Many years ago
she arrived crying in the world.
Later I remember she would smile.
Some years more
but still today
and many miles away from her
his parents felt their world complete.
but through the years
they lit the candles together
laughing in a distant unison.
He did not know
and nor did she
and now she is not here
and he does not remember.
For years now
since she left
the celebrations have been singular
Nineteen. Nineteen years today.
If I had had children, you would not have seen them grow up. They would have been a twinkle, a gentle belly swelling, an arrival with tears and cries of joy, school and scabs and scars and almost good enough for the football teams and the ukelele band.
The clothes you knitted they would have worn with love then exasperation and then with a retro swing of the scarf. You would have wiped their eyes when they fell, their noses when they fell ill, their eyes again when they fell in love. You would have been Nan, then Bet for a dare, then Nan to hear the secrets they would not have told me.
And now, nineteen years later, they would have been grown, and away alone, and always on the phone to hear your voice. I miss you mum, for me and for the children I never had.