I have to be very honest with you and admit that I'm not quite sure how my Mum, my siblings and I have made it this far.
I've come to understand that grief is a very unique, personal thing. Everyone will lose a parent, but not everyone will feel it the same way.
Big Bang Theory actress (though I prefer to remember her from Beaches and Blossom) Mayim Bialik lost her father a year after I did, and she put into words something I was struggling to.
"For those of you who have lost a parent, you know how I feel. You tell me you do. For those of you who have lost someone else you were close to, you also tell me you know how I feel. But you don't. Because you're not me losing my Abba."
Read the complete post here: Mayim Bialik Mourns Her Father In Emotional Blogpost
When I read that post, something clicked. I had been struggling with condolence messages, the fact that some people were avoiding me because they didn't know what to say when they saw me (I didn't mind, actually. I understood.)
I lost my father, the man whose presence and strength and love and wisdom held my world together. My sisters lost their father. My brother lost his father. My mum lost her husband, a man she had been with for more than 40 years.
United in our grief, we were also alone.
To paraphrase Mayim, we are alone in the singularity of our loss. Oh, that line hits me in the solar plexus every single time! The truth in it!!
But I digress!
This was meant to be a Gratitude List post.
I have to be grateful because I am almost at that stage where I can think about my Dad without my heart breaking. For the longest time, just thinking about him, seeing his picture, seeing other women with their fathers, would leave me an absolute wreck.
I would cry at the simplest things. I have found myself crying in an airport, at my desk, in the studio and in front of my TV.
The tears still come at random times, of course. But more and more often, it is because of a happy memory. Not that the void he left is any smaller.
The other night I had a dream about my Dad. It was so real- I hugged him, smelt his aftershave, and heard his voice. He walked into the house, we sat and talked. And he asked me about my life- how is work? Oh, I see you finally got puppies. I hope you're not spoiling them? And how is your young man? Is he treating you well?
And then I woke up. But this time, I wasn't crying. I actually felt happy, like I'd had a chance to talk to him. And much as it was a dream, for a brief moment, I had my father back.
So today, I am grateful that I am one step closer to living with my grief, and able to remember my Dad not with tears, but with a smile.
''Because to every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.''