I continue to count because I will lose control if I do not count the weeks.
So where am I these 250 weeks later? I used to think that I was stuck on the beach with the images of running, drowning and loss. I think I’m off the beach but now I am stuck in the morgue looking down at my cold and lost child wrapped in palm leaves with sand scattered through her hair.
People ask, and those who don’t ask wonder, how I am. Mostly, I can honestly say that I am OK. I function. I work. I keep fit. I laugh and I cry. I socialise as much as I want. I generally understand that this is my life and that this life does not include my daughter. But every so often I am hit by the shock. I suddenly realise that my daughter is not here. She is not at school. She is not with her father or her brothers. She is actually dead.
The days can be endless painful days full of the harsh truth of reality. I can not bring my self to look through her photographs. I do say goodnight to the photographs on the wall and on the shelf. I go to her room each night and wish her goodnight as I do with my sons. I sleep with her photograph under my pillow. I also sleep with her pillow.
Before I had children, a friend of my older sister’s lost her son. He was the same age as my nephew and was buried on the family property. My sister said that she would feel the urge to dig her son out of the ground with her bare hands. I stand at Clea’s grave and I imagine myself clawing the moist earth to reach my child who has rotted into liquid and mass; and, would not look like my child. It is not logical for me to scrape and grind my hands through the dearth of flowers and plant matter to reach something that is no longer Clea. So I change the flowers and toss the slugs away as I can not stand the thought that they are eating into my child.
If I am anything I am logical and pragmatic. Pragmatic because this is my life now and this is all there is to it. There is nothing else. Logical because although I can understand the comfort in believing that a god is looking after your child and that your precious child is not alone, I can not believe that is true. It would probably be ‘nice’ to think that way because my daughter was scared of the dark and did not like to be hurt. Without such ‘comfort’ beliefs, I am left with a rotting corpse in the cold dark ground and a child who is no where but in our hearts and minds. After all, all our hearts are but one heart.
We have been to the football this past weekend. I don’t think she would have been interested in football. I often wonder what we would have done together. She was so keen for the girls to do things together – me and Mum, she would say, we’re the girls. So I walk alone at the football and imagine all the wonderful things we would have done together.
I do not picture Clea as being 6 years old. To me, she continues to grow; somewhere in an alternate universe maybe. At a school assembly for years 3 to 5 earlier this year, my mother asked whether Clea’s friends were in the hall. No, I said, Clea would be in year 6. It surprised me as I continue to think of Clea as being with her friends at whatever age they are but to my mother Clea will always be the 6 year old granddaughter she should not have lost.
I have said it before and I will say it again. You lose your future when you have lost your child. I no longer dream of a future. I live in the here and now. I have no expectations for the future. My life is split into life with Clea and life without Clea.
I miss her so much. The pain rips at my heart and there is nothing to wipe away my tears. I wish love did solve everything. No amount of love will bring Clea back.
Soon, very soon, she will have been dead for five years. I can not believe that she has been dead that long. It does not seem possible. The problem is that it is true. Truth is often an incomprehensible concept.