Friday Focus 30/12/2022 – Christmas

We’ve had some time away over Christmas having spent it at Coombe Mill again. It’s been good to have that time away and to be able to switch off and spend time together as a family. Christmas is a very mixed time for us balancing our grief at having to spend another Christmas without Jessica with Sophie and Thomas’s joy and excitement and trying to make Christmas as magical as we can for them.


The word 'Christmas' in red with holly leaves either side of the dot of the 'i'


On the whole, I think we managed the balance fairly well over Christmas itself. I didn’t give grief the space it needed in the run-up to Christmas though which resulted in what I can only describe as a tsunami of grief crashing over me for a couple of days. This time of year is also hard because as well as the ever-present ache of missing Jessica, there are also the memories of her last heart surgery which took place just after her last Christmas.


We have had some magical moments over Christmas though and Sophie and Thomas have certainly had a wonderful time. They’ve loved being back at Coombe Mill, getting out on the feed run to feed the animals each day and spending time with Grandma and Grandad. They’ve also loved having their presents spread over several days as we couldn’t take them all with us!


Sophie feeding the goats at Coombe Mill


Sophie was so excited for Christmas this year that she woke up just as Father Christmas was filling her stocking. She gave us all quite a shock when she appeared in the lounge a few minutes later! She did tell me that she kept her eyes closed “because Father Christmas doesn’t deliver presents to children who peek” and I’m hoping that was indeed the case! Thomas, on the other hand, slept in until 7.30am and needed encouragement from Sophie to check out the presents in his stocking!



What I’ve been grateful for over the last couple of weeks:


Sophie in front of the Christmas tree at our friends' house; Sophie with the actress playing Cinderella in the panto; our Christmas tree; the Jessica angel on top of our Christmas tree; our Christmas card featuring Sophie, Jessica and Thomas ice-skating with penguins inside a snow globe; Sophie and Thomas standing next to a giant model of The Gingerbread Man; Thomas and Grandma playing patience with cards - "#365daysofgratitude 2022 - Week 51"



  • Day 350 – I am grateful for time with friends at the Radway Christmas party.


  • Day 351 – I am grateful for an evening at the panto with Girls’ Brigade. Sophie loved being invited up on stage with one of her friends to help with the singalong at the end as well.


  • Day 352 – I am grateful that the tree is up.


  • Day 353 – I am grateful that the “grief tsunami” of last night and this morning has eased off into waves that I’m more able to ride.


  • Day 354 – I am grateful for Photoshop helping create our annual Christmas card photo.


  • Day 355 – I am grateful for a fun morning following the Christmas trail at Black Park.


  • Day 356 – I am grateful that Thomas enjoyed learning how to play card games with Grandma.


Sophie and Thomas with Father Christmas; Thomas holding a chicken; Sophie and Thomas opening Christmas presents; the river Camel; Sophie and Thomas feeding pigs; Sophie ice-skating; Sophie and Thomas with their cousins - "#365daysofgratitude 2022 - Week 52"


  • Day 357 – I am grateful for a steam train ride followed by going to see Father Christmas.


  • Day 358 – I am grateful for gentle hands from Thomas and the joy of getting to hold a chicken on the feed run this morning.


  • Day 359 – I am grateful that Sophie and Thomas have had a lovely Christmas Day.


  • Day 360 – I am grateful for a beautiful spot for a Boxing Day walk.


  • Day 361 – I am grateful for another lovely stay at Coombe Mill. Sophie and Thomas have had such a wonderful time feeding the animals each morning and making friends.


  • Day 362 – I am grateful for an afternoon with Sophie meeting up with her friend to go ice-skating. Lovely to see Sophie becoming more confident on the ice too.


  • Day 363 – I am grateful for a lovely afternoon spent catching up with cousins.



Other things that have made me smile over the last couple of weeks:

  • Watching Sophie singing with her iRock group in the end of term concert.


  • Sophie making bracelets as presents for her friends and making one for Father Christmas “because he is so kind giving presents to everyone that he deserves a present too”.


Sophie's letter to Father Christmas which reads "To Santa. Merry Christmas! I have been good and deserve presents. Thomas has been good as well. I made you a present. It might not fit you but you can give it to your elfs. For Christmas I would like Heelys, Num Noms and LOLs. Love, from Sophie. PS Here is a picture."


  • Starting my annual re-read of ‘The Dark Is Rising’ books.


  • Thomas joining in with the Christingle service for the first time.


  • Getting out for a walk on my own and hunting for geocaches.


  • Father Christmas visiting our lodge at Coombe Mill complete with a herd of reindeer.


Sophie receiving a present from Father Christmas accompanied by four people dressed in reindeer onesies


  • Toasting marshmallows in the BBQ hut on Christmas evening.


Thomas toasting marshmallows over a fire with help from Daddy while Grandad watches


  • Sophie making friends on the feed run and being able to go out and play with them – so nice to give her that freedom of being able to enjoy time with her friends and being able to explore without adult supervision.


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7 thoughts on “Friday Focus 30/12/2022 – Christmas

  1. It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas. I know that grief hits hard at Christmas time but having young children around makes things magical.

  2. Aww! How lovely that you went to Coombe Mill for Christmas, it really is a fab place. I am glad you had a nice Christmas. It sounds like Sophie and Thomas had a great time.
    What lovely photos. x

  3. Happy New Year!
    Christmas is hard when you are missing someone. I understand a bit, because of my own loss. I’m sending hugs. xx

  4. I have always said I want to visit Coombe mill but never get round to it!

    Glad that you managed to make some good memories amongst the grief, it must be hard.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Ooh I haven’t seen you visit Coombe Mill in a while, looks like a lovely trip. We need to go further afield to look for geocaches as have done the nearest ones. #project365

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