Jessica’s birthday was always such a milestone moment. As well as being her birthday, it was also one of her heart days – the anniversary of her first open heart surgery. A day full of excitement, watching the joy on Jessica’s face as she opened her cards and presents and feeling thankful for being blessed to have another year with our beautiful girl.
The first birthday without Jessica was always going to be a particularly hard one. The run-up to it was tough. No cards to buy, no presents, no excited little girl counting down the sleeps. But there was one thing that I knew I had to do to mark my big girl’s birthday. I had to make her a cake. A special “Kerry cake” – recreating her favourite toy in cake form. She would have absolutely loved that cake.
Jessica’s birthday coincided with Sophie’s first day at school, which made it extra-emotional. Sophie found that first morning so hard. She cried and told us that she didn’t want to go to school without Jessica. It is so hard seeing her so sad and missing her sister, knowing that there is nothing we can do to make it better.
Thankfully, that first day at school went well. We were greeted by a very smiley Sophie at pick-up time, telling us that she loves her new school. She was also very excited to see Nanny and Auntie Loraynne who had come up to celebrate Jessica’s birthday with us. We had planned to take Jessica’s cake to GreenAcres and have a little picnic next to her forever bed.
The excitement of the first day at school combined with seeing Nanny and Auntie Loraynne made for a very excitable little Sophie. Having a stick sword-fight with Auntie Loraynne helped to burn off some of her extra energy though before we made our way over to visit Jessica.
At Jessica’s forever bed, we put some fresh flowers in her vase, set up the picnic blanket and lit the candle on the cake. We sang Happy Birthday and Sophie blew out the candle.
I had brought the bubble machine with me so that we could have some bubbles while we ate the birthday cake. Unfortunately I hadn’t checked to make sure that it was actually working! Thankfully we did have a bubble wand and Sophie was quite happy to blow bubbles for a while.
The weather had been dry and mostly sunny during the day, but we did have a brief shower as we sat and ate Jessica’s birthday cake. The rain seemed to fit in with our feeling of sadness that Jessica wasn’t there to celebrate her birthday.
Although there was a lot of sadness, we did try to make Jessica’s birthday picnic positive too. We remembered happier moments and enjoyed eating cake. Sophie was full of smiles and helped bring some sunshine into our sadness. It felt like a special way to mark Jessica’s birthday and to remember her.