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