Updated: Jun 10
You are 6. Your head pressed against the car window humming "Shakira, Shakira, my hips don't lie, Shakira, Shakira." Are you comparing the French countryside to Ireland? Or, are you thinking of the two weeks in Keycamp with your cousins?
You are 9. I'm in a restaurant with other mums. We put our phones on silent and raise our glasses to toast a well-deserved break from motherhood. Meal over, time to go home and I look at my phone.
10 missed calls!
Trembling fingers I dial Ciara.
'What's wrong, are you hurt?
'No, I'm fine.'
'Is somebody hurt?'
'Then what's wrong Ciara?'
'There's no pesto.'
'There's no pesto.'
'What NO PESTO!'
'Ciara, it's midnight the shops are shut.'
Small person. Small voice, 'There's no pesto.'
You are 12 smiling at the camera. Full of excitement, the start of a new chapter in your life, your new school. Your dyslexia made school a challenge, but the friendship pulled you to school. You embraced peoples differences, and you had the courage to stand up for yourself, and also had the courage to stand up for others.
You are 14. We're in the car singing "A Thousand Miles." You look at me and say, 'That's our song,' and turn up the volume.
You are 16. We're on the train. We're going to Dublin for the day. Shopping, having lunch. A mother and daughter day.
You are 17. You are still. Look at us, Me, Dad, your brothers. Crying. Numb. Shock. This happens to other people, not us, not me. The priest speaks. Your friends go up to the altar, to talk about you with tears in their throats. You were a best friend to each one of them. They all came for you, all united in grief. Kodaline's appearance had been secret.
I am in your room. I am lost. Minimalism is not a word to describe you. Empty shoe boxes, piles of clothes, shoes, shopping bags. Your first teddy.
Notebooks, diaries, journals. I read them all. I read your dreams, your lists, your bucket list. At first, they were simple lists, innocent.
Sneak out, stay out all night. Go to Dublin on the train by yourself, then you wanted to be a lifeguard on Bondi beach. There are sketches of clothes. A dress. Lace, a sweetheart neckline, a mermaid tail. It's simple but elegant — your wedding dress.
June 2019. St Anne's Park. Kodaline are on stage. Steve points to a large screen behind him, 'This is Ciara,' You are smiling, laughing.
15,000 people cheers as he sings
On a Wednesday morning in July we dried out tears and said goodbye,
Another Angel gone before her time.
Your song – Angel.
I can't take my eyes off you, and for a millisecond, our eyes lock. Can you see me? We dry our tears again.
I am with friend's, talking about someone else's pain. I am an outsider. Their grief for me, for you, has moved on. Someone else needs their attention. I got comfort from their sympathy, and when it moved on to someone's else pain that was hard. That's something I have to accept. Everyone moves on, but a part of me is suspended with you.
My grief has eased. It's true, time is a healer. But your laughter echoes in the house and grief plays hide and seek with me. It jumps out of the shadows, and I crumble at your loss.
6,528 days you were with us, but now you are gone.
You will always be, our daughter, your brother's sister, you will always be.
I am not sad because of the grandchildren I will never have, or sad I will never see you in a white dress.
I am sad that you never got to be a lifeguard on Bondi Beach or travelled, or you never got to wear your wedding dress, and you never got to live your life.
And I never got you the pesto.