I've only done this once before. Your 2nd anniversary looms over me and despite doing what I can to ignore it – it pokes at my ribs and pulls my hair. I feel duty bound on one level, but on another I don't want to subject my friends to attend the 'most miserable party of the year' either.
The pain bubbles in the playground of my stomach, aching, gurgling, crying out for the ghost in my womb to return to this world safe and well.
You are so real to me that my subconscious constantly forgets you aren't coming back. Snippets of thoughts from my previous life disregarding the reality of what's happened, flooding into my present life and for a millisecond I'm back there, to a time when you were safely by my side - when my life was a list of tasks in order to care for you, my precious girl.
But that's ok, the acid-like pain of those moments in the early days is gentler now. I'm not in denial, but every cell in my body is conditioned to your needs and it'll take time for them to recalibrate and work out a new purpose.
I smile now when I instinctively look at the clock to see when you're coming home from school, even though I know you won't. 3.05pm used to be a time that had significance in my previous life – I'd phone to ask what you fancied for dinner and discuss what you were up to after school. In the background I could hear the echo of the corridor filled with the noise of teenagers, you'd be half listening as your friends chatted in your other ear.
It's as though you're still there, half listening on the end of your phone. So I smile to myself as these thoughts slip away and the real world gently takes me by the hand.