Losing her has left behind an empty part of me. She will always occupy a space of my heart. As I write this, I find it difficult not to get emotional. She really was my best friend. She taught me how to love and that your spirit is stronger than anything the world can throw at it. I will forever be grateful to her for that. Sleep well, my friend. I will always miss you.
Why do we tweet #RIP? I follow around 300 people on Twitter, and I have seen a good 50% of my following base tweet their condolences to George Michael, links to their favourite songs, tributes and photos. It begs a difficult question - has grieving the death of a celebrity translated to an opportunity to gain Twitter standing?
Even if it is painful, even if my heart will be tight and heavy, I will wear my sparkling festive clothes, I will smile, and most importantly, I will do all I can to pass on the Christmas magic to my own little bundle of joy, currently growing inside me. And who knows, maybe this little angel will bring me back the magic...
Grief isn't Christmassy. Yet grief is a fundamental part of Christmas for so many people. This may be a despairing, raw grief at a recent death or a silent, lingering grief from a loss suffered long ago. I expected the first Christmas after my Dad passed away to be difficult but I didn't foresee the cauldron of conflicting emotions of the last few weeks.
Last year, when my husband Rob died, I sacked off Christmas. I didn't buy any presents, I didn't give a fuck about the John Lewis advert and I left the country to spend it in India. And people, I loved Christmas. The lights in Oxford Circus. Pigs in blankets, mulled wine, all the cheesy jingles Spotify can muster into a playlist. It was a time when we spent it as a family with my sister and parents, and Rob would cook Christmas day dinner. We'd fight over Strictly and Doctor Who. Our dog Daisy would clamber over all the presents believing them to be hers. I couldn't imagine celebrating it again without feeling overwhelmed by the absence of him. But this year, we've decided to spend it again as a family.
The words ring in your ears. Everything around you slows down and blurs. The words feel heavy on your skin as they sink in. You can feel your heart beating fast and loud and your chest begins to hurt. Your eyes swim with tears. You feel a slow numbness creep up your body from your toes, until you can't feel yourself anymore. You're hot and numb.
I don't know why you have been on my mind so much lately, it's twelve and a half years since you died. Perhaps it is watching your small, wobbly granddaughter achieving her small significant steps, and hurting that you never met her or knew of her struggles. Perhaps seeing her adoration of her own doting Daddy.
Today, I think many of us spend much of our time in some form of mild despair; it is a tough world. But social ills can be compounded by the human experience of bereavement and the irony that in a connected world, people have scarcely been more "lonely" as we retreat into our cyber-worlds, advertising our fabulous lives for all to see.
I am practically seconds away from putting up a tree. However it has actually taken a while for me to get back into the idea of Christmas since my father died and I am totally empathetic to anyone that has lost someone and is facing the daunting prospect of a nostalgic Christmas ahead. My dad used to enjoy this season so much that it is literally impossible not to think about and miss him.