Dear Matilda Mae
It is almost 12 months since you left us; 12 long months, yet no time at all, really.
I have thought a lot about what I might say to you tonight. I think I just want to thank you. Let me rewind 12 months.
12 months ago, my husband was working a long way away, we did not see him for five months at a time. The children were sad, they did not react well, they did not behave well. I did not cope well. I hated every second. I went through every day looking forward to bedtime so that we could be one sleep closer to normality. All I wanted was for him to be home. We lost a lot of days just muddling through without smiles.
Then, one day in February, a mutual friend shared a link to your Mummy’s blog. I read this post: the night they found you sleeping. The words and heartache I found in that post stayed with me. A life taken so soon; your life, Matilda Mae. A family never to be the same again. It seemed so crazily unreal, that a child, a baby, could just die. No warning, no time to say goodbye. There one minute, then gone, snatched away when nobody was looking. It made my problems seem so trivial.
I was sad, I had someone to miss, the children did too. But we had each other and that felt more important than ever before. I realised how fortunate I was – I had a healthy family; we were not all together, but we were alive. You changed the way I saw the World, Matilda. I began to be thankful and grateful for what I had, I learned not to shout at the children, I learned to play. I still missed my husband, and the children missed their daddy, but we got through. We started to do more crafts and messy play, spending hours playing with sand and bonding over glitter. We had some magical times and all because of you and the lessons you taught me.
I learned to be stronger because of you and your Mummy. I saw her battle through every day, emerging stronger and more beautiful, like a butterfly. Daily, she amazed me, finding hope and beauty and love in amongst the grief and pain of losing you. You and your siblings are her life and she has done you so very proud.
So, Matilda, this is what I wanted to say. It is not eloquent nor poetic. It is not even what I expected to write. It is just a thank you, from me to you. You have made me a better person, I think.
Not because you died but because you lived.
Thank you, Matilda Mae.