On 6 March 1985 my sister, Katy, died. She was 2.5-years old.
She wasn’t poorly, she just died. She had a cold-type bug and Mum was taking her to the doctors. As Mum was putting Katy’s coat on to leave the house, Katy asked for a cuddle. Mum cuddled her and, as they parted, Katy collapsed.
They went to the hospital and, after a little while, Katy passed away. My elder sister, Clare, was 5 at the time and she watched the whole thing. My Dad was at work but rushed to the hospital to be there. I can’t imagine how horrific it must have been to go through this. My poor, poor family.
At the time Katy died, Mum was 6-months pregnant with me. All my life I’ve felt a closeness to Katy and as a child I would cry to my parents, saying I missed her and wished I’d met her. It seems insane to feel a loss for somebody I never met, but I can only assume it’s true when doctors say that whilst in the womb babies can hear everything – Katy used to talk to me, calling me ‘Bump’, so maybe I was aware of her being around? I don’t know.
The reason for this post is that today would have been Katy’s 30th birthday. All my life I’ve wished I could have the chance to speak to her, so as it’s her milestone birthday, I thought I’d write her a letter. I used to write her letters when I was a little girl and, although I haven’t done so for many years, today seems like the right time to drop her a line again.
Today you would have been 30. Wow, 30-years old, it seems so insane! My big sister, frozen in time as a 2.5-year old and now you would have been 30!
I know we never met properly, but I think about you every single day. I wonder what you would have been like. I wonder how you would have had your blonde hair – long, pixie crop, bobbed? I wonder how tall you would have been – I’m 5ft2, Clare’s 5ft (and a quarter of an inch, as she’s always telling us!) and Leo is a fair bit taller than us, although I don’t know quite how tall he is. Would you have been tiny like me and Clare or would you have been more around Leo’s height?
I wonder if you would have been married by now, or had children? I wonder what you would have been doing for a living? Clare and Leo have both gone into professions that help people, whilst I work in the public sector looking after some villages in Essex. I wonder what you would have ended up doing? Would you have gone straight out to work like us three did, or would you have gone to University?
I wonder if we would have gone out together? Would we have gone down the pub together or gone clubbing? Would we have got drunk together, got into scrapes and made memories that lasted forever? Would we have woken up this morning with horrible hangovers after celebrating your birthday last night?
I wonder if we would have moved out together, got a flat and been house-mates as well as sisters, or would you have moved out on your own and had your own place like us three all have?
I wonder what your fashion style would have been like? What sort of clothes would you have liked? Would you have been into fashion and beauty? Would you have been sporty? Would you have been animal lover? Would you have been a petrol-head like we all are?
I have so many questions and there are so many things I wonder about, but I’ll never know the answers.
I went to see a medium last year – I don’t know if I believe they’re genuine or not; I sometimes think they prey on the vulnerable, I’m a huge cynic. Towards the end of the session she told me there was a young girl there but that she wasn’t talking, she was just watching. As I said, I’m a huge cynic so I took it with a pinch of salt, but still I couldn’t help wondering if it was true and if you had come to say hello, just making yourself known to me. I’d love to talk to you but I don’t know if that would be possible – you were 2.5-years old when you died, so are you still 2.5 now? Is your vocabulary the same as when you died, or can you talk freely wherever you are now?
You dying was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to a family, but from your death we have tried to make the best of things. You taught us that life is short, you taught us that family is the most important thing in the world, you taught us that ‘shit happens’ and you just have to get on with life, you taught us never to go to bed on an argument and to always tell people how much you love them because tomorrow is guaranteed for nobody.
You dying was the worst possible thing that could have happened, but it made us the people we are and, that, I feel, is the ‘silver lining’ we have to take from this. Everything happens for a reason, as they say, no matter how much it may break our hearts.
I love you Katy. I always have and I always will. I miss you. I always have and I always will.
Today you would have been 30, and, I hope, wherever you are, you’re happy and enjoying yourself. We think about you every single day and we won’t ever forget you.
Love you lots