January is renowned for being miserable – the grey come-down after Christmas, cold and quite often a bit short on cash and with a few extra bits of podge after over eating and over spending through the festive season.
This year, February is worse.
On the 2nd February, the parenting blogging community was stunned and shocked to its knees by the loss of Jennie and David’s beautiful nine month old daughter Matilda Mae to cot death.
Many of us had never met Matilda, many of us have never met Jennie – but through our blogs and Twitter we feel like we know them. We do know them, they are our friends.
Blogging is nothing like what I expected when I created Carole Finds Her Wings back in June 2010. I made it to be a ‘book blog’ for reviews and posts about writing and reading but over time it very rapidly turned into what it is now – a place for me to be me and a place for me to ‘socialise’ virtually. It’s about my family, how we muddle through life, it’s about books and writing, it’s about reviewing things we love (or loathe) and it’s a place to put feelings down on ‘paper’ because that’s how I work.
I wasn’t expecting it to make so many friends. By having a family blog you open a window into your life for the world to see and by reading other people’s blogs you look into their windows and share their lives too. You share people’s happiness, fears, sadness, hope and confusion. You help each other through rainy days, give each other ideas, laugh, cry and discover together. Blogging has proved to me that sometimes, you don’t need to have met somebody to be able to call them your friend.
When I saw the announcement on Twitter that Matilda Mae had gone to join the angels it took a while to sink in. My whole Twitter stream was full of shock and sadness as everyone came together to mourn the loss of a baby we have ‘known’ from the moment Jennie announced her pregnancy. It was too horrible to be true – how could there be no more photographs of that beautiful smile appearing on my computer screen? How could she just be… gone?
As a community we have pulled together, crying with Jennie and each other as she and her family try to find their way through this situation every parent dreads, offering what we can in the name of help and support to them and each other.
I for one have been holding my children very close over the last few days and thanking God for every second of it.
Then, yesterday, a second round of bad news hit me. This time not on-line but in real life – another loss but this one much closer to home, a part of my own family.
Where I had been finding my feet again and pulling myself out of the slump that the start of February had left me in, I slipped again. Death is not an easy thing at any time. In this second case it is almost easier to bear because it came later in life – it wasn’t at the beginning, but nearer the natural end. The ‘right’ way of things.
But it still hurts, there is still a person missing who was there before and there is a very important and close member of my family grieving beyond anything I have experienced myself. I feel useless – they live quite far away so I can’t just drop round to help with the housework or to take some milk or biscuits round and make sure they sit down and have a cup of tea. My parents have gone to stay with them for a while to help, that eases my worry a lot, and we have sent down a parcel for them with a few things in to help them find a smile in all the stress and sadness. It’s not much but we all pitched in – the Smalls chose a packet of sweets each and decorated the box with stickers and felt tips, we chose a few other bits and pieces together – some practical and some silly, in the hope that it will help ease a little hurt and let them know we love them and are thinking of them all the time.
February has not been a good month so far, hopefully March will be better when it comes. It should be, after all my ‘baby’ is going to be two on the 1st – if that isn’t a reason to celebrate, then I don’t know what is!
Matilda Mae and Nargus Ara, may you both rest in peace and know that you live on forever in the hearts of all those who love you.