It is eight months today since Jessica passed away. This time of year is especially hard for us – the first Christmas without Jessica as well as coming up to the anniversary of her last heart surgery. This week, I’ve be struck by the kindness of those around us. Jessica is mentioned in nearly all the Christmas cards we have received which means a lot to us. We have been reminded that Jessica is remembered and that our family is in the thoughts of others. We have been sent decorations for our tree with Jessica’s name on – sometimes on her own, other times with Sophie and Thomas or with all our names. A reminder that Jessica is still loved and remembered by those around us.
As much as I’m trying to make it a good Christmas for Sophie and Thomas, I’m not feeling remotely Christmassy this year. I’m okay with that. This Christmas is very much about taking it moment by moment, being gentle with ourselves and just allowing the waves of grief to take us where they will.
I had one of my rare dreams of Jessica the other night. She came with us on a day out. I remember thinking how lovely it was to be holding a little girl’s hand in each of mine again. Jessica was smiling away at me and I was so happy to be with her again. She was still the same age as she was when she died. It struck me that Sophie looked bigger next to Jessica than she had done before. I wonder if Jessica will always stay the same age in my dreams.
The other day one of Sophie’s cousins came over to play with her. I could hear Sophie laughing as they played together and it suddenly made me realise how little I hear her laugh like that when playing compared to how often I would hear it when Jessica was alive. Sophie is good at playing by herself but it does make me so sad when I think of that beautiful bond that she has lost and how she no longer has that constant playmate. Having friends or cousins visit can only go so far in trying to fill that void. I’m glad though that she still can have those moments even if they are much more infrequent now.
Things that have made me smile this week
- Going to the Christmas tree festival at our local church with Sophie’s class.
- Sophie getting her bronze Reading Raccoon certificate for reading 25 books and her one year badge at Girls’ Brigade.
- Walking along the canal with Thomas while Sophie and Daddy enjoyed a narrowboat ride to visit Santa’s grotto.
- Going to see the panto with Sophie and her Girls’ Brigade friends.
- Listening to Thomas chatting away.
- Watching Sophie doing Christmas crafts at school.
- The annual visit from the Rotary Club’s Father Christmas.
- Thomas wearing reindeer antlers and waving bells on his wrists while listening to festive songs at BilinguaSing.
- A beautiful sunset while heading out to our work Christmas meal.