It's true what they say; losing a loved one changes you in ways you never know until it happens to you.
Once upon a time, I was a happy young girl with a world of possibilities and a smile that never left. My family was my rock and my life was perfect. My parents both worked so hard so that my little brother Daniel and I could have everything we would need in life and grow up with a happy, big home. I was so lucky. I was always a daddy's girl and looked up to him always. Despite that, I never stopped loving my mum. She was always there for me, to give me a hug, to give me a kiss, or to answer my many many questions about how long rabbits live.
When I was just seven years old, I was told that my mum had a little baby in her tummy! I had a little brother already and wanted a sister more than anything. Months later we were both sat down and told that the baby was going to be a little boy. I remember crying in my mum's arms saying I didn't want him, while my Daniel was jumping with joy.
The day my brother was born I was at a friend's house and my dad picked me up early to go see my mum and little baby Christopher. I ended up falling in love with him the moment I saw him. He was perfect. I was so proud of my mum and so happy with my little complete family of five.
Shortly after Christopher was born, my mum started feeling poorly. She went to the doctors and it was not good news. I don't actually remember being told this at all but I know my mum and dad sat me and Daniel down to explain. My mum had cancer.
Being eight years old, I had no idea what that meant, I just knew that my mum had to spend a lot of time in the hospital and there would be days I couldn't see her because she wasn't at home. It also meant that my dad struggled to cope with running a business, driving over an hour away to the hospital and raising three children. So Christopher went to my grandparents who thankfully only lived in an annex of our house. My perfect little family was in separate pieces but we all loved each other as we always had and that love never changed.
My ninth birthday came along in August and my mum couldn't be there as she had to stay in the hospital. She phoned me in the morning and she stayed on the phone while I opened all my presents. I came across a giant black bin bag of presents and they were all from my mum. She got me everything High School Musical that you could ever imagine! A chair, Barbies, a video game! It was magical. I was sad she couldn't be there with me but her voice on the phone made me smile.
A couple weeks passed and I had to start a new year of school. I was excited to see all my friends again and get back to learning. I went to school like normal with my brother and on Monday, September 8, we went to the hospital to visit my mum after school and to give her a massive hug! She always made us smile and we made her smile too.
Then on Thursday 11, my teacher took me to the office to meet my dad. I knew I was having a doctor's appointment soon because I have a back condition called scoliosis. For some reason, I was really excited to be missing the afternoon from school and I told all my friends that I had to go to the doctors. When I got to the office I saw Daniel was there too so I was really confused and realised I wasn't going to the doctors. We got in the car and my dad drove us home. When we were almost home I asked my dad why he got us from school and I thought that maybe my mum had got better and was at home. I was so excited to see her so I asked my dad if she was at home. He didn't answer me.
When we got home my dad took me and my brother to the bottom of our garden and he took a bench there with us. We walked passed my grandparents and baby Christopher and everyone looked really sad.
When we sat down my dad put his arms around both of us and asked us if we remember our grandparents' dog Megan, who had passed away a year before. He explained what my mum's illness meant a bit more and he then told us that "Mummy has gone to visit Megan and can't come home." I burst into tears and so did Daniel because we wanted our mum to come home. We were so confused and I just wanted to know why God wanted to take her away from us.
I then had to grow up without my mum by my side and it hasn't been easy. Kids liked to bully me because I was different because I didn't have a mum and one even told me she would kill me so I could see her again. Although I missed her every day and wanted to see her more than anything, I never once thought about leaving this Earth to visit her. I could never make my little brothers or my dad lose me like we lost my mum.
I'm now 18 years old and I have lived half of my life without my beautiful, angelic, perfect mother. I am a different person than I was when she was here, I get sad sometimes but know how to deal on my own.
My dad has always told me that my smile is the same as my mum's was, and that is something I am very proud of. People know me as a happy, smiley girl and that is something I will never ever change. It's something my mum gave me. It's something that shows everyone that I am her daughter.
It's something that shows me that she is always here; she lives in me.