She looks at me with sadness in her eyes.  Hollow eyes.  So much missing.  Empty.

Gently I suggest we go and talk.  She leads the way and throws herself down on the quilted bed-spread.  An exaggerated sigh escapes as she curls herself into the fetal position. I lay down next to her gently, kissing her on the cheek and placing my head at the same level, looking her deep into those grey smokey eyes.

“What is wrong?” I probe.

“Ugh, nothing!” she retorts.

“Tell me, Possum.”

“I am sad,”  She pouts. “I’m just sad.”

Such a loaded statement from a 6 year old.

“I know my sweet, but what is making you sad today?”

“Well,” she starts “It’s just… well… It is not fair.”

“What is not fair?”

“That Avery died.”

“You are right.  It is not fair.”  Such an understatement.  It is bloody unfair.  My mind is swimming at her saying his name.

She is sobbing, and she rubs the tears violently from her eyes and cheeks.  She does not like crying about him, no matter how often I tell her it is O.K. to let the tears fall.  She hides her face into the fresh white linen of that vintage quilt, the tears spreading through the fibres.  I am about to talk, but she starts on a verbal rampage without prompting.

“Why does Genevieve have a baby brother and not me?!  She gets Matthew and I just get Avery and he is dead!  I am sick of being the only kid! All the time, just me and grown ups!”  The tears are flowing freely as she claws her fingers around my neck. I can’t breathe, the pain in her heart is pulsing through my own.  A magnifying glass enlarging my own pain.  I hold her tight and whisper secrets of love and blessings and how special she is.  I tell her she is amazing and it is ok to feel this way.  That it is natural.

“I wish he was alive too.  I wish Avery was alive so you could be a big sister to him.”  I consider telling her that she is still a big sister, but I know this won’t help in this moment. She wants to actively be a big sister – to cuddle, and dress, and feed her baby brother… not to just cuddle a photo frame under her pillow.

She starts breathing softer, more regularly and I release my iron grip from her.  I kiss away her tears and tell her again that I love her.  And I love her for talking to me and telling me how she feels.

We go back to the room of Just Adults, of wine and roasts and silver spoons, and she holds my hand.

And I whisper to the universe, that I wish she had her baby brother too.

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Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 6:32 pm

Big hugs to Tara.. I wish she had her baby brother too.. and I pray she will have another in her future.


Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 6:34 pm

Tara is such a special kid and it breaks my heart to see her (and you and A) going through this. Love you. xxx

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 6:51 pm

The darling girl.

It’s something my daughter identifies with too, greatly, as you know.

I have nothing. It is at is it is. She’s wonderful for articulating it so well. And well done you, though it takes enormous strength, for continuing to let her. xxx Much love to you and Tara.

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 6:54 pm

Hugging you both with my mind right now. Hope you can bring Miss T to visit sometime soon.

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 6:55 pm

You carry a dual burden there – yours and hers, different and confounding. You are amazing for holding her through this too.

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 7:41 pm

Heartbreaking. But oh, so beautifully written. I can only imagine the pain your soul feels every day, and how magnified it must be to have this conversation and to feel her pain too.

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 7:47 pm

Sending you hugs, your writing made me feel like I was in that room with you, watching, heart heaving in sadness. What a brave little girl, and what a wonderful mum she has xx

Blue Zone
Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 7:47 pm

♥ ♥

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 7:56 pm

Simply heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. What an incredible mother you are to your cherub and I love the way you made everything just right and safe for her to talk and share. Inspiring! Hugs to you xx

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 8:07 pm

I’m so lucky that Inigo hasn’t (seemed to) suffer from the isolation of being “the only one” who doesn’t get to bring his sibling home. One great blessing from our experience is that he was too young to get the full brunt of what this means.

Would love to get them together one day :)

It’s not fair. But she isn’t the only one, even though it feels like it.

Hugs to both of you.

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 8:22 pm

The unfairness of it seems to be a whole big terrible thing in and of itself, separate and compounding such terrible grief :( nothing can make it right but I hope with all I have she gets to be a big sister in the small every day ways xx

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 8:38 pm

I wish I could articulate how I feel half as well as your wee girl did. So positive that the two of you can communicate this way.

Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 9:45 pm

This really resonates with me. Our second baby died after 42 weeks gestation and 9 hours of life outside the womb. It was so hard watching my oldest child’s pain, and then, in a subsequent pregnancy, his assumption that this baby too would die “and go to heaven in a helicopter like Cody”. Interestingly, my 5th baby (and youngest child) expresses her deep deep sadness over her big brother she never met perhaps more than any of the others. In a very similar fashion to your daughter, actually. The deep pain and sadness they feel brings a deep compassion and empathy for others who hurt. But right now it is your daughter that is hurting. And you. I don’t know you, but my heart reaches out to you as your walk this painful path. May you know love and peace along the way.

Veronica @ Mixed Gems
Wednesday 18 April 2012 - 10:35 pm

I have few words, just tears. You write so amazingly of things so hard to write about.

Mel G
Friday 20 April 2012 - 12:30 am

Big hugs to both of you, you seem like such a wonderful mum and your daughter is absolutely gorgeous (but you already know that lol)


Saturday 21 April 2012 - 8:26 pm

My heart goes out to your dear little girl. It’s so unfair that she should have to feel such sadness. My heart goes out to you too – you handled the situation with such grace and love.

Monday 23 April 2012 - 1:23 am

♥ :’( ♥

Monday 7 May 2012 - 3:19 am

This post is so aptly titled – the space that will never be filled.
My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing such personal moments with us. Writing through grief and pain is a gift to yourself… and to us.

Friday 1 June 2012 - 10:10 am

[...] post, Hollow, was selected in the Parenting category for this year’s [...]

Friday 1 June 2012 - 7:11 pm

Kristie … your writing never ceases to touch my heart and make me cry. I feel so sad for Tara, poor baby. I feel for you and how strong you need to be in order to address this sadness in her. Wow, I guess I’m overwhelmed by your piece. Bless xx

Sunday 10 June 2012 - 7:39 pm

Kristie, I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to come to reading this post. I am in awe of it. And I’m just so sad for you and for your daughter. You are an awesome mum – letting her express her emotions and being sensitive to her point of view. Much love to you. xx

Friday 15 June 2012 - 4:06 pm

Nothing but tears!

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