... something I found in Cecily's journal, a letter to Maddie a mere five days after the discovery of Cec's illness.  It's hard, painful, to read, but it contains such love and such of the essence of mother hopes and dreams, that I felt I should share it, difficult as it may be.  from Jim's Nightly e-mail  May 8, 2004                          


Oct. 30, 03.

To my dearest, darling baby girl Madeline,

Oh, my sweet baby, how sorry I am for this terrible turn of events.  I can't bear the idea that I have brought you into this world to leave you here to navigate it without me.  I have so much that I want to share with you, show
you, teach you, love love love you.  You are the greatest gift from God anyone could ever receive.  How lucky I was that of all the people in the world, you came to me.

I had some sad and rough times in my childhood that I was SO determined to protect you against.   I so want you to grow up feeling SURE of YOURSELF and LOVED to the core of your being.

One of the reasons we named you Madeline was because of the little girl in the Madeline books.  When I was a little girl -- four or so -- I was in a Catholic boarding school.  I was the youngest and smallest by far.  And I
was, during my childhood, pretty sick from time to time.  So I related to the little girl in the Madeline story very much.  Naming you Madeline was symbolic to me:  Starting over with a new little Madeline who would have a
clean slate -- who had no scars or heartache to handicap her through her journey.  And I was going to protect you from it all.

Oh, my darling baby, how sorry I am!

What big plans I had for our mad love affair together!  I am so grateful, for you are, along with your father, the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

My greatest fear right now is that I may not live long enough for you to remember me.  That would be heartbreaking and tragic for me.  And yet, on the other hand, your tender little heart may not need the horrible memory of losing your mother.

My darling angel, how I wanted to protect you from such wounds!

I promise you the all-out fight for my life.  I will take whatever drugs they have available to beat this back -- knock it out -- kill it.  I will take them gladly -- I will be sick, I will fight my way toward you.

You are so special and such a miracle.  You're everything I ever wanted. You.

Your father and I wanted a baby, and I so desperately wanted a little girl --  but YOU -- YOU are so far and away above any of the expectations we had!  You are so magnificent a child -- so happy, loving, SMART!, eager to learn, try new things, find joy and you break my heart with the willingness you have to face your fears and deal with them creatively!

I adore you, need you, love you with all the force of the universe -- my precious angel I am fighting for you -- fighting my way toward you.  I love you more than you can imagine.

--Your mother.

First Corinthians 13: 13 says, "And now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."  Cec's love abideth, I know, even now, and death is powerless to prove otherwise.  Some day Maddie will know how abiding that love is.  We will tell her.  Again, and again.    Jim.