Letters from Lockdown 38: Tilly Roberts

Dear Jasmine,

My sister who has always been more than a sister, my friend for life, and one of the strongest women I know.

When I get the train home from university you are the first stop I get off at, picking up some lemon drizzle cake from the cafe and making sure I don’t ruin your pristine carpet as I step through the door with a promise of loud hellos, dinosaurs, cars, lego, thrust under my nose to inspect. Jago, my nephew, asking if I like his monster truck, ‘It’s the finest one I’ve seen!’ I promise him. You smile and look so happy to see me and ask me if I want a coffee. It makes me even sadder that I can’t bring you some cake today.

Today you turn 29, and you will be celebrating at home by the sea with your fiancé Joseph and your two beautiful children Jago and Aura. I hope they make you a cake and shower you with laughter and hugs. I wish I was there to celebrate with you. We had planned to go away for your birthday, just the two of us, and spend some time together. Time together has changed over the past 6 years as we both take on new responsibilities and move forward with our plans. I treasure our moments together now more than ever and look forward to spending more time with you when the lockdown is unlocked.

Our strength as sisters, daughters, and women has been tested over the last few years, we have and are still growing with every battle which comes our way. I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful if I didn’t have you to talk to.

I am sure you will have a lovely day and we will celebrate with the whole family when we can, but until we can make more memories together I would like to share one that will hopefully make you smile.

A Cornish walk from our childhood. Starting from the windy clifftop car park at Kynance Cove, Grandad carries the rucksack full of cake, a flask of coffee and sandwiches, Milly the dog runs ahead, on the lead, nearly pulls Grandad over. Gran in her corduroys and all-season dock martins ambles down the path with her eyes darting to every wildflower, and stops to point out the colour of the shallows beneath the cliff, green, turquoise and clear all the way to the rocky bottom. I can’t remember if you were as excited as I was to get to the sandy beach, I was always a long way in front, nearly running down the stony path, only stopping to check that you were all still coming too. I remember racing you to the surf and walking slowly back for lunch very salty and thirsty. We had the best beach tea parties and hole digging missions. I miss those days when we were together and enjoying our favorite place. I miss Gran very much too, but I know she would be very proud of both of us.

I miss you every day, and I hope you are enjoying your singing, which sounds amazing by the way.

Love you lots.


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