As you all know by now, April is a crappy month. We have the anniversary of Madeline’s death at the beginning, and the March of Dimes’ March for Babies at the end. And while the March for Babies is a beautiful thing, it’s also emotionally debilitating. I hate asking people to join my team, and I ESPECIALLY hate asking people to donate their hard-earned money. It’s not something I’m particularly good at or enjoy, and I don’t ever see that changing. But I participate in the walk every year to not only honor my beautiful Maddie, but to hopefully prevent other families from losing a child to prematurity.
This year, it’s been particularly hard for me to motivate myself to organize my team. You’d think that since it’s the tenth year we’ve marched I’d have the whole thing down by now, but I think it’s actually BECAUSE it’s the tenth year that I’m feeling very…uninspired. Every time I’m reminded that Maddie was born prematurely ten years ago, I think about everything she’s missed in the last decade. It’s hard. I should have an almost-ten-year-old in my house, and I don’t.
The March for Babies website has a database that keeps track of everyone who has ever donated or walked with my team, which is so handy. In the past, I’ve been able to narrow down who is in the database for what reason. So when I wanted to send an email only to the people who’ve walked in the past, I could check a box and pull only those email addresses. This year, however, they changed the system, and everyone (those who have walked and those who have donated) is just in a big ol’ list.
To say I fretted about this is an understatement. There are thousands of people in my March for Babies database, and to go through them to discern who everyone is would take hours of work (not to mention the emotional toll). After stressing about my mashed-up list for a month (I have issues), I finally decided to send my “please join my team” email to everyone in the database. After I hit send, I laughed at myself for being such a weirdo.
Then I got several emails from people asking me to remove them from my list.
As someone with an overloaded inbox (I’m not going to tell you that I have 150,000 emails in my inbox because I don’t want to make some of you apoplectic) (it’s actually only 145,000), I get it. No one wants extra email. My brain is like, “Heather, this is not something to get upset about,” but my heart is like, “couldn’t they have just deleted it?”
I know this is a complicated issue. I know getting an unexpected email asking you to support the team that honors my dead child can be jarring. But it was also jarring to get the emails asking to be removed from the list, especially since they knew who Maddie was and what happened to her. I’ve spent the last week in knots, trying to get my heart and head on the same page. And while my head is winning over my heart in the long run, I can’t help but think how much I wish I could “unsubscribe” from losing Maddie. Unsubscribing from that is impossible for me, though, so I will keep on keeping on, and try to stay positive.