My daughter Naomi outlived her expectations. She was born with a condition that stopped her from growing. She was only expected to live between one and six years, so every birthday was a celebration.
For seven years we did 24-hour caring. I monitored her needs, her minuscule inputs. It was exhausting, but with it came a feeling of illumination. You know when you're on the motorway and you see a field hit by a shaft of light? It was like living in that sunlit field. It made me intensely happy.
I think Naomi chose her moment to go. She was eating less. In the last two months, she was exhausted. We had the privilege of holding her - it was the kind of peaceful death many parents who lose children don't get to witness. At those moments, you're touching the rawness of life itself. I felt her body loosen, unravel. The moment of her birth and the moment of her death were gifts. But it has been pain ever since.
Now she's gone, and 18 months in it is still very raw. The world is all wrong. It looks all wrong. She's still imprinted on my shoulder and in the heart of this house. My son still wants to play with her. I'm in the white light of grief and I'm the most unhappy I've ever been.
Grief is a process. It's an animal with a life of its own and I am at its mercy. I know it's transforming us, but into what?
Everyone held Naomi - she was so small, so portable - but she held us, too, and right now I am lost without her.