It would have been my sister's 58th birthday today. She died of Cancer just over fifteen years ago at the age of 42. It was a very hard time for me as we were extremely close, even though there were twelve years between us.
From what my mum tells me, she acted as though she was a little mother when I was born. That motherly love never left her, she looked out for me all through my life.
This newpaper cutting is one of my most treasured posessions. Bath Time For Jacqueline shows her enjoying a bath in front of the fire in a tin bath with, what looks like, a little plastic lamb, on her first birthday. The photo won the photographer a guinea in the Yorkshire Evening Post Amateur Photographic Competition.
As you can see from the other side of the newspaper, this clipping is over fifty six years old.
It was very hard losing my sister, as I've already said, we were very close, best friends in fact. She was a firm believer in sending cards, not for anything in particular, just because. This is one she sent to me when she went away on holiday, not long before she died. She chose it because the picture looked like one of her cats, Katy.
Her family was the most important thing to her, just as it should be. She didn't have children of her own, she had step children who are still our family even though she's no longer here, and she doted on Daniel and Eleanor.
It was only the following year that I found out I had Cancer myself at the age of 32. It was very hard telling my mum and dad that their other daughter was ill. Jacqueline was a nurse and had looked after terminally ill patients who were dying of Cancer, it scared her so much when she found out she'd got it herself and she didn't have a moment's peace in her last couple of years, she was so pessimistic from the moment she was diagnosed. I knew I didn't want to go down the same path when I got my diagnosis so I tried to be as upbeat as I could and look on the bright side, even though my children were only five and two, it was very hard. I knew my parents had only just gone through losing one child and I didn't want them to have to go through it all again. There were lots of times I was terrified but I think I managed to put on a brave face, and for the most part, I tried to be optimistic about my chances. Looking back on things now, I'm positive that a sunny outlook works wonders.
Eleanor was just coming up to her first birthday when my sister died, but she could tell you everything about her if you asked. I was determined that even though she's no longer with us, my kids would still know her, and they do. Eleanor is so like her in her ways, it's uncanny. Mick and I laugh about it, I know they'd have got on famously. It's quite heartwarming that she lives on in my daughter, though I know that if she was still here, they'd be ganging up on me, in a loving sort of way.
There's no card or present to send today, just lots of thoughts of the happy times we spent together, and there were many of those.