What I Wouldn’t Give…

By Emma Pearson

July 16, 2024

10 November 2020

Painting by Julia – one of her last pieces, December 2018

Today is one of those days where Julia’s death, the reality of it, gets through to me… just a little bit more.

Despite it always being present, always heavy in my heart, wearisome in my lungs, ponderous on my shoulders, tense in my jaw, sick in my stomach, light, shaky and trembly in my hands and fingertips… always… some days all of those effects tighten and quicken and leaden and accelerate at the same time.

Even though by most people’s definitions of functioning, I am functioning. Even though by most people’s definitions of functioning while tired, exhausted, depleted, I am still functioning, despite being tired, exhausted, depleted.

On a day like today, I just want a bit of normality. A bit of Mike. A lot of Mike. A bit of Julia. A lot of Julia. All of her. All of him. But especially Julia. As hard as it is to let Mike go, a daily process, an hourly process, a minute-ly process… I can manage to do that. But I can’t just do that with Julia. Not today. Probably not any day. At least not fully.

What I wouldn’t give to hold her tightly to me. To smell her, to breathe her in, to feel her hair and run my fingers through it, to look into her deep blue eyes, whether they are full of tears, full of laughter or full of mischief.

What I wouldn’t give for her to literally dive into my lap as she finds me sitting and sobbing on my bedroom floor some weeks after Edward died. Her arms reaching around my neck as she mothers me in that moment.

What I wouldn’t give for her to crawl one more time into my bed, as she promised she would, when, in the middle of the night, she was scared she might take her life. A promise she kept to until her last day. Even if every one of those nights I couldn’t sleep a wink, petrified and icy cold as I felt.

What I wouldn’t give to get a text, a whatsapp, an image… even if I have to hesitate, to pause and brace myself before opening it, in case it shows blood or stitches or scars or other kind of distressing images and words.

On a day like today I would take it all. Even if I got more stress than peace from it as a result. I would go with the stress if I got one more whiff of you.

I love life less without you, sweet babe. I am trying so hard. But it’s hard.

I miss you darling. So very much.

A week before she died, Taunton, 22 June 2019

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