December 25th passes by, smothered in blackness, pain and despair, the adults only talking when absolutely essential, are unable to offer each other any comfort, he spends most of his home time in his shed. The enormity of the brickwall, that is the fragility and preciousness of life, once lost can never be got back, still too hard to comprehend. In the silence encompassing the house, little brothers and sisters, not understanding what has happened, or where their sister is, but knowing something is not right, are also acting very subdued.
In the evenings, we all retreat to the double bed, huddling together, in front of the telly. My senses in a world of their own, are somehow distanced from the room. I can only sit staring blankly, neither seeing or hearing as if reality is suspended and I’ve stepped into another realm.
Startled into awareness, I see a large brilliantly lit, glowing figure, clad all in bright white, has appeared, standing in a corner of our darkened room, beside the telly. At the same time I have an uncanny feeling of knowing, I am being sent a direct communication of great peace and love that is engulfing me and being absorbed directly inside my heart.
Half pie frightened, I debate in my head if perhaps this could be Jesus or an angel and should I talk to it, when darkness returns to the corner. When I asked, did anyone see that, they thought I was talking about the telly.
Days pass in a blur of nothingness as life moves on. The husband never ever communicating, returns to work, while I, barely able to concentrate long enough to do more than basic activities for the baby and older children, spend each day sitting in shocked silence.
My mind can think of nothing except my missing daughter, desperate for her to come back. I am regretting my impatience and anger, realizing, I was too busy, just doing, too late. I never fully appreciated the great blessing she was in my life. That saying, ‘you don’t know what you have until you lose it’ comes to mind.
At meal times, I accidentally keep setting out her plate, before my brain catches up and I remember, four places not five. My heart is sent into fresh waves of pain, as I pore over photos taken at the Christmas party, when they arrive, her last fun day on earth.
Dick, the Presbyterian Minister from the church service faithfully comes by every few days. Sometimes he tries to come up with words to help, where nothing ever will, however, he does lay to rest my worry that because my little girl was not christened she couldn’t be with God in heaven. Showing me a part in the bible, where Jesus talks about little children are to come to him. Mostly he and I sit in silence, but his presence is comforting, just knowing someone cares.
Clutching at anything that might help ease the pain inside, we accept his invitation to attend church when invited. In my grief, I can only manage to sit listening to the singing and words unable to take part or talk to others, but do feel comforted. It reminds me of attending Sunday night church services, with Aunt, when my sister and I were in the Children’s home. We both decide to join the lessons about Christianity, to maybe join Dick’s church.
February, I am asked to attend the inquest into my daughter’s death and recount what I remember of that, unforgettable, terrible night. From a wooden box up front in the courtroom, I nervously tell of leaving my little girl alone in the bath to go and check on the baby, returning to find her slumped over and Mr R’s unsuccessful try at resuscitation.
The memories still seem unreal and unbelievable. When I’m finished, I hurry away, scared, I might hear some gory details about my lovely wee girl that will stick in my head forever. Back home, I crawl into bed and curl up in a ball.
Seated on the bus to the shops, my heart races with joy and excitement, when I catch sight of a little blond, curly head, exactly like hers sitting on a knee a few rows in front of me. Thinking, I’d found my girl, I jump out of my seat rushing to the front of the bus to go get her back. The face I see, is not my girl, and disappointed, I must return to my seat.