Our Daughter, Madeline Todd Brown
We lost our daughter, Madeline Todd Brown, on January 4, 2016. She was 36 weeks old, but so ready for the world. A beautiful little girl, at already 6 lbs and 19 inches, she was perfectly healthy, and yet, she is physically not here. We’ve searched endlessly for answers. An estimated 26,000 babies are lost to stillbirth every year. We ask: How is it that we were unprepared for this? If stillbirth was included in the causes of death in the U.S., it would rank 11th (as of 2014). We asked: Why didn’t we know this was possible?
Death in general is a taboo topic, but the loss of a child – that is just avoided. So, with most afraid of what to say, nothing is said. Left are many devastated parents, siblings, and family not knowing where to turn, not understanding how they will survive, or, as we prefer to say, “functioning without a limb”. See, you never “heal” from this loss, you just learn to function without a limb – a limb you wish you could still have – a limb that would likely make your life feel more complete, or full. So for Madeline we talk, and through that discussion we hope that others find understanding in our daughter’s life and death.
Despite our devastation, the kindness, compassion, and generosity of our family, friends, and dear community is beyond words. We often remark on how individuals we barely know Madeline share in our love for her in the most considerate ways. It’s the true essence of the human spirit. Our family has found further solace in knowing that Madeline’s life will have purpose and meaning through the partnership we developed with Girls Hope of Pittsburgh and our avidness in talking about her, and enabling her memory to live through the lives of other young girls. Taking such tragedy and sorrow and channeling it to helping the lives of others, well, that is all we can do for Madeline. We can’t soothe her cries, anticipate her first steps, snuggle in her rich baby smell, or dream of her future, however; Madeline can do good for others and as her parents, that makes us so proud of her.
Her memory lives from our understanding that she was real and unforgettable, and that her life has purpose and meaning. For Madeline, we talk. For Madeline, we give. For Madeline, we celebrate the future of the Girls Hope scholars. We would give anything, anything, to have Madeline physically here, but if she is reminding us of some of the most important life lessons of goodness, kindness, giving back, and the human spirit, then we can only say thank you to our daughter.
Supporting the Madeline Todd Brown Memorial Fund
The Madeline Todd Brown Memorial Fund was developed by the Brown/Levine families in honor of Madeline. The funds will be used to support post-secondary costs of the Girls Hope scholars inclusive of defraying tuition costs, room and board, and books, as well as other necessary expenses. As we would have supported our own daughter in her dreams and hopes for the future, we dedicate these funds to providing financial assistance for talented Girls Hope scholars in whatever future goals they hope to pursue. After enjoying dinner with many of the girls, we were assured by them that this gift from Madeline would provide them with many opportunities they wished and dreamed for, and they showed much appreciation and gratitude for this opportunity.
There are several ways you can support the Madeline Todd Brown Memorial Fund:
- Complete the form below to make a donation in memory of Madeline.
- Send a check made payable to Girls Hope of Pittsburgh with a reference to the Madeline Todd Brown Memorial Fund to: Girls Hope of Pittsburgh, 1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 103, Coraopolis, PA 15108.
- Call Girls Hope of Pittsburgh at 412-329-7172.
- Attend Sweet Madeline (see details below).
If there are other ways you wish to support the Madeline Todd Brown Memorial Fund, we would love to hear from you! Please email [email protected].
Save the date for the 4th Annual Sweet Madeline on Saturday, February 29, 2020. This event celebrates the life of Madeline Todd Brown and supports the Madeline Todd Brown Memorial Fund through Girls Hope of Pittsburgh.
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in)
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
E. E. Cummings