The Christmas cards have all been sent, the presents are all wrapped, school is out until the New Year, and I think we are pretty much ready for Christmas now. Sophie and Thomas have been excitedly counting down the days, and their joy and excitement is infectious although it does come with a side order of that ever-present heartache of wishing that Jessica could be part of all these moments too.
It’s a balancing act of holding space for the excitement and trying not to over-shadow it, but also allowing the space for grief too. We’ve learned over the last five years to go with the flow emotions-wise and to allow space for Jessica, and for our grief, where needed. She’s very much part of our Christmas build-up – in our memories and our thoughts, and as the angel on top of our Christmas tree. Most of our family and friends include her name in their cards which I’m thankful for.
There was a lovely, if emotional, moment when we visited Santa on our trip to Chessington this week. As we posed for our family photo, I pulled Jessica’s photo out of my bag to include her. Santa asked me who the photo was of, and where she was, and I told him that it was Sophie and Thomas’s sister Jessica, and that she died five years ago. He turned round to Sophie and Thomas and told them to look up at the sky on Christmas Eve and look for the brightest star in the sky, because it would be shining extra brightly that night as Jessica would be looking down on us all. We’ve often pulled out her photo at Santa visits but I think this was the first time it was asked about and then acknowledged. It meant a lot that Jessica was acknowledged and included.
What I’ve been grateful for this week:
- Day 349 – I am grateful for a lovely evening at the Radway Christmas party.
- Day 350 – I am grateful that Sophie enjoyed seeing the panto with her Girls’ Brigade friends.
- Day 351 – I am grateful for Sophie’s excitement at finally getting to see Six. So lovely to have a theatre trip with her and we loved the show.
- Day 352 – I am grateful for Jessica being remembered and included by friends and family in the run-up to Christmas.
- Day 353 – I am grateful for a pre-Christmas visit catching up with family.
- Day 354 – I am grateful for a fun family day out at Chessington.
- Day 355 – I am grateful for Sophie and Thomas’s Christmas gifts from Halo Children’s Foundation. Thank you Halo for all you do to support bereaved children.
Other things that have made me smile this week:
- Singing carols at the carol service.
- Watching Thomas taking part in his school carol concert.
- Thomas going through the dog flap at my sister’s house.
- Watching Sophie and Thomas having fun at their dance school Christmas party.