j.e.s.s.I.c.a. is for the London Eye

So this year is our 5th year of trips without being a 5. Five years of missed experiences and adventures. That said, as is always the case, Jess is always with us in spirit, and never more so that on our name spelling trips.

’I’ this year was a tricky one….. Iceland, Ireland? Far too straight forward; far too non Jess! So in true mischief making style, this year was about the London ‘Eye’. Seeing the bright lights and buzz of London was something Jess never got to experience, so it felt fitting for her to ride up high and see it all in one go from above.

As we steadily soared into the sky, we spotted plenty of famous landmarks, as well as a plethora of swanky apartments where she would have undoubtedly one day wanted to stay. We checked the flag at Buckingham palace to see if the King was in, tried to spot the 02 where we had been only the day before, tried to count the red buses and boats. It felt very much like the Where’s Wally books that Jess loved so much! It wasn’t lost on me that the trip round was over far too quickly; much the same as Jess’ time with us. And as we stepped off the wheel, Big Ben bonged 12 times – she’d have loved that; I can imagine Jess would have felt cheated by anything less! PM began (post mischief as well as the afternoon) and we wandered off past Westminster, Downing Street, Pall Mall and in search of food. Mischief making, after all, always was hungry work!

Four Years Ago Today

It has been four years since you’ve been gone,
We miss you terribly, although we plod on.
I can’t believe half your lifetime has since passed,
And October 2019 was filled with our lasts.

This calendar date and the exact month leading to,
Contain so many memories of what you went through.
But your illness was short, for that I must give thanks.
Your time on this earth was mainly filled with happiness (and pranks).

So instead of dwelling on this rather sombre day,
I’ll try and reflect in a Jessica way.
Be bold, be brave and move forward at pace,
Everything you did felt like a race!

If I was tell you about day to day life for us now,
I’d tell you we always carry you with us, somehow.
Your love of sausage sandwiches is a new family tradition,
And for each significant event there’s a Jess poem addition.

Your spirit is still warmly felt, and we have lots of pictures and your things,
And you’re still always with me, in one of my rings.
Oli’s back of martial arts, in memory of you,
Your strength and your courage inspires all that we do.

Team Jess have raised lots, you’ve inspired so much good,
So children like you can have a childhood like they should,
Fundraising has filled so many of our days,
Runs, writing books and other ingenious ways.

So although I can’t tell you, in person anyway,
That your memories live on, every single day.
If you can see us somehow, you’ll know how much we wish you were here,
And how we will ALWAYS all keep you, incredibly near.

j.e.s.S.i.c.a is for Espanya (a second time)!

This year was our fourth year of holidays without Jess. Fourth – I can barely believe it. To honour this year’s spelling tradition, we decided the best way would be to repeat the phenomenal success of last year’s trip…. It was a double S in JESS after all! 😂

So back in Barcelona, we enjoyed all of our cosmopolitan faves from last year, together with a few new adventures too. The Barca B football match was perhaps a new highlight for all of the family, where we celebrated victory in our best Spanish with the locals. Jess would obviously have wanted a sporting shirt for the occasion (as became the tradition on our very first holiday as a family of 5), so we enjoyed choosing these with the boys too. But just to add balance, we also enjoyed a phenomenal trip up the mountains to Montserrat, where we reflected and remembered the fragility of life…. (And the Spanish mountain roads – not that that would have scared the fearless Jess!). In between, we loved all that life had to offer; the climate, the food, the environment and the company. And whilst the lack of Jess is still incredibly palpable, I hope we’re doing justice to her memory and all she would have loved to do. Her footprints never managed to make their mark on Barcelona, but her memories and spirit were with us all the way. ❤️

3 Years Gone

Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to separate how you actually feel from how you think you should feel. Today is one of those days.

I looked down at the concrete,

Grey and cold and bare.

So many times we’ve been here,

But now you’re no longer there.

Your 3 year ‘departversary’,

And our loss feels so severe.

I’ve been trying to muddle through,

Behind a positive veneer.

And then from out of nowhere,

A rainbow reflects from the glass wall.

“Mum will you STOP getting upset;

I’m still with you after all!

I’m with you in your heart,

Although I’m not standing exactly there.

I’n trying to send some signs,

That I’m actually EVERYWHERE.”

You know that I’d have loved that,

I was so much larger than life.

I always said I’m greedy,

And now I’ve got an afterlife!

So I’m not sad and gloomy,

I want you to feel that too!

Even though I was only eight,

When life as we knew it was through. 

This rainbow that’s before you,

Shows the full and vibrant life that I had.

And although you miss me deeply,

Please focus on all the fun. Don’t be sad.”

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month; a month I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know existed until exactly 3 years ago when Jess was diagnosed.

Despite countless prior GP appointments, Jess’ diagnosis came as a surprise and was incredulously only a month before she passed away. I still can’t quite believe the speed and aggression of the disease. But I owe it to Jess to raise awareness of the speed and cruelness of childhood cancer and to urge everyone to incessantly push for answers if they think something isn’t quite right.

Thanks @gracekelly for raising the profile. I hope sharing Jess’ story helps.


j.e. S. s.i.c.a. is for Espanya!

So this year is our third year of holidays without Jess. To honour the uniquely created name spelling tradition, we find ourselves in the beautiful Spain, enjoying all that Barcelona has to offer. Spain was the last holiday I had with Jess, so the run up to the trip was full of mixed feelings.

I think Barcelona offers plenty that Jess would have enjoyed. From the cosmopolitan vibe, to the glorious weather, delicious food, and a roof top pool with panoramic views that seem to stretch forever. Heaven! And being a mini me, she definitely would have wanted to practice the odd Spanish phrase as she enjoyed it all! So we’ve enjoyed them all to the max (for Jess as well as us). 😀

Happy Birthday Jess! 8+3

Happy eleventh birthday,

Wherever you may be.

Your third on your own…😢

So here’s a picture of you being three.

Making your favourite buns,

And looking super sweet. 

One of your favourite things to do,

Especially the last part; eat!

So whilst today is tricky,

And we feel really sad. 

We’ll try very hard to remember, 

The happy birthdays that you had. 

Leavers’ Celebrations

This month has been another ‘should have’ month; Jess should have enjoyed all of the primary school leavers’ celebrations with her friends. The assemblies, plays, parties and all the other excitement that comes with it. She would have loved it I’m sure! And we would have loved watching her too!

Of course, circumstances mean we haven’t been able to experience it….. or not in the conventional sense anyway. But thanks to the fantastic efforts of an amazing bunch of friends and a school that continues to keep her memory alive, Jess has been part of the celebrations after all. With Jessica Weaver awards, making it into farewell speeches, signed framed pictures, Team Jess fundraising and even being part of a cake, Jess’ memory really has lived on. Given the circumstances, I think that’s the best we could hope for. I think the cheeky mischief filled smile from the start of school is quite reflective of how she would have felt. 😊

Should Have Days

Since Jess passed away, I find myself most weeks thinking about what should have been happening right now. Right now, Jess should have been in her final term at primary school, completing her controversial SATs, before enjoying a fun filled summer term, with school trips, leavers parties and visits to her new high school. I wonder how she would have handled it all, what she would have said and how she would be looking now. I’m fairly sure she wouldn’t have been phased, and I can almost hear her saying “They’re just some tests and I’ll do my best” as I think specifically today about the SATs her friends are completing! But like so many in my shoes, we’ll just never know for sure. These “should have” days, as I call them, are a stark reminder that there are so many memories we never made together, so many “rites of passage” stolen away.

But whilst Jess not being here is an exceptionally sad situation, I’m pretty sure Jess would not have wanted us to be sad! She was perhaps the most “live for the here and now” person I’ve ever known! So on days like today, when grief sits particularly heavy, I try to remember Jess’ playful spirit. Her love of trampolines (and bouncing back), monkey bars (and hanging on), see-saws (and riding the highs and lows) and leaving footprints in the sand. Jess would definitely approve of that way of looking at things.