The kindness of strangers

When we found out our boys had died only a handful of people knew. We kept it quiet until they had been stillborn so we could concentrate on each other and getting through it all in one piece or at least in pieces that could be glued back together later on.

I needed somewhere to talk freely and without telling wider friends and family before we were ready.

I didn’t have a smartphone then. It was a crummy little number with a tiny screen that was terrible for Internet browsing. In one of the quiet moments in between periodic checks and family I opened up a browser window, went to my favourites and found a message board for Manics fans and a home for posts entitled ‘The Depression Thread’ and ‘the last thing that made you cry’ amongst obsessional dissections of the band and its music and politics.

I posted a short message not knowing what I expected to receive in return. I hadn’t been posting long and had said little about myself preferring to stick to asking questions about guitar parts, survival horror and occasional supportive posts to the miserable and angry.

Don’t know why or what I’m looking for here.
I may delete this post but for now I’ll leave it.

Our babies died today. We were so close and it was so sudden. 31 weeks and they went through acute twin to twin transfusion syndrome.

There was nothing that we could do and now my wife has to give birth on Thursday.

Within minutes I had people I’d never met offer me heartfelt sympathy and empathy.

Thanks for all the kind words.

It all happened very fast and she went into labour yesterday and delivered our boys this morning.

We’ve been holding them and there have been some photos but I haven’t looked at them yet. In the fog of lack of sleep I could pretend that they were alive and just sleeping.
My wife is recovering well so far and is happy to have a chance to spend time with them.

Thanks again for the kind words. It’s nice to have your support.

Later on some of them would help to translate my funeral note for me and make donations in the boys’ memory. Some of them contacted me months afterwards (even when I had largely stopped posting) to see how we were clearly conscious of and having had their own experience of well wishes drying up as the months grind on.

There are hundreds of ‘hot takes’ on how the Internet makes us isolated and lonely. Without the support of that board in the most lonely of times I would have been worse off. They allowed me a safe space to vent at a time when I couldn’t speak to my close friends and for that I’m forever grateful.

Run Jump Scrap!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Mum in Brum says:

    I really can’t imagine how you got through this, this post brought tears to my eyes and my heart goes out to you. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to and strangers can be better than those who know us as they don’t have the same emotional connection. #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      It’s one of the horrible ironies of blogging that I’ve shared more in the last few months with strangers than my own family and friends.


  2. ljdove23 says:

    As much as this was so devastating to read, it also made me smile. The kindness of strangers is amazing isn’t it? We had cards, flowers, gifts, messages from so many people after Joseph died, I have them all packed away in boxes, messages of love and support from complete strangers. I joined an online forum after Joseph, it was a “Losing a baby” forum on a baby website and there are times when I feel that those women supported me more than my own friends and family. Now, almost ten years later, those women have been at my wedding, there for me after the birth of my children and have become some of my best friends. I completely agree that it is easier to talk to a stranger, I shared thoughts with those women that I didn’t even share with my own husband. Lovely post, just so desperately sad isn’t it? #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nige says:

    I have no idea how you got though this but sometimes strangers are better to talk to the post was very emotional thank you for sharing #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

  4. helen gandy says:

    Sometimes the internet can be a very friendly and comforting space when most needed. I’m so pleased you found some support when you needed and I am deeply sorry for your loss regardless of how long it has been I would never wish anyone to have to go through this. Thanks for linking up #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

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