I didn't even drink last night.
I have an emotional hangover.
Yes, I spent Friday and Saturday at BritMums Live in London.
I'm sat here in a daze, trying to find the right words to sum up what I've just experienced.
Overwhelming, crazy, amazing, inspiring, happy, sad, whirlwind are just a few that spring immediately to mind.
There's one word that would stand out from them all though.
When I started blogging 2.5 years ago I had no idea of the emotional journey my blog would send me off on. I had no idea just how much sheer joy and also sadness it would bring into my life. But I also had no idea just what amazing friends it would help me find.
Like minded people with a passion for sharing their stories.
Stories from the heart. Stories of love. Stories of tragedy. Stories that make you wish you were wearing Tena Lady!
Each and every one of us has our own stories to tell and the last 2 days have brought together some of the best storytellers around.
I can't begin to tell you how many people I admire that I saw again or met for the first time this weekend. I can't possibly name everyone so I apologise for that. I can only name a few or this post would go on forever. But, if we met and shared a hug (or many hugs like the very lovely Lauren), a smile or a natter, know that you are included in this post.
Firstly, I have to show huge love to my gorgeous friend Heather (aka @photopuddle who blogs at the lovely It's All About The Photos).
13th March 2012, just 15 days before I had TC, an email dropped in my inbox. Heather and I had been chatting on our blogs and Twitter for a while and getting to know each other but then she emailed me out of the blue. 107 lengthy emails later... (I work that out at over 1.5 emails a week average), sharing tales of our similar aged families, our hopes, our dreams and our secrets...we finally met on Friday morning at Euston Station.
It felt like we already knew each other. As someone who met her husband online just under 10 years ago I know just how great a bond made over the Internet can be.
Heather and I spent pretty much the whole weekend together and I enjoyed her company a lot (I just hope she felt the same!). We also treated ourselves to rooms at a gorgeous hotel only a stones throw from The Brewery.
Saying goodbye to her on Saturday evening was strange. Knowing that she lives so far from me (about 250 miles) is quite gutting. We have a girl and a boy both of very similar ages and living closer would mean the kids would probably be friends too. I'm hoping we can see each other as often as we possibly can though.
There were incredible friends I'd already met quite a few times this year. Susanne (@ghostwritermumm) and Lisa (@hollybobs). The 3 of us will always be good friends, I know we will. I don't need to tell you all just how much I think of them - they know. Susanne and I will also always have that bond as we shared our journey and our tears at Matilda Mae's funeral.
A name that will be forever on my lips, in my head and in my heart.
Her mummy. Jennie (@Edspire). Someone I'm truly honoured to call a friend. She is, quite possibly, the most loveliest, kind hearted, honest and most inspiring person you could meet. It was so lovely to wrap my arms around her again this weekend.
7th March was the last time I had hugged Jennie. It was at Tilda's funeral. Susanne and I had read on behalf of the blogging community at the funeral and this time we had been asked to read Merry's words again.
At BritMums Live!
In front of a huge conference room full of extremely talented women (and men). Far more talented than me.
Hot glaring lights dazzling our eyes.
I'd been emotional from the moment I woke up on Saturday (just ask Heather). I'd not been able to sleep the night before (despite the gorgeous hotel and comfortable bed) which only made everything worse. Listening to words read by the amazingly inspiring Katie Piper that morning sent me over the edge and I lost control.
At various points during the day I gave into the overriding emotion of it all.
Susanne and I got through speaking though. Holding hands. Just like we'd done at Tilda's funeral.
Somehow I did it even though I was completely terrified and emotional. I found it so much harder than I did at the funeral. The funeral was intimate, it was close family and friends of Jennie's. It seemed easier, although that seems like the wrong word to use.
|With thanks to the wonderful My Two Mums for|
capturing this moment for Susanne and I
My heart, like everyone else's, aches for the loss that Jennie has had to go through. I didn't know how I was going to stand strong enough to read about it again.
I faltered a few times.
Fighting back tears.
Susanne grabbed my hand.
Then I could hold my tears back no longer.
But I finished my piece.
Although a lot redder and snottier than I'd started! I'm so glad we'd taken tissues up with us.
I can't really remember walking off the stage. I do remember I walked off still clutching hands with Susanne. I can't remember any clapping. I don't even know what Katy Hill (who was utterly amazing!) said when she came back on the stage. I just remember seeing Jennie's face and hugging her tightly.
The amazing keynotes continued and then came more emotional outpouring as we all joined together to remember Kerry who passed away at the end of last year. Kerry is another blogger friend I'd had the pleasure of meeting and the memory of her gorgeousness will stay with me forever.
I don't think there was a dry eye in the house throughout the whole evening.
It was all so powerful.
I ended it all with this tweet
Because I do.