I will never forget that dark windy October evening. As I walked towards my door in answer to the bell, I could see two dark figures through the glass. I opened the door. Two police officers, a man in plain clothes and a woman in full uniform, stood with grim expressions on their faces.
No parent should ever hear the following words.
My life has not been the same since that evening. It’s as if you can separate my life into everything that happened before 28th October 2011, and all the incredibly difficult things that have since come to pass. That is why I fully support Journey For Jane: it is a symbolic first positive step.
Jane and I were very close. We spent a lot of time together; on holidays to Spain, Turkey, France, and Florida; shopping trips; out for meals; coffee dates where Jane would always indulge in her favourite hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows; and, even though she was in student halls living university life to the full, she regularly came through to visit her mum, little sister Caroline, and her beloved cat, Skye.
There were two sides to Jane. There was the shy and retiring side, but that was complimented by the girl who would parody my phone voice, imitate her favourite Mr Bean, who used to goat around with the best of them, and who would sing in the most angelic of voices. Jane had two passions, art and singing. I suppose she was the all round creative type.
It’s so hard to write this tribute. How do you choose which stories to tell, what memories to write that would give you, the reader, a glimpse at my wonderful daughter. Jane was the best daughter anyone could have wished for. She had a child like love for life which I suppose made her the great artist she was: Jane was inspired by so many different things.
My last memory of Jane is when she came to visit me on my birthday, 25th October 2011. She made me a steak dinner and we shared a glass of champagne. She gave me presents that were wrapped in the most intricate fashion. Ever the thoughtful Jane. Before we relaxed over dinner, Jane had insisted we go to St. Andrews Cathedral, it was one of her favourite places. She took her large camera and snapped many shots. We then moved on to a local nature walk so Jane could take more pictures. It began to rain and I complained about the mud, but she convinced me to take more and more pictures of her and I standing in the damp, muddy leaves. This was, of course, pictures for an upcoming art project. Art was always on her mind.
I often look at these pictures, they bring me comfort mixed with sadness. Even though these pictures are the only tangible thing I have left of Jane, she is always in my thoughts. I miss her so much. One day, I hope, we may meet again.
I wish Graeme and Craig all the best on the Journey and hope that they take many pictures along the way.