with you. We can be crazy neurotic over protective parents together!!! People tell me that the chances of it happening are...blahblahblah. I doubt Maddie's family give a care about what a small percentage it is of children that something that horrible happens to! So I say keep holding...I don't care what I was allowed to do alone at what age...I won't let me kids do things until I am ready!!!

Pajama Mama said...

I remember that.

Anonymous said...

This is so sad