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On January 1st this year, the Law Family of Arrowtown had our lives changed forever. Our darling Jessica, our talented songbird, daughter, sister and loved friend of many, was killed in a car crash less than three minutes from our home. 

By 6pm that day our New Year celebrations were over and we were plunged into darkness. Into enormous, all-consuming grief. 

I write this to thank so many and to ask for your continued love and support because that is what uplifts and carries us forward through each day. 

Thank you to the doctors who attended Jessica at the crash site, the Fire Service, the Police and St John ambulance. 

Thank you for the wonderful, sensitive, daily care from, firstly, Chris Blackford of Queenstown police, having the worst task of breaking the news personally at our home. What a long, emotional drive that would’ve been for him as he was a long-time colleague and friend of Max. We were grateful that it was Chris who accepted the task. 

To Grahme Bartlett of Queenstown police, Kenneth and Catherine Walker of Queenstown Salvation Army and Russell and Ruth McGrouther of Lakes District Funeral Services – these key people gently led us through decision making that we thought we would never in our lifetime have to do, helping us through the painful process of coming to terms with the fact that we were preparing to farewell our gorgeous girl, our daughter. 

Thank you for the outpouring of love from the many people of the Wakatipu and beyond, friends, colleagues, neighbours and the ones we didn’t know so well but who still supported us through the visits to our home, the cards, the meals, the baking, the flowers, the shared tears, the hugs and the kind words and the just under 700 who attended Jessica’s farewell service. 

Max and I especially thank those who have steadfastly supported our children. Grief surfaces in many ways and those who have held on to us through its many forms have indeed done God’s work. 

To those who see us in public and hug, hold, soothe and cry with us, thank you for your courage. It would be easy to turn away, to avoid going through pain as you see ours, but facing our grief and extending to us, that is so very much appreciated. 

It has been an enormously difficult year, as anniversary after anniversary looms and passes over. The first Friday after the crash, the first month, the second month, etc, what would’ve been Jessica’s 17th birthday, the first Christmas with one less stocking and empty place at the table and of course in two days’ time, the first anniversary of Jessica’s life coming to an end. 

We now reach out to you and ask for your help to restore music and laughter to our lives. On New Year’s Day (or next day if wet) from noon we invite young bands and young solo artists from Arrowtown School and Wakatipu High to come to our home and perform. We will play some of Jessica’s music also. Bring your picnic hampers, rugs, sun umbrellas for a ‘picnic on the paddock’. 

Bring your favourite photo of Jessica to put on a board and retell your memories of how your life involved Jessica. In doing so you will help us, the Law Family, rebuild our lives. 

2010 has been a very difficult year for many New Zealanders. Our hearts go out to those who have also suffered a loss of someone dear. We especially remember Peter Doyle and family, who tragically lost their beloved Richard three days after our Jessica. 

We wish you all a happy, safe and fulfilling 2011.