My Darling Grace,
Sometimes I stand by your bed and watch you sleep. You look perfect to me. You breath in and out deeply and you are content. Every now and then you will jiffle about, or raise your eyebrows and sigh. This makes me smile. These are also the times I feel sad and miss my Mum the most.
I’ll imagine that she is standing behind my left shoulder, just out of sight, and we are admiring you together. I concentrate hard and wish with all my heart that I will feel her hand on my shoulder, or her breath on my ear, whilst deep down knowing this cannot be.
I’ll play out scenes in my head. The setting is usually Mum’s home in her living room (it’s funny to think there’s a stranger living there now) and you, my baby girl, are happily marching around, singing in your clumsy toddler way for your adoring Nanny. She leans forward in her chair enthusiastically, clapping you and cheering you on. I like to think she is always cheering you on from somewhere Grace.
On you sleep.
You will occasionally rouse and suck you thumb to comfort yourself again and drift back off. Just like I used to. I wonder if Mum ever stood over my cot, watching me sleep and suck my thumb. I expect she probably did.
Thoughts will claw their way into my head. Thoughts I wish I could flick away, like you could a wasp droning in your face. But like the wasp, they incessantly linger. I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. Guilt that one day I may break your heart like Mum did me when she left us. Guilt that I will not always be with you. Guilt that I have created a life that will feel the pain and torment the world throws at us, and yet I know deep down that it is these hard experiences that will make you who you are. That will round you into a strong, balanced and empathetic woman.
I wish for you Grace that the sorrowful times are few, the happy times are many, and the contented times are prevalent. I wish that I could put you into a golden bubble and keep you safe from hurt. I wish that you have inherited your Nanny’s strength of character.
I wish that she was still here.
These private moments, watching you sleep, are the usual times I allow myself to grieve. Even the people who love you most eventually run out of things to say. The world expects you to move on, and to a certain extent, you do. But grief slowly becomes a solitary affair. The world sees your smile, but your stomach still feels the wrench.
In the morning Grace, the sun will rise, the world will waken, and you will sit up and call for me, hair askew and arms outstretched. Your beautiful smile will warm my heart and the sadness will ebb away again, strengthening my resolve to be strong and be happy. I will try my best to fill your day with laughter, friends, toys and adventure, and together, we will make the most of these, your most innocent years.
Always remember baby girl, you are bigger then the things you are afraid of.
I love you,