Jessica, when diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1997, had ben told that average survival time was five years. She lived for ten years until the Fourth of July 2007. Her funeral service took place soon afterwards in a packed Southwell Minster.
At the beginning of June 2019 Louisa wished to produce a slideshow of pictures of her mother in order to recognise what would have been her 70th birthday later that month. At different spells over that early weekend I e-mailed her a selection, some of which are included here.
These two were produced in June 1974 in the garden of Droop Street.
Here, in January 1975, she picks cabbages in her parents’ garden at Bulcote.
In May that year she is reflected in the window of the Peel Institute Youth Club.
Here she stands with Michael on the threshold of our flat in Horse and Dolphin Yard, in December 1979.
Sam was two days old on 21st June 1980;
Louisa joined them in May 1982.
In 1983 there were holidays in Newark, in Devon, and in North Wales.
This trio from 1985 were made in Southern France, in Mousehole, and in my parents’ Morden home at Christmas.
On a visit to Haslemere in 1986 Sam and Louisa made a bid to return to the womb.
In June 1990, James Bird, our neighbour in Newark, brought home this coot which he had found by the roadside, and thought might survive by our pond. It disappeared after a few days.
In the first of these images from Michael and Heidi’s wedding on 5th October 1991 Jessica stands with Becky; in the next two she sits beside Werner, the bride’s father. Matthew took the top table pictures.
In August 1992 Jessica reached the summit of Place Fell. What is more surprising is that so did I – and held my nerve to take the shots.
On 4th October that year we attended my mother’s 70th birthday party. Jessica stands amid Sam, Adam, and Danni. Louisa is just out of shot.
In August 1999 Jessica was present to cheer on the builders of the great sandcastle on the beach at Instow.
While waiting for Sam’s arrival in Barbados in March 2004 Jessica and Louisa swam with turtles in the Caribbean Sea;
We all greeted him as he tottered off his boat.