One of the many things that broke my heart when Jessica died was sorting through and editing photos of her, knowing that there would be no more new ones to take. No new memories to make together, no new moments to experience. Yet while of course there are no new memories to make with her, every so often I am given the precious gift of a new discovery from Jessica’s life. Something that I hadn’t seen before, or known before, or that I’d forgotten all about.
When we were planning Jessica’s funeral, our minister suggested putting paper hearts in the order of service for people to write their memories of Jessica on. I am so glad he suggested this. Those messages are something I treasure. They tell me how loved Jessica was; how she touched the lives of those who encountered her and they share people’s memories of her. Some of those memories were ones that I shared but some were of moments that I didn’t experience with her. A “new” memory of Jessica for me to discover.
Jessica’s schoolbooks and the photo book that her school made for us gave us another little glimpse into a part of her life that could be a mystery at times. Like many children, she was very selective about what she shared with us when it came to her school life. I learned early on that what happens at school tends to stay at school! Those photos and books gave me a window into that world and another set of “new” memories to treasure.
Every so often, Jessica’s picture pops up unexpectedly in my Facebook newsfeed. It’s usually linked to our involvement with various charities. We shared Jessica’s story many times during her life to try to raise awareness of congenital heart defects and to help give hope to other heart families. Even though Jessica is no longer here, her story is still out there, still helping others. It makes my day when I see her beautiful little face pop up in my feed.
I love it too when family and friends share their photos and video clips of Jessica. Sometimes those captured moments are new to me. Jessica’s Girls’ Brigade captain recently sent me a video clip from a day out. It’s just 20 seconds of Jessica having fun on a swing. An ordinary little moment. But it was a precious gift to me.
These are my “new” memories of Jessica. The drawings that I find while sorting through paperwork, the photos and videos that pop up in my newsfeed, the beautiful memories that friends and family share. Each of them is like finding a little treasure. Because while there are no truly new memories to make together, there may still be new discoveries yet to be made. And that is an incredibly precious gift.