Today is your eighth birthday. Eight sounds so grown up. I wonder what you would have been like now. I could imagine you on your seventh birthday but I can’t quite imagine what you would be like if you were still here now. I know that you would be excited about your birthday, that you would no doubt be awake early ready to open your cards and presents before school. That I would have been taking you to your new school now – that you would be at junior school and I am sure that you would have been excited to be starting a new adventure with your friends. You would have had a year at school with your sister and I think you probably would have been a little sad to be at different schools underneath the excitement of it all.
So many milestones that we have missed, my sweet girl. A year of seeing you at school with Sophie; a year of watching you interact with the baby brother you would have adored. Seeing you grow and change and discover new things. So many little everyday moments where you have been missed and longed for. It is sixteen and a half months since I last saw your smile, last heard your sweet voice, last tucked you into bed with a kiss and a cuddle goodnight. Such a very long time without you, my darling girl, and oh how I miss you so very much.
This second birthday without you feels harder than the first. Maybe it is that feeling of time taking me further away; the realisation that Jessica at eight is an unknown in so many ways; or perhaps it is the knowledge that this is the beginning of a year where your sister will overtake you. You are frozen in time, my darling – forever six and a half. And the rest of us continue to grow and change while you stay the same. You will always be my little girl; my little joy carrier with the sweetest smile and a soft little voice; a little girl with her little Kerry doll, who loved Charlie and Lola (especially the ‘beetles, bugs and butterflies’ book) and my little miracle. I am forever grateful to have had you for six and a half wonderful years whilst always, always wishing it could have been so many more.
Darling girl, today is for you. There will be tears, I am sure, but there will be smiles and laughter too as Daddy, Sophie and I remember you and think about all our wonderful memories. There will be cake – of course. You absolutely loved cake. I can still picture you as a toddler, sitting in your high chair and asking for ‘cake, please, Mummy’ in such a sweet little voice while signing it. You would definitely want us to celebrate your birthday with cake and so I have made you a beautiful pink butterfly cake. We will take it to GreenAcres, sit by your forever bed and sing ‘Happy Birthday to You’ as we did last year. Sharing memories, eating birthday cake and no doubt Sophie will sprinkle cake crumbs over your forever bed in order to give you cake too.
This is not how your birthday should be, darling girl, but it is what it is. I am thankful I did get to enjoy six happy birthdays with you; that I had the joy of watching you open cards and presents and blow the candles out on a birthday cake. What I wouldn’t give to see you do all of that again.
My sweet Jessica, I love you so very much. I am so thankful that you were mine and I got to be your mummy. My little miracle, my joy carrier, my little ray of sunshine. You are forever loved and missed so very much every second of every day. Happy eighth birthday, my darling girl. Sending big kisses and cuddles heavenwards to you and holding on to the hope that one day I will see you again.
Love you millions and billions,