She's gone but she's still everywhere
PUBLISHED: 13:15 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:37 27 September 2018
All those parents who have waved children off to school or uni, I know how you feel.
A coat is draped over a kitchen chair, a scarf is on the radiator, I’m still tripping over her shoes and I keep finding hair scrunchies and hairbrushes.
After weeks of muttering, loudly, about number one daughter’s clutter taking over the house I’m finding I rather like these little reminders of her.
I shouldn’t be surprised that little sister Thalia doesn’t believe me when I tell her, for the umpteenth time, that no Sunny isn’t just out for the day and that yes I did definitely take her back to uni and we won’t see her for weeks.
Thalia wanders about, picking up this and that of Sunny’s – from wellies, sandals and more trainers to a favourite white rucksack, sunglasses, purse and Sudoku puzzle book. Every time she finds something of Sunny’s, and it doesn’t take long, she asks why Sunny didn’t take it. She’s particularly unconvinced about Sunny’s return to Plymouth when she finds the apple she gave to Sunny left in the kitchen and insists that Sunny definitely wanted it.
Denial is Thalia’s usual stance when something happens that she doesn’t like, while middle sister Keola is simply quieter than usual. I only really know Keola is miserable when she walks and sits on the sofa, the right way up, without any sign of a handstand, headstand, flick or a few spins on the way.
They miss their big sister when she’s away at Plymouth uni; I’ve told them it won’t be as tough as the last academic year when Sunny was in Canada and we didn’t see her for months and months, but I’m not sure they believe me.
I don’t think I’m helping Thalia’s confusion by leaving Sunny’s trainers on the floor so I still trip over them, and I’m leaving her scarf, and her clothes in the laundry basket. That way I can briefly inwardly convince myself that she isn’t several hours away, while telling Thalia that yes she definitely is away.
Several people told us, when we missed Sunny that first year she went to uni, that it got better; that soon we’d be wishing the long holidays were over and she’d be away again.
But even with echoes of her everywhere, missing her doesn’t get any easier.