Here we are again at the end of another year. I’m grateful for another year of making memories together. I’ll never stop wishing that Jessica was here to be part of our moments together but I’m grateful for the moments that we’ve had as a family over the year.
Some of the things that have happened in 2023:
- We set ourselves a challenge to complete the 100 activities listed on the poster Sophie got for Christmas from her godparents. Although we were on track up until the end of the summer, the autumn term ended up being quite a full one and we decided not to put ourselves under pressure to complete the challenge. We’ve finished the year with 88 activities completed and are hoping to do the rest early next year!
- We enjoyed taking part in various activities to celebrate the King’s coronation.
- My husband injured his knee in May which is still having an impact on his balance and mobility.
- Sophie and I both enjoyed taking part in various shows:
- Main shows for Sophie were Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Little Mermaid (understudying the role of Flounder) and The Wizard of Oz. She also did a small-scale version of Shrek, playing a narrator, Middle Fiona and the Witch.
- I played Mrs Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone and made the most of being able to be wooden as Tree 2 in The Wizard of Oz.
- I had my first ever night away from the children heading up to Edinburgh to visit friends followed by another friend’s hen do in Glasgow. We had a lovely weekend in Glasgow for her wedding and I particularly loved watching Sophie and Thomas both joining with the ceilidh dancing.
- Sophie and Thomas went on their first flight as we flew to Amsterdam for a few days, followed by a train trip via Germany to Luxembourg where they enjoyed visiting their cousins. We then travelled home by train via Paris. It was a bit of a challenge travelling around on my own with Sophie and Thomas but I’d be willing to consider a train trip to visit the cousins in Luxembourg on my own again.
- It’s been a challenging year for Thomas at school and trying to get appropriate support in place has felt like a battle at times. It does feel like progress is now being made and I’m hoping that this will continue.
- Thomas moved into his own bedroom. Both he and Sophie are enjoying having their own space now. The hardest part was having to dismantle Jessica’s bed to make space for things that needed to be moved around.
- My husband and I were invited to share Jessica’s story at a couple of events hosted by Action Medical Research.
There have been sad moments and milestones too: Thomas passing the age that Sophie was when Jessica died; Jessica’s classmates moving on to secondary school (although it was lovely that they included her with a leaver’s hoodie); and the deaths of two of my mum’s siblings – my Auntie Peggy and my Uncle Peter.
While I stopped doing my monthly Me and Mine and Siblings posts on the blog partway through this year, I have still been taking a monthly siblings photo, which I’ve shared below. I’m grateful for the lovely bond that Sophie and Thomas have with each other. Like all siblings, they have their moments of annoying each other but there’s a lot of love there too. I particularly love the way Sophie will always come into Thomas’s room for bedtime cuddles. He likes to go in and wake her up in the morning, but that’s not always quite so appreciated!
And so another year draws to a close. The transition from one year to another is one of the periodic reminders that we have of how time moves us further on from the time when Jessica was here with us. New Year brings back memories of our last time seeing in the New Year with Jessica and the hope that we had for the future with her last planned surgery having taken place. I think the new year will always bring that sense of sadness, but I know that, as before, we will carry Jessica and our beautiful memories of her into the next year with us. We will still talk about her and remember her, and keep her part of our family moments where we can.
Happy New Year to you all and wishing you all the best for 2024.