This time last year I was preparing to reveal myself to a bunch of people that I'd never met before.
I'll be honest, I was wetting myself with nerves.
Last Autumn, Tots100 announced that they were going to be holding a bloggers' party down in Butlins in Bognor Regis. Very quickly Multiple Mummy, The Crazy Kitchen, Mummy Mishaps and I decided that we had to go and booked our places. We started making plans to have a fantastic family weekend; celebrating Christmas with a bunch of like-minded people and meeting new friends.
Messages to the aforementioned ladies let them know how worried I was about 'coming out', especially as I'd only met The Crazy Kitchen beforehand. Kerry and Jenny reassured me that everything would be ok and they'd hold my hand, metaphorically and literally. Mobile numbers were exchanged and I looked forward to meeting them both.
The weekend arrived and I really need not have worried at all. All of the bloggers I met were friendly, genuine and warm. Meeting Jenny that weekend ensured the start of a real-life friendship that has seen us get together several times over the past year, on our own and with our families.
However, I want to focus on Kerry here. Meeting Kerry was a joy. From the moment I rang her mobile in the hotel foyer to find out where she was, it felt like I'd known her for years. Blogging is a bizarre world; we read about each other's lives, we see photos of our family and we natter away. By the time we meet in person, the inital small-talk is out of the way. Kerry and I had been chatting since she first started blogging and had asked for some advice from me; we also have similar age boys and we both live in the world of education.
We sat next to each other during the Tots100 meal and had a good giggle and very indepth conversation. We may have also both partaken of numerous glasses of Tia Maria and cokes…
Due to our geographical locations Kerry and I couldn't meet up many times, but we did see each other at Britmums in June. I might have been utterly bored rigid during one of the sessions in the main hall and was openly tweeting so (sorry Britmums!). At one point when I hoped the session was ending, the speaker opened up the floor to questions and I might have sighed a little loudly. I realised I'd been audible when I heard a few giggles from my left. I glanced up and was greeted by the sight of Kerry laughing her head off at me .
That image is the one that has stayed in my head since the beautiful and joyful Kerry suffered a brain aneurysm in August. I had just finished reading about her day out to Peppa Pig World with her gorgeous family when I received a message to tell me about the terrible news.
Kerry is battling valiantly to recover, but is suffering setback after setback on the road to returning to her family. On Saturday 24th November 2012 at 10pm, the blogging world will unite to think about Kerry and send her positive healing thoughts to aide her recovery.
Thing is, I haven't stopped thinking of her every day.
With thanks to Tots100 for two of the photos above
Sadly, the beautiful Kerry died on 14th December 2012. She fought so valiantly for so long, but the infections kept on coming and in the end she couldn't fight anymore. Ever since I heard, I had felt so inordinately sad about the loss of such a fantastic mother to her children, especially as they are so young, and that her soulmate no longer has her to cherish. The memories I've described above have stayed with me and I know that all of her friends and her family have a multitude of happy memories of such a special person.