An open letter to the skies – My Tribute To My Aunty


While my normal blogs are my thoughts on life and how I deal with things, usually filled with inspirational tidbits and funny anecdotes. Today is going to be a bit different. I usually write a first draft and edit and re-edit but today I am just going to write and see what comes out, basically I want say what I need to say to commemorate this day. Thoughts may come out of it – but that is not a guarantee.

When someone says ‘Two Years’ to me, it seems like an eternity. In reality its not, two years ago today I lost my wonderful Aunty Shirley to the angels. I have mentioned her quite a few times in my blog saying how thankful I am to her and for what she has done for me and for what she continues doing. She means the world to me and always will, no matter what plane of existence she lives on now.

While writing this today I am listening to a Jason Robert Brown song I recently discovered called ‘Caravan of Angels’ – I know for a fact that she would have LOVED this song and hope she is listening down now. I feel like I have so much to say in order to express how I feel – the good news is that I haven’t cried yet today – however it is 6am and I have a full day of work ahead of me so I pray whoever is working today is prepped for an emotional moment or two.

There are a lot of great memories that come flooding back when I think about Shirley, from driving down to coast, radio blasting to unsuccessfully cooking ourselves dinner and having to eat a little bit extra chocolate to make up for that. I am so happy that these memories stream into my head so easily and there are plenty more where they came from. I think the best thing one can do in life is not just make memories but make moments. Moments that will forever be imprinted on the foundation of your life – whether that be belly laughing till it hurts or simply having a meaningful conversation. Those are the things that matter to me.

Something some of you readers may not know about me is that I love making christmas presents, being creative to make someones day with what you give them is the best thing in the world and I love it so much. Material things absolutely don’t matter all, especially when your gone – but the memories and the moments do. So anyway, the last Christmas Shirley had with us I decided to make a Family video with a little ‘video history’ of our family including old cinefilm clips as well as the most recent iPhone videos. I was very pleased with this and was so happy that the whole family enjoyed it so much. But what will forever stick with me, is opening up Shirley’s DVD player after she had passed and seeing that DVD still in the tray. It was effectively the last thing she watched at home. Knowing that I created something that stuck with her and reminded her of all the times that had passed by makes me so happy.

I know that I was part of many moments in her life whether they be good or bad, happy or sad… I feel like we both made massive imprints on each others lives for the better. Yes sure, there are some days where I wish I could have one more conversation or one more movie night – there are some days I wish the last thing I said to her wasn’t “See you in the summer” but rather “I love you to the moon and back.” Well, I know she knew that anyway. But at the end of the day, I know that wherever she is now she is happy and it could not fill me with more joy. I know that she is cherishing the moments we made and even making new ones as I sit and write this today.

Last year during my time at Drama School I wrote a monologue from My Life as a part of a project we were doing – I still think it best describes everything I feel about Shirls passing so in closing I wanted to share it today for anyone who has not read it :-


I love chocolate. It’s the one thing that has always made perfect sense to me. I buy it, I open it, I eat it. It melts in my mouth, I start to feel a bit guilty. Then the sugar starts rushing through my body and the hyperness kicks in, I start smiling and suddenly my day is better.

But when I eat maltesers all I think about is my aunty Shirley. The way we used to sit and watch movies eating those giant boxes you can buy. You know the ones? The ones you think – ‘that would last me weeks,’  well we finished it off in one sitting.

I mean when I taste the malty centre it doesn’t really seem like she’s gone. The last 15 months have been a journey from getting the first diagnosis to.. Well now.

On Thursday 30th May I boarded the 8am flight to Malaga, Spain. About an hour into the flight my whole body tingled and I stopped what I was doing and said to myself ‘I wonder if that was Shirley.’  I shook it off and got through the rest of the flight but when I landed and as soon as I saw my mums face I knew.

I now call her my angel in the sky. I still write letters to her and I still let her teach me things even though she’s  gone. The last thing on this earth she left me was a plaque that said ‘Life isn’t about how many breaths you take, its about the moments that take your breath away.’

Thats really what life is about isn’t it the moments, the little things which we sometimes think are insignificant. But they are far from that, I need them now more than ever… Thats why every now and then I buy a pack of maltesers.


So today – despite the fact I am on a nutrition kick from my personal trainer (Sorry tony) I am going to have a bag of malteasers and just remember the moments. I started writing this today wanted to publish a bit of a tribute to my aunty, but then I realised I just wanted to share the memories and keep her living in my mind so thank you for reading, or skimming this blog or just even glancing. Its nice to be able to share my thoughts. I hope there is something good you can take from this, even if its just the stories I have shared.

And to you, My angel in the sky (because of course you have wifi! What would heaven be without wifi!) I love you so so much and not a day passes when I don’t think of you. I am here when you need me, you know that. Love forever, Jakey xxx


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Debbie says:

    Beautiful Jake!!!! I need tissues now. xxxxxx

  2. Manda Davidson says:

    Jake so beautiful I know how much Shirley loved you and chocolate of course. The moment s shared. are etched in our hearts with love forever xx

  3. Sophie says:

    Awww… I remember this monologue. Brilliant. And your blog is amazing Jake, please never stop expressing yourself! Love you xxx
    P.S: may I join next time you train with Tony?! ^^

  4. Susan says:

    What a lovely message to dear Shirl on her cloud! I know how much you meant to her; she often talked about you …. “Jake this ….. ” “Jake that …. ” She was so proud of you and I truly feel there was a part of her that wished she had your spunk and go to get on and achieve so much. Shirley did so much and had such an influence on so many of us here on the Coast that we all still talk about her. Whenever we see butterflies, we sense Shirl around us. I for one have regular messages from her ‘checking in’ and guiding me when I am feeling a little bit lost. What a special person and how special that she was your Aunty. Who I agree has WIFI in heaven!!! Thank you for sharing your special thoughts today; it means so much. Susan <3 xx

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