Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Daughter of Heaven

'Daughter of heaven Oh, daughter of now
Drifting away and you don't make a sound
We'll cry when we hear that you ran from this town
She's gone to a new place now
She's gone to a new place now'

Happy Christmas my sweet child.
I wish I knew where you were.

In the new place of this song?
All I know is that you feel so far beyond my reach.

This song reminds me of you.
It is the only song that your Daddy ever asks me to switch off when I play it.
I know it is because it reminds him of you too.
And, strangely, this song comforts me for that very reason.
That he can't bear to hear to it.

Our daughter.

I miss you.
I love you.
I hope my love will find you wherever you may be.
Maybe it just evaporates up into the air?

Perhaps it doesn't truly matter?
My love is still here.
My love for you cannot be undone, just as your brief existence cannot be undone.
And perhaps that means that they will, inevitably, meet.

I hope so.
Happy Christmas my sweet child.

May the holidays pass peacefully for everyone who reads this, especially those who are missing children of their own

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I felt ashamed when the twins were born.

Not of them. Not of Jessica. Not of Georgina. Never of them. I was only ever proud of my children. Still am.
Shame was not my main reaction but one of many subsidiaries. I was ashamed of myself.
Ashamed that my body had performed so disastrously badly. 
And also, embarrassed. 

I felt as though I had waltzed out on the middle of the stage in front of everyone I knew and told them that I was going to do an astounding magical conjuring trick. But it didn't work. And not only did it not work. It went wrong in ways that nobody could have foreseen. Involving extreme peril and death. And I was left standing up there on the stage whilst the audience looked on with expressions ranging through pity, distaste and horror. 

I was embarrassed, mortified, humiliated, ashamed. But those minor emotions were overwhelmed by the enormity of the grief that I felt. That Georgina was dead and that I would never, ever see her again.

I've always had a little store cupboard in my brain for 'The Shameful Words and Deeds of Catherine W.'
It's a surprisingly big cupboard given that I've never murdered anyone or been sued for slander or done anything out especially of the ordinary in fact.

They are, in the main, small, weak things. Built of dust and feathers. And, somehow, that makes them even more shameful. That they are not even proper shameful deeds, not particularly muscular or even interesting.

But also, here in the cupboard, lurks the shame I feel that I somehow caused all of this to come down on my children's heads, that I was a rotten person, that I somehow caused, or failed to prevent, an infection, that I couldn't stop the labour, that I cried out giving birth to two such tiny babies, that I couldn't save Georgina, that I was complicit in her death by my tacit agreement to withdraw all her medical support. Deeply and horribly ashamed. So much so, that these particularly shameful articles are pushed to the back of the cupboard as I simply can't bear to look at them or to think about them. Sometimes in the dead of night. But it isn't usually a good idea.

Over two years later, I look at myself in the mirror. I wonder if am simply sticking my stomach out, puffing myself up with hot air and too many biscuits. I feel as though this little belly is simply a balloon, one which will inevitably pop and leave me standing here with nothing to show for myself except damp, plastic-y bits left over from the explosion. When I tell people I'm pregnant, I blush. I wonder if they think I am taking an irresponsible risk. Or perhaps they don't remember my previous proud announcement and how . . . strangely that all turned out. Or perhaps they just think that everything will be better this time. After all, the doctors are 'keeping an eye on me', what could possibly go wrong?

I tried to buy a baby doll for Jessica for Christmas. But, when confronted by all those plastic, newborn limbs and staring eyes, I couldn't. Hot shame and bile climbed up my throat and I wanted to knock all those plastic babies, who looked so different from mine, on to the ground and jump up and down on them. Which doesn't even make any sense. Do I really want to buy Jessica a 2lb NICU baby doll for Christmas? Still they would come with a hell of a lot of accessories I suppose. I wanted to steal the chunky limbs and apparent life in the eyes of one of them and grant them to my other daughter as a Christmas gift.

An outfit catches my eye with 'Baby Alive' emblazoned on the packaging. I briefly consider the launch of an accompanying, less appealing range. Don't think there would be many takers for that one.

I still insist on trying to join conversations about pregnancy and child birth but, as I can't quite bring myself to spell out the story to those who don't already know, it comes out terribly odd. Bits and pieces emerge which must leave the listener thinking, 'Eh?' Or perhaps not, as they never ask.

I always intend to keep quiet but the words keep tumbling out. I obliquely refer to a twin pregnancy, I apologise for Jessica's poor speech and attempt an explanation, I try and shed some light on my lack of sympathy for complaints about young children and stretch-marks and disinterested husbands.

But I can't bring myself to say what happened out loud any longer. I feel too ashamed of myself.

Friday, 3 December 2010


I remember reading a book about twins, in that brief pause between discovering that I was expecting two babies and taking home one.

I remember I wanted to skip the chapter on the death of one or both babies, as that seemed an outcome too horrible to contemplate. But I read it. There was a passage that stuck with me, about how women who lose one or more babies from a multiple birth, mourn the loss of their 'status' as a mother of twins or triplets or more. That seemed strange to me at the time. Now . . . not so much.

I did feel special, clever almost. That I had conjured up two babies where you would normally expect only one.

I don't feel quite so clever about it now. 

The fact that I will, in all probability, never raise twins is a strange, subsidiary little loss. 
That people will never know me for the mother of twin girls. 
That strangers will never stop me in the street and ask if my two babies are twins.
Those weeks of searching for double buggies and buying identical outfits rise up before me like a fever dream. That proud, bustling woman unrecognisable. And, quite frankly, rather irritating. 

I was so very proud of 'my twins' but the loss of that formless, faceless doubling of babies is nothing really. 
A drop in the ocean. 
Compared to the loss of the person that was Georgina. 

But Georgina's 'twin-ness' was a part of her. One of the few things that I can say confidently that I know about my eldest daughter. That she was one of twins.

When I found out I was expecting twins, I was upset for a little while. I didn't believe that I would be able to cope. I was frightened of being a good enough mother for one baby, let alone two. I felt somewhat outnumbered.

Although I haven't had to worry about the practicalities of changing two sets of nappies, trying to synchronise two sets of feeds or two sets of naps, I am still Georgina's mother. Just as much as I am Jessica's. I am still a mother to twins, although not in a way that would be immediately remarked upon. 

That inverse space where Georgina could be, that tiny, ill baby just beyond my reach, that pale ghost of a toddler, her living sister in reverse.
An imagining that I scarcely dare to try to colour in, because if I started I don't think I could bring myself to stop.

I cannot wish her away. I cannot undo her. I wouldn't want to. My thoughts often whir around that strange emptiness, that 'could have been'-ness that is Georgina's absence. It is my want and love that keeps her here. It nudges at me. It murmurs in my ear. It keep me returning to the places where she might have stood, or sat, or eaten a rusk, or had her nappy changed, or slapped her sister's cheek. To all those things she might have been or done. Might. I just can't leave that possibility alone. Although it hurts and hurts and the places themselves are worn to unravelling with my pacing, waiting feet and my yearning that she will, impossibly, come back.

That lack in the middle of our family has formed us. We have grown around it, contorted and twisted and grown in strange new patterns to accommodate the death of one of us. 
That tiny absence is so powerful that bits of me have simply dropped off and turned to ash, friendships that I trusted have untwisted, new parts sprung out. 
We are a different family because of Georgina. Her life and her death and our witnessing of both of them.
I don't think I ever saw anyone live quite like my daughter did.
I've certainly never seen anyone else die. 
I am a different mother. My husband, a different father. 
Because we were Georgina's parents.
As well as Jessica's. 
Because we had two daughters.

This time, when I found out that I was not expecting twins, part of me was wistful. 
Stupidly, as there are a multitude of reasons why it would not be a good idea for me to have twins again. 
But there it is.
Sometimes I still feel a little pang of regret for my twins. 

Monday, 29 November 2010


"Catherine," she said. "It must have been two years."

I turn around. My eyes are dazed and small from staring at the computer screen. I'm not at all sure of her name. She is a project manager of some description. She is cheery, breezy. Perhaps pleased to have remembered the name of someone who played a minor minion role in a long ago project of her's.

"Really?" I say. "Two years. Huh? Doesn't time fly?" I try to smile whilst I scrabble about for a name. Something beginning with S? Sharon? Hmmmm. I'm not confident enough to try it out.
Particularly as she has remembered my name.
Although the name plaque on my desk does give her an unfair advantage.

"Last time I saw you," she says mock accusingly, eyes narrowed, "you had a big bump."

I feel a small internal electric shock, a jolt of disbelief. I did?

"So . . . . . what did you have? A boy or a girl?"

I believe I hear a small intake of breath from my colleague, sitting next to me. But perhaps not.
I feel as though the focus of the room has suddenly snapped to my chair, to my awkward, flapping face as it hangs there. Uncertainly.

But it hasn't. Nobody is looking, nobody is listening.

I hear the blood thump in my ears.

I want to, very quietly and slowly, get off my chair and crawl into the space under my desk. I just want to fold myself up and sit cross legged in that small, dark void. Amongst the cables. I don't want to cry or scream or bang on the desk. Just sit. Very still.

But that would not be fair. To this pleasant and efficient woman who is pleased for remembering my name and the fact that I was pregnant.

I undo my hair in an attempt to hide my reddening ears.

"A girl," I say. "A little girl."

I fumble for the photograph frame with its picture of Jessica.

"Here she is. She's two."

"Yes, she would be," smiles lady beginning with S.

She doesn't ask about the other photograph of the sun setting over the ocean and a name written in the sand. Nobody ever does although I often wish they would.

"Nice to see you again," I say. I turn my eyes back to my screen. They ache.


"Is this your first?"

"No, actually, this baby will be my third."

"Your third? Oh wow, you're an old hand then!"

I suppose I am.
In a strange way and not how the speaker imagines.
Old as the hills.

I smile to myself as I walk away.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


I seem to have little to say these days.

I feel reduced to fleshy parts, precariously balanced against one another.
I watch myself tottering, wait for myself to fall.

I had my next scan.
A baby. Alive.
The consultant talked us through the butterfly of the brain, the bubbles of the stomach and the bladder, the chambers of the heart.
Measuring a week ahead.

But my cervix is short. Already.

A desperate race of growth against shrinking in which I cannot give either side any assistance. Despite the fact that it is all happening inside my own body.

Poor little baby. I wish I could give you something better to balance upon. Such a tiny distance to rest my life, my marriage, my living child's future, upon.

I dream of tiny babies again.

I hope that these dreams do not come to pass.

I hope for . . . I hope for so many, many things.

I wait.
Sometimes I feel as though I will disappear into myself with waiting.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Thirty posts by January

I'm now aiming to have my thirty posts written by January as progress around here is pitifully slow! Despite my good intentions, my posts are always far too long.

I haven't managed to sort out the situation with Jessica's nursery yet and this is filling me with gloom. I have asked for a meeting with her key worker and I'm hoping to get to the bottom of the issues (his issues and Jessica's) but I'll have to wait until next week. Thank you for much for all your lovely comments, every single one really, really helped. By the time I sat down to write that post last week, I felt utterly hopeless but I felt better and better with every single word of advice. Thank you. 

I left that nursery feeling like the worst mother in the world. Not only had I let Jessica down by having her too early, causing her to go through all that pain and (possibly) to have some of these developmental problems in the first place, causing her sister to die and well . . . many things related to her early life fill me with guilt BUT I was also raising her to be a brat and a bully. This sent me into a spiral of doom, pondering whether I should even be attempting to have another baby when I obviously can't bring the one that I do have up properly. And then, in one of those horrible coincidences that life hands us every once in a while, I came home to find I was bleeding and possibly wouldn't have to worry about having another baby much longer.

I'm still not entirely sure if I do or don't have to worry on that score. I'm more hopeful than last week but I will just have to wait until my first 'official' scan at around 12 weeks. Hopefully next week.

Day 10 - a photo taken over 10 years ago of you and how it makes you feel seeing it now

This photograph was taken in  . . . . ummm, 2002? Which makes it not quite ten years old but I wanted to use it because it was taken at a Halloween party which make this photograph nearly exactly eight years old today. 

I've had to crop it as I've obviously got people sitting on either side of me and I don't know that they would like to feature on my blog so excuse the skinniness. Although perhaps it will make me look thinner? The me of eight years ago would have approved of that.

It makes me feel grateful. That I lived a long life, a whole life really, of twenty nine years without a crushing blow. Not a single one. Damn lucky. And in this photograph, I've still got a good six or seven years to go. 
If I could have given, somehow, the rest of my life to Georgina, I would have done it in a heartbeat. Because I'd really had enough already, a fair crack of the whip. She could have had nearly the same, assuming that I'll make sixty. Half and half, mother and daughter, seems fair to me. If only life could be so simple and I could go about donating hours and weeks of my life to others. 

I was happy in this photograph. The slight blur of grey shoulder to my left belongs to a man I thought I loved dearly. Sadly, he was not quite so impressed by me. But I hadn't figured that out yet, eight years ago.  I think you can see in that in my smile.

The arm to my left belongs to my beautiful friend M. We are still friends now, eight years later, although when this photograph was taken we had only just met. She has certainly been a good friend and I'm lucky to know her. 

And it makes me feel wistful. For the girl I was and for my beautiful girl. She won't ever breathe in that cold English night air, burning her lungs. She won’t walk to a party with friends and a man she thinks she loves. Or feel beautiful even if she is just a plain girl, beautiful for a couple of hours and boosted by a few beers. 

Oh I just wish . . .I could give her a little of what I had and accepted so lightly, so ungratefully and ungraciously.

It's such a beautiful world
You're such a beautiful girl
So much that you want to try
The world wants to sleep with you tonight
But Minnie
Minnie if I could I would give you the rest of my life

Friday, 22 October 2010

Straw poll

Just to warn you that this post is about (a) my pregnancy going slightly awry, although hopefully not completely off the rails. Just call me the girl who cried pregnant. Also (b) Jessica. So you may want to skip if either of these are likely to upset you.

I've had a rotten day today. First, a rather unexpected encounter at Jessica's nursery and then an alarming bleed which sent me scurrying up to the hospital. Everything looked ok on the scan but as ever, they don't want to give me any false hope. Sigh.

Anyway, I just want to conduct a little bit of a straw poll as I need the collective wisdom of the interwebz.

When I went to go and pick up Jessica her key worker (a young man) came marching up to me and told me, in front of several other parents, that she had been an absolute monster (straight face, presumably not a cute monster or a funny monster).
That she didn't listen.
That she had hit another child and, when told not to, had apparently hit the same child again.
That she kept sitting under the table even though he had told her not to.
That putting her in 'time out' didn't have any impact.
That if things didn't improve we should have a meeting with the special educational needs co-ordinator.

I left completely shocked and horrified.

Jessica doesn't always listen to me.
I haven't used 'time out' because I don't think she's old enough to understand the concept yet.
I have never, ever, ever seen her hit or push another child in all the time I've spent with her and other children (lots). Not to say that she isn't capable of it (I'm under no illusions on this front) but it surprised me. I've always taught her to be gentle. Mainly consisting of grabbing her hand mid smack and pulling gently down the side of my own face and saying 'gently, gently.' To randomly attack another child, to the extent of this young man needing to inform me of it, seems . . a little out of character?
She is allowed to sit under the table at home. Perhaps I shouldn't let her?

I just don't know how I can improve the situation. She is two years and two months which makes her twenty two months biologically but I've been told to knock off a bit more given her shaky start so I'll go for a nice round twenty months biological age. But she is tall and sturdy and perhaps they expect more of her because of that?
She has perhaps five reliable words still, absolute tops.
She quite often knows I'm talking to her, or telling her off, and chooses to laugh it off.
I take her hands, crouch down to her level, look her dead in the eye and say 'no' firmly. I don't laugh or smile. But she laughs.
If I raise my voice, she cries.
I'm not about to start smacking her wrist or anything.
I just don't think she has any 'sense' yet as such. I can't argue with her, rationalize with her, debate with her. All I can think of to do is try and get her attention and say 'no'.

I don't know.

I think that she is only little and I simply wouldn't expect her to listen consistently or to sit in a 'time out' chair for any length of time.

Lovely people out there, am I expecting too little of her? Or are they expecting too much?
Should she be able to do these things and I've sent her off to nursery ill-equipped?

I'm certainly appalled that she hit another child. I would have come down on her like a ton of bricks if I'd been there because that sort of thing really makes me mad.

I just feel awful. I know I'm super sensitive anyway so, when pregnant and particularly in a' this pregnancy is possibly going quite badly wrong' situation, I've become super super super sensitive and I'm taking all this to heart more than I should.

I'm so worried I've let Jessica down and let her become a bully and a spoilt brat.
I don't think any parent wants that for their child. But I don't know what to do to help her.

Any tips? Or am I already a day late and a dollar short?

In an aside, when I told my Dad this story, he reminded me about the time that Brown Owl threatened to evict me from Brownies. Perhaps she gets it from me?


A photograph that makes me happy and a photograph that makes me angry or sad.

Turns out that I can tick all of these boxes by looking at the same photograph.

I have quite a few photographs of Georgina.
Some were taken whilst she was still alive, her eyes are open in a few.
Some were taken whilst she was dying, I am holding her or my husband is holding her. I have no idea at all who took these photographs. I have no recollection of anyone taking them, although in a rather surreal one I am smiling at the camera with my dying daughter on my lap.
Some were taken after her death, I think. Some I'm not sure if she is living or dead or changing between the two. Caught in transition.
I wish I'd asked them not to photograph us. I wish I'd asked some of the people that were there to leave.
There are even a few where it has been a process of elimination to work out which twin the photograph is actually of, Georgina or Jessica.

None of these images are 'good' photographs.
Some are computer print outs with cute cartoon borders. Incongruous to frame such a beautiful and painful image with little cartoon rattles.
Some are black and white, processed by the hospital laboratory. They are very fuzzy. Her blood appears black and the definition of her mouth has been lost. It looks strangely large and smeared.

I don't look at Georgina's photographs often.
I don't have any photographs of Georgina out on display around the house.
I don't show them to anyone.
Even those where she is alive.

I just find those images too. . . .overwhelming.
They make me feel happy, angry and sad. They make me feel everything that I can feel.
Every nerve is stretched, reaching for something, although heaven alone knows what.

They make me feel so tender.

Tender for my little girl. I push my finger down the computer print outs of her limbs and press my lips on to that after impression of her face. It is hard to believe that she was ever real, with a beating heart, with a brain that fizzled and thought.

I miss you. I love you. You tried so hard and I am so proud of you. My girl. My tiny Georgie girl.

Sometimes I feel as though the love I feel is not for my Georgina but for another child, one that I have imagined. But I look at these photographs and I know that it isn't. Not really. I love her. In that tiny, bruised body, that corporeal presence that I miss so dearly not just some imagined spirit, the little frame that I wanted to nuture, that I wanted to see grow, although every organ was collapsing on her from the moment she was born. I loved all of her, the bits that worked, the parts that didn't. I wish my love could have held her together.

And I feel tender for myself. When I look at these photographs I feel like one giant bruise. I don't want anyone to touch me. I don't want anyone to speak. I don't want anyone to look at them and feel sorry for us, or to think that she isn't a person, or that she wasn't beautiful.

I feel tender for my dear Jessica. When I look at the photographs of her and Georgina side by side, I can see how physically similar they were.

This is an old song, from long before any of this ever happened, back when I didn't really know what tender meant.

Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I just feel so tired and sad and I seem to need more sleep recently.  Edited to say that I am also happy and grateful and many, many over things. I'm making it sound worse than it is. 

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Falling even further behind

One thing that I have learned from my attempt to write 30 posts in 30 days. 
I am not designed to blog every day. 
My attempt has been very feeble and I feel slightly ashamed but I don't want to give up. 
It might just be 30 posts spread over 130 days.

Day 4 - Your favourite book and has it changed since your loss?

I seem to have a strong affection for Canadian authors, most of favourites hail from that part of the world. Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields. My favourite books by these authors would have to be Fifth Business, The Robber Bride (with The Blind Assassin hot on its heels) and Various Miracles. I've read all of these books multiple times and they pop up in my inner world frequently. 

Since Georgina died, I feel a greater need for books to be 'resolved', like a perfect chord. 
I want to see the bad and evil get their comeuppances, I want to see the good rewarded. I don't like fates left dangling, threads loose. Too much like real life. 

My favourite book is Vanity Fair by William Thackeray and it hasn't changed. I started re-reading it whilst, unbeknowst to me, I was in labour with the girls. It came with me to the hospital. It sat with me in the NICU waiting room. I think I probably read it, or tried to read it, the evening of the day Georgina died. When it was finished, I started toting about The Way We Live Now by Trollope, another fail-safe favourite of mine.

I stopped my studies in literature when I was sixteen so please forgive me if I talk nonsense. What I like about these books is the echo in them, that humanity doesn't really change, people are foolish, greedy, loyal, clever, dishonest, kind, unkind. We have always been this way, we will always be this way. Nothing really changes except the participants.

As Jessica's NICU stay lengthened, I read all the Twilight books (except the final one, been told that it is slightly stinky so I might avoid), re-read all the Harry Potter books and read every single word ever written by Jilly Cooper. Now there's resolved for you, all is right with the world in Jilly Cooper land. Or it will be. And I don't care if that means I have to carry a book entitled 'The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous' with a half naked man on the front, whatevs, as Jess-Carter Morley would say.

I see it has also made a list of book entitled 'Awful Books I Would Rather Burn Than Recommend' on Amazon. Well, I would never burn a book on principle and, if you ever find yourself immersed in grief or the strange world of intensive care or a chemotherapy ward, I can't think of anyone I'd rather have holding my hand. 

I have also been immersed in the world of Outlander in recent times. The guy who sits next to me at work asked me what I was reading and I had to explain to him that it was a romance / time travel / fantasy set partially in Scotland in the 1700s. He looked at me as though I had just dropped down from another planet. Still, I can now use the word Sassenach with confidence.

Day Five - my favourite quote 

Hold your ground and take it as it comes, there's no other way.

from Philip Roth's Everyman

For a long time after Georgina died, I expected rescue. I thought that, somehow, somebody, would save her, would save me, would save her sister, would save my family. My own parents, the doctors, the psychiatrist, my husband. I looked to them all to restore her to me.  I almost reverted to being a child, expecting someone to come, swoop down on me, pick me up and tell me that everything would be okay. That we could fix this, that we could fix her. 

But slowly, it dawned on me that was not a possibility, it wasn't going to happen. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes. I think part of my mind came unhinged when Georgina died and flapped around for a while in the breeze. 

I knew I had to just put my head down and keep going. Just take it as it comes. Life, death and all the bits in between. Because there is no other way, no rescue. Just this plodding onwards. And, come the time, I knew I would be able to look up again. And it came. And I did.


Today my mum told me that one of her friends has prayed for me every day since Georgina died. She has been praying that I will fall pregnant with twins again. I'm not sure how that makes me feel, grateful and sad.

I find myself, unexpectedly but most welcomely, pregnant. It is not a twin pregnancy despite my mother's friend's kindly prayers. I went for a scan today and saw the tiniest baby, the tiniest heart. A flicker. A glimmer. An echo of another.
Elated and heartbroken. 

I want to do something, to protect, to ensure. 
I wish I could somehow transfer this pregnancy to another, less treacherous body. 
But all I can do is stand by, take it as it comes. And wait.

'Cracking asphalt under foot
Coming up through the cracks,
Pale green things
Pale green things."

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Falling behind

Oh dear. I haven't done too well at the thirty posts in thirty days meme.

I find that days in the office tend to result in getting little else done, apart from basic feeding and watering of my little family. By the time I do get to the computer, I get caught up in reading blogs until my eyes start to close and my husband is shouting "Stop reading blogs!" from our bedroom.

I'm going to try and catch up . . .

Day 2 - a movie that helped you get through the hard times, or one that jumps out at you after your loss.
Not so much an entire movie as much as a scene.
Quite appropriate really given that my attention span is now zip.

The scene is from Three Colours - Blue. It is the story of Julie who loses her husband and her daughter in a car accident. In this scene, Julie scraps her hand along a stone wall. It is a famous scene as the actress playing Julie, Juliette Binoche, did not wear protective covering over her hand and drew real blood. You can see the scene here starting at about 1:40 in.

I saw this film before Georgina died but now I find that I recognise myself in that scene.

Day 3 - a television program that helped you either get through hard times or that moves you.
Because I have problems with my attention span when it comes to watching movies, DVD boxsets could have been made for me. I could not have got through the initial weeks and months after the birth of the girls without them.

Whilst Jessica was in hospital I had to express milk every three to four hours. This was no problem during the day as the hospital had pumps and a room to sit and express in. But, although I appreciate that I was so incredibly lucky to be doing it, I struggled at night time. The house was so quiet, nothing had changed and yet everything had. Our daughters, who we'd been so excited about meeting, weren't home. One of them was never going to come home.
I'd shuffle downstairs and stick my hands in the cold water sterilizer to get the pump and the bottles out. I used to look out of the window and see my neighbour's lights on. I'd wonder what was keeping them up at this hour.
Then I'd fill the pockets of my dressing gown with biscuits and make a cup of tea, switch the TV on, switch the pump and settle in.

Believe me, it makes it a whole lot easier to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go and spend time with a machine, if you have a good episode of something to look forward to. And biscuits.

During the four months Jessica was in hospital I watched. . .
House M.D.
Gossip Girl
Mad Men
The Wire
The West Wing
Dead Like Me
The 4400
Prison Break

A TV show that I absolutely love is Six Feet Under. I have the complete box set on DVD and I've been meaning to watch it again for a while. But I just can't face it quite yet.

I wonder what my own family's version of this finale will look like? Sadly, I already know how, and when, it ends for one of us. She's gone. And those of us left here hurtle onwards.

Until we don't.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Day One

I'm going to try and join the thirty posts in thirty days that Angie has put together at Still Life With Circles.

I don't know how many I will be able to find something to write about (and I think I'm already running a little behind schedule) but I'd like to have a go.

Firstly to get away from my oft-discussed 'same three damn posts' problem. Secondly because I'm a sucker for the first question. Anything for a song. I'll link any old post to a song, however tenuous, as you may have noticed if you've been kind enough to hang around here for a while.

So . . here goes.

Day 1 - a song that reminds you of your child, or one that you can't listen to anymore and why.

The song that reminds me most strongly of Georgina is Nick Cave's 'Into My Arms' because it was all I could hear after she died. Although I think that I have only played it perhaps five times since then, as I now find it unbearable, it was on a mental loop. Over and over. Into my arms.
The very first time I ever held a child of my own was to take her in my arms as she died. A tremendous privilege.

"I don't believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Not to touch a hair on your head
To leave you as you are
And if He felt He had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms"

Because that was how I felt about her. Despite the fact that she was so tiny and so ill, I didn't want to change anything about her. I loved her precisely as she was, every tiny hair on her tiny little head. I wish that I could hold her in my arms again. I miss her so much.

A song that reminds very strongly of that time in my life, August to December 2008, leading up to Jessica's final release from hospital is a song called 'This Year' by The Mountain Goats. The refrain is 'I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me.' Now I've seen the video it seems even more apt. The band get bundled up, kidnapped and forced to perform under what seems to be some threat of violence. That did feel a little bit like the end of August 2008 for me.

There is a feel of physical menace to this song, of being about to battle something knowing that you might come off the worse. Until that time in my life, I'd never really had to be brave. I'd never been in a fight or even in very much physical pain. I have always been a weak person,  in body and otherwise, quick to expect others to save me or leap to my defence.

But during those months, it was fight or go under.

I had to go back into that same room where Georgina died.
And keep on going back in there.
Day after day after day.
I sat beside that box and I felt angry, useless, hopeless, hopeful, stupid, superfluous to requirements, overjoyed, overwhelmed, sick to my stomach, desperate, devastated.
But I. had. to. sit. by. that. box.
Opposite an empty space.
Sometimes I just wanted to run away, at others I just wanted to die.
My heart, my life, my every desire were in that body weighing less than two pounds, in a plastic box.
So frail.

It was time to man up, ante up, shape up or ship out, grow a pair, walk like a man, talk like a man.
Except the female version.
Make it through this day and the next day and the day after that.
Take the news of brain bleeds, kidney failure, retinopathy, laser surgery, cyst removal, sepsis, infection, death.
Take it and don't you dare start to fall down.
Even if it does start to feel like it's killing you.
Four months can feel like a very long time.

Towards the end of December it was snowing, Jessica had moved to a hospital within walking distance and I remember wading in through the snow, listening to this on my iPod. It felt as though my whole life would consist of this, snow, freezing wind in my face, going to visit Jessica in hospital, wondering where Georgina was and more bad news.

I'm glad this song was there. It got me through those freezing walks to the hospital.

That combined with X Gon' Give It To Ya.
Thank you Mountain Goats and DMX. Although I doubt you wrote your songs with a situation like mine in mind. I could feel you straightening my spine and squaring my shoulders. Bulking them up so I could carry this. Helping me kick the snow out of the way. Helping me feel that I could kick anyone and anything else out of my way that cared to stand in it.
I think my feet would have failed me on that walk to the hospital more than once without you.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


I've been sick. So sick that I took to my bed for over twenty four hours.
If I hadn't had to get up intermittently to puke my guts up, it would have been quite luxurious. 

I am so lucky to have my parents living close by, poor old Jessica would certainly have had a very miserable day if she had been left to the tender mercies of her mother. I would probably have managed to stumble around and thrown a bit of food in for her, perhaps changed one or two nappies.

She was most unimpressed when I had to stop my (rather less wholehearted than usual) rendition of Tanka Skunk in its tracks. She was unceremoniously shoved on to the floor and attempted to chase me into the toilet, hitting me around the legs with the book and then, when that plan was foiled, beating on the door with it. I emerged to an irate toddler and an enormous spider scuttling around the kitchen sink.

That was when I placed the emergency call to my parents. The spider was the final straw.

It was a strange day. Being in bed with the curtains drawn during the middle of the day made me feel like a child again. 

I drifted in and out of sleep. The radio muttered on. 

I learnt some interesting facts about Gauguin who is having a retrospective at the Tate. 
Although when I say learnt, I find that I can dredge nothing up now.
Apparently all we thought we knew about him was wrong. 
But as I can't remember the new things I guess I'm still misguided.

I must have fallen asleep.
I dreamt that a woman was standing over me. She had smooth brown hair and blue eyes. Kindly. 
At first I thought she was my mother.
I thought that I was four or six years old.
Then I realised that it wasn't my mother.

In my half dream, my heart leapt as I realised it was Georgina.
And that I was an old, old woman.
I felt so awful because I was dying.

Then I woke up properly. I wasn't dying. I felt a bit foolish. I just had a stomach bug. Like I've had tens of times before. 
It wasn't Georgina.
I cried.

I remember reading somewhere that some people loom large in our lives, like giants. 
The girl that bullied you at school, the lover who snubbed you, the passing stranger that saw you trip over your own toes and fall in a heap on the ground. 
Scenes of our grandest humiliations, our defeats, our upsets. People associated with those times stalk through our dreams and thoughts. 
And we probably never, ever appear in theirs. Such a one-sided affair.

So it is with me and Georgina.
She did not see me hurt or embarrassed.
Yet she persists because I love her so very dearly and there is nobody there to love me back. 
Unrequited in the fullest sense of the word.

I have spent hours and hours and days and weeks and possibly even months and hundred on hundreds of words trying to bring her back. To make sense of her death. To bring something back. Anything.
I lost a three day old premature baby and my dreams hand me back a forty year old woman. With kindly eyes.
Her presence, or more appropriately, her absence is such a void in me. 
That I will fill it with anything. 
Any old words. Any old dream. Any old image of a person that might be her. That could have been her. 

Oh Georgina. I'll try anything but I often know that I'm not close. I'm not close to you.

'What I meant to say 
Is that I didn't mean to say 
the things I said
Cornered, cut and rolled
and going mouthful mad 
with things I never said to you

All this time,
All these words,
I'm not even close. . . . .'

You'll have to excuse the video. This song comes from the land that You Tube forgot, the early 1990s.

Darcy and Elizabeth's silences have got nothing on me and my daughter. 

Thursday, 23 September 2010


I have often wished that I worked closer to home. I went from working ten minutes walk away from my front door to over thirty miles away. So I have the best part of an hours drive to work in the morning and the same on the return journey. It is mainly motorway so it is not particularly interesting or taxing to drive. Sometimes it is hard to stay awake at the wheel.

It is a strange time. Spent doing nothing productive and yet unavoidable. A kind of enforced 'sit and think' time. Even when I would rather not have it. Of course, part of my brain is fully occupied with controlling the hurtling chunk of metal that I sit in. But the rest is free to roam.

I'm frightened of silence these days. So I put the radio on. Even then, I frequently find myself driving down the motorway crying. I wonder how many of us there are. In all those cars charging past me. How many of us have tears running down our cheeks, which we try to wipe away clumsily with one hand, all the time trying to ensure that we don't hit the car in the front? Sometimes I try to peer in. To find a fellow travelling mourner.

The radio murmur has it own little triggers.
The phrase 'strangled at birth.'
Discussions about medical ethics.
Snippets of news related to pregnancy or miscarriage.
Some poor member of parliament who found himself telling us all about his wife's recurrent miscarriages in an attempt to defend himself from allegations regarding his sexuality.

One evening this week there was a story on the news about an elderly woman who died at the grand old age of eighty nine in the seaside town of Torquay. What nobody had really known about her, until after her death, was that, at twenty three, she had been a secret agent in occupied France. She was found out, captured and tortured by the Gestapo and wound up in a concentration camp. She had survived but kept her secrets to herself. Nobody had known about this lady's past.

She had been due a pauper's funeral but, instead, was buried with full honours. As befitted her.
The closing sentence of the item was "You will never be forgotten, addressed to a lady none of us really knew."

Inevitably, I suppose, I thought of Georgina's funeral.

My mother used to say that the old mourn more at funerals than the young.
That they have a cumulative effect and that, at every funeral, you mourn again for all those that came previously. I used to think that was awful, that humans couldn't even take a few hours to mourn specifically for one individual but that we had to take out all our own little individual griefs and superimpose them on the one we were supposed to be  mourning currently. Seems a little disrespectful somehow. But that is why we are human. Those ties that bind us to the dead may stretch and strain but they never snap. Those threads only go slack when we go to join those who go before us I suppose.

I'm not entirely sure of the date of Georgina's funeral.
It has merged into that blur of after.
We wanted to have her buried initially. We live within walking distance of a children's cemetery and I wanted her to be buried there. But they wouldn't take her, the cemetery is full.
And so she was cremated.

There were two mourners.
The service was taken by the hospital chaplain who had blessed her days earlier.

I remember waiting outside the crematorium. We weren't sure where to go. We walked around the gardens.
There was a path around the edge of the building and this was edged with places to put flowers. Each slot had a name. And there was her's.
Baby Georgina W----.
That appellation. That 'Baby' nearly undid me. At once so tender, so gentle. My baby. Baby.
And simultaneously, so dismissive.
Only a baby.
Not even her full name. Georgina Jane.
Just Baby Georgina.
And there are those who would argue with affording my daughter even that status.
Other people being cremated that day did not have a qualifier prior to their names. Old Man Joe Bloggs. Middle Aged Woman Sarah Brown. Because they didn't need any clarification.

We hadn't thought to bring flowers for her. We didn't bring anything. The place where her flowers were supposed to lie was bare. Just like the space her life should have occupied.

The slot next to Georgina's was also a baby.
As we walked into the chapel, another couple walked out. Like walking into a mirror.
As we passed them, I wondered if we looked as destroyed as they did.

We sat down. Georgina's coffin was at the front. As there were only two us at her funeral, the chaplain told us to come and sit right up by the coffin. And so we did.

The three of us, my husband, myself and the chaplain sat around the white box that contained our little girl.

I remember that I wanted to open the coffin. That I wanted to pick it up and run away with it. That I wanted to fall to my knees and cuddle it.

But I didn't. I just sat there and cried.

There was no music.
There was the funeral service for a child from the Alternative Service Book.
I didn't say anything.
My husband didn't say anything.

Sometimes I regret Georgina's funeral. I wish she'd had choirs and horses and doves and hundreds of mourners.
I wish her mother had wailed and pulled out her hair and thrown herself on to the coffin.
I wish that there had been somehow . . . more.

Because she lost her life.
Life is a strange state. But it was all I had to offer. It was all I hoped to give her. I don't know anything else.

I sometimes wonder about the process of cremation. I wonder what the inside of the ovens look like. I wish I hadn't left her there, in the chapel. I wish I had walked down to wherever they were taking her, stayed with her.

I have a vision of flames burning my daughter's body away. But I don't suppose it works like that.

Sometimes I think Georgina's funeral was right. In a horrible way. Right.

Sparse, short and sad.

I miss her.
I miss her so very much.
My baby.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


We are at the wedding.
The only wedding we will attend this year.
After last summer's glut, just this one.
Lonesome at the end of the summer.
A day of mourning.
September 11th.

The groom, handsome and kindly.
The bride, radiant.
All is as it should be.

Jessica sleeps through the speeches but wakes in time to snaffle the lion's share of her mother's chocolate fondant pudding and ice cream. Spoon fed to her by a proud and careful eight year old relation. Wary of stains, grass or chocolate. Some kind of cousin one or more times removed. We tried to work it out, her and I, but decided it was too complex and we would just call their relationship 'cousins.'

Later the first dance.
The happy couple have chosen Starship's 'Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now', not the choice I was expecting to be honest. It was released in 1987 when these two can barely have been knee high to a grasshopper.

The lyrics take on a strange poignancy and I'm suddenly whizzed back to my own wedding. In a strange, half light my husband and I dance through the NICU to the sounds of Starship.

They look so happy and brave.
I think to myself . . . nothing?
I hope so. And find I am crying.

The band starts. They are playing 'Johnny B Goode' and red and green lights chase around the floor. Jessica alternates between attempting to capture one for her very own and staring at the band. My husband and I work out, shamefacedly, that is probably the first time she has witnessed anyone playing an instrument.

My aunt and uncle dance close to the front. Proper dancing belonging to their generation. Not the shuffle of the 1980s. Jessica watches. She puts a leg out and up. Then brings it down smack on the floor. And again. Joining in.

I take her hands and we are whirling in the midst of them. And I am happy.

Not the flattish contented feeling I termed happiness before.
Life gave that old thing a good shake and up it popped, into three dimensional solidity.
Happiness sits over my heart, claws extended into my skin. Like a small vicious animal.
So sharp that I can almost feel it, a shard of glass penetrating my skull.
I am suddenly self-conscious. I wonder if anyone else sees me and my happiness and judges.
Look at her dancing over there, her with the dead daughter and all that shiny, spiky mess over her heart.

But nobody is looking.
Their eyes register briefly then slide on.
A sweet toddler in a silk dress. Mistook her for a boy initially, with that short hair, but in a dress?
A woman with hair that is too long for her age. She would have done well to have attempted to squeeze into those Spanx this morning but perhaps she's just the type who lets herself go? That child is too old to still be carrying that baby belly. Don't know who these two belong to, bride or groom?

But I don't care for their thoughts.
If they even pause for long enough to spare us a thought or two.

I feel free.

We whizz around and around. Chasing one another, this way and that. I smile, she smiles.
Everything tumbles into place, just for an instant.
My heart beats. Her heart beats. It is enough.

And on the edges of that splintered, glimmering, glowing mess that is my happiness hovers Georgina.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Three Years

Since the second anniversary of Georgina's death, I feel sad. Very sad. Too sad to feel angry. Too sad to feel anything other than just . . . .  sad. My heart is so heavy.

In that first year, I felt such a strong connection to Georgina, the person. My daughter. A human being who moved and thought and looked about. Inside my womb and outside.

Now I think of her as a spirit or a ghost.
A brief touch on my shoulder, then gone.
A tiny hand in mine, withdrawn.
A few breaths, then no more.

Or as a copy of her sister.
A toddler who has never been, who never will be.

Neither of these incarnations are my Georgina.
That connection that I had, or thought I had, feels so very gone, so absent.
I don't take her photographs out of their box.
I don't take out her ashes in their plastic bag.
I don't take out the only hat she ever wore, that scrap of pink woollen with the ties and the crust of blood on the strings.
I don't cradle it in cupped hands as I used to. Trying to will the former occupant back into some form of existence, even if only to fill it with a memory. A memory of a glimpse of a ghost.
This is the hat, that held the scalp, that held the skull, that held the brain, of the person that was my daughter, Georgina.
Who I miss so terribly.
Or so I claim. I feel I've lost my hold on who she was. That makes me sad.

On the evening of the 29th, I played some music. Loudly. I don't usually play my music that loud although our neighbours in the adjoining house are not likely to complain. Three young guys who like to play their own music loud occasionally and have a few beers out in their back garden from time to time.They won't come round a-grumbling. They are nice neighbours to have and they seem to like Jessica which is the most important thing.

I played Ben Harper, Regina Spektor, The Shins, Nick Cave, Mountain Goats, Bette Midler, Snow Patrol, Peter Mulvey, Pearl Jam, Ryan Adams, Kate Rusby, Florence & The Machine. A jumble of everything. Songs that remind me of my daughters. Songs that I have found here.

I lit some candles. I gazed out of the window in to the darkening evening.
I hoped she knew that I was there. That I remembered.

My husband came downstairs. I went into the front room to speak to him. He went into the kitchen and turned my music off and blew out my candles. I was hurt.

Later he mentioned something about Jessica's 'learning disabilities' and again I was hurt. I felt he had slighted my mothering. I felt he had slighted our daughter.

My husband is a practical man. I often think that he would be a better mother than me.
I'm likely to be looking at Jessica and saying "she looks lonely, do you think she misses Georgina?" and he will bat me out the way saying, "Can't you smell that her nappy needs changing?"

I know that he is not the sort to play music, light candles, gaze out of a window. But it still hurt. It hurt that he didn't know that I needed to do it. Because that is the type of person I am. That is the sort of mourning I do.

We spoke about it later. We both apologized.
We do things differently, we always have. If the knowledge of over a decade has taught us anything it is that we are not the same person. We can think, and act, very differently but that does not necessarily mean that one of us is wrong.
We are both such terrible 'fixers', we both want to make everything perfect.
We look at our broken daughters and want to fix them. To give life. To fix damage.
We look at each other and we see the fractures. We want to fix them.
We look at our marriage and we want to fix that precariously balanced mess too.
But we are not gods. More's the pity. Only mortals. Such gifts are not within our grasp.

We try. But there are things you cannot fix. And some things still work even if they not perfectly intact. Function, not form, is what matters.

After two years, I feel like the slow one.
The child who can't quite grasp it.
Not the joker, occupying the back row with a nonchalant gaze at the teacher. Flicking bits of papers about.
The earnest one.
Right up at the front.
Chin stuck out towards the blackboard.
Tongue poking out in concentration.
All available brain power directed toward unravelling this one thing.

She died.
Your little baby girl died.
She isn't coming back.
Not soon.
Not ever
No matter how much you yearn and love and wish and write and attempt to support and cry and ache and drink and talk and swallow pills and sleep and dream and wake and wish. You can wish your life away on this one.
She died.

When you thought you'd been handed the golden ticket of an instant family. Of more twins joining the family. A grandmother who told her colleagues that it was twins AGAIN. The strange weirdness of those weeks when something almost unbelievable had happened to you. Not only one. But two.

Well, you did have the golden ticket. You had them. Those two daughters. Georgina. Jessica.
If that isn't the golden ticket then I don't know what is.
Even if you had only had them for an instant.
They are the golden ticket.
Even if you had never known that they were there.
The. Golden. Ticket.
Once in a lifetime. Winning lottery numbers. This is my perfect moment. The real deal.
Not the fact that they are arrived together, not their 'twinness' although that was a quiet satisfaction all of its own.
But them. Those particular children.

It wasn't quite the prize you'd been expecting. That's all. Still the prize but . . . .
She died and you have to live.
To live well.
Because there is nothing else you can do.

This is the lesson. My tongue is out, tasting the air. I can hear the words, they make perfect sense. Like a nice neat mathematical equation. My brain nods.

But my heart. . . . my heart is a dunce.


In other news . . .

Jessica appears to be saying something other than GUNK! At last!
Thanks for the advice Heather, it was much appreciated and it's helping. She now says . . . .Aaaarrrrrr (Car). . . . D'oh (Dog or Cat or any animal with four legs) . . . . Aaaapppp (Apple) . . . . still GUNK (who knows?) . . . . and Doooooooooorrrrrr (not door, seems to be a catch all for all other words she can't say yet)
She understands so much, I feel awful for her sometimes. It is almost like living with the wise old owl who lived in an oak, who . . . .

The more he heard, the less he spoke. 
The less he spoke, the more he heard. 
Why aren't we all like that wise old bird?

The next lot of tests at the fertility clinic seemed more promising. I saw a different doctor who did a different test. She thinks that the first result was an aberration. Hopefully everything is where it should be and it all appears to be 'doing the do.' Just to no benefit as yet.

Still that has to be a good thing? Right?


'Little ghost, little ghost,
One I'm scared of the most
Can you scare me up a little bit of love?
I'm the only one that sees you
And I can't do much to please you'

I am sorry, my love, my own sweet girl. I wish I could please you. I wish I could remember you. I wish I could stay but time does pull at me so.

'When I held her, I was really holding air.'

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Inbetween Days

These strange inbetween days.

Yesterday, I took Jessica to nursery for her second visit. She stayed for an hour and a half and I left her there.
With strangers.
On her own.

It is the first time I have left her with anyone outside of the family (and only the second or third time I have left her for any reason other than to go out and earn money). When I left the nursery, I missed my turning. Which necessitated turning around and driving back the same route I had come, past the nursery building.

I knew that the little frame, those bones, that skull with its thin covering of hair and skin that I have pressed my face against so many times, that brain, that sweet face, that child of mine. She was inside that building. And I couldn't see her. A woman who I hardly know was responsible for her.
Would comfort her if she cried.
Or so I hoped.

Every instinct I possess was screaming at me to storm back in there and retrieve my daughter. But I didn't. Because she deserves to have some normality, playing with other children, a break from her overly protective and hovering mother. 

Before I had children, I remember hearing this quote. 

'Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.'

At the time I found it at little . . . hysterical. Kind of over-egging the pudding.

But it isn't. And it is even harder when you make the decision to have your heart go walking around outside your body when it doesn't walk around. When it dies instead. When part of your heart is lost to you forever. When part of your heart is ashes. Momentous indeed.

Georgina rises to the surface of my thoughts during these inbetween days.
Two years ago she was alive. She was alive. She lived. It seems so improbable that she ever did. Those words seem so incongruous even as I type them.
Georgina was alive.
That tiny child.
My daughter with her blue eyes, her tiny hands.

I was in the supermarket with Jessica after her nursery visit. The supermarket has just re-opened with the addition of a large clothing section. Supermarket clothing is, generally, very cheap here in England. As the department was new there was a 25% discount on top of the already tempting price. I spotted a duffle coat. Navy blue and cream with a pink stripe and a hood. Large buttons down the front.

I frantically calculated the discount and walked around the shop internally debating whether I really needed another coat (I don't), if the coat was a bargain or not (it was) and how pissed off my husband would be to find another coat in the wardrobe (mildly).

My thoughts were full of this potential purchase.

Then . . . . 

I thought . . 

this time last year she was alive.

And suddenly I wanted to rip that coat up. And the 25% reduction. And myself.
In front of everyone.
I wanted to be mad. Shredding clothes in a surburban supermarket.
Keening in the aisles.
Banging my head on the cold, bland, uncaring shop floor.
Because my daughter died.

A while ago now.

I wanted to burn down every item there.
Because I was so full of rage.
Because my daughter died.

Even after all this time. All these days.
I am still, sometimes, incandescent. 
In my own feeble way. 

But, of course, I did nothing.
I reached a decision.
I paid for the coat. I left.
Because that is all anyone can do.
In the face of this. 
In the face of all those hidden pains that inhabit the discount clothing section of a supermarket.
More than just mine I fear.

Three days.
These inbetween days.
They are simultaneously long and so painfully short.
Three days.
Can pass very quickly. 
Time flies by when you are having fun as they say.
On the other hand, if you are experiencing intolerable pain, I should imagine that the time drags rather.

I wish I knew.

Did it hurt?
Was she in pain?
I hope that the morphine did as they promised me, wrapped her in a comfortable haze. That the pharmaceuticals embraced her body, soothed the pain that her mother could not.

That question will resurface throughout my life.
Did it hurt you my sweet girl?
And I will never, ever know the answer.
I've asked it here before. I know I'll ask it again.

I know that you will never be far from my thoughts.
Your sister's first day at school.
Your sister losing her first tooth.
Your sister's first . . . well, everything, anything.
Jessica is accompanied by a pale sister, a transparent filigree of a might have been. 
Delicate and gleaming. A glimpse. A ghost. 
A sister forever at an angle, leaning away from us even as I lean towards her. Angled away. That child who escaped me. Who I can never hope to touch.

I drove myself to tears by attempting to imagine how I will feel at Jessica's wedding.
This was when Jessica was still in hospital. Not even three months old.
And already I was conjuring.

As my mom would say, "do not go and fetch the baboons out from behind the hill, they will come anyway."
The English equivalent would be something like "never trouble trouble, until trouble troubles you."

But the loss, the inverse of Georgina will, I think, always be there. I don't have to reach for it, it is already a part of me.

I already imagine how I will feel when I can no longer have any more children. That day may have already come for all I know but when it comes conclusively. How will I feel? To know that I will always be missing one. That my child bearing years started out like this and are now complete. That there will be no more chances.

When my mind starts to falter. When I can no longer remember. Myself. My name. Her father. Her sister. 
Will I remember her still? 
Will I remember my Georgina?

As more than a sister that could have been?
As more than my child that could have been?
More than a twin that wasn’t?
More than a shadow?

As her very own sweet self.
Who was.
Very briefly in this world.
That particular person.


Never again.
But she was.


I miss you.
I love you.
And I still don't have anything new to say.
But I am so very without you my girl.
Without you.
In these inbetween days.
And those that follow.
And next year.
And the year after.