Guest post by Jess McCormack
I watch you on your tiptoes, arms outstretched, spinning in delicate little circles beside our Christmas tree. The twinkling lights are dancing on your special Christmas dress, red with a big bow at the back, your tights silver and sparkly, your dark curls bouncing as your giggles accompany the festive tunes playing on the radio. You crouch down to gently squeeze the presents under the tree. “This one’s mine,” you look up to tell me proudly, grinning with excitement, anticipation. There is such wonder in your bright eyes.
I reach down to scoop you up into my arms but you fade away, your image dissolves, and I am left staring at the Christmas tree, my arms empty. The familiar wave of heavy sadness consumes me. How can I miss so intensely someone who never got to be? I feel as if I know you, the two-and-three-quarters you. I know you as if you have been with me each and every day since your birth, growing and changing as all little girls are supposed to do. You are so real to me, forever a part of me. And yet every time I reach for you, you are gone, and I am left quaking in the memory of your loss, and the harsh reality of your absence.
I wish I had a river I could skate away on. I would teach my feet to fly to you Maeve, to where you are, to where I can hold you again. I wish I could share a Christmas with you in more ways than just an ornament on a tree, the bauble that nobody mentions, even though it’s impossible to miss. Maybe it’s easier to say nothing. This is supposed to be a joyful time of year after all, no one wants to be reminded of tragedy, no one wants to be sad. But it makes me feel like I am drowning in the sorrow of missing you, in the desperate loneliness of grief.
I wish I could take your hands and spin in little circles with you in the light of our Christmas tree.
I will do so in my mind.
It will never be enough, but I will love it as I do you, wholly, unashamedly, forever.