Since my Dad died I've been inundated with beautiful emails from so many of you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for each of them. The fact that you've taken the time to write and share some of your own heartbreaking stories and how you've dealt with it all has meant so much. When people ask me how I'm doing, how I'm coping, I'm always unsure of how to react. My go to statement is that it's all such a roller coaster. Which is absolutely true, of course. But to say how I'm really feeling is perhaps more complicated.
Grief is an emotion I've never experienced before. It's one that's so hard to explain, one that is so changeable.
Grief can leave you feeling high on adrenaline before sending you crashing back to Earth with sadness. It can offer you motivation to change your life and reach for your dreams whilst simultaneously freezing you to the spot, depriving you of the desire to do anything.
Grief can make you realise how much wonder fills your life, fills the world; and yet makes you question its fairness and challenges your understanding of why things happen the way they do.
It can make you believe and it can leave you doubting. It can make you miss someone more than you think you can bear and it can leave you sure that they're always with you.
Grief can bring clarity and focus whilst clouding your mind with the thickest fog. It can slow down time and make months seems like years, and it can speed time up with weeks flying by in a blur.
Grief can leave you clinging on to things like you've never done before, cherishing every item; and it can open your eyes to how the material doesn't matter.
It can be on your mind 24/7, echoing in your dreams, and yet it can surprise you when you least expect it and will leave you gasping for breath.
There are good days and bad days, and there are days that leave you crumpled in a heap on the floor absolutely heartbroken. There are smiles and there are tears, and there is uncontrollable crying for hours.
Every day you wake up and remember, and every night you fall asleep wishing it wasn't true. You can spend your time trying to forget the moment you found out and yet you can't help but play it over again and again; every word, every reaction.
And yet through all this, love remains the constant. The love of those who get you through the tough times and share the laughs, who take your mind of it all when you need to forget and who listen for hours about how you're feeling when it's all you want to talk about. The love of friends who bring new perspective and the love of those who have been through the same. The love of your family; your siblings and your children especially, who are each part of the person you've lost and who, in so many ways, keep them there with you.
And then there is the love for the person you've lost. The love that continues to grow despite the fact they're no longer here; the love that you know will be with you forever, no matter how the day leaves you feeling. The love that keeps you going when all you want to do is stop, because you know it's what they would have wanted. The love that keeps you knowing that despite the hurt, despite the pain, despite how much it's all so completely unfair, you wouldn't change the time you had for anything. You wouldn't swap your Dad for someone else and the promise of longer. You'd keep it all the same. Because only 29 years with your Dad is better than 100 with another.
The weeks are slipping into months and I miss you more with each day that passes, my beautiful Papa. In so many ways, it's all still so hard to believe. I think about you every day, every hour and you will always be in my heart. I love you.
The beauty of spring can not come soon enough. The warmer sun on our backs, the idea of new beginnings, the promise of new life. With every flower I see burst open with colour, the more I am reminded of all this. And I'm so thankful for that reminder.