Obviously the lion's share of my life has been dedicated to training, pushing my body to its physical limits and enduring all that comes with that lifestyle. Not only has this always helped me stay in shape, it has also helped me keep a clear head, to focus my mind when all around me may be chaotic. This, thankfully, has served me well in the last month.
New love doesn't erase old loss and cure grief, but brings with it complicated emotions and painful reminders. It's not easy living in a household that has only come together because of the death of other people, but losing those we love has made us cherish what we have now. I was never going to fall in love again, and no one is more surprised than me that I did.
When I ordered new bedding (my new place has a bigger bed), it reminded me of that day I spent with Mum in York. A happy memory, but a memory nonetheless, one that can never be repeated. Packing up my things, I relived moments that have happened in that room. It was my home, my safe place, throughout Mum's illness.
The death of a very famous person or a very famous death, allow us to project our own emotions upon them. It can be easier to express our grief about someone we feel we know, or our outrage at some injustice to five hundred Facebook friends or a thousand twitter followers, than it can to be deal with the real emotions we are feeling.
We knew Dad's illness was terminal, none of us were ready for how quickly it progressed. None of us were prepared to say goodbye quite so soon. When I received the call to say Dad had died, I felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. Nothing you do can steady your soul for that moment, the moment your life changes forever.
Maybe death isn't something you really want to think about at the start of the New Year (let's face it, there are more fun things to think about). Perhaps you think you're not old enough to discuss it. Maybe it's not the most exciting of topics to chat about over a few pints, or maybe it is, but either way I challenge you to talk about it.
I don't feel Christmassy this year. I've tried to hide from it, if I'm honest. It reminds me of Mum and I don't feel strong enough for that at the moment. We're going to a family friend's house. We've known them since I was six weeks old and they're practically family, but we've never been to their house on Christmas day before so it's a new kind of Christmas for us.
My head is a mess. I want my Mum, I need her, but I also want to not want or need anything. I want to be independent and get my life back and do everything and be everywhere; but I sit here at my desk and just thinking about going to the supermarket feels like planning a trip to the far side of the earth and fills me with panic.
I know that when Christmas comes I will be brave, and the actual day will be much better than the build-up. We're going to spend it with my parents, my sister and her family and there will be so many happy kids around I know I'll find it hard to feel too sad - or even have the time! But on Christmas Day I'll be thinking of Rog, wherever his soul may be, and sending him all the love in the world.
Having illness and death enter my life grounded me with somewhat of a bump. In some ways, it has set me apart from most of my peers. I have this weird filter on things in life now; I'm all too aware of how fragile and temporary things are. It affects my life in many ways, some positive and some not so positive.