When you came home, your mother placed me in my arms. You had lots of hair and you were a bit orange in colour. You were four days old. Henry the Bernese Mountain Dog was really interested in you. His 55 kilos to your three and a little bit. Henry thought you were awesome from the minute he set eyes on you. So did I.
You cried for a good part of the night on that first night home, Your poor mum. Thankfully you settled down quickly after that. You were a lovely baby.
When you got a bit older, you were a complete daredevil - when you were a baby, we couldn’t push you high enough on the swing.
You were always a bit crazy and a bit creative, even as a young child.
When I came to stay, you’d come and have a cuddle with me in the morning. I used to love that. Just you, me and the very large and over-exuberant dog. This is what family is all about. Oh, by the way, you had terrible breath, but you were instantly forgiven for this.
When your sister came along, you were the most doting sibling I’d ever seen. The two of you shared a bed for many years. It was so sweet. Your sister was your shadow for much of your life.
I remember walking around your grandmother’s front lawn when you were a toddler. I loved having to tell you not to touch the roo poo.
You were always happy. You were arty and quite sensitive, but not in the cry baby way. I liked that about you.
You always greeted me with a big hug, even when you were going into your teenage years.
I remember using you for my squat weight when you were about ten. The perfect 30 kilo bag to chuck over my shoulder. We giggled about that.
I loved the feel of your hair when you let me brush it, all thick and silky and straight. You got your mum’s hair. You were lucky.
I remember your big brown eyes and your long, tapering fingers. Artists hands. You loved art.
I hear Korean pop music now and I don’t go to stick my fingers down my throat any more, even though I was looking forward to teaching you about real music.
I remember singing “Dumb Ways to Die” with your sister at the Christmas table a few years ago. Your grandparents thought we were mad.
I try not to remember what chemo was like for you, the energy sapped from your young body, robbing your of your hair and your strength. Thankfully it didn’t take away your will to fight and your sense of humour. You’re one of the bravest people I know.
I try to not remember the last time I saw you. Straight out of hospital, pale, weakened and like something out of a concentration camp. I cried all the way down to your grandmother’s and then some more.
I also try not to remember what happened later. The weeks in intensive care and the second hand reports of horrors that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
I also remember the sense of relief when your grandmother told me that you didn’t have to fight any more and the battle was over.
All I can do now is remember how much I love you. It’s been six months today since you went away.
But you haven’t really gone at all.
Because I remember.