To Jessica on her 9th birthday

Darling Jessica,

Today is your ninth birthday. Nine years old. How grown-up that sounds. I wonder what you would be like at nine years old. What kind of things would you like doing, what books would you be reading, what would you have hoped to be opening in your birthday presents today? Today we would have had you home all day for your birthday for the first time since you started school. How lovely it would have been to have the whole day with you to celebrate. I wish I could be sitting with you this morning, taking photos as you opened your presents and looking forward to seeing your face when you saw your birthday cake.

 

A smiley Jessica sitting in a sand pit - "To Jessica on your 9th birthday"
Photo credit – Zoe Liddiard Giles

 

There might not be presents – well, not ones that you can open – but there will be cake. You absolutely loved cake and we will share your cake with you as best we can today. I made you a Hey Duggee cake. You loved Hey Duggee when you were six. I remember you asking me when we were preparing you for your last operation whether you could have a Hey Duggee sticker chart and I drew it into my special book for you as well as creating that sticker chart for you too. I’m not sure that you would have requested a Hey Duggee cake at nine years old but six-year-old you would have absolutely loved it.

 

A chocolate Hey Duggee birthday cake

 

The only present we can bring to you is your birthday flowers. I have several bouquets of flowers at home to select from. It means so very much to us that others have remembered you with love on your birthday. It’s all so very wrong that I should be bringing flowers to your forever bed instead of seeing you open presents, but as this is how things are, I am glad that your birthday flowers will come from several people who knew and loved you and that they will all be thinking of you today too.

 

Pink gerberas and pale pink roses in Jessica's memory vase next to a wooden carving of Jessica holding her Kerry doll

 

I wonder what life would have been like today if you were still with us. What the last six months would have been like. It’s been such a strange year. I know that it would have been an absolute joy to have you home with us for five months and a privilege to be able to home-school you again as I did after your last surgery. It would have been a time of worry too but I’d have gladly taken the worry to have been able to have that time with you.

 

Jessica sitting at the table doing a maths worksheet

 

How wonderful it would have been for Thomas to have two big sisters home with him all day. You would have had so much fun together. The house would have been a noisier place and no doubt there would be bickering at times and moments when I would be pulling my hair out, but there would have been many moments of fun too. And I’m sure that I would have breathed a sigh of relief when all three of you were tucked up asleep in your beds, grateful for a few moments of peace at the end of a busy day. I’d have kissed you all one more time and been so very thankful for you all; that you were all mine to love. You’re still mine to love of course, but how I miss your physical presence, your warm hugs and your beautiful big smile.

 

Jessica, Thomas and Sophie splashing barefoot in a muddy puddle

 

You would have been starting Year 4 this year. I know I would have seriously considered whether to home-school you; to try and wrap you in cotton wool and keep you safe, but I think in all honesty, you would have gone back to school. You would have wanted to be with your friends again and I think being able to have some normality again would have been good for you. I can imagine your joy at being back at school with your friends.

 

A very happy Jessica after her first day back at school

 

Darling Jessica, I miss all those beautiful moments that we never got to share. I miss your joy; I miss your laughter and your wonderful sweet nature. You would have changed quite a bit now from the Jessica I last held, but all the things that made you the wonderful little girl you were would not have changed. You would have still been kind and thoughtful and loving, and you would have still be excited about your birthday and looking forward to cake.

Jessica at Paulton's Park for her birthday treat

 

Happy birthday my beautiful girl. Love you and miss you more than words could ever say.

 

Mummy xxxxx

9 thoughts on “To Jessica on her 9th birthday

  1. I always feel so awkward saying happy heavenly birthday, it just doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel fair that we can’t wish your girl a happy birthday which would have been full of fun with her family. If I feel so sad, I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel. But your lovely words give us an insight, and I know in my heart that you will get through this day like the days you have survived before. Jessica will always be with you in some way, even if it’s not the way you want her to be. And everyone reading will want to virtually reach out and give you the biggest hug ever. Much love to you all and Jessica xxx
    Gorgeous cake x

    1. I know, that ‘happy heavenly birthday’ will never feel right. Thank you for the virtual hug. It was a tough day, as we knew it would be, but there were smiles too and we’ve learned now to just go with the emotions and ride the storms as they come. I’m glad we had cake though. Jessica would have definitely wanted us to have cake x

  2. Thinking of you, Louise and of beautiful Jessica. She will never be forgotten even by those of us who only knew her via your blog and all the lovely tales you told. xxx

  3. That made me cry. You are amazing – brave and articulate. Jessica looks like she was a beautiful child.

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