Reflections As We Reach Rosie's 25th Birthday.
So, on this December 17th, Rosie would have been 25 years old. This feels unbelievable to me.
I remember her eleventh birthday as clear as if it was yesterday. Rosie wasn't well. It was the beginning of her illness, although we didn't know it at the time. She had a bad cough and looked pale and drawn. We thought it was just a cough and had no idea that this was the sinister onset of the shocking illness which was to snatch her from us just a few months later.
Rosie wanted to go ahead and celebrate with her much-adored sister Ellie and her Redroofs school friends, so we booked a table at the local Chinese. Determined to enjoy the day, she wore her little pink hat, got me to plait her hair, and wore a little short skirt, a new pink top with a shiny butterfly on it, her stripey tights and gold Doc Martin boots.
She and her friends feasted on her favourite crispy duck and egg fried rice, and after that they filled our living room for a very happy, noisy sleepover (where they mostly didn't)!
Rosie opens gifts at her 11th birthday party, just 5 months before her death.
I never saw her twelfth birthday nor when she became a teenager. I never got to see her being a stroppy adolescent or celebrate her 18th or 21st or meet her first boyfriend or experience uni or drama college or start her career.
At 25 what would she be doing now?
Fourteen years of getting through December 17ths without her has been very, very hard for all of us and she has missed so much, and life in our family has changed in so many ways.
And yet we are truly not without her.
These days she is more "here" than she has ever been and I have felt her presence beside me or within me more times than I can possibly say.
She was a caring child and always put others before herself. She was never much interested in material things. With Rosie it was always about giving. Therefore it is no surprise that she went into a caring profession.
She works so hard in her "career," albeit from up on her rainbow. She is the strongest presence, driving force, and managing director at the helm of Rosie's Rainbow Fund.
She is tireless and strives to spread awareness for the sick children she was concerned about during her long stay on the wards at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
We work together. She feeds ideas and we implement them. It's as simple as that.
Rosie has been so busy this year, which has been the most fruitful yet.
Rosie's positivity and forthright outlook has spread so much awareness, raising our charity's profile through TV with BBC Children in Need and radio's Globals Make Some Noise and enjoying the opportunity through the media of reaching many more people than ever before.
Companies and businesses, as well as schools and individuals, are reaching out to help the fund, raising money and asking how they can help. Children in schools have raised a staggering amount of money for our work because they truly feel the essence of Rosie's enthusiasm and can engage in her joy of helping ill children through the power of music.
Our small but dedicated Rosie's Rainbow team of trustees and incredible staff have worked with a passion this year, which is truly paying off.
Our kind and wonderful patrons have generously given their time, too, enlisting the aid of their show biz friends to provide an enormous boost of enthusiasm and support and reaching an ever-wider audience.
It is an unfortunate reality of human existence that there will always be children who become ill and stressed and frightened families who desperately need us.
Rosie is making jolly sure we are always able to be there for them and, through our amazing therapists, provide the help they need and some colour and rainbows on their most difficult days.
I think Rosie is pretty happy with this, with the fact that she is doing it through me and us, and that she continues to be centre stage in the most colourful spotlight where she so loved to be.
Happy 25th birthday to my beautiful daughter Rosie. Carolyn Mayling, Rosie's Mummy