‘Laura! Laura! Quick, come down here! My God! Quick!’ I screamed, before dropping to my knees outside the backdoor.
She was lying there, motionless. Almost instantly, guiltily, I knew we should have seen this coming.
Her behaviour had become more and more erratic over the last few weeks. Hitting the Calpol hard. Sitting dangerously close to the edge of the mantelpiece. Hiding in the bottom of the buggy, angry and upset. Even refusing to spin her head through 360degrees. The signs were there, we were just too busy to see them.
As I picked her up and held her to my chest, the lifelessness of her tiny frame was overwhelming. I burst into tears. Why? Why had she done this? Why hadn’t she talked to us? Told us she wasn’t happy.
‘Oh no! No!’, gasped Laura, standing in the doorway. She quickly turned away, shielding our daughter from this gruesome sight.
‘Is. Is……?’, she could barely bring herself to say it. ‘Has she…..? Oh no. Why? Why?”.
I looked around slowly, searching for clues that could help us understand what had happened. As I peered up toward our daughter’s bedroom window it suddenly all made sense. On the sill lay a syringe, some Calpol and…wait. What was that? There was something poking out from the top of the small glass bottle.
I carefully placed her limp body back on the floor and ran into the house, bounding up the stairs and into our daughter’s room. Lifting the window, I reached out onto the ledge. She’d left a note.
When our daughter was asleep, still unaware of the afternoon’s tragedy, we poured a stiff drink and sat down on the living room floor amidst the grieving toys. We unfurled the piece of paper and read the note out loud:
Where there was once love, there is now only emptiness. At first I thought I could cope, that just seeing her happy, if only from afar, would be enough. But I was wrong. I miss the way she used to yank my hand-beads or how she’d chew my head-hanger when a new tooth was coming through. How she’d toss me from the buggy, only to immediately demand it be stopped to allow me back on board. I miss her. I miss her so much.
Now I know that these moments are gone and will never return. I always knew that her and Bedtime Teddy had something really special, but I hoped, naively, that it wouldn’t develop beyond snoozy-time. Now that it has, I must accept that she is lost to me forever. The pain of which I know I cannot bear. When she is old enough, please tell her how I feel. Tell her I loved her. I loved her more than she could ever, ever imagine.