This post is about an outpouring of love from a community that many people don’t know exists or, if they do, don’t believe is as good as ‘in real life.’ This past week, the sudden passing of Maddie shocked all of us. What wasn’t shocking was the response of the blogging/twittering community. At least it was not shocking to those of us who have experienced the online community’s outpouring of love when we needed it. I have always had a hard time when family or friends questioned my online friendships. How is it any different from friendships I have with people who have moved away? I don’t see those people very often or at all anymore, but that doesn’t diminish the feelings we have for each other. So why would anyone think that just because I haven’t met someone in person, that my feelings can’t be as genuine or real as with someone I see daily?
Communities like the one I grew up in 40 years ago don’t exist much anymore. These days we hardly know our neighbors, let alone have block parties. The growth of online communities, especially what the media dubs ‘mommy bloggers’ has created new communities that span across borders, across miles and across oceans. We support each other, inform each other and keep each other in touch with the world while helping to raise our children and our grandchildren. We give emotional support, advise, and expose ourselves to others who have experience to share. It is a powerful, loving and nurturing community that knows no bounds. And, honestly, our response this last week has done much to restore my faith in mankind.
I urge those who can, to continue to honor Maddie by supporting the March of Dimes. When my grandson, Collin, who was born prematurely last August, died we asked for donations to MoD instead of flowers, so the MoD is a cause I believe in and support. It is my sincere wish that no one have to go through what Maddie’s parents and Collin’s parents had to endure and I hope that someday because of MoD research they won’t have to.
If you are new to my Den, you may not know that in January of this year, for the first time since I was 16 (that is 30 years people!) I became unemployed. Since being laid-off, due to the current economic woes in our country, I have been unable to find employment. My husband is unable to work and (so far) unable to collect disability, so I had been our sole source of income for the past two years. I still have one child at home, and trying to support a family of three on unemployment is not easy nor is it comfortable. Still I gave what I could to MoD in Maddie’s honor, just as I did in Collin’s honor last year. The point of this little digression will become clearer in a few moments.
I have been reading the numerous posts in honor of Maddie and following as much in the Twitterverse as I can. All the posts have been moving and emotional, but none touched me the way a post by Kristen (I now see it is updated and her situation is very similar to mine). When my oldest grandchild was born (Ladybug), she suffered two massive strokes and was transferred to the NICU. She wasn’t expected to live and spent nearly two weeks there. By a miracle and the sheer force of prayer and love she did survive, but those days were some of the hardest I have ever suffered through. That night after reading Kristen’s post, I could hardly sleep. I talked to Funsize (Collin’s mother) and Nannygoat (Ladybug’s mom) and decided that we were going to have to form our own little movement in honor of Ladybug, Maddie, Collin and all other little babies and their families who have had to spend time in the NICU.
Because I am unemployed, it is cookies and other homemade goodies we will be bringing the NICU nurses. And because I am a crocheter there will be little booties and caps for the babies! (I see now that Meghan has a link to patterns on her page here). ASIDE: I am always late to the party. Although I thought of this idea Wednesday night, I am just now writing it down and when doing the links I see that a lot of great minds think alike!). I know there are a lot of you out there who are having difficult financial times also, and I had hoped that if you crochet or knit you could make some preemie caps/booties and send them to me to be added in the gift bags. Or if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body, you could donate from the list of things from Heather’s NICU survival pack or things we wished we had such as: tissues, hand lotion (make sure it is non-scented), chapstick, energy bars, gum/mints, mouthwash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrush, disposable cameras (I can’t tell you how much we needed one as only parents were allowed into the NICU), wet wipes, a notebook and pen, nursing pads, purple gift bags (to hold the stuff) and I am sure there is more I forget.
I am especially looking for donations of notebooks. I kept one while Ladybug was going through her ordeal. It kept a journal of thoughts, but was also EXTREMELY useful for taking notes when we had doctor briefings (so I could google the stuff later) and remembering specialists names, numbers, etc. I have tons of fabric from my etsy store and I am going to cover each notebook and make it a little more special. If you have any ideas for other items (I know so many of you have done the NICU scene) or would like to donate, please feel free to contact me at vixen at vixensden dot com.
I belong to one of the most amazing communities on the planet and I am proud to be a member. You people really, really rock.
PS: We should have a catchy name for this adventure…anyone have ideas?