I didn’t know Natalia Ritchie a year ago.
Over the past five months, I’ve gotten to know her intimately. Her story has made me smile, made me cry and made me evaluate my own life, my own decisions.
I was introduced to the blogger by an article in the Toronto Star, which detailed the Toronto resident’s battle with cystic fibrosis, her need for a lung transplant and her and her husband’s struggles to have their daughter, Scarlett.
After reading the article, I instantly hopped on the web and found Ritchie’s blog, Journey of a Lifetime and I went back to the beginning.
Originally it seemed Ritchie was writing a blog as a testament to her unborn child (who was being carried by a surrogate). No detail was off limits for Ritchie — from the surrogacy to her health, she was an open book with her readers.
Then around Christmas, silence. Her brother was the first one I believe who said Ritchie was doing poorly. She was in the hospital and needed lungs now. She got her wish.
There’s no doubt that Ritchie touched many, many people (myself included). She made me question my existence, my reason for being. She made me thankful to be alive — and to be healthy.
But what really struck me about Ritchie’s story was that it was real life. She was a real person. Everything I admired about, or feared for her, was for a real person. We are so bombarded today by fake characters in the media (even in so-called realty TV), that finding a blog like Ritchie’s was a breath of fresh air.
While I am saddened to see her close shop, I am happy she closing down her blog her way — instead of how things could have turned out had she not gotten her lungs.
All the best to Natalia, Scarlett and Martin — you will be missed.
As a side note, if you have never heard the story of 14-year-old Hannah Jones and her heart, you must watch this.