27/01/2021 One Year On

Dear Rebecca,

How has it been a year since we lost you? I know we speak most days, be it when I bring Asher home from nursery and we look into the sky and we find the biggest and brightest star we can find and we both wave and say: “night night star”. Or when every morning and evening I say good morning and good night to the most thoughtful gift I have ever been given - a beautiful crystal pendant that hangs on my window so that I have a constant rainbow in my life, by my side, from the reflection. Or when I need to grieve and cry - the deep howling cry that anyone who has lost someone will recognise. The one you don’t want your husband or son to hear as it is harrowing so instead I go and sit in the car and put on our favourite Spice Girls song that we used to spend hours making up dance moves to and cry so hard. Once I’ve let the cry out we chat about what’s going on and although I was never a spiritual person before, you have made me believe that you’re there with me when we have those conversations; you can hear me and are with me. Or in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep and we sit up and chat and I know you’re there with me, by my side telling me it’s all going to be okay.

Rebecca, next Tuesday I am going to make our dream a reality. The idea of Sophie Says was our joint idea after one of my long evening feeds when Asher was a baby and we were having a deep conversation about the lack of representation and good quality education about life lessons in children’s books. Then and there we decided to do this together. I would write and you would do the illustrations. The following week you became seriously unwell and had to go into hospital. I remember you telling me you couldn’t do the illustrations but that you still wanted to see what could happen with the idea. And then you said something to me which I will never forget. Sat in the middle of a mental health ward with screams and loud noises you weren’t fazed by and you turned to me and said “Esther, why were we chosen to grow up with such privilege; a quality education, a lovely roof over our heads and opportunities that many don’t ever get. Why do some children get dealt a very different story?” I was about to answer and you looked up and me and said “it’s because I know that we will use that privilege for good and to make a positive difference to others”.

Since the 27th of January last year when the police came round to tell us they had found your body that story has not stopped going round in my head. So after eight-and-a-half years I handed in my notice. I did it, because of you; you, you made me brave! This was our idea together and I promise you I will work so hard to make it a reality for us. So that children, regardless of gender, race, religion or background can see themselves, can believe in themselves and can achieve their dreams through our idea of making life’s most important lessons fun to learn. We are going to do this together. You and me. I promise your legacy will live on. We got this!

I love you with all my heart and miss you every minute of every day 💔

I hope you’re dancing up there with all the rainbows!

All my love 

Esther x

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