Although it seems a lifetime ago, it feels like yesterday. Time doesn't heal; it just makes grief go out of focus. And anything can bring it sharply back again: a photograph, a scent, a memory or just the endless yearning pall of homesickness so familiar to people who've lost their parents too early.
Losing friends or family always makes you contemplate about life. Maybe it's also about being older and having different priorities, understanding that it's not the material things that really make a difference or bring happiness. When I was told the news that my friend had passed away I remember my immediate reaction was 'I thought there was more time.'
n an R.E lesson the subject conveniently turned to the afterlife, and, without needing any cue, Freddy got up and spoke wonderfully in front of the whole class about Jade and most poignantly about how he sees her as a beautiful butterfly. Heart melting stuff and Ms H took the golden opportunity to elaborate and congratulate Freddy on such a brave show of emotion. Realising she was beneath the barrier, something wonderful happened between teacher and pupil and an understanding was made. This was confirmed when a Loom-band bracelet appeared anonymously on her desk with a note proclaiming her to be the best teacher in the world.
Something so harrowing happened today that I can't get it off my mind. I took the children to watch the Tour de France come tearing through the tiny country lanes in a neighbouring village and I ended up comforting a woman as she watched her husband slipping away before her very eyes. I just can't comprehend what she must be feeling right now.
If you believe in the importance of open dialogue with your child and want to show your support for children who have no one to talk to then upload the most awkward conversation you've ever had with your child on the hub today or click on the share buttons on the Awkward Conversations hub to take part.
The following morning, the day of Catalina's funeral, it was the turn of Bruce Lee - the self-styled "King of the Sewers". Never shy of a spectacle, he arrived barefoot with his head painted in Aurolac, a luminous helmet of bright silver paint that the addicts sniff. A stark reminder of the crazed drug-infested atmosphere where Catalina had died.
I get called a lot of things by taxidermy enthusiasts, animal-rights activists, and the media. I'm apparently an instructor, an expert, a hipster, an animal hater, a sicko, a stuffer...but one of the most puzzling things I have been called recently is a "woman taxidermist" and I get asked the same question time and time again "Why are so many women taking up taxidermy classes?".
I was chatting with a friend recently and mentioned that since I moved back to Calgary, I've started a monthly "Family Night." He said that sounded like a great idea and mentioned that his family only gets together at funerals now, and that they keep saying they should meet up in between but "it never happens. Maybe soon."
Despite our best intentions, we soon forget about the fragility and preciousness of life and carry on as we always have done, sweating the small stuff! However, one very practical thing we can do, even when we fail to live up to our intentions to "make each moment count" is share with our children the values we hold dearest.
England is on the verge of breaking into full spring at the moment; some trees are in full bloom, some are only halfway through while others are only just starting to show signs of life. Seeing the resilience and beauty of nature is reassuring and feels somehow symbolic of how my dad is willing me and my family to move through our still overwhelming grief.
Attacking me and accusing me of hating and killing animals is utterly ridiculous. I absolutely adore animals, but at the end of the day, a dead mouse is unused biological matter, molecules in a pile, and I have no problems breathing new life into it creating something that gets people conversing about life, death and art.