I recently read this beautifully written article called The Ghosts of Children Passed. It talks about grief and acknowledging the lost children in people's lives. It's definitely worth a read - I made the mistake of reading it at work though. Don't do that. You will need tissues.
I haven't lost a child, but the idea of these ghosts of children who have passed made me think of other ghosts. I don't mean that I believe there are actual ghosts - but the article made me think of the ghosts of our children - not passed - still present, but irrevocably changed by their circumstances.
Occasionally the 'ghost' of Ashlea as she could have been still haunts me. Like in the article - for a brief moment I can picture her skipping off to big school with her twin. Or sharing twin secrets and games. Or running through the house with her sisters. Maybe it's the twin thing - although I suspect it's really a grief thing - but because Ashlea and Audrey are identical twins I have a carbon copy right in front of my eyes showing me exactly what Ashlea would have been like - could have been like - without disability.
Maybe the article also struck a chord because it mentioned school and the idea of these ghosts following families and trailing at the school gate. We have big school looming on the horizon - and once again it appears that it will be one of those transitions that serves as a reminder that things are different from how I'd imagined they'd be. I will have 2 blond haired girls starting kindergarten next year, but not in the way I initially pictured when I found out I was having identical twin girls. It's very hard not to let my mind conjure up that picture of what could have been.
It's only ever a fleeting image in my head, this other Ashlea that visits my imagination. The ghostly image of what might have been.
Do any of you still get haunted by 'what could have been?'