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. 😊
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.
Since Jess passed away, I’ve tried more than ever to count every day as the present it is and be positive, even when it has felt really hard. Jess, who was full of energy whatever the metaphorical weather, would have liked that I think. So somehow, I’ve found a way of digging deep and carrying on. Dare I I say it, even finding joy again, even though I’ll forever have a gaping Jess shaped hole in everything we do . But Christmas and New Year are extra hard. No two ways about it. The first couple of years I knew would be, of course. But having just survived year 3, I’ve got to say even the most positive of us find it tough. I think many bereaved parents would say the same. We’re surrounded by painful reminders at every turn; the Christmas school concerts we no longer have a seat at, excited faces that we have to remember rather than see, very empty spaces under the Christmas tree, the list goes on. I find the only way is to embark upon some sort of self hibernation, tucked under a blanket only to emerge carefully as I choose! Because after surving the first wave of what seems to be omnipresent festive euphoria, a new, equally painful whack follows only a week later as New Year lands. AKA a stark reminder that a whole other year has passed since this nightmare began, and another year further away from life with Jess. I sound like Scrooge, don’t I? And that’s certainly not how I mean to be. But I think it’s important to recognise, for all bereaved parents out there, celebrations are extra tough and finding a coping mechanism, whatever it needs to be is the best present you can give yourself. This year. I’ve been lucky enough to get away and even see a Christmas tree on the beach! Somehow, I think Jess would have liked the mischief of that.😀
Today was the second time I joined #Candlelighters on their Day of Memories. For me, that meant a day full of emotion, a whole lot of tears and sadly, recognition that this club we all find ourselves part of is far too big. Sombreness aside, it was a beautiful event, with some amazingly talented performers and it was a honour to be able to share some of my own words of poetry with the group too. The power of memories is so bitter sweet, and I for one thought you got the balance spot on. And for the beautiful flowers too. – thank you
The power of a memory,
Is the most magical thing I know.
It takes you momentarily back,
To a place you can no longer exactly go.
The power of a memory,
Is a force that can be hard to hold in.
Perhaps sparked by an object,
Or perhaps by a place you’ve been.
The power of a memory,
Evokes often a smile, sometimes a tear on your cheek.
A momentary time hop,
To when you could see each other, touch and speak.
But the power of a memory,
Whilst it can fill you with joy or leave you sad,
Is a super way to remember,
The shared times together, the joint experiences that you had.
So proud of my great friend Lynsey running the Liverpool Marathon in memory of Jess and raising funds for Children with Cancer UK. Another amazing achievement to add to the growing list of Team Jess accomplishments! Thanks Lynsey !
In her short 8 years, Jess never made it to London, but I know she would have loved the bright lights, the buzz and the omnipresent activity that tells you you’re in a vibrant city like no other.
Yesterday, we were lucky enough to take a trip down. Not only did we love seeing all the sights, but we also loved saw the preparations for the London Marathon today, a race at which a couple of people I know are kindly racing in memory of Jess. Massive thanks to Richard Cooke, dad to a couple of lovely girls who went to school with Jess, as well as Paul Taylor, who knew Jess since she was just a few days old. If anyone wants to add to their already amazing fundraising for Children with Cancer UK and CCLG in memory of Jess, you can visit their links here.
Well given the minor curve ball of the pandemic, the Sheffield 10k has been more than a bit of a long time coming! More time to train you might think…and indeed that is very true…but it also meant more time to age and pick up a few injuries too! But we weren’t going to let those stop us! And whilst I might not have crossed the finish line in the most elegant of styles, I was so proud that we all made it through and raised over £5,500 for Children with Cancer UK. Massive thanks to this amazing bunch for running with me. Jess would have loved it and she definitely would have wanted all the after race goodies for herself too; the medal, the T-shirt and the no doubt the non alcoholic beer as well! 😂 This is most definitely one running medal I will treasure with pride. 🏅
It’s childhood cancer awareness month this month…. A month I didn’t know even existed until Jess was diagnosed 2 years ago. To support a cause which is obviously incredibly close to my heart I’ve written a few words….