9:41 AM EST, December 6, 2012
"Every day is hard, Christmas day, the first birthdays, Mother's Day," said Madonna Badger.
Those heartbreaking words come from the woman who lost her three small daughters and her parents in a fire on Christmas day, and has somehow found a way to go on.
"I'm doing really well. I'm shocked that I'm doing okay," Badger told Matt Lauer on the Today show.
No one will ever forget what happened last Christmas at Badger's Stamford, Connecticut, home. Before going to bed, her boyfriend made the tragic blunder of placing hot embers from the fireplace in a paper bag. Officials say that triggered the fatal blaze that killed her daughters, her mother, and her father, who played a department store Santa just before his death.
Badger was inconsolable, and since the tragedy she reveals she's spent time in three mental institutions.
But now, she told Lauer that she's found peace through visions of her daughters Lily, Sarah, and Grace.
“I see my children in my dreams. When I pray I see my children. Lily came to me very early on and said, ‘Don't worry mommy, I’m right there in your heart, and I love you,’” Badger told Lauer.
"These visions help you go on?” Lauer asked.
“Absolutely,” said Badger.
Badger credits Dr. Eben Alexander's best selling book, Proof of Heaven, with getting her through the toughest times, and said she no longer has thoughts of suicide.
“I don't have those thoughts. Mostly because, I don't know what would happen if I did that. I don’t want to risk not being with my children,” said Badger.
At the funeral service Badger's boyfriend, Michael Borsina, actually reached out to comfort her ex-husband, Matthew Badger, who was both shattered and enraged by the loss of his children.
Lauer asked, "He said at times he wanted to kill you and your boyfriend at the time of the fire, Michael Borsina. How did you feel when you heard that?”
"I thought that was perfectly normal. His response, I would have felt the same way. I certainly felt the same way. I don't judge Matthew’s grief,” Badger said.
Badger has apparently ended her relationship with the boyfriend.
With Christmas upon us, Badger intends to be far from any holiday festivities.
"I'm going to go to Thailand. It's a Santa Claus free zone. I'm going to go work at an orphanage there, and bring toys from my garage that belonged to my children," said Badger.
And on Christmas day, she says her daughters will be with her in spirit.
"I'm going to pray and meditate, and be with my kids, and love them, and do the very best I can," said Badger.