Thursday, 24 January 2013

There was once a little girl

When Beautiful B was little she looked just like her dad.  She had bright blonde hair just like I did until I was 5.  I have photos of her at the park next to the duck pond stood in the same place that I stood when I was her age.  She was gorgeous, with the brightest smile ever.

Beautiful B’s dad wanted more children but I only ever wanted one and the baby had to be a girl.  By the time, I may have considered another child we had split up.  Beautiful B became the focal point of both our separate lives.

When Beautiful B told me her dad’s girlfriend was pregnant I wasn’t surprised, he had always wanted lots of children.  Mia, Beautiful B’s first sister was born 8 weeks early and was tiny tiny.  She had severe eyesight problems and by the time they realised she was not growing along the normal percentile and wondered whether a genetic condition was involved, another baby was on the way.

Mia reminded me so much of Beautiful B.  She had blonde hair and looked almost identical to Beautiful B as a baby and toddler.  Like her sister Mia looked so much like her dad.  She was tiny and endured 8 operations before she was 6 months old and by the time she was 18 months old, although almost blind her spacial awareness was amazing.  She looked just like Beautiful B and like her she wore clothes made for much smaller children.

When Beautiful B was 3 and half she was wearing clothes for an 18 month old.  It made for some humorous times when she started talking and people took a double take assuming she was a very advanced 18 month old.  Looking at Mia was like looking at Beautiful B all over again and like her sister she had the brightest smile.

Mia could also be stubborn and I used to smile inwardly when Beautiful B would return home after visiting her and relay a moment of stubbornness because Beautiful B was just the same at that age.  Amazingly wonderful but if she set her mind to something there was no changing it.

Mia had a hard life and she would have continued to have to try and strive through adversity and more than likely prejudice to make her way in the world.  Unfortunately, Mia was taken away suddenly.  What started as a cold was in fact undiagnosed meningococcal pneumonia and by the time it was obvious that it was more serious than a severe cold it was too late and she died peacefully on the way to hospital.

That day will live with me forever.  The way Beautiful B just crumpled on the floor with the wounded howl so frightening.  The way I couldn’t get her off the floor for 25 minutes.  The trip to the hospital where Beautiful B insisted on seeing her sister because she wouldn’t believe it was real until she saw it for herself.  Unfortunately, this was not the worst to come for Beautiful B. 

The 24th, today, will be the 1st anniversary of her sister’s death as well as the day her dad would have 42.  Beautiful B has been dreading it.  She relives the day that she bought him trainers for his birthday and took them round early.  She thought his usual trainers needed replacing - her dad said they had another 2 years in them yet.  Those same trainers he wore the hospital on the 28th, the day that he died, 4 days after his daughter, Mia.  Although we knew he needed a liver transplant and that he had 6-12 months to live it was as though his body could not deal with the loss of his daughter.

There is nothing I can do to make it better, I desperately want to take her pain away (or at least be able to reduce it) but there is nothing I can do.  I know that she has to feel the emotions of today (and what is to come in the next 4 days) so that she can learn to deal with the pain and it hurts that I cannot do anything to stop it.  She has to deal with losing Mia a year ago today and that her dad is not here to celebrate his birthday; that he couldn't celebrate his birthday last year as he had to say goodbye to Mia.  Today will never again be a day to celebrate for Beautiful B or any of Tom's family. 

No-one should have to bury their 3 year old sister when they are only 17 years old and no-one that age should have to grieve on the day of her father's birthday because he was taken so young.  

 It’s a sad fact of life that some people are taken early but one that I hate.  As I sit here and worry, I know the pain I am feeling for Beautiful B is nothing compared to what she is going through right at this minute and all I can do be here and be strong.  She does not need to have to deal with my feeling of helplessness on top of everything else.

Today she will visit the cemetery and lay flowers for Mia – a single red rose, a bed of red roses in the shape of a heart and balloons because every young child should have balloons on their birthday.  Today is a day that she will spend with her dad's family and hopefully be able to remember some of the good times.  I will be here waiting for her when she returns.

Today I will hug Beautiful B and remind myself how lucky I am that Beautiful B is as well as she is, that she is stronger than most people I know and that she fights to turn such tragedy into hope for others as she made her career nursing partly because of the battle her sisters have had since they were born.

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