My sons began term 4 of Year 1 this week. That doesn’t mean much to most people but to us it means that their older sister no longer leads the way. They are now the ones taking the first steps.
Clea never reached term 4. She died during the holidays between term 3 and term 4. She went on a holiday and never returned to school. At this time, two years ago, we were trying to explain to a class of Year 1 children why their classmate did not return from the holiday that she was so very excited to go on.
My sons say if Clea was here, that boy wouldn’t kick me in the leg; if Clea was here, we would go to After School Care together; if Clea was here, she would play with me. It is always ‘if Clea was here’. If Clea was here, I would be happy to take you all to the school fete this Saturday. If Clea was here, she would be in Year 3. But she is not here. She had plans to wait outside her brothers’ classrooms and take them to After School Care. She had many plans to look after them. She was a very good big sister. She is will always be their big sister. But she is not here.
Next year, the boys will begin Year 2 and they will not be able to ask us what Clea did in Year 2 because she did not get to finish Year 1. She did not start Year 2 with her friend, Laura. They had plans too; to sit next to each other and to visit each other’s houses. Laura did come to our house but only after Clea had died.
Last June, my sons were seven. Clea did not reach seven years of age. She was six and three-quarters when she died. Not even seven. How do you become older than your elder sibling? How do you not reach seven years of age? She would be 8 now, almost nine.
No, I did not ‘enjoy’ my holidays. These are always the school holidays of Clea’s death at the beginning and her funeral at the end. These are my school holidays.
And now, my sons will take the first steps. They are not meant to be first; they are meant to be second and third. Clea is supposed to lead the way; she is the eldest.