What's the worst word in the English language? It's not what you think. It's not four letters, but nine - "malignant". One month shy of her 36th birthday, my wife Carolina handed me the results of her biopsy, which indicated advanced breast cancer. I felt like the earth was swallowing me up. It was October 11, 2011.
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.