Dear Matilda Mae
I imagine I am not the only one today who wondered whether to write you a letter at all.
I am not a relation or a friend. I don’t live near your family. It feels a bit uncomfortable to know what to do for the best. Is writing a letter intrusive? What words can offer comfort?
Before the tragic event of a year ago, I was aware of your Mum and her blog. It was not a blog I visited a lot. Your Mum as you know is one of life’s naturals at the most joyful and challenging experience we call motherhood. That shines out so strongly from her writing and pictures both before and after she lost you. Sometimes that inspires and sometimes it makes mums like me wish we did better.
I think I met you once at BritMums Live. I am not sure. I remember feeling very out of my depth and spotting a woman with a baby. Even the most shy person can overcome nerves to comment on a beautiful baby. So I said something and got a friendly reply. Was it you and your Mum? Frustratingly, because I was so caught up with my own feelings, I can’t say either way. It is enough to know that I was in the same room with you once.
On 2nd February last year, you went to sleep for the final time.
I have watched your family try to come to terms with this event. I have reflected on how I might feel had this happened to our family.
Times change a lot in a year. I found myself at BritMums Live again in June last year on the reception desk as your Mum arrived without you. I got this right I think. I held your Mum’s eye and said how good it was to see her there or something like that.
At the MADS, I got it wrong again and asked if your Mum was having a good time before realising who it was and what a crass question that was in the circumstances. Later I stood on the stage with your Mum and wished fervently that the judges would have seen sense and know that hers was the Outstanding Contribution. Your Mum said how vital it was that you were remembered as if we as a community could ever forget. I was so aware that she still had to travel home without you and you would not be waiting for her there.
I think of you and your family a lot. I keep hoping that I can make sense of what happened to you and to so many other babies. Forgive me Matilda Mae but I am still working on that one.
So a woman who likes to think she is good with words has no clever ones tonight so as I do I will pinch some.
Star of the sea was the hymn I chose for my Dad’s funeral and includes these words ..
Assuage our sorrows, calm our fears,
And soothe with hope our misery.
Refuge in grief, Star of the sea
Pray for the mourner, pray for me.
This morning I watched Coronation Street and Hayley’s funeral. A community coming together to acknowledge that someone was very special indeed and made her unique contribution as we all do.
I cried for losses of my own and very much with you on my mind too of course.
When I lost my parents, the only comfort I found was in memories. I think it made me realise that the only point of life as far as I can see is the making of memories that will sustain those we leave behind. I am quite evangelical about it now urging those who still have their loved ones to keep making memories. They will understand one day.
Your family will continue to feel your presence in magical ways too. Of that I am sure.
I feel a special wind and believe that means my parents are at my side.
The only other meaning to life that I can fathom is that it is important to leave a legacy and to have contributed in some meaningful way.
Matilda Mae – you lived for 9 short months and have managed to change the world.
You have raised awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and seen money raised for charities in your name.
Families do things differently – mine does anyway even in tiny ways like making more time for arts and crafts.
I take part in a linky this year saying what my word of the week is. Every week the word is clear but this time it was obscure.
Watching Corrie, Roy used the word “coruscating”. It is rare for a new word to come into my world. I did not know what this meant.
To give forth flashes of light; sparkle and glitter
I think you did that and continue to do so.
Keep shining bright and help your family to do the same.