11/01/2016 07:39 GMT | Updated 10/01/2017 05:12 GMT

Real Love Never Dies: Losing My Dad


When I was 20 years old my Dad got sick, like really sick. To start with the Doctors just thought it was a virus he would have to ride out, a couple of months later when there was no improvement they sent him for tests. By January 1999 my Dad was no longer a man with a virus, he was a man dying from pancreatic cancer, there was no treatment, no hope and just five months later he was gone.

My Dad was my rock, my life support, he was never ill, always had my back and now he had left and there was nothing he, I, nor anyone else could do about it. I felt like I had been suspended in the air by my ankles, just peeping at the world wondering how everyone could just carry on when mine had fallen apart. I thought my Dad was immortal, it turned out I was wrong (or so I thought).

A lot of people close to me are losing family members and friends at the moment and I really wish I could take the hit for them, the pain is excruciating and nothing can prepare you, but everyone will get through it, we are all way stronger than we think.

You will cry and be sick and wander round like you are a ghost. You will be so out of emotion at some point you will be numb - I remember not feeling a thing, just nothingness, held in limbo, I could have sat a full 48 hours without moving. You will talk about your loved ones, you will laugh, get angry, cry, go to bed with no hope, wake up in the morning and repeat. But the days get better.

Photo albums are my favorite, I could sit and paw at them for hours, they are like a time machine without the need for plutonium. I would imagine the pictures moving, like a scene being played out. I would give anything to have gone back there and held my Dad's hand one more time.

I used to sit by his grave as much as I could, it made me feel close to him. Cemeteries as well as being so full of death, are actually full of life. The wildlife is wonderful, birds, rabbits, butterflies (my Dad would have loved it) and looking back it was nature that was healing to me not an engraved stone, wherever I found nature, I found Dad.

My friends literally carried, dragged and pulled me through this stage of my life. We are all in this together and none of us are getting out alive so we need to look after each other.

17 years later I still hurt and thank God I do. Don't get me wrong, I manage it differently, I can go about my everyday life, but that doesn't mean I don't break down at times. When Derek Morgan left me he took a piece of my heart with him, it has since been replaced with scar tissue and I wouldn't want it any other way - for that piece will always belong with him. The thing with loving someone is, although they may die, their spirit does not, your love for them does not (in fact it somewhat intensifies), you do not die (however much you think you will at the time), but you do find a way to carry on living. Use the strength and the lessons they gave you, however hard it is.

They are in fact immortal (just not in the way you imagined) they turn into the books they read, the stories they told, the words they wrote, the friends they had, their family. Whether you believe they are in heaven, a star, or that the universe has swallowed them up, they never really leave you.

Wear your heart on your sleeve, tell people you love them, talk, spend time laughing and listening. Have no regrets.

For those of you who are grieving right now, look for the signs from those you have lost, you will find them. You don't ever need to get over the people you lose, but you do need to live and love in tribute to them.