The poignant private diaries of a schoolgirl have been published a year after her tragic sudden death – fulfilling her dream of becoming an author.
Jemima Layzell kept notebooks of her innermost thoughts before a massive brain haemorrhage claimed her life at the age of just 13.
The caring youngster had discussed organ donation with her family before she died and her organs saved the lives of EIGHT people and helped three more regain their sight.
But her biggest wish was to become an author and her parents Harvey and Sophy have now published touching extracts from the diaries she kept in her bedside table.
They have been turned into a book called The Draft which has already been praised by leading children’s authors Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo.
Dad Harvey, 44, said: “We thought it would be really good even if it was never published properly, to fulfill her wish.
“It’s both her first and last book.”
Sophy, 39, added: “We just wanted to make her dream a reality.”
The extracts are taken from diaries covering the last three years of the life of Jemima who died without warning during preparations for her mum’s birthday in March last year.
Her parents, from Horton, Somerset never read the diaries during her life but were so touched by them after her death they decided to put them in print.
The book opens with ‘This diary belongs to Jemima Elizabeth Layzell and If I were a Fairy, I’d be called Lizzy Stardust.’
It explores her private thoughts on friendships, love, the world around her and her big dreams for the future – as well as her tearjerking wish to simply find “someone to really, really like me for who I am.”
It talks about how she heard voices in her head – something her parents later found out was quite normal for teens – and worries she had about her friends.
One extract, showing maturity beyond her years, reads: “Some people say that God can’t exist because if he did he would help all the poor people in the world.
“I object to that. I feel their despair but WE have to help them.
“They are there because we did this to them.
“They are there because we have a wrong to right.
“They are there to stop us from turning into complete monsters before it’s too late.”
The inside cover of her final diary carried a dedication to “all those who have made the world a better place, and those who never had the chance to.”
And writing about artists who are appreciated for their work, she penned a moving prediction, writing: “I want to be loved too.
“I almost feel as though I will never live long enough to become an author, to be married and have a family.”
Jemima’s book went on sale on May 21 on what would have been her 15th birthday.
Proceeds will be divided between Jemima’s little sister Amelia, 12, and a charitable trust which will be set up in her name.
Children’s authors Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo have heaped praise on the talented teen.
War Horse author Mr Morpurgo said: “We all have our stories to tell. This is Jemima’s first and last and because of that so important to all of us who read it now. This is her life.”
Dame Jacqueline added: “I think it’s the most beautiful, touching, heart-breaking book.
“It must be devastating to lose such a wonderful, talented child, but clearly this precious book is one way that she will live on in everyone’s hearts.”
Jemima collapsed at home and suffered a massive bleed caused by a ruptured aneurysm deep in the left side of her brain.
She was rushed to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and later transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol but she died four days later.
Her organs saved the lives of two five-year-old boys, a 14-year-old girl, a ten-month old boy, a three-and-a-half year old boy, two people aged 19 and 24, and a 40-year-old man.
Extracts from the book:
4th September 2007
I was really sad for ages. No one could cheer me up. When my sister Amelia just touched me I felt as if I hadn’t been sad in the first place. She cuddled and kissed me and I felt happier than I had ever felt before! Because I feel safe with her, because of her qualities,
I love my little sister Amelia Catherine Rose Layzell
Saturday 9th July 2011
It is times like this when I sit and wonder ‘where’s my Romeo? What happened to my Prince Charming?’ But then I stop and think, do I really deserve him?
…I want to leap out of bed, draw back the curtains and gaze out into the night.
To lean out the window, sing for my true love, the love I do not yet possess and possibly never will. If only I weren’t so afraid.
Tuesday 12 July 2011
I’m still lying here. I’ve been thinking about what I want to be when I’m older. I used to want to be a princess or a spy! Then I began to think more realistically and wanted to be an artist. Then an architect (before I lost interest in buildings) now I would quite like to be an author and rather fancy the idea of being a fashion designer although that will probably never happen. But I guess I just don’t know yet.
You see I don’t care for flashy cars, or expensive jewellery. I have no interest in designer clothes or magazines and heavy makeup. I won’t be drinking and gossiping in some bar, hanging out with some guys who I actually don’t know, totally obsessed with money and sex. I don’t care what others may say. I have no interest in what they do behind my back. I won’t be crying in some corner because of it.
But I guess I don’t know yet.
You see, I want to be happy, to be free, to be loved and to just be me…
Monday 8th August 2011
Some people say that God can’t exist because if he did he would help all the poor people in the world. I object to that. I feel their despair but WE have to help them. They are there because we did this to them. They are there because we have a wrong to right. They are there to stop us from turning into complete monsters before it’s too late.
Sunday 7th August 2011
Anyway I need to write what I think and feel. Not all that you see here actually ‘happened’ but it’s still very real to me. I don’t care if I let my imagination run away with me!
Plenty of brilliant artists and writers were mad! In fact it made their work more interesting! Even if they did cut their ears off, commit suicide, run round doing crazy stuff etc etc. People still loved them and their work just the same. And I want to be loved too.
I almost feel as though I will never live long enough to become an author, to be married and have a family.
The book can be bought from Amazon.