Today a mummy is doing what no mother should ever have to do. No father for that matter too. They are celebrating the too short life of their little Matilda Mae and saying goodbye with a beautiful service they have planned. And I am sitting here wondering why my tears are falling so freely. Why it is that I am holding my children a little tighter, being a little more patient. Why do I feel like a different kind of mummy? I don’t know the family but I, like many others, have been party to a mother’s grief and have felt connected.
Other bloggers have written about why it is that the online community have been so strongly behind Jennie (The Boy and Me says it perfectly) but for me, the connection is both direct and, perhaps, more nebulous.
I can’t know how Jennie is feeling today and I wouldn’t presume that my own experience is anything like hers, but I too have lost a baby. I don’t have the aching, empty arms that Jennie has talked about because I never held her and I can’t miss her face, because I never saw it. But to me, she was a baby to hold, a toddler to chase , a teenager to cajole and a mother herself because in my mind, her potential was real. Now, with my two boys, no matter how wonderful every part of them is (and it is), I have realised that childhood is full of loss. They will never again have that newborn smell; once they can walk, they will never be a crawler again…the list goes on. Except this kind of loss is not tragic because it is accompanied by the excitement about the next stage…and they are still there. But maybe one reason why so many parents have felt so deeply for Jennie and her family is because we are all living with a sense of loss that helps us all imagine, and that is all we can do, what sort of an impact a terminal loss might have.
That’s the direct connection I have felt and now for the more nebulous…
What I have witnessed on Twitter and on others’ blogs over the last month or so since Baby Tilda’s death has been nothing short of love. For some, love for a friend, for others a more universal kind of love for another who is hurting. There has been a raw, honest opening from Matilda’s mummy that has allowed others of us to accept our own, deepest and strongest feelings…and to feel connected. For me this has meant an opening of my heart: in sorrow for Jennie and Matilda Mae; in a renewed sort of love for my boys. I am not the same sort of mummy.
Part of Matilda’s funeral today was about her legacy and although it has been said before and will be said again, over here her legacy is love. What a footprint to leave on the world.
I don’t think I will ever forget this time, or Matilda’s name. She is there in the stars and she is in the hearts of many. All this is because her Mummy chose to share, to connect with the rest of the world in these darkest moments and for a mummy to do that, to have that impact, only shows how much that little girl was cherished and how special she must have been and how lucky she was to have chosen that mummy as her own.
Sleep tight little one, your star will forever shine bright.