Dear Matilda Mae
I hope you don’t mind me writing to you. I feel a bit presumptuous doing so, to be honest. You see I never met you. I so wish I had.
But without you or your Mummy knowing it, before that terrible day last February, you had already had a big impact on my life. I found your Mummy’s blog on April 3, 2012, the day after my little boy Boo was born 11 weeks early. I have never been so afraid. And I looked far and wide for comfort. I found a blog by your Mummy’s friend Kylie, which took me to Edspire, where I learned about the amazing resilience and humour of your lovely big sister and brother. I read every post. Each one gave me hope. Each made me smile and laugh. The love imbued into every word your talented Mummy chose made me feel optimistic and strong. I felt less alone.
I hadn’t sought out your Mummy’s blog to find you. In those early days, I’m ashamed to say that news of healthy, term pregnancies made me envious and sad for all we had lost with Boo’s early arrival and the complications that ensued. But I was captivated nonetheless. You gave me hope of a different kind. A beautiful reminder of a world beyond prematurity that I might have forgotten about totally were it not for you.
You were born a month after Boo and a month and a half before he was supposed to arrive. Watching you grow and develop into a beautiful little girl hitting milestones Boo has still to reach might have been difficult for me as I tried to adjust to our ‘new normal’, but, honestly, there wasn’t a shred of that. Like everyone else, I was just entranced by you. By your smile, your cheeky expressions. By the bonds between you, your Mummy and Daddy and your sister and brother.
And then you were gone. It was unimaginable.
Boo had only just come back from a series of hospitalizations following the onset of dangerous seizures. He had medication-induced insomnia and barely slept 3 hours a day for months. But that night, the night I learned of what had happened to you, Matilda Mae, I was, for once, glad he couldn’t sleep. Glad that I had to cuddle him all night long. Glad I could.
Matilda Mae, you have touched our lives in so many ways. We talk about you a lot. My daughter adores her Matilda Mae dress and is sad she is outgrowing it and that it doesn’t come in bigger sizes. Every time she wears it people comment on it, and she talks about you.
And I want you to know that you have made me more grateful for this new and sometimes difficult life we lead. Not just because I (selfishly) realise how very lucky we are that Boo survived, but because I feel I have learned so much about the importance of life through your example. That I now know how much impact one small but towering personality can have on the world around them.
And then late last year, I unexpectedly got to meet your Mummy. Your beautiful, compassionate and eloquent Mummy. There was precious little of any of those virtues elsewhere in the room we met in that day. And she wasn’t there to talk about you, but about Esther and William. But you were there, Matilda Mae. You always are. And the pain of their birth, of your death, filled the room for a while. Until, that is, your Mummy started to speak. And then the pain (though still there, it will never go of course) was swamped by a tsunami of love and pride that caught everyone up in its force. Your power. The power of the love you, Esther and William and your Mummy inspire.
Thank you Matilda Mae. For all you have taught me.
Love Mrboosmum xx
There are many, beautiful letters to Matilda Mae on Ghostwriter Mummy’s blog. You can read them here.