When I was pregnant with Thomas I was on a pregnancy chat board where I met many wonderful women who were all experiencing the same miracle that I was. We chatted about anything and everything, and offered each other support and encouragement as we all faced the journey to motherhood.
It was a magical place and a magical time.
As the women had their babies, they'd move on to the "Grad Board" where the topics changed from morning sickness and cravings to poopy diapers and breast feeding.
I couldn't wait to join that board and start sharing the wonder of motherhood with all the women with whom I'd shared my pregnancy - the women I'd come to consider friends.
The interesting thing is, when I had and lost Thomas, I was still welcomed with open arms on the Grad Board. I had countless women post and tell me that I was every bit as much a mother as they were, and that they wanted me to stay.
I felt like I didn't belong, but their warmth and sincerity kept me there just the same. For almost a full year these amazing women have been there for me in ways I'm sure they don't even realize. A kind word on a sad day, mentioning Thomas' name out of the blue, including me in their lives - they have no idea what that has meant to me. Or what a lifeline it has been.
I haven't been on the board all that much in recent weeks because, I suppose, as Thomas' birthday draws near it becomes a little more difficult to be in a situation that is so mother and child focused. But I do still pop in and check on my girls and see what's going on every now and then. I like to see whose little one is walking, who has decided to try for #2, who has a funny story or a new picture to share - that kind of thing. I like keeping tabs even when I'm keeping a low profile.
Yesterday I popped on and found a post for Thomas. One of those sweet and supportive mothers decided that March should be dedicated to doing good things in memory of my little boy. She asked everyone to consider doing a good deed or two in his honour, and posting it so My Beloved and I would know what wonderful things are being done for others - simply because our son graced this earth for just 20 short hours.
There were donations made to charities, food banks and women's shelters, there were favours done for friends and neighbours and there were promises to think of very special ways to honour Thomas' life by doing good for others. And it's only March 2nd...
I was sobbing after about four posts.
I live in fear that Thomas will be forgotten because he was only here for such a short time, but these women have proven that he will be remembered, at least by them. In showing me how much Thomas' life has impacted theirs, they are giving me the best possible gift I could get - they're giving me a piece my son back. They're making him a living force in their lives and in the lives of the people they touch in his name, and knowing that brings me more comfort and healing energy than I think they could ever dream possible.
I tried to thank them in a post I wrote yesterday, but my words are wholly inadequate. I can never, ever begin to thank them enough for giving me that precious and utterly priceless gift.
And imagine, it comes with their friendship too.
I'm truly the richest woman alive.
Thank you Denise