Grief and life after Jessica: “New” memories – a precious gift

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.

 

A photograph of Jessica in her school summer dress - "Grief and life after Jessica - "New" memories - a precious gift"

 

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.

 

A photo of Jessica holding a toy while dressed in a cat outfit

 

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.

 

Jessica on the front of an Action Medical Research leaflet shared by a friend on Facebook

 

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.

 

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19 Comments

  1. October 11, 2018 / 7:18 am

    I can only imagine the pain of realising no more photographs would be taken or new memories made it is just so devastating and seems so unfair, as a mum of two girls and then a son just like you have I just feel so much for you and your family. It must feel so amazing to have new special things to discover, peoples memories and photos you had never seen. Sending you so much love xx Thank you for sharing this with #ABloggingGoodTime

    • Louise
      Author
      October 11, 2018 / 7:50 pm

      Those new discoveries really do mean so very much x

  2. October 11, 2018 / 9:13 am

    Gosh such a constant sorrow, but good you get to enjoy those precious memories, and captured moments you had not known about previously, like the clip of her on the swing. Glad you shared this. #ABlogggingGoodTime

    • Louise
      Author
      October 11, 2018 / 8:00 pm

      Thank you. Those little captured moments are so precious.

  3. October 11, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    That is so lovely. You have a whole lifetime of memories of Jessica, but how wonderful to still be discovering new parts of her life that you weren’t a part of. I hope there are still more of these ‘new memories’ to come for you. X

    • Louise
      Author
      October 11, 2018 / 8:00 pm

      Thank you Sarah, I hope so too x

  4. Wendy
    October 12, 2018 / 5:46 am

    I can only imagine how precious those photos, drawings and messages are. I hope you continue to find these little treasures for a long time so you can have lots more *new* memories of Jessica. Sending lots of love your way xx

    • Louise
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 5:53 am

      Thank you Wendy x

  5. October 12, 2018 / 10:20 am

    I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose child. It is good that you have kept them memories going and it is the small stuff that can bright lightness in such dark times X #ablogginggoodtime

    • Louise
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 6:00 am

      Those memories are so lovely especially when they come unexpectedly x

  6. October 12, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    I’ve just been reading through your story and you are an inspiration. May God continue to keep you and your family always. May the beautiful memories you have and the new ones you have discovered live on forever.

    • Louise
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 6:00 am

      Thank you so much x

  7. October 16, 2018 / 10:42 am

    I agree that little ones can be so secretive as to what goes on at school or beyond. It’s lovely that the captain shared the clip with you. There are lovely people around. #AbloggingGoodTime

    • Louise
      Author
      October 17, 2018 / 5:23 pm

      There are indeed. Really enjoyed seeing that video clip 🙂

  8. October 17, 2018 / 10:28 am

    Nothing will ever bring this gorgeous girl back but these little things keep her alive in some way and I am so glad you find them
    thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

    • Louise
      Author
      October 17, 2018 / 7:10 pm

      Thank you Katie, it is lovely to have these little moments x

  9. October 18, 2018 / 9:50 am

    How precious to find such little reminders. The great late Sir Terry Pratchett said that a man is not dead until his name is no longer spoken. Jessica will always be with you in some way or another, there are so many memories of her and her name will always be spoken. I’m so glad you are finding ways of keeping her memory close and giving you comfort at the same time.
    She looks so young on that dental brochure. Sending big hugs xx

    • Louise
      Author
      October 18, 2018 / 1:28 pm

      Thank you Anne. The memories are so precious and it means a lot when people keep talking about Jessica x

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