Pippa Rea

Pippa's Journey with a Brain Tumour

Innocently Beautifully Sad

on September 3, 2015

It’s now been more than five months since we lost our beautiful Pippa.

As the day approached (the 28th of every month seems to loom as a dark shadow slowly creeping up to engulf me) I thought I was prepared and in control, expecting how my feelings would unfold and what events would mark the day. I was wrong.

I thought that the “five months since losing Pippa” was going to be marked by the beautiful, selfless and humbling gesture shown by Hayley. It wasn’t.

On the morning of Friday 28th August (5 months) I could not ignore the fact that it was “book week” and everywhere I looked were primary aged students (Pippa’s school friends) dressed up as characters from books. I found myself wondering what Pippa would have gone dressed up as?  I have photos of her dressed up as Miss Marple from Agatha Christie, Gabriella from High School Musical (yes, I had made her produce a book!) and my favourite, up a tree as Koala Lou.

Would Pippa have gone as a character from the Faraway Tree?  No, because if she weren’t dying she wouldn’t have been searching for comfort and solace in the magical stories of the Faraway Tree and its warming characters with its mystical lands listening to chapter after chapter every night for the last four months of her life. Would she have gone dressed up as Ruby Red Shoes visiting Paris? No, because she probably wouldn’t have received the book as a gift on her 11th birthday as we wouldn’t have taken a trip to Paris if she weren’t dying.   What character would Pippa have dressed up as for book week in grade 5?  I don’t know.  One of many “I don’t knows” I’m going to face as I gingerly bypass small and not so small milestones after losing a daughter at the precious age of 11 years to an incurable brainstem tumour.

I thought that the “five months since losing Pippa” was going to be marked by costumes and smiling happy faces of other children dressed up for book week. It wasn’t.

Instead, Pippa’s four-year-old friend, Amyius, innocently marked the “five months since losing Pippa”.

I had bumped into Amyuis in one of Pippa’s favourite shops only the Friday before.  Pippa had bought me many little gifts from this homewares’ shop and had decided it, along with her favourite clothing shop, would be good places for her to have her first part time jobs when she turned 14 years and 9 months old (to be precise).

It had been a while since I had seen Amyius and he had not been to our house since Pippa was lying in her bed the days after she passed.  When he came then he was quiet, tip-toeing around careful not to wake her.  Amyius looked at me that day in the shop with a sad little face and told me he always asks his mum, “When is Pippa going to come home so she can eat chips and play trains with me?”   He told me his mum says she’s not coming home.  It was almost like he was hoping that I would prove his mum wrong and correct the answer he had been given.  He gave me a cuddle and let me carry him and his sad little face to the car.

(Pippa took great joy in showing anyone this “isn’t he just so cute?” video of Amyius sending Pippa a message very early on in her diagnosis hoping she gets better soon so she can eat chips and play trains with him again.)

Coinidently, last Friday night (five months) Amyius came around to our house.  This tiny little boy who I have only ever seen cuddle his family and Pippa, gave me another cuddle, pointed to a photo of Pippa and said, “I miss her”.

Later, as football was being watched and chatter was around the table and in the lounge room Amyius and I went quietly to look at all the photos of Pippa.  We ended up in Pippa’s bedroom. Every night I draw the curtains and turn a lamp on.  There’s a few different lamps in Pippa’s room and I turn on whichever of them I feel like at the time.  This night though, for some reason, I had taken a lamp down from on her bookcase, placed it beside her bed and turned that one on.  I had not done this before.  It was a light a friend from school had given Pippa in probably only her last weeks. It has stars of blue and red that glow on the walls and the roof.  Pippa couldn’t use it to go to sleep with as her friend had wanted her to because her eyes didn’t close properly and therefore the projecting lights were too bright.  We did, however, often to turn it on and look at all the beautiful stars it would make around the room. She liked getting me to move it to different positions and heights as each change would alter the “constellation”.

Amyius walked into Pippa’s room and was immediately captivated by the stars.  He was dazzled! He marvelled at the stars, how they changed and at how much he loved Pippa and her room.  He wandered around asking me questions, looking under her bed, touching things and always coming back to the beautiful stars.  He found some jewel stickers that had fallen under her day bed (covered in teddies) and asked if he could stick the love heart ones on Pippa’s bed for her?  He did.  He picked up her little cow pillow pet that sits on her bed beside her pillow.  He cuddled it.  It smells just like Pippa.   When he realised this he went along every other teddy that sits against her pillow on her bed.  He picked them all up, cuddled them and smelt them.  Each of them smelt like Pippa – Sprinkles, Geoffrey, Henry, Monty and Nibbles Puppet.

Pippa's teddies on her bed

He hopped over to the other side of the bed and using Nibbles Puppet ducked down and performed a puppet show for me in which he was Nibbles, Pippa and Amyius.  He told me that the stars were his and Pippa’s stars – hers were the red ones and his were the blue ones.  They were together in the stars.  He said, “When I go home and go to bed and pray to Pippa tonight I will tell her how beautiful the stars in her room are and how they are sparkling for me and her”.  I told him she could see him in her room and she already knew he liked them.

Eventually Amyius asked me if Pippa was ever going to come back to her room and her bed. With my eyes filled with tears, grateful for a dark room and stars sparkling on the walls I told him, “No, our darling Pippa wasn’t going to come back.”  He knelt down beside her bed and lay his head on her doona.  “Well then,” he said, “maybe I could come and have a sleepover in Pippa’s bed so I can smell her teddies.”

He cuddled me again and then we had to go and get his mum to show her Pippa’s room and have her smell Pippa’s teddies.


That’s how five months after losing Pippa was marked………eloquently and innocently and oh so sadly beautiful by little her four-year-old friend.


13 responses to “Innocently Beautifully Sad

  1. Kim says:

    beautiful ❤️️

  2. jassicunn says:

    Just beautiful and oh so innocent. He misses her so much xxxx

  3. Bryan White says:

    What a great blog. I think of Pippa everyday- An angel.
    RIP Pippa

  4. Kris wilson says:

    I am local and followed Pippa’s story, this morning I layed in bed and read you blog and sobbed. I sobbed for you and you family and friends that have lost such an amazing girlfriend. My. Little girl Scarlett is away on camp for to nights and I feel sad because I miss her, how unfair after reading this. I will hold her extra tight tonight and thing of you and Pippa xxxx

  5. Sam Jackson-Philbin says:

    So beautiful. You are so very much in my heart. x

  6. Linda Lippens says:

    I so hate what has happened to you…life can be so cruel….a beautiful story thankyou for sharing it with us and reminding me of a beautiful girl that sadly I did not get to meet.

  7. Rachel says:

    What a beautifully written piece about a very special little girl. A magical night with the Stars and her little friend. I bet she was watching down from heaven above smiling and sending you both love. Strength and light to your family.

  8. montana laurie says:

    lovley i think of pippa everyday i talk to pippa every night and say that i will always look after your mum for you and i always think of you R.I.P pippa ❤

  9. Charlotte Smith says:

    I miss her so much,she is so beautiful 💞😢 RIP. P.S this is fromSascha white

  10. Hannah McGowan says:

    There isn’t a day go past that I don’t think of Pippa. But I know Pippa wants me and all of us to get on with life and live it up for her. We never know how short life is and Pippa is an example to all of us that we need to do something that she didn’t get to do . Live our life to the last minute without caring. We will never forget you Pippa and don’t worry I will look after your Mum for you. Love Hannah ❤❤😘😘

  11. Emma Rose Mclaren says:

    That was so beautiful and I started crying looking at it and remembering her funeral and her liturgy they were so amazing and so Pippa I hope a lot more people can start supporting u as much as we do
    Lots of Love
    From Emma😘😘😘😘😘😘

  12. Anna Wilson says:

    Oh, how I miss our darling, gorgeous Pippa so much. In the athletics on this Tuesday, I will wear my tape for Pippa as I will always (as you once told me) have ‘Pippa Power’ in my legs. Maybe it was the Pippa Power that got me to states. I think of Pippa every night and I have my bookmark of her up on my pin board and one on the wall. I painfully ask the same question as Amyius asked, when will Pippa be coming back? The truth hurts, but one day it will sink in. One day. Virginia, you are truly beautiful, inside and out and such an inspiring person.

    All my love and thoughts are with you, Love Anna. xoxoxo

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