Grief superglues a date on your mind. For me, that date is today. My mind takes me straight there when someone mentions ‘seven years ago’. Or I’ll read about a different day in November 2008 and remember what emotions were living alongside me.

On 12th November 2008, my Dad died. It sucks. It sucks today as much as it did then. The grief doesn’t dominate me, but sometimes guilt and ‘what ifs?’ sneak in. I feel his absence when I’m playing with my five-year old nephew, the beautiful grandson Dad should be here to love as much as me.

Today is not a day I move on from. It’s a day I move on with. But it’s not baggage I grudgingly drag along. It’s experience that, though painful at times, enables me to talk about cancer, empathise with others grieving and appreciate ‘being’.

I still wish it hadn’t happened, that November was no different from any other month and everything I’ve learnt in the last seven years had been learnt another way. But it did happen and it started a new timeline, one that I’m proud to embrace and continue. This last year especially I’ve recognised how in the most painful and distressing times, there is joy and peace that will come out of it.

Today I’ll reflect more than most. I don’t know when joy or grief will give me another date to focus on. Until then, I’ll continue with the timeline I have because I trust it’s the right one.