More real is my sense of her as distributed, as traced through into the elements - via her ashes and our grief and the kindnesses others have shown to us. Pomegranates, silver princess gum trees, babushka dolls, Frida's face on the wall, a postcard spelling out L-O-V-E. These are the negative spaces around her little life.
It has been a hard year - my sister's baby girl lived three months exactly, mostly in one NICU unit or the other, mitochondrial disease sapping the energy she needed to keep her small heart beating. (Actually, her heart was enlarged. This is the painful irony - as the heart muscle struggles, it grows) And while my own grief has become woven into my life, nothing can short-cut the process for my sister and her partner. It's a particular kind of helplessness, to have built my own road through my grief, but to know that it is completely irrelevant to them. My words are cardboard cutlery, my metaphors are just a big jumbled mess. I just come back to the same phrases I say to Ali: I hear you. I'm here for you. I love you.