Friday Focus 21/02/2020 – Bittersweet moments

On the surface of it, this half-term has been a lot of fun. We’ve been out, spent quality time together and the children have had a wonderful time. But underneath my smiles and laughter is always that constant ache and longing. School holidays without Jessica are so very bittersweet and this one in particular. The February half-term holiday was the last one we got to enjoy before Jessica became ill. The last one when we had hope for the future; when the path that lay ahead seemed rosy and promising. And just seven weeks later, Jessica was dead. And this week has been one of those weeks when I am still incredulous that this can be so; that my beautiful big girl is no longer with us; that life can never be as it was then.


The word 'bittersweet' in purple


Sophie is now at the age that Jessica was back then. I look at her and I see her big sister as she was two years ago. I hear the laughter and the giggles; I see the things that Jessica did and hear the kind of things she would say once more. And sometimes at night, I watch her sleeping and I see Jessica and I imagine that it is Jessica lying there. Not that I want Sophie to be anyone but who she is. Just that I want to be able to feel that realness of life with Jessica once more.


Thomas and Sophie at Jessica's forever bed


Sophie has been doing swimming lessons this week. That’s also brought back memories – we went swimming with the girls during our last holiday. Jessica couldn’t stay in the pool long as she got cold so quickly. It was the only time I ever heard her wish that she didn’t have a special heart; she was frustrated that she couldn’t enjoy the water for longer. But it was also her favourite thing about the whole holiday as she told my friend at the end of the week. I’m not a big fan of swimming and we didn’t go often, partly because trying to juggle both the girls myself and be able to get Jessica out quickly and warm her up if she got cold felt too much of a challenge. Sometimes I feel bad that we didn’t go more often, knowing how much Jessica loved it. But I’m glad we did that week. This week I took two children swimming on my own for the first time. It turned out to be quite manageable. But then I didn’t have the same challenges. I wish I still did though.


We’ve also started rehearsing for the concert that my mother-in-law and I are organising. We were midway through rehearsals for the last concert when Jessica died and it got cancelled. It felt very strange having everyone arrive at my house for rehearsal, going through songs like we always did, as if nothing had changed since the last time we had a rehearsal. We were even going through some of the same songs. No-one mentioned Jessica. There was no particular reason why they should have done. But I couldn’t help remembering previous rehearsals where sometimes Jessica would wake up and come downstairs mid-rehearsal. How I wished I could have heard her little footsteps coming down the stairs once more.


Things that have made me smile this week

  • Thomas doing some mark-making at church.


Thomas doing mark making at church


  • Baking cookies and making pizza with Sophie.


  • Visiting my mum and catching up with some of my family.


  • Going for a walk along the canal with Sophie and Thomas.


  • Watching Thomas playing with the musical chime bars at the park and saying “la-ti-ti” each time he hit them.


Thomas hitting the rainbow coloured chime bars at the park


  • Going to Kidzania with other Halo families.


  • Doing a trail around Iver Environment Centre and making a bird feeder.


Sophie in the rainforest area at Iver Environment Centre


  • Watching Grandad having fun helping Sophie get creative with Playdoh. Another thing that brought back memories of Jessica. I remember him sitting with her in hospital and them playing together with the Playdoh.


  • Making a fairy wand and fairy garden at a Fairies and Elves workshop.


  • Sophie’s joy at getting to feed the fish at the garden centre.


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12 thoughts on “Friday Focus 21/02/2020 – Bittersweet moments

  1. Memories are precious, no matter how they hurt. They are your memories and you can hold them close and feel Jessica once more, even with sadness. I think the difficulty is watching your two healthy children enjoying life, possibly even more than Jessica did because of her poorly heart. But you can’t change the past and you know, as we all do, that Jessica had the best possible life with the most loving and caring family. The memories are there to let you know that your little girl is still with you in some way. The pain is real but necessary. I don’t know if I’m saying the right things, but I hope you understand.
    It does sound like you’ve had a wonderful half term though, Sophie and Thomas are growing so fast. xx

    1. Thank you Anne, and yes I do understand what you mean. Those memories certainly are very precious ones and sometimes it’s in that sadness that life with Jessica feels most real and Jessica comes closest, so yes the pain does feel necessary. It’s a reflection of my love for her and I’ve learned not to fight the sadness, but to just go with it and there are times when I embrace the sadness too. There have been lots of happy moments this half-term too and it is lovely to watch Sophie and Thomas having so much fun, even if it is always bittersweet too x

  2. I remember when my grown up niece was very small, she called memories re-memories, and talked of how she loved to snuggle up to them. Your post made me think of her then! #WOTW

  3. I am so sorry this week has been bittersweet. Sending love and hugs.
    I am glad the swimming trip went well. It sounds like you have had so many things this week which have reminded you of Jessica and what could have been.

    1. Thank you Kim, there certainly have been a lot of memories coming back. Jessica is always so very missed x

  4. I can imagine this week had been bittersweet for you, Louise. Thoughts of Jessica are always there (of course). I love how you end your posts with things that made you smile. It’s always good to see the photos of your 2 precious youngsters. As a former science teacher, I like it that Sophie appreciates the nature center! 🙂

    1. Thank you Laurie, I like to focus on the things that make me smile – it helps remind me that even on the tougher weeks there are still lots of moments of sunshine. The nature centre is one of our favourite places. My husband and I both have science degrees so we like to slip in a little science-based play and learning here and there too! 🙂

  5. You fitted so much into your week. I can see how it would be bittersweet. Triggers that bring back memories. Some that only you can see. Sending hugs. I’m glad Sophie is enjoying swimming and your swim with the two of them went smoothly. You are good at capturing those moments in photos. Love the one of Thomas playing the colourful bars. I can almost hear him! Hope you have a good week. #wotw

    1. Thank you. I do love trying to capture all those little moments and being able to look back on them.

  6. You’ve done some lovely things this week – I especially like the idea of making fairy wands and fairy gardens 🙂 Jessica will always be there whatever you are doing and wherever you are going x

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