As warmer air creeps in past the curtains of my open windows, it's Keely's time of year again.
On the day she died, I was wearing summer clothes - a pink headwrap, a black tank top and flip flop sandals.
On the day she was born, a cold wind whipped through the air, a dark sky cried freezing rain we barely felt.
Cold nights and warmer days, these are the days that remind of that time. Those early, dark days spent in shock, planning her funeral, planning her birth. We stayed up, unable to consider sleeping. We watched videos in otherwise silence. I can name each one. Our food left uneaten, so many words left unsaid.
We've come a long way from those days when we didn't know how to face a life where our child's life ended. It still feels so surreal. Our child's life ended. Those words, or something similar, have crossed my lips countless times in the past 8 years and each time has it's own sadness that it's true and a welcomeness that I can speak of her.
Her brothers and sister speak her name often, always including her in our family moments. She is very much with us and very much alive in that sense. We are lucky. We are grateful.
But she is still gone. Gone from our arms, gone from these moments in the way she should be present.
Only a fabrication in my own mind of what life would be like if she'd lived survives.
The first butterflies of the year and an occasional rainbow will have to be enough; reminders that she lives in other ways.