My friend’s baby died. I can’t say it any differently, any more delicately or make it any more palatable than that because it isn’t any different, it isn’t any more delicate and it certainly isn’t palatable in any way.
My friend’s baby died.
My friend’s baby was called Matilda Mae and she so very sadly passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on February 2nd last year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Now, very almost a year on from that most tragic of days, I find myself writing a letter I don’t want to for a friend I cherish dearly and for a baby who should be here still. Matilda Mae hit the blogging community with her phenomenal smile and gorgeous charms from the day she was born and she touched us after she passed away more than you can possibly imagine. This letter is to join in solidarity with my fellow blogging friends, to let Jennie know we still care, we still think of her and of baby Tilda every single day and to say I’m sorry and I’m here for you. I so wish it was a letter that none of us had to even think of writing…
I’ve written this letter, started it, a hundred times in my head. I’ve turned my computer on and I’ve turned it off again not knowing, not being able to find a single word. The truth is, I just don’t know what to say. But I’m going to keep the computer on now and I’m going to write my letter because I have to. Because I want to. Matilda Mae is too important not to do this.
Dear Baby Tilda…
A year ago Matilda darling and you were here. I’d have said to you, if writing you a letter back then, how beautiful you are with your gorgeous chubby cheeks and I’d have told you of the exchanged notes I shared with your Mummy about our May 2nd babies.
Your Mummy and I would have exclaimed how lovely it was that we had our babies on the same day. We’d spent a whole weekend drinking in our pregnancies and refreshing ourselves for the imminent arrivals of our bundles of joy while we enjoyed a pampering Mother’s to be retreat together and I’d have told you what a joy it was to spend that time with her. And you.
Today and my letter to you is very different. Today and I have to tell you how much you are missed, how much your little gap in the world is felt and how we so wish that things were not as they are but how they were. Today and there is wrong in the world. You’re not here, your Mummy and Daddy have broken hearts and there is nothing but nothing anyone can do about it.
I came to your goodbye after that terrible day, that terrible morning when I read your Mummy’s words. I couldn’t believe it on that day because I didn’t want to believe it. You were gone, taken and you were never coming back. I sat numb in the seat I sit in now as I write this letter, not with tears running down my cheeks because they were too stunned to come, but with disbelief and bewilderment in my heart.
I said to my husband, ‘Jennie’s baby, Matilda Mae, Jennie’s baby has died’ and he didn’t understand. I had to say it again and then again before what I was saying became clear.
And then I came to your Goodbye.
I sat in church and watched your family, your friends and I cried with them for what had happened. I sat in church and I watched your Daddy carry you to give you back to God. I sat in church and I prayed, even though this was to say goodbye to you, I prayed it wasn’t real.
I’m not a praying person really. I’m not even very religious. I believe in something because I don’t understand how there can be nothing but I don’t pray really. Sometimes I light candles in churches, I have done for you this past year but I don’t pray really, just sometimes there’s nothing else to do. On the day of your goodbye I prayed for lots of things. I prayed for it to not be so but I also prayed for God to look after your family and I prayed for you to be looked after in heaven.
Yes, I believe in heaven. I might not be terribly religious but I believe in heaven and I believe soles go on. I believe that’s where you are now. I believe you will know things that happen here and know how much you were and are loved. I don’t believe its a consolation or something to make anyone feel any better, you should be here not there, but I do believe it to be true.There are reasons why I believe this and I have spoken with your Mummy about what they are.
Almost a year ago I came to your goodbye and now, a year on, I don’t feel any differently. I still sit bewildered wondering how it can be that you are not here. I have had conversations with people who don’t even know your Mummy who feel the same and who have shed tears for your loss. They don’t get it, I don’t get it, nobody gets it. We know it but yet it doesn’t feel like it can be real. Something so terrible shouldn’t be real be you see.
A year on and everyone feels the same. A year on and nothing has changed. Except it has in other ways. Your Mummy, and your Daddy have been so generous with your memory. They have shared it with the world and let a little something called love let them carry you through to make a real difference. A year on and you should see what this love has done!
Their love for you, their generosity and sharing how they miss you has changed something, just a little something and love has raised money in your name for the Lullaby Trust. One day, your memory will mean this doesn’t happen to someone else like your Mummy and Daddy, one day, your Mummy and Daddy, by remembering you, will have changed something for another family.
It doesn’t change anything for the gap you’ve left us all but it does change one other thing. That goodbye I came to, to send you up to heaven and back to God, it changed that. For all the time you are in heaven and being looked after by God, it will never really be goodbye for any of us here on earth. Your name, your memory will live on forever. Your Mummy and Daddy did that. Love did that. You did that.
Watch your Mummy and Daddy from heaven and please send them rainbows when you can.
Love from Ruth