Friday, February 19, 2010

My little Angel

Out of the blue today, while Madeleine was sitting at our kitchen table, surrounded by crayons and craft paper, enjoying her snack, she piped up in her little voice, "I think I've seen your Mom and Dad before Mommy..." 

Now, understand, we see my Dad, "Poppa" every year or two. We last saw him when we lived in Stockton.  So May of 2008 - Madeleine would have been 5 years old. I was suprised when Madeleine seemed to remember him, and asked when we were going to see "Poppa" again.  (Hopefully soon!)

And then she said, "Well, I've seen your Mommy too"... 

My Mom died of stomach cancer when I was 5 months pregnant with Madeleine. 

I softly and gently explained that wasn't possible because Grammy went to heaven when Maddie was in my tummy.

Maddie tilted her head to the side, and paused in contemplation for a moment, and then stated, "No Mom! I've seen her.  Sometimes, when I'm sleeping she stops by to tell me "Hello".


I'll never forget it - The morning my Mom passed away, she made a point to call each of her kids. 

I remember my phone ringing at 6am and seeing on my caller ID that it was my sisters number (my mom chose to stay at my sisters home with the help of Hospice rather than a hospital) and all of a sudden I could hear my heartbeat - a slow, irregular, dreadful pumping with a roaring thundering in my ears. 

I answered with a hasty "Hello?"  

It was my mom, feeble voiced but on a mission. 

I had to strain to hear her words - she seemed hard pressed to finish some sentences, so some of those words that were in her heart never made it to my ears...

But I knew.  I knew what she was saying.

She was whispering her goodbyes. 

I wish I could recall with clarity everything that was said on that brief phone call.  I wish I would have had the foresight to grab a pad of paper and scribble everything down.  But I didn't...

I wouldn't understand the magnitude that her passing would have on my life until months, even years later. 

This was my first time losing someone I loved.

I listened, crouching on the floor by the corner of my bed, hand pressed to my mouth, trying to contain my emotions.

I don't think I said much.

The beginnings of our conversation are blurred forever, try as I might, I can't recall them,

But this much I remember, My mom, the woman that I loved more than any one person in my life,the one who gave me life, who taught me how to walk and talk, and who prayed incessently over me, the woman, who as a teenager, I battled against, cared for, rolled my eyes at, and silently cursed sometimes 
apologized to me....

She said, "I'm sorry if I ever let you down.  I'm sorry if I wasn't a good mom to you at times... I love you Janelle and I am so glad you are my daughter and that I got to be your Mom. I love you." 

I was horrified!  The last conversation with my mom and I didn't expect an apology.  I didn't need one.

Hurriedly, I pushed aside her words "No Mom, no apologies.  I love you and you were a great mother to me. I love you so much."

Silence on the other end.

I felt sick...

"Mom? Are you still there?"

"Kiss my new granddaughter for me. I wish I could see her..."


That was it.  The last conversation I would ever have with the single most important woman in my life.  I tried to hit redial but the line was busy. 

She was calling my brothers... 

I tried the number again, desperate this time. I had so much more to say to her.

Busy... Beep beep beep...

I laid on the floor, and cried.

Beep, beep, beep...

No answer.

I called my husband who had worked the night shift that particular day. He was due home in a few hours.

"I think I just had my last conversation with my mom.. Today is the day - please come home."


I don't remember how long I laid on the floor before I heard Tristan stirring. I heard him in his crib, laughing and babbling, banging something against the railings (trying to get my attention no doubt), and I let him stay there. 

I laid with my face buried in the carpet, weeping.

Grieving for moments remembered and moments to come that would now be short one special lady.

Finally, I knew T was getting fussy, I went in and opened the door to the nursery. His little blonde face peering through the rails at me, dimpled mouth all wreathed in smiles "Mamma-mama!" 

I picked him up, made a bottle and rocked him for a while, thinking of my mom, with tears streaming down my face, his chubby hand pressed in the crook of my neck.

She passed away a few hours later.

My sister, Kim, was there with her when she passed. Reading her Psalms and singing to her. I am so thankful that Kim was there with my mom when she made the transition into the eternal.

My two hero's in one room. 

We found out a month after my mother passed that we were expecting a baby girl.

Madeleine Leone
(Leone after my Moms middle name).

So for Maddie to tell me that Grammy stops in to tell her "Hello" every once in a while...


I believe in God. I believe in angels and I believe in heaven.

Do you?

Tristan and Grammy 3 days before she passed.


  1. Janelle, your post brought tears to my eyes! Yes, I do believe in angels! And I absolutely believe in Heaven! God bless your sweet Maddie and her sensitive heart!

    I'm so sorry you lost your mom at such a young age - may God continue to hold you fast in the hollow of His hand and give you special peace and comfort in those times you grieve for her!

  2. Beautiful, beautiful!! I believe without a shadow of a doubt that maddie has seen her Grammy. God does cool things like that.

    Love you girl. He's not done with you yet. Or Maddie, or any of the Hyatts. He loves you guys. I believe it. You are an incredible Mama, just like your mom was to you.


  3. No words to describe how this post touched me. You see I knew and loved your Mom before you were even born. Little did I know when she had her last child that one day that child would be my daughter, too... I'm so thankful for the loving, prayerful Mom she was to you. She and I even prayed together for you during a difficult, growing time in your life. And she and I share two lovely grandchildren and I'm looking forward to that day when we'll all be together in Heaven!!

    Love (and tears),
    Mom #2

  4. Ok, I'm seriously sobbing! Oh how I believe that Maddie has seen Grammy! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  5. Wow. I am blown away.

    I have no words to adequately describe how this makes me feel.

  6. I lost my dad before I was even married, but I FIRMLY believe that he was still walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. I believe he already knows my children. And I believe he is holding the one I just lost. Yes, I believe your mom is with you still.

    Thank you for sharing! Awesome.

  7. Your Mama was a lovely women. She is one of those graceful people I'd be proud to be like. I wouldn't doubt if Maddie has seen her. Children and animals are rumored to see things adults no longer can.

  8. I love that Maddie has seen her grandmother. I saw my brother 4 weeks after he passed away. It was my first time back to church after our car accident. He was dressed in white and holding on to the outside of my car door. I hope and pray that my children will catch a glimpse of their Uncle Shiloh and their Granddaddy one day! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Janelle.
    I love this post. I'm sitting her in my office crying. I've seen my Grandmother since she passed away a year ago. She visits me during the times I need it most. Thank you for sharing this. I love you.

  10. Crying - immediately when I started reading I just knew that this was going to make me cry. Maybe because it hits so close to home. My father-in-law passed away of cancer almost one year ago in his home. We were with him, it was one of the hardest times in our lives. Thank you for being brave enough to share the things that you shared. I didn't have the courage to say a lot of the things that I wanted to say to Brion when he was so sick and helpless, so I was a coward and said nothing. Later, in a post, I went back and said what I needed to say. I knew that he heard me.

    There is no doubt in my mind that your daughter was visited by your mom.

    I still remember when my grandma passed away, I think I was like 3 or 4, at that age, people don't think that you know what that means and I wasn't able to go to the funeral (This is why when my father-in-law passed, both of my kids were there, I wanted them to understand, especially Kyan, who was 4 at the time. He put things into so much better of a perspective than any of us ever could. I thank God he was there). But I swear that she came to say goodbye to me that day at her house while I was napping in her room. That is where she would always read to me, so that is what she did, she came and read me a book, kissed me on the forhead, told me how much she loved me, and she said goodbye. Tears just thinking about it.

    Thank you again for sharing this story.