The last couple of weeks have been quite a rollercoaster ride on the emotional front. The start of a new year without Jessica has hit me hard. There have been many times over the past week or so that I feel like I am drowning in the stormy sea of grief. Daily life feels like an uphill struggle at times. The memories of this time last year are those from Jessica’s Fontan surgery and her recovery. I remember our relief, our joy at every little milestone and the hope for the future – a future as a family of five, perhaps being able to look ahead a little without the shadow of surgery looming over us.
To be here without Jessica a year on feels so very cruel. My heart aches so much for my big girl. I miss her laugh, her smile, watching her draw, the way she would snuggle up to me. I miss taking her to school, doing her meds each day, her buggy – every little thing about life with Jessica. I want the life we hoped for and I find myself raging at times at the unfairness of having to live the rest of my life without her. I look at Sophie and it seems strange that she is now the big sister, the one leading the way for Thomas, and wrong that there is no longer a big sister leading the way for her.
Some days are harder to get through than others. But we get through them just the same. Taking one step at a time, taking it moment by moment. Carrying Jessica with us in our hearts. Talking about her, sharing memories. She is part of our family and always will be. Here and yet not here. I hear her voice in some of the things Sophie says, see her again as a baby when I look at Thomas. Little moments that bring her closer once more.
Things that have made me smile recently
- Relaxing in the hot tub at our friends’ house on New Year’s Day.
- Sleepy snuggles on the sofa with Thomas.
- Watching red kites swooping down on the lawn at my in-laws’ house.
- Thomas rolling over from his front on to his back for the first time.
- An after-school trip to the park with Sophie.
- Catching up with friends at the weekend.
- Watching Sophie having fun at the trampoline park for her friends’ birthday party.