My little, little sister. You suffered too much, had too short a life, been away from me too long. I want to hug you again, I want to hug you every day. I want to wake up and push you out of the way so I could get to the TV first. I want to watch you trying to teach the dogs a trick, and laugh when it always failed. I want to have a life with my own Molly Rose still in it.
What makes it worse is you died twice over. Aged six you were diagnosed with a brain tumour (neuroblastma) and underwent chemotherapy, and attempted, unsuccessful, surgery before radiotherapy, then several cycles of chemotherapy in an attempt to make the radiotherapy more effective. You didn't respond. We watched you vomit and get weaker and weaker, and we watched you lose your hair, as chemotherapy progressed. I watched you, peaceful, my hairless, beautiful little sister, sleeping, taken into theatre, to remove a tumour on your brain.
Three years later, three years of your life filled with pain, illness, vomiting from the drugs, visits to be MRI scanned, when you had CT scans regularly, and so many meetings with your paediatric oncologist, all of them I was waiting behind at home, waiting for you, hoping they'd give us the right news. It never came. You had what was called an inoperable brain tumour. You were terminally ill. You had roughly six months to live. They gave us information about hospices, palliative care, bereavement support, everything.
I was with my friends when you were listening to your diagnosis. Your death sentence. I came home, made myself a quick supper, before taking the bus to the hospital, twenty minutes of stomach churning fear. I didn't expect terminal illness. How the hell could I? I was twelve years old, watching my little sister waste away to a tumour. I had a bandana in my bag. It had butterflies on it. You liked butterflies. You liked pretending you were a normal girl with no hospital trips, no drugs, with hair, but with no tumour, no evil thing growing, living almost, in your head.
Four months later, my little, sweet little Molly-Polly was dead. Nine years old. 11th February 2004. Now, eight and a bit years ago. Too long. You would be seventeen.I am twenty. You died two months before their estimate. You died in a hospice, where we were all staying, as you were slipping away- in the morning you wouldn't wake but were breathing, then it slowed, and slowed and slowed, until at 10:43 AM, my little sister gave up her life.
We went through an inquest because the hospice staff had been concerned about a possible virus or infection previously. It wasn't either of those. It wasn't even cancer. Why wasn't it cancer? It sounds so mad and odd to ask that, to wish it was cancer, because my sister is dead. She died- she died and the cause of death didn't matter. She died because she stopped breathing. That was it.
No it wasn't, unfortunately. For some reason, you'd had a bleed in your brain. Not a virus or infection. You collapsed quite naturally, and died due to lack of medical assistance. No pain. You died whilst waiting out the sentence of terminal illness. If you were alive, you'd laugh. You're not. I can't laugh. You suffered for three years in an attempt to cure your cancer, and you died before that suffering had ended. That sounds stupid. I don't care.
This is a page to remember my funny, beautiful, smart little sister who brightened our lives for nine years. We argued, we squabbled, we were ordinary sisters, before I lost you first at six when you were diagnosed, then lost you really at nine, when the battle you were fighting was won by an enemy no one had known existed.
So for my clever, butterfly loving, pancake eating, funny sister, I love you so much. If I could go back in time, I'd visit every day of your life, and tell you I loved you. Every single day of those nine years, when you didn't understand the meaning, when you knew what I meant but were ill, the morning you'd died when we knew what would happen.
Molly Rose, 12 January 1995-11 February 2004