It's the future that makes me sad - I plan for children, but those children will never have a set of grandparents on the maternal side. And I can't show my parents that their baby girl grew up, got married, bought a home, and made a baby herself, that I was successful in growing up.
I'll never be able to make my Dad babysit, and he will never get to impart his opinions and beliefs to my children - ideas that my husband and I are very much in sync with. He was so full of knowledge, and the joy of learning, wanting to know more about the universe and everything in it. He passed that on to me and my brother, and all I can do in remembrance of him is pass that onto my children.
I'm so glad for technology, for the ability to store memories and experiences and to show in near-human form a person that shaped my life so dramatically. I'm so grateful my Dad borrowed a video camera in 1986 to film us all, to film so many people - including my Mum - who are now gone.
All the endless Facebook posts, all the silly little emails: "Hey Dad, do you have a spare set of iPod earphones I can have?" - that level of pointlessness is so good to have and retain. And his website, such a glorious tribute to a man who was constructed of so many interests, a man who changed his career completely in his early 50s.
I've got perspective now, it's been over a year, I can get on with everything, I don't allow myself to reside in the well of deep feeling I have about my Dad. I focus on my family, my brother, my husband and his parents, and what they can give me as I can't have my Dad again. I will never have another hug from him.
I wanted to write about this, I like writing, I like recording feelings, moments in time, so others can learn something about a person. I find it very cathartic to sit here writing about my heart while I cry a little. I want to feel this way, I want to miss him and everything he did for me and how well he supported me.
People don't always want to talk about death, people don't want to be reminded, but I can't be like that, I can't not ask: "How are you? Can I help with anything? Do you want to talk about it?" There are too many members of my family who have experienced loss, you have to talk, to discuss, to move on, and more importantly, to remember.
My story is nothing new, my experiences are nothing new, but they are a little uncommon, and it does surprise people when I say I have no parents. Many people find that hard to fathom, so here I sit, and I write, and I explain. It is okay, it really is, you just have to get on with it, it will get better. My Dad dying was unexpected, but what else can you do than move on.
Why haven't I really mentioned my Mum yet? Well, she is from another life to me. A life I barely remember, too young to remember, too young to have felt the depth of sadness I have for my Dad, the well is quite shallow for my Mum. But I have photos, I have that wonderful video, and I have stories from my brother and older relatives.
I have an element of remembrance, and I'm 50% her and 50% my Dad, they'll always be there. My children will continue the bloodline, their DNA, their personalities. The stories I tell my children, the photos and videos I show them, they will always be a part of their lives.
I like to dream of a time when my parents were first together, married at 19, first child at 26. There were many years of happiness, it wasn't always a story of a single parent and two kids, it wasn't always how it is now. I enjoy this dream, I like being romantic about something I have no experience of. It makes me smile and I don't have to really believe the word orphan.
Rita and Paul Ruffle on honeymoon in 1970 (photographer unknown)Suggest a correction