Family,Me and Mine

Me and Mine – A portrait for July

Flo's birthday

Flo's birthday

Although it makes me so sad to know that these are the last photos of all of us together, I am also glad that we do have them and that we managed to make some really happy memories just days before Roger died.

Florence turned two on the Saturday, and we had a relatively quiet day with my parents, Roger’s mum, sister and brother and my sister-in-law round to share some cake.

On the Sunday, I’d decided it would be a good idea to host a barbecue party for our close friends and their children. A chance for us all to get together for just a couple of hours, for them to see Rog and also to allow our children to have a normal, happy and memorable celebration for Florrie’s birthday. I had wondered if it had been a moment of madness when I added up that there would be 10 adults and 10 children at our house, and whether that would be too much for Rog. Luckily the sun shined, the paddling pool came out and we managed to keep the kids outside most of the time, playing in the water and on the trampoline happily while the adults caught up over a bbq and a few glasses of wine. Although I was nervous at how it would go, having that bit of normality, that happy, chaotic party, was an important memory to keep as Roger’s final weekend.

It was a good job that the evening before, a surprise birthday cake arrived on our doorstep, left by my real life cake fairy Lisa from Into the Glade. Isn’t it lovely? You might remember if you’ve been reading for a while that Lisa baked beautiful birthday cakes for Roger, Sam and I in the spring, as well as a carrot cake (Roger’s fave) just because I said he liked it.

Flo birthday

We look happy on the photos, but I know it took Rog every ounce of strength left in his body to make it downstairs that day. He was so tired by then, he must have said every hour of the morning that he was going to get up but although his mind wanted to join us, his body was really struggling to keep up. When he did get up, he was welcomed so warmly by our friends. As he walked out to the dining table, everyone tried to offer him their seat and make sure he was comfortable but I remember feeling I was going to cry as I saw how frail and weak he was standing alongside so many healthy looking people.

Luckily, that moment was interrupted as Florence had seen him and came running over from the paddling pool, hugging his legs as she shouted ‘Daddy!’. It was as if she was the only one who saw through how poorly he looked, and just saw her beloved father as any other little girl would.

Roger wrote letters to leave to the children before he passed away. The one he wrote for Florrie I hadn’t seen until the other day, and I found it especially difficult to read. I know he had trouble knowing what to say, as with Sam being six, he felt he knew him better, knew his personality and had some idea of the kind of adult he would grow up to be. With a two-year-old it’s so much harder. Character traits are there, of course, but it’s impossible to know what kind of child – let alone adult – they will become.

My husband was a journalist like me, and I looked up to him in so many ways but especially when it came to his writing. He has left them some beautiful letters which I know will be treasured, and Florrie’s contains things he’d never really said out loud to me, although I knew he was thinking them. The main feeling was this:

Sadly, this wretched illness has meant I’ve had to come to terms with missing so much of your lives, and yours more than anyone Flo.

I don’t think I should share any more as it was meant for his little girl, and also it has made me cry and will probably make you cry too!

So this is the third post I have written for the Me and Mine series, where you take a photograph a month of your family all together. If you like, you can have a peek and our portraits for May and June. May is my absolute favourite.

Next month if we manage a Me and Mine, it will have to show us as a family of three. One of us will be missing, but never ever forgotten.

x Julia

Flo's birthday

Flo and me

Jules, Sam and Flo


Birthday cake

dear beautiful
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  • Reply
    July 31, 2015 at 6:33 am

    What a lovely day and lovely memories for all of you to cherish. I love the first pic where you’re all just in the moment and smiling. I’m sure Flo will absolutely love the letters as will your big boy and I hope they bring some comfort one day. Xxx
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Beautiful Baby Bits and BobsMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 31, 2015 at 6:53 am

    I admire you so much,too have the strength to do what you do is amazing. Roger will be looking down with pride x

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers
    July 31, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Oh my lovely xxxxxx
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  • Reply
    Mrs H
    July 31, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Oh darling Julia. I am so happy that you have these memories and pictures from Rog’s last weekend. And I know it was hard for him to join you but I am so glad he did. The letters he wrote for Flo and Sam sound like something that they will treasure forever. Hugs Mrs H xxxx
    Mrs H recently posted…Sunday Stars – 26/07/2015My Profile

  • Reply
    July 31, 2015 at 7:28 am

    What a precious Me & Mine. I’m so glad you were able to enjoy that last weekend, that you were able to spend that time with your friends & family x
    Colette recently posted…Gruffalo Orienteering, Delamere ForestMy Profile

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    Potty Mouthed Mummy
    July 31, 2015 at 7:35 am

    What a beautiful day. I adore that too pic. The way Roger is looking at you? That’s love xxx
    Potty Mouthed Mummy recently posted…Tina Fey, Green Fingers and more Chris Pratt #littlelovesMy Profile

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    July 31, 2015 at 7:45 am

    What a very beautiful and very special set of Me and Mine photos. There is clearly so much love in all the pictures and I’m glad that it was such a happy weekend.
    Carie recently posted…Me and Mine 2015: JulyMy Profile

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    Beth Twinderelmo
    July 31, 2015 at 7:53 am

    We had a lovely family meal the day before Mom took a turn for the worse which was Easter Sunday – it was almost as if she was like right lets have a lovely day and then a few days later we lost her. It’s so lovely to have such an amazing memory of us all together though. We have letters too and I treasure mine so so much. Charlie and the girls have ones but I’m not quite sure what to do with them yet. I have left them in my memory box until I decide when to give them them as I know they won’t fully understand them at the moment xxxx
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  • Reply
    Hayley Smith @hayleyfromhome
    July 31, 2015 at 7:59 am

    The photos are beautiful but especially the first one, what a precious moment to have captured. There is so much love there Julia xxxx
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    July 31, 2015 at 8:34 am

    So glad that all four of you were able to share a normal family day together and celebrate Florence’s birthday . I’m sure she will look back positively on this post and these photos one day.
    Tim recently posted…Podcast #1: 3 Children and ItMy Profile

  • Reply
    Deb Troops
    July 31, 2015 at 9:52 am

    The thing that strikes me most about the first photo Jules is the look of absolute love and adoration in Rog’s eyes looking at you. That’s made me cry and I really didn’t want to. Lots of love darling girl, stay strong and kiss the kids for me x
    Deb Troops recently posted…When sorry doesn’t seem to be the hardest wordMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 31, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    These are such beautiful photos. Ones to cherish forever. I just love the first photo. You can see the love pouring from your husband’s eyes. So glad you all had the opportunity to share this moment together as a family before he passed away.
    LauraCYMFT recently posted…Me & Mine 2015 – JulyMy Profile

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    Katie @mummydaddyme
    July 31, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Oh Julia, yet again my heart breaks for you all. I am so glad that you managed to have this special moment as a family just a few days before Roger’s passing, and that you also managed to document a photo of it too. I love the way Roger is looking at you in that first one. I am sure the children will treasure those letters from their Daddy when they are old enough to read them properly. You don’t need me to say again that I think you are the most brave of ladies. Sending you all my love. xx
    Katie @mummydaddyme recently posted…Me and Mine: A Family Portrait Project 2015- July.My Profile

  • Reply
    Becca McGowan
    July 31, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Your words, and these photos, are so beautiful. They make me want to cry. What precious cherished moments.

  • Reply
    Mummy Tries
    July 31, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Such beautiful photos Julia, so pleased Roger’s last days were so full of joy. Much love to you all xxx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…Some things I’ve learnt in my 36 YearsMy Profile

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    Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations
    July 31, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Oh Julia … This just breaks my heart… But I’m so glad you have this last me and mine together… What precious memories. You are so right with your last sentence. Thinking of you all so much.xx
    Claire @ Clarina’s Contemplations recently posted…Me and Mine {July}My Profile

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    July 31, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Oh Julia, I am so glad you got to document these lovely moments before Roger’s passing. Those letters will be so very special to the kids when they are older. I send all my love and hugs to you. That first photo brings tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart as you can see the love pouring through him looking at you. I think it’s a framer for the wall. What a beautiful moment to capture with you all. Thinking of you all. #meandmine
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    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely
    July 31, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Oh Julia, I have no words. That single sentence for Flo has me in tears. I’ll give you another big squeeze when I next see you xx
    Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely recently posted…Disco deck, anyone?My Profile

  • Reply
    July 31, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Such a beautiful family. I feel so honoured to share in your story, Julia, and to hurt beside you for your loss, even if it is only a little compared to how you must be feeling. That first photograph is just lovely and the sentence from Roger’s letter to Florence had me in tears. Thinking of you every day. xx
    Amber recently posted…Me & Mine in JulyMy Profile

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    Mackenzie Glanville
    August 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I write this through tears, I can feel your love and your sadness in this post, you do write so beautifully. That first photo I just love the way he is looking at you. I wish there were words, but I send love xx
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Take a gamble on being yourself!My Profile

  • Reply
    August 2, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Oh lovely. I am so sorry this is the last one he’ll be in 🙁 What a nice way to keep all these memories together in your blog though. Big love and hugs, thinking of you and the children. Jess xxx
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  • Reply
    International Elf Service
    August 2, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    What a beautiful beautiful post and I love that you have these memories and photos. What wonderful treasured moments. Again, I am so sorry you’ve all gone through this. No-one deserves this but I know you will all hold each other through it. xxx
    International Elf Service recently posted…Say What You Mean!My Profile

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    Heledd @heleddlavender
    August 4, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Julia you are such a beautiful and talented writer. This post is so moving and heart-breaking, yet you somehow you manage to give it motivational and almost positive twist. Roger was able to be there and enjoy his little girl’s celebration (despite everything) and I know that you’ll always treasure these special pictures and memories. I can’t begin to imagine how you felt reading those letters, just reading that one sentence had me in tears. Sending you all my love, as always xxx

    #SundayStars Post of The Week!!
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    August 4, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    I’m so glad Roger found the strength to be with you all for Flo’s celebrations and that you have these lovely photos to bring back the happy memories of your last days with him.
    I don’t think I could have read his full letter, even just that little excerpt reduced me to tears! Sending my love to you all as always xxxx
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    Everything Mummy
    August 8, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Just beautiful Julia, its so lovely you managed to have this time to enjoy together and capture it forever xx
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    You Baby Me Mummy
    August 9, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Such wonderful pictures for you all to treasure. You are such a strong lady and it is amazing that you found the strength to document these moments. I’m sure having these moments preserved with be a small comfort at some time. You have all my love xxx
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…My Sunday Photo 9th AugustMy Profile

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    August 9, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Julia, you are so brave and both my husband and I just spoke about how your story makes us so sad, but reminds us we must all live for the now. Thank you for that. Sending bundles of love, although we are strangers, you are honestly in my thoughts. X MMT
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    Megan - truly madly kids
    August 31, 2015 at 10:10 am

    The look on Rog’s face in the first one – he loved you so much xxx
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