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.