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It has been an entire year, not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, but enough time to change you profoundly. Until now I have chosen to stay relatively quiet and fiercely protective of the images, simply because I respect the privacy of both families and the memory of a beautiful person. Nothing has changed.
There are pretty much zero words that can explain what it feels like to lose someone so tragically, and in such a brutal way. Jayde was an incredible person, deeply compassionate, caring and feisty. As I was putting on my shoes to go help search for her, the news broke. Seeing photos of her family at the scene, well I have no words for that either.
During the haze of those days my phone and email went wild. Media all wanted the inside scoop and although they weren’t getting it from me they pushed on, and on. My husband helped in every way that he could, something that I will be forever grateful for. The calls and the constant social media storm, the revelations, the insincere acquaintances I hadn’t heard from in ages asking ‘what I thought’, ‘did he do it’, ‘what were they like together’. Enough, people. Enough. I wanted to scream it.
This morning I forced myself to look at the photos for the first time since I sent her family photos of her missing ring. And yes, I cried, but not for the sole fact that she is gone. I cried because there is so much friggn happiness in those photos. It’s like I can still hear her laugh and see her nose scrunch in excitement. Jayde changed me fundamentally. It is now my sole mission in life to capture happiness, in all things. Because I can, because it means something. I realise that I have been given a gift, it comes so naturally to me to connect with people on a different level and capture their true emotions. Jayde made me realise that. Jayde makes me want to be a better person day in and day out. Jayde has given me a purpose in this crazy world, and I am so heartbreakingly grateful for that. I’m crying like a baby and that is OK, because I can cry. And being able to do mundane things suddenly becomes a gift. Be thankful today that you are able to walk around, to sit in that office chair and work, that you are able to feel the sun shining on your face. That you are able to feel tears running down your cheeks. Because it is a gift, life is a gift. Jayde, there is so much more we wish you got to experience, but we’ll remember you for everything that you were. Forever.