Her face was pale…unbelievably pale. Her skin so translucent I could see every blue vein that ran across her face like a road map. Her brown eyes were dull and lethargic and beneath them were deep purple bruises that hung in half moon shapes. Brunette hair that had once been shiny and healthy was replaced with a red silk scarf, wound around her naked head. Her dry and chapped lips didn’t frame the brilliant smile of a carefree 12-year-old anymore. It now belonged to an emaciated girl that had aged 10 years within the last 6 months. She lay in a hospital bed, hooked up to a heart monitor and IV’s, her breathing raspy and shallow. She was so small, almost swallowed up by the sterile white hospital sheets. I held her tiny hand. It was so cold. I kissed it and tears formed little pools in my eyes and spilled over. They trickled down my cheeks, leaving salty trails in their wake. Two more weeks. That’s all the time I had left with her. Only two more weeks with the child I had given birth to. Only two more weeks of holding her and saying I love you. Everything seemed surreal and impossible. A child should never succeed a parent in death.