It’s been a quiet half-term break. February half-term is always a quiet one but lockdown this year has made it even more so and I’m aware of the absence of our all our usual half-term activities. Most of our outdoor time has been spent in the garden, with the occasional walk or scooter ride around the estate. In previous years, we would have gone to visit family but of course, this isn’t an option this year. I miss being able to see my family. I’m grateful for video calls, but they’re not the same.
Jessica’s absence feels more acute this week too. I’m missing her a lot right now. I always miss her, of course, but this week has felt harder. It’s the memories of the ‘last times’ that are starting to pop up – three years ago this week was the last time my mum saw Jessica. The memories of those last weeks often come with a side order of guilt and the questions that will always remain unanswered. Could I have done more? Should I have made different decisions? Would she still be with us if I’d done things differently? And the worst of all those questions – did I fail her?
On the whole I’ve made peace with those questions over the last three years; reminded myself that I did what I thought was right at the time, and that no amount of wondering if I could have done more will bring Jessica back. But as we approach the third anniversary of Jessica’s death, the questions start to haunt me once more as the memories of ‘this time three years ago’ begin to become increasingly painful. The coming weeks are going to be a bumpy ride, I know. I’ve learned to ride the storms when they come. It might sound strange, but sometimes I feel closer to Jessica when the storm of grief is raging all around me. Because that intense grief is a reflection of how much Jessica is loved and missed and a reminder that she isn’t forgotten even though our daily life continues to go on without her.
What I’ve been grateful for this week:
- Day 43 – I am grateful that I got to ‘meet’ my new great-nephew via video call today.
- Day 44 – I am grateful for Numberblocks-themed Mathlink cubes.
- Day 45 – I am grateful for lovely words in cards today.
- Day 46 – I am grateful for outdoor clothes that last well. Thomas’s hat, puddlesuit and wellies all originally belonged to Jessica and still have plenty of wear left in them even after being well-used by both his sisters.
- Day 47 – I am grateful for yummy pancakes.
- Day 48 – I am grateful for time to sit and paint with Sophie.
- Day 49 – I am grateful for sunshine and the pure joy of a little boy splashing in puddles.
Other things that have made me smile this week:
- Baking banana bread with Sophie.
- Setting up the table for afternoon tea as a little treat.
- Watching Sophie and Thomas having fun in the garden drawing on the walls and fence with chalk.