The baby has been poorly for a couple of weeks and sleep has not been on her agenda. For a couple of nights I thought things were back to normal but last night again she called for me. She didn’t want to be in her own bed, alone and so we retreated downstairs to the dark silence.
Eyes swollen and wanting to close.
And that’s the point of this post. Countless times since February 2nd 2012, I have caught myself wishing for moments like this. For a chance to sit and be with my baby. To hold on her on my lap and have her snuggle back against me with a little sigh. To carry her back to her bed with her heavy head resting on my shoulder and that brief opening of eyes as her body rests on her cool bed sheets. To have her look at me with a half smile, and to close her eyes again to sleep. These moments, no matter what time they come, are precious.
I wish for these moments because I know that I am so lucky.I know that they are not to be taken for granted. Since my lovely friend Jennie lost her beautiful Matilda Mae, I have struggled to be a better mother to my own children. It is all that I can do. I may not always have time to read and comment on every single post but know that I am always there. Know that I have accepted that I cannot stop the rain from falling on her head; but I can put up an umbrella for us both so that we can take a walk in the rain together. And when Jennie asks that other parents do not waste a single moment with their children, I try so hard to honour that.
I take more baths with them, rather than choosing to fold washing as they play. I read one extra story. I keep them close.
It is no consolation. I know that my photos hurt Jennie. I know that birthdays are hard and that Christmas is excruciating. I know that she cannot bare to see smiles and tinsel and fairy lights and gifts. I know that she misses her baby girl with every single breath in her body. And how can she not?
SIDS is cruel, unrelenting and needless. There are too many questions, too few answers. There are too many babies taken suddenly and too many families left incomplete forever. There are too many black holes and too many people falling falling falling…
They say that grief is love with nowhere to go but I think that Jennie’s love for Matilda found a path. A little of that love came my way and for that I will be forever thankful. I have used that love to form friendships, to see my children in a different way, and to find a passion in my heart for other things too. I have treasured that love and I will continue to do so for as long as I have a breath in my body.
I know it’s not much and there is not much I can do. But I can hold my children and I can light a candle and I can hang a star on my tree and I can hold that umbrella and I can remember.
This Christmas, as usual, I will not be sending Christmas cards. Instead, I am donating to Matilda Mae’s Starlight fund and I would like to ask you to do the same. Any small donation could make a difference to a family and each and every donation means a lot to us all.