Christmas and New Year – The Lack of Presence

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.😀

Day of Memories Take 2

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 the power of a memory,

Is something I’ll always, always treasure.

And by holding my memories so closely,

Past and present now thrive in equal measure.

For me my memories are focused,

On a super girl, eternally aged eight.

But I hope the power of a memory is something, 

To which most people will relate.

Two Years Gone – Tears and Ripped Tears

Two years without you,

A quarter of your earthly years.

Inwardly still torn into pieces,

Inwardly flowing with tears.

Two years without you,

Memories are all that hold you near.

Most are thankfully still vivid,

And for a brief moment you reappear.

Two years without you,

So many reasons to feel sad.

But I don’t think you’d like that,

It’s not the mindset that you had.

So tears and ripped tears still present,

As we crave for the past.

But we try to live for the moment,

Because life slips by so fast.

I think you’d kind of like ,

That to honour you on this day,

We smile at the happy memories,

That forever with us will stay.

London Marathon!

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.

Sheffield 10k – We Did It!

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. 🏅

Happy Birthday Jess 8+2

Today you’re 8+2,
But really you should be ten.
To celebrate with you, 
I’d love to do that again!

But sadly you’re not here,
You grew your angel wings.
But rather than shed a tear,
We’ll do your favourite things.

We’ll go to the park, 
And climb around like loons!
But I’m afraid we can’t shimmy up the bark,
Like you so readily could do!

We’ll go out and eat,
You definitely loved your food.
A little extra treat,
Which was sure to lift your mood.

And whilst we can’t buy gifts for you,
To others we can donate.
It seems like something you’d want to do,
You liked gifting when you were eight.

So although you’re not still here,
And you can’t celebrate.
In our thoughts you’re very near, 
And we’ll mark your two plus eight.

J.E.S.S.I.C.A. E is For……

So we’re just back from our second family holiday without Jess. Following the J.E.S.S.I.C.A. new holiday tradition meant we were destined for somewhere beginning with E…… easier said than done with COVID restrictions still in full force. Not ones to be beaten, we decided to think a little creatively and settle on ‘eeeeek…let’s go back to the very place where Jess had her last holiday .. and relax in an equisite apartment, exceptionally near the beach!’ And whilst the holiday made me conquer a fair few firsts (seeing places we’ve not seen since Jess was with us in person), we remembered lots of happy Jess memories too; digging holes, pushing boats, playing on the beach, eating well and buying football shirts to name but a few, whilst making a few more she would have loved…….. not least eeeeeeek there’s a massive boat following us! Of course we’ll always miss Jess and holidays will never be quite the same again; after all we’re a 5 not a 4 and an honoury bear….but Jess was very much with us in spirit and I’m fairly sure Jess would have loved the adventure of it all.😄

What a Lovely Westerton Day

We loved popping back to Westerton for the day to take part in the Team Jess Westerton Marathon. It was great to see some familiar faces from years gone by and to run with a Jess’ old class under perfectly ordered skies! Just to top it off, a whole lot of money was raised for Children with Cancer UK too.😀. I think all the children and the school did themselves incredibly proud. Thanks Westerton – what a great achievement – I know Jess would have loved it.