One of our Me and Mine photos back in March came from our last big family gathering before lockdown – my mum’s 80th birthday. Six months on, we gathered together as a family again for another special occasion – my twin sister’s wedding day. Two special celebrations, two happy days, two very different events. How strange it was to be with all my brothers and sisters and not be able to hug them. To sit at different tables, and not wander here and there for a chat. To have to keep our distance. Not to be able to congratulate my twin and welcome my new brother in law with a big hug. It was lovely to be able to see them and to be able to celebrate with everyone but it was a very different celebration from our usual big family events.
Big family celebrations can be hard, even without throwing Covid restrictions into the mix. There is always that awareness of loved ones who are missing. Dad and Jessica are both so very missed on this occasions. I loved that they were both very much included as part of the day though, with photos of them both next to the wedding cake. Each of the bouquets had a charm with a photo of Jessica with an extra bouquet for Jessica, which Thomas was supposed to carry, but in the end I carried it and Mum carried my bridesmaid bouquet.
Sophie and Thomas were the most adorable little bridesmaid and page boy. It was lovely to see them both all dressed up and see how excited Sophie was – lovely, but heartbreaking too. I can just imagine how excited Jessica would have been to be a bridesmaid next to Mummy and Sophie. But she was very much a part of the day and remembered with so much love.
Jessica taught us to live in the moment and enjoy it; to make the most of today because tomorrow was never promised. Living through a pandemic feels much the same. Family moments are precious; just being together is a gift even if we can’t hug each other. I’m thankful for those moments of family time; for beautiful memories of Jessica and for the joy that she brought to our lives; for being able to make special memories with Sophie and Thomas; for our little family. The five of us, bound together by love; love that death can never destroy. Jessica is still a part of all those special moments – always loved and always remembered.