You’re the stars & the moon now.
I’ve found myself more recently than so struggling to move on, move past things that are out of my control and I had no effect on. I thought I’d write about it, maybe it gets easier, the more you read over what’s going on in your mind and try to make sense of it.
In 2015, my mother lost a daughter. Myself and my siblings lost a sister. We lost Leanne and I still don’t know why.
It was 25th October and I was in Luton visiting my oldest sister Lacey. I wasn’t supposed to be heading down till late that day but I’d decided to go the night before so that I got to spend more time with her and the kids. Lacey was taking a nap with my niece when our sister Lauren sent a message in the group chat at about 2:30.
I remember reading it and it not making sense in my head, I went over and over it and thought I’d ask Lacey’s partner to wake her because something wasn’t right. We went upstairs and explained that Leanne had been poorly, had what seemed like a cold for a couple of days but mum had been to check on her and noticed she wasn’t making sense, she said that she wanted an ambulance.
Lacey came downstairs and we called my mum, I think it was about 2:50/2:55 and we were waiting for an update and hadn’t heard, so decided to just check in and see what was wrong.
Our little sister Lorelle answered the phone, she’d been crying and wasn’t making much sense. I had her on loud speaker and she was telling us that they were resuscitating her.. I wanted to speak to my mum, but she passed the phone over to a doctor. I heard the heart monitor start beeping again and that’s when we panicked. I think we were shouting because the doctor made a comment about us not coming home as things didn’t look good.. we didn’t understand what the hell she was thinking when she told us to stay put but we can only assume she knew what was happening and didn’t want anyone driving.
We looked at each other and hung up the phone. I don’t really remember much in between because emotions were everywhere. We were angry, upset, confused.. we sort of just grabbed a bag and got in the car.
We stopped at the petrol station to put fuel in the car, I think it was about 3:00pm and we didn’t say a word. We’d said we’d head back to stoke and not speak to anyone about it until we got there, we’d wait till we got home to speak with the girls after we had seen how she was. We just wanted to get home to her, look after her and be with everyone. We would hold her hand and tell her everything would be okay. We’d tell her that whatever it was, wasn’t going to beat her because she’s just like the rest of us – a fighter.
As we drove off the petrol station, we took the 2nd exit at the roundabout and Lauren called.
Lacey pulled up, looked at me and said ‘answer it babe, she’s on her own with harps’.
I think deep down we knew because we’ve never looked at each other like that before.
I dropped the phone, I couldn’t breathe. I opened the car door to get out, I needed to be sick, I couldn’t see and there was a pain so tight in my chest I was shaking.
Lauren told us that Leanne had passed away. They had resuscitated her, 2 or 3 minutes I think, but she wasn’t strong enough and at 16 years old, we lost her.
Lacey was screaming, crying. I remember a woman walking past with her dog, I think she said something to us, but I don’t know. It felt like we were there for a while. We sat in the car and it felt like forever but it could only have been minutes because we called Leah, my older, Lacey’s younger sister. She was on her own with Pippa because her husband was in the army and was supposed to be away for a few weeks on training.
I don’t remember what we said, other than telling her we loved her and we’d see her soon. We were just so confused and it hadn’t hit us. It didn’t make sense.
I think we held hands the entire drive home. It seemed to take us longer than usual and traffic was bad. I wanted to be with everyone, but I think I was supposed to be with Lacey.
You kind of just get used to that feeling in your chest. The feeling that your hearts beating so hard and fast it could burst and your skin starts to feel prickly with heat. Your legs go weak and you can’t feel your fingertips. You zone out to the point your vision is blurred and although you can hear what’s going on around you, you’re not listening to a thing. Everyone suffers with loss, everyone feels it but when it’s happening to you, when your world is falling apart and your heart is breaking, you just don’t see how anything could be worse.
Some people deal with it better than others, I felt so weak for the first time in my life. People tell you everyday how strong you are being, how if you can make it through this you can make it through anything. But that’s just it, you don’t actually feel like you’re coming through the other side, you feel like something is missing and it will be for the rest of your life. How are you supposed to move on if you’re no longer whole?
You’re not supposed to get over it, you’re supposed to just learn to live with the fact, but it doesn’t feel right to do it without her anymore and that’s the hard part.
We get to carry on and we have to do it without her..
Leanne was born with arthrogryposis & scoliosis – curvature of the joints and spine. The connective tissues fused to her joints during development and restricted her movement. She couldn’t walk and she had minimal use of her hands.
She couldn’t sit up on her own but she could sing snow patrol and she could draw a funny looking version of you.
She could do this weird thing with her nostrils when she laughed (which was silent and hilarious to see) and she could use her own arm as a rest to some how sling food into her mouth at certain angles – practice makes perfect.
She would fall for anything (Opposite Day) but she would manage to talk you into doing everything for her – even the little things she could do!
She was, without a doubt, the most loving of us all. No one could do wrong and she forgave so easily. She just wanted to be happy and for someone so restricted in life, she never complained about a thing.
I miss her so much.
You always think about what you would say if they were here, but nothing you say is ever enough.. it’s like everything you never said fills your head and you can’t get it out. I always think about how I wish she knew just how much I love her. I’d do anything to be able to tell her.
I wanted to travel and I wanted to do it with her. We’d talked about it because she never thought she’d be able to and I’d promised that when I went, she’d be with me. I’ll still go, eventually I’ll be ready and I’ll keep her with me forever.
Saying goodbye is hard, not having the chance to is heartbreaking.
I’m still not ready, and I know people say time heals but there are just some things it can’t. All the time in the world wouldn’t change how much it hurts, but you just have to keep going. I don’t want losing you to destroy me, I want it to show me just how lucky I was to spend 16 years with you. How lucky I was to know someone with such a beautiful soul and the weirdest of personalities.
There are important people in my life now that weren’t when you were here, and it saddens me that they won’t get to meet you, to know you and to know what it’s like to love you.
Life just won’t be the same without you kid, I love you to the moon & back