I turned forty yesterday. The start of a new decade in my life. It’s made for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a week. Not because turning forty bothered me. It’s turning forty without Jessica that is hard. A significant milestone – another reminder that time goes on and sometimes it feels like time going on means leaving Jessica behind. Jessica, whose entire life was lived in my thirties. We’re not leaving her behind of course though. We carry her with us every single day. But those milestones are hard all the same.
It’s been a week of birthday celebrations. Last weekend was my joint birthday party with my twin sister and her best friend. We had a lovely fancy dress party. Hubby and I went in 1940s-themed outfits (mostly because I needed an outfit that I could breastfeed in!). I even got my hair done at the hairdressers which I don’t think I’ve done since my wedding day (other than getting it cut every now and then). Sophie had a wonderful time with her cousins and Thomas was very happy being passed around for cuddles which meant I had the opportunity to get up on the dance floor and let my hair down.
Monday saw another 40th celebration – this time it was my friend Nick, who also shares my birthday. We had a lovely afternoon enjoying the sunshine in her garden, watching Sophie play with the other children. Hubby particularly enjoyed the gin tent!
I should have anticipated that the highs of the weekend would inevitably be followed by a low as we returned to reality once again. Tuesday was the lowest day I have had for quite some time. The storm of grief was raging and the ache of longing for Jessica felt almost unbearable.
The storms of grief come and go. Milestones are hard and we are approaching the anniversary of Jessica’s funeral now as well. There will be storms and tough days ahead. Some days I navigate them better than others.
I set up a birthday fundraiser for Little Hearts Matter this year. I didn’t want any gifts for my 40th birthday. There is nothing I need and the only thing I wanted – Jessica – was the one thing that no-one could give. Hubby surprised me though with the most wonderful gift – a sculpture of Jessica almost identical to the one at her forever bed. He couldn’t give me Jessica, but he came as close as he could. Such a beautiful, precious gift.
The birthday celebrations will be continuing over the weekend. We have a birthday barbecue planned for Sunday and hubby has been busy planning this. Hopefully the weather will be dry for us!
Things that have made me smile this week
- My mum making a grand entrance at my birthday party when she arrived dressed as the Queen.
- Seeing all my brothers and sisters together at my birthday party. It is the first time that all of us have been together since my dad’s funeral nine and a half years ago.
- Going for a walk around Petersfield Heath and watching Sophie having fun feeding the ducks.
- Watching a delighted Sophie eating chocolate sauce off a plate with her fingers at my friend Nick’s birthday celebrations.
- Listening to Thomas chattering away.
- Going for a coffee with a friend.
- All my lovely birthday cards and the happy birthday wishes on social media.
- Hearing Jessica and Sophie sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, thanks to my Heartsie bear that they made for me a couple of years ago.