#365daysofgratitude – Weeks 51 and 52

The third year of my daily gratitude challenge has now come to an end. For three years now, I have been sharing one photo a day on Instagram of something I am grateful for. This last year has been the hardest one in which to find those grateful moments, especially since losing my beautiful daughter Jessica in April. There have been many days when finding that little something to be thankful for has been hard to do; days when I have posted that grateful moment through tears and gritted teeth.

 

Jessica was an inspiration to me throughout her short life. She had so much strength and such a wonderful zest for life. Her godmother described her once as a “joy carrier” and it was the perfect description for her. She was a little ray of sunshine, full of smiles and gave joy to all who knew her. I am, and will always be, grateful to be her mummy. She taught me to enjoy the little moments and to make the most of everyday, because tomorrow is never promised. I will be continuing with this challenge in honour of my beautiful brave girl.

 

If you would like to join me in a daily gratitude challenge for 2019, please let me know in the comments below or by using the hashtag #LHBL365daysofgratitude2019 on Instagram so I can find your posts there.

 

Me, hubby, Sophie and Thomas at Jessica's forever bed; a selection of festive teas from Adagio teas; a festive postbox; me feeding Thomas; Thomas with his first signing certificate; Thomas smiling; an album with hearts on the cover - "#365daysofgratitude - Weeks 51 and 52"

 

Day 350 – I am grateful for this little family of mine and the love we all share. We went to the Christmas remembrance service at GreenAcres today and visited Jessica’s forever bed. Sophie decorated a bauble and hung it on the GreenAcres Christmas tree in memory of her big sister. It’s been an emotional day but it felt right to come to the Christmas service here and light a candle for our beautiful big girl. Love and miss you always darling Jessica.

Day 351 – I am grateful for tea – especially after an unsettled night with Thomas! Am enjoying trying some of the festive flavours in this selection from Adagio Teas.

Day 352 – I am grateful that everything that needed to be posted out for Christmas has now been sent. Hubby found the festive postbox in London today. Brings back memories of looking for gold postboxes.

Day 353 – I am grateful for a cup of tea, a fried egg sandwich, the way this little boy holds on to my top and looks up at me when he feeds and the love and support from my friends and family. This week has been a tough one so far and grief has been overwhelming. But there have been calm moments in the storm too and I am getting through even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

Day 354 – I am grateful that Sophie was able to join in with her old toddler classes this morning and see her baby brother get his first Tiny Talk signing certificate.

Day 355 – I am grateful for a lovely evening at our friends’ annual Christmas party. Thomas enjoyed being passed around for cuddles too.

Day 356 – I am grateful for the little book of love which was waiting for us on our arrival at Coombe Mill today. It is filled with messages from the blogging community who have contributed to our stay here and are thinking of us as we face our first Christmas without Jessica. Thank you all so much for your love and support over the past eight months. Your kind messages made me cry but they warmed my heart too. It means a lot to know that we are surrounded by love.

 

Sophie with Santa at Lappa Valley; Sophie and Thomas with Santa; me, hubby, Thomas and Sophie holding Jessica's picture in front of our Christmas tree at Coombe Mill; Sophie and hubby at the Eden Project; Sophie feeding one of the ponies at Coombe Mill; my mum giving Thomas a kiss; Thomas holding his hand in front of his face; a pile of presents in front of our Christmas tree at home; a watercolour picture of me, hubby, Jessica, Sophie and Thomas

 

Day 357 – I am grateful for a lovely day out at Lappa Valley going on a steam train and getting to see Santa.

Day 358 – I am grateful that Sophie has had a magical Christmas Eve. It has been an emotional one for me and hubby but there have been smiles in the sadness. Jessica is so very loved and missed by us all.

Day 359 – I am grateful that there have been happy moments in what has been an incredibly tough Christmas Day. Our first with Thomas but also our first without our beautiful Jessica. Today has been a day of tears but also of laughter. Jessica’s picture was there at our Christmas table and we raised a glass to her, remembering how excited she was on this day last year to learn that she was going to be a big sister once more. We will never know Christmas as a five would have been like but although Jessica is not physically here with us, she is still very much a part of our Christmas Day and always will be.

Day 360 – I am grateful for a lovely day out visiting the Eden Project.

Day 361 – I am grateful for a wonderful stay at Coombe Mill. Getting away for Christmas was the right thing for us this year and we couldn’t have spent it anywhere better. We have all enjoyed getting out in the mornings for the feed run, Sophie has loved finding eggs, feeding the animals and helping drive the tractor as well as making friends and enjoying the afternoon train ride. It has been a hard Christmas without Jessica but being here has given us new memories and happy moments too. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay for a family holiday, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Thank you Fiona, Nick and your lovely family for making our stay such a magical one.

Day 362 – I am grateful for time with my family. It’s been an emotional day as it’s the anniversary of Jessica’s Fontan but being with family has helped us through.

Day 363 – I am grateful for a chilled out day back at home, catching up with my in-laws, sitting on the sofa snuggling Thomas and watching the original Mary Poppins (which hubby had never seen!) ahead of our cinema trip next week to see the new one.

Day 364 – I am grateful for all the lovely gifts we all received for Christmas. We had Christmas Day #2 at home today, opening the gifts that we didn’t have space to take with us on holiday.

Day 365 – I am grateful for this daily gratitude challenge. For three years, I have shared something each day that I have been grateful for. This year has been the hardest by far, but looking for things to be grateful for has been immensely helpful, especially on days when the pain of life without Jessica feels unbearable. It has given me little pinpricks of light in amongst the darkness of grief. Jessica was so strong and so full of smiles and sunshine. I will continue with this challenge in her honour. If you would like to join me in 2019, let me know.

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