Where to start with memories. There are so many! Jess packed so much into her 8 years, and happily for Jess only the last month was hampered by illness. She was a bag of beans, full of energy and cheek! She was quick to love and quick to forget. She never held grudges and lived life to the full. She knew her mind from a very early age and we loved her for it.
Jess enjoyed lots of activities; swimming, euphonium and karate to name but a few and had earned her white, yellow and red belts already. She loved playing in the brass band at school as well as the keyboard at home. She was even contemplating a little dabble with the ukulele following her first hospital stay in September!
I try to remember the happy hospital times rather than the sad ones, although l still remember exactly how I cringed as she shouted “get that thing away from me, you stupid idiot doctor” as a mild mannered doctor tried to take blood from Jess once again. Medicine has some down as well as upsides and thankfully this was the exception not the rule!
In all seriousness though, memories are all we have left now and for that reason, they’re so very precious.
To help keep Jess’ memory alive, we’ve done lots of little things that mean we see her every day. Be it from the roses in the garden (they even have a plant named Jessica rose!) , to the memory jewellery, to the memory books, to the J.E.S.S.I.C.A trips we’ll be taking each year (each destination spelling out Jess’ name), The Jurassic coast (where we holidayed with Jess in summer 2019 only weeks before her diagnosis) was the first on the list and we remembered Jess in so many ways. You can read more about our adventures here.
We’re determined to mark all of Jess’ milestone dates too; the dates where Jess should have done celebrated a birthday, for example. Whilst Jess can’t be here to experience them, we can certainly make sure her spirit and memory does! One of our first “should have” dates was what would have been Jess’ 9th birthday (or 8+1 as I have branded it!) where we took a trip to the beach, wrote in the sand and jumped over the waves just like Jess would have done. 😀
Jessica’s school are planning a ceremony later this year to remember Jessica. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but they have some fantastic ideas to commemorate Jess and to help her memory live on and I can’t wait to see them all in action. What’s more , next year they’ll be helping us with fundraising too. Thank you, Westerton Primary Academy! Several of Jess’ school friends have already held their own fundraising activities, including running the Abbey Dash, making and selling crafts and crayons and donating directly to the Candlelighters. A special thank you goes to Isla, Evie, Billy and Charlie for all of your hard work and for doing something so positive. 😀
A couple of songs have been recorded in Jess’ memory. One recording of ‘Glorious’, recorded by the children of Jessica’s year group at school and played at her funeral and one by a colleague and friend to help Team Jess train for the Sheffield 10k. We’ll have an album at this rate! Click here to have a listen.
Writing has been a big help too in processing thoughts and emotions. A handful can be seen here:
Jess has inspired me to write poems about Jess’ life, illness and memories as well as try my hand at other genres too. The poems that are about Jess herself are included below.