June 17th is an ordinary day for most people; however, for us it’s the day our lives were forever changed. June 17th is the day Leighton received her angel wings. This day is always an emotional journey as thoughts of four short years ago play through our minds, but this year we came upon an article in ESPN regarding the Cleveland Browns’ punter, Andy Lee.
Unfortunately, Andy lost his daughter after only 8 days of life due to complications after her birth. Andy is changing his number (a sacred thing to many athletes) to honor his late daughter Madelyn.
Our heart breaks for Andy and his family, but many things he said in the article echo how Amy and I feel. It’s very strange, I have a common bond with a NFL player. Typically I’d be ecstatic, but in this particular situation, I wish for no commonality.
It’s never fair for a child to die and no parent should ever have to bury their child. However, life is not fair. One particular quote from the article really struck a cord as Amy and I have said it many times since Leighton’s passing:
“She was here, she was a person but nobody got to meet her, nobody got to see her,” Lee said.
No one knows what to say to you when you bury a child and most people mean well, but it sometimes doesn’t change the hurt they accidentally cause. The most painful thing can be when people don’t talk about your son or daughter that passed. Again, we know they mean well, but not talking about your child is like saying his/she didn’t exist. “She was here, she was a person…” You might see tears, but don’t try to change the subject. Just because we cry doesn’t mean we don’t want to talk about it.
If there’s any advice we can give, it would be to talk openly about your angel son or daughter. It may not always be easy, but it helps. Leighton is our daughter and we are so very proud of what her short but power life has brought about.
“There is no foot too small that it cannot leave its print on the world.”