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Michelle Brady's poignant message to her daughter, Addie, on her 18th birthday

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Michelle Brady pens a poignant message to daughter Addie on what should have been her 18th birthday. The Herts and Essex High School student, who battled cancer twice in her short life, died on February 1, 2018, aged 16.

It's Addie's birthday. Today she would have been celebrating her 18th. It's a difficult day. Part of me needs to acknowledge the day, a bigger part wants the day never to come or for it to pass as quickly as possible because of the pain it brings. All I really want to do is sit and cry.

With previous birthdays there's been a height of excitement leading to the day, but now the house is quieter, full of both happy and sad memories.

Addie Brady pictured just a few months before she died on February 1, 2018 (20063023)
Addie Brady pictured just a few months before she died on February 1, 2018 (20063023)

It's the second birthday without her. It's hard to write it down, and usually I don't. Usually I carry it, deep inside, attempting to adjust to life without her.

I'm asked at times: "How are you?" I always say I'm OK, I'm fine – a defence that works most of the time.

But I'm not. I miss my baby girl. I miss her every day and will for every day to come.

Addie Brady and her beloved puppy, Patsy (20063008)
Addie Brady and her beloved puppy, Patsy (20063008)

Her birthday highlights our loss of our beautiful girl and the many birthdays that will come and go without her. It's a further reminder of the future that was taken from her and from everyone that knows her. Hopes and dreams gone, just like that.

We have only the memories of the 16 birthdays past in which we shared in her delight, each one so memorable and vivid. Then there's the realisation of never again sharing another birthday with her.

Never seeing that beautiful face or smile. Never hearing her laughter or joy. Never being able to hug or kiss her. Never seeing her grow and develop into a young woman. Never seeing her joy at falling in love or fulfilling her ambition of becoming a surgeon or an actress.

I miss her energy and loudness, her incredible sense of fun and mischief. I miss her inappropriate but harmless behaviour. I miss dancing with her in the kitchen like 'everyone' is watching.

Addie with sister Skylar (20063026)
Addie with sister Skylar (20063026)

I miss hearing the girls argue one minute and then seeing them snuggled up laughing together the next.

I miss wishing her a happy birthday and seeing the joy on her face, but mostly I just miss her and the love and strength she gave to us all.

Happy birthday, Addie – forever 16.

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