January tends to be the calm before the storm for us. A month where things are relatively quiet before getting back into the cycle of grabbing family moments in between hubby working on events. Since Jessica died, it’s been a tough month too. The start of a new year is a reminder once more of time moving us on and taking us further away from our life with Jessica. Memories of our last January with Jessica – recovering from her last heart surgery; going home, filled with hope for the future; announcing that we were expecting another baby and looking forward to becoming a family of five. January 2018 was a rollercoaster of a month, but one ultimately full of hope.
January 2020 has also been a rollercoaster of a month. Hubby’s been busy preparing for his next big event which will see him head off to Australia for much of next month, and I’m preparing to be flying solo at home once more. We’ve also had a worrying time with family members being in hospital. Thankfully they’re all home now and on the mend, but one hospital stay in particular had echoes of Jessica’s last hospital stay and has brought back some very painful memories for us. Unsurprisingly, we’ve had some very stormy moments where grief has hit hard. Mind you, that’s true of most months anyway. Moments of calm followed by moments when the storm of grief is raging and then back to calm once more. I think this will always be the case.
Storms aren’t always bad – they’re often the moments when we feel closest to the ‘realness’ of life with Jessica – but they can be overwhelming in their intensity. We’re still learning to navigate them, together as well as individually. Sometimes we struggle to find a way through the storm together – it can feel like we are pulling in different directions or that we just don’t have the resources available to pull together in that moment. Sometimes it just feels like the storm is too big. And then it calms, and we cling together again, and resolve to keep moving forward as a team. We’ll get there.
The ups and downs have been a reminder though of how precious the ordinary moments are; the little everyday moments of family life. I had originally intended to take this month’s family photo on a planned day out in London. Unfortunately for various reasons we didn’t manage to have our day out. Instead our family photos for January are some quick shots out in the garden, grabbing a moment in between the rain showers and other things that were happening on a busy Sunday afternoon. Perhaps they’re a more accurate reflection of our family life over the past month. Grabbing moments of togetherness in the calm between the storms. Making the most of the ordinary moments. Family life, imperfect and messy. But we’re together and that’s what matters most.