Yesterday morning, a beautiful little girl was taken far too soon.
Jessica was the daughter of fellow blogger, Louise. Born with half a working heart, she had her first operation in the womb. She wasn’t expected to live long. But she did. There were many operations over the years. Jessica was a poorly little girl, sometimes a very poorly little girl.
The sort of illnesses that leave us poorly for a day or two or are sometimes little more than an inconvenience hit Jessica hard. Colds and viruses would leave her blue and breathless and would often result in a short hospital stay.
But Jessica lived life to the full.
And her mum documented it all in her beautiful blog, Little Hearts Big Love.
I didn’t read it every day, but I read enough to feel that I knew Jessica. And I knew how much joy she brought to her parents and her beloved little sister, Sophie. On Sundays, a lot of us bloggers post a single picture to sum up our week and most weeks Louise posted a picture of her two beautiful girls together. You could see from those pictures that the bond and the love between them was so strong. Those pictures always brought a big smile to my face.
Louise posted on Instagram too. Every day, an image of something she was grateful for. Over the last few months, she had been grateful for the care of some amazing doctors. Jessica had a major heart operation just after Christmas and recovery was slow. But she made it through.
I’ve said it, everyone has said it. Louise is amazing. We don’t know how she copes. But she always says she copes because she has to, anyone would do the same.
I never met Jessica, but I met Louise a couple of times. We sat next to each other in a drawing workshop at Britmums Live. For me, it was just a bit of fun, but for Louise it gave her the confidence to start illustrating her blog herself.
Over the last couple of weeks, Jessica had been struggling with one of those bugs. She’d been in hospital, but she was back out with a big bag of medication. Just on Friday, Louise posted a picture of Jessica’s dinner on Instagram, so happy that her poorly daughter had been able to finish it.
Then yesterday, I went onto Instagram to post a happy parkrun selfie and there was Jessica’s picture and the words that broke my heart. As ever, those words were beautifully written. ‘I am grateful for six and a half amazing years with this little girl… ‘
Jessica had passed away in the night.
I wrote a few words for Louise, but it wasn’t enough. I thought about Jessica all day and shed tears for her and her family. I talked to my husband and daughter about her.
Louise, being the incredible person she is, has already posted on her blog about that last terrible day. She thanked everyone for their kind words and said never to feel that you ‘don’t know what to say’. Because saying anything is better than nothing. She wants people to talk about Jessica.
Jessica brought so much joy to her family, but she also helped raised awareness of Congenital Heart Defects. Her family have been supported throughout Jessica’s life by a charity called Little Hearts Matter. Raising money for the charity in memory of Jessica is a great way to remember her. You can donate to the fund here.
Louise is a Christian and I know her faith will bring her a lot of strength in the weeks, months and years to come. I’m not really a believer myself, but I do believe that God and Jessica gave Louise a wonderful gift – Louise is expecting a baby in the summer, a little brother or sister for Jessica and Sophie.
Jessica was the last thing I thought of last night and the first thing I thought of this morning. So I decided I would do what Louise asked and talk about Jessica, although my words are perhaps less coherent than I wanted them to be.
‘When God takes you back, he’ll say hallelujah you’re home.’