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Phantom Child

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 baby.
My girl.
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.

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