Emma was only 4 when Georgie died and, most appropriately for her age, she took everything in her stride.
She accepted without questioning that Georgie went to heaven.
She played tea parties in the chapel where his little body rested for three days, undisturbed by the reality of his departure.
After the funeral, she got back to her only-child life without any qualms, or so it appeared at the time.
But as she grows up, her anger with the situation and her questions grow bigger and bigger too.
Half-term was hell term for us.
Alex worked long hours that week and instead of having a great week off, spending it relaxing and recharging our batteries, Emma and I spent it at each other’s throats.
I haven’t been great myself for a number of weeks so having a screaming, unhappy child for whom nothing was quite right drove me to the brink of insanity several times that week.
I did start to make sense of what was happening the week after, when I picked on the fact that she was insisting her new favourite colour was yellow.
It clicked into place, as I did remember having told her that Georgie loved bright colours and yellow especially.
So I started prodding her gently with questions:
“Do you miss your brother, Emma?”
“No, not really.”
“Do you miss being a big sister?”
“Yes…very much…I made a great big sissie…”
I have also tried to give away some of her soft toys, shortly after her birthday last week, to make room for the new games.
I did show them to her one by one, including one of Georgie’s teddies.
I remember how she stopped breathing when the teddy went up.
She searched my eyes anxiously and asked simply:
She carried on saying that she wants to keep ALL of Georgie’s toys and never lose any of them.
This child of mine is trying so hard to hold on to the very few mementos and memories that she has of her brother.
And it breaks my heart.
As I see her struggle. Her agony with what has happened. Her questions.
And there is nothing, absolutely nothing I can do to make it right.
I cannot bring Georgie back.
I cannot build memories of what they have lost, a whole life of growing up together, of games, of rivalries, of camaraderie and love.
I cannot fix this.
I cannot mend our broken lives.
All I can do is accept it all as it is.
Her broken heart is leaking love for a little brother with whom she will not get to share her life here on earth.
All I can do is offer her the little comfort my words and touch can bring her bruised heart.
That and the fact that….her new favourite colour is yellow…