Trying to grab pockets of family time together has been a challenge over the last couple of months. Hubby’s been away a lot, while Sophie and I were busy with rehearsals for The Sound of Music until the end of October. Although we had managed to have time together here and there, we didn’t manage to take our usual family photo together in October – and nearly got to the end of this month without taking it too!
It’s hard when things are this busy and it’s easy to end up feeling quite disconnected from each other. Jessica’s absence has left us feeling forever incomplete, and that feeling of incompleteness is exacerbated when we have long periods without being able to reconnect together as a family. It makes it even more important to focus on family time when we do manage to have it. To remind ourselves that we are a team; that we need each other and that we are happier when we are all together.
November has been quite an emotional rollercoaster of a month, with Jessica very much at the heart of it all. We shared our story for Children in Need, to help raise awareness of the amazing work that Halo Children’s Foundation does to help bereaved children. Through Children in Need, we were lucky enough to be invited to the gala performance of Mary Poppins in the West End and meet the cast afterwards. We had a couple of people recognise us from the video that Children in Need shared which was quite surreal!
Thomas ended up in hospital for a couple of nights due to a viral wheeze. It was funny how we snapped back into hospital mode instantly, slipping into the old familiar roles and routines to juggle the needs of two children in two locations. It brought back a lot of memories of Jessica which was hard in many ways, but also strangely comforting in others as it brought the ‘realness’ of life with Jessica into sharper focus again. Thankfully Thomas is now back to his usual happy self.
This week we’ve been sharing our story again – this time to help raise awareness of how Action Medical Research funds research to help improve outcomes for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Our family photos this month were taken at the end of a day of filming and talking about Jessica. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly emotional day, but such a gift too to be able to talk so openly and freely about Jessica, sharing her story to try and help other families.
No doubt next month will also be an emotional rollercoaster as we move into the festive season and prepare for our second Christmas without Jessica. We’ve just got to take each moment as it comes, try and make magical moments for Sophie and Thomas where we can, but also allow ourselves space and time to focus on Jessica too. Allowing the sadness to come when it needs to, and giving ourselves permission to enjoy the happy moments when they come too. We’ll get through it together, carrying Jessica with us in our hearts.