I remember the way her hair smelled when I tucked her in under my arm. How she snuggled so close, trying to crawl back into the womb from which she did not come. I can feel her fragile arms wrapped around mine, her tiny beating heart pulsing against my side as she lay her soft cheek on my chest and held on for life.
I mean I can feel her.
I see her sparkling eyes just weeks after she came as her failing body was nourished. How she ate and smiled and grew. I see her mouth spread and her eyes widen at the site of food. I remember her asleep at the kitchen table, chicken leg wrapped in one tiny hand, satisfaction across her face.
I hear her slurred speech, her warped words, her beautiful broken voice soar with glee because she was simple and the most basic things brought her such peace.
I feel her sweet breath against my face when she whispered in my ear that she loved me. Her desperate hands clutching my shoulders like it was a pivotal moment in time that we both needed to remember. And I do.
I remember every moment of the two years she was with us. I remember the way my soul felt the day I had to give her back.
And how it aches still.