I don’t know what she looks like, but I see her everywhere.
I see her darting in and out among the kids off to school. I see her in the nighttime, tucked away in bed.
I see her beside me in the car – some days quiet, too annoyed to talk with Mom. Other days chattering away about all the teenage girl things.
I see her shoes tangled up with mine, her wet towel on the bathroom floor, her favorite cereal by the fridge, the piles of clothes in her room.
Everywhere I look, she is there.
My should be teenager.
My phantom child that no one can see but me.
She walks with me, every day, this child of mine who never took a breath in this life with me.
She lives instead in phantom time – the space where life and death combine in flashes and glimpses telling a story of what could have been.
I and only I see her life unfold in the mists of phantom time.
She is bright. She is beautiful. She is alive.
Living. Breathing. Laughing. Crying. Existing. In the phantom time.
I am the mother you do not see but I walk with my child every day.
My phantom child.
As real to me as the children you hold. As loved as anyone could ever be.
She is mine and I am hers, walking together until I join her again, in the phantom time.
*Previously published on Still Mothers.