When she was born
, I held her, cradled her in my arms and wept over her twisted
, her struggles for breath.
We expected her to be dead
But against the odds, she continued
to breathe. Nurses fed her with a gavage
and against all expectations, she began to grow. We watched her,
day after day
, week after week
, expecting every day, every breath to be her last.
But she grew.
We called her Madeline
, and she was both treasure
for us. Her tiny face was a vision of
; golden curls and sapphire blue eyes
. But the eyes were flat,
and the tiny, twisted body stayed almost still in the beautifully decorated
in the corner of our bedroom.
She did ... almost nothing
I never went back to work. We couldn't afford the cost of a constant carer, and I wanted to spend every
moment with this amazing creature who we still expected to be taken from us.
We sat for hours together, her cuddled on my lap, warm body against my skin, my tears
falling into her golden hair. I talked to her
to her. Shouted, sometimes, demanded she become
never changed from nothing
She was deaf
, our Madeline. And blind
. She was crippled
, and brain damaged
beyond any hope of
I wished she'd never been born.
I never wanted to be apart from her.
But in the end we couldn't cope anymore with watching her lie motionless
, with her
face and her monstrous
body both growing and growing.
The night she turned two I spent in weeping.
And in the morning I made the phonecalls
And after far too long
, and not nearly long enough
a place was found for her.
Madeline lives in a Constant Care Centre now, looked after 24 hours a day, seven days a week by people who are not
by the emotion of seeing their precious daughter in such a dire
position. People who go home to their
, their whole children, their husbands not gone silent and withdrawn and filled with blame, when the guilt leaves a moment's
My daughter will indeed remain chaste
until menopause. And beyond. Even unto her grave.
Nodeshell Challenge and Work of Fiction