On the nights and days when Chris is away her small shadow darts and crosses the floor in swift movements and I feel her watching me from behind a door smiling. My longing for our daughter, for the life that should have been continues to strike me across the cheek like the strong hand of a spurned lover – with purpose and with intent. Ella, who passed this life into the next 22 months ago, seared her mark onto my heart and not a single day passes without my soul aching for her beautiful being.
The mountain we began to climb in the face of her death was too colossal, too imposing and too damn difficult to be anything but overwhelming. I truly believe it could have gone either way, we could have torn each other apart, or we could have fought tooth and nail to get ourselves onto that ladder. And fought we did, physically and mentally Chris and I dragged each other up. With the determination we have for each others survival, along with the support from family and friends we’re over half way there - some days we’re very nearly at the top and on others we slide wearily back down.
I believe life’s like that on every level and Ella’s being has carved us into who we are, regardless of whether we reach the summit or not. Some days I like what I see in us both, on others I struggle with this new identity. We are parents, but we are without our baby. We held our tiny daughter, but our arms are empty. We experienced the profound emotions that come with the excitement of starting a family only to have them severed within the blink of an eye. We held onto a rope of intense hope so tightly that we nearly suffocated and we felt a pain so great that the world crashed down around our ears.
Overcome The Devils With A Thing Called Love - Bob Marley
Ella gave us the strength to fight our demons with a thing called love and with the passing of each day that love becomes stronger. I imagine her asleep in the room where I’m sat on the sofa typing - the room we use as a snug where the walls are covered in paintings and African prints. Her shadow is forever present and for that I’m thankful that her spirit lives on, if only I could reach out and hold you, my baby, my child, my daughter, my life.