The Empty Place Where You Should Be

Like many, I am haunted by the deaths of other people’s children in the media. The reporting of April Jones’ murder makes me wonder how on earth any parent is able to make any sense of life again. The picture of April, happy on her pink bike, with her pink jumper and giggling face makes me ache. The loss of a child must feel so visceral, so physical. To not be able to hold your child in your arms, to brush their cheek or hug and cuddle them. It must feel like a constant void, something to painful to feel, but even more painful to forget. This week, another daughter, Georgia Williams, disappeared. I was on Twitter and searched for news, typing her name into the search bar. Up popped her Twitter account. I stared at this, but couldn’t resist looking. The usual random tweets, about best friends, nights out, Instagrammed pictures of changes in hair colour. And then a stop. An end. No wind down, no warning. Like April’s parents, Georgia’s family will have to wait for an explanation and face the agony of wondering what they could have done to save her. I can’t imagine what that must feel like and even to think about it hurts and scares me. A daughter with anorexia seems like a blessing. I can hug her and chat to her and snuggle on the sofa with her.

Sometimes though, I feel a faint whisper of that grief that for April’s and Georgia’s families must be a deafening roar. Yesterday, as L left for town with friends, she wore new jeans. Similar to the jeans she wore last year and thankfully abandoned. But they are back. High waisted and skinny they display how gaunt and thin she is. As she loses more weight, they will hang and be baggy, pouching in the spaces where a young woman should be. A pound at a time, she slips away. I am so lucky to have her, and K and J. But that doesn’t stop the sadness at losing her little by little.

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