I can put myself back in those first seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks after I lost col whenever I let my mind go that way. It’s just not something that ever dulls. That pain. It’s unforgettable. That loss, that emptiness, that indescribable feeling that the one you loved, the one you shared your hopes and dreams with, the one you wanted to grow old with and look back on life with, has vanished without trace. I remember looking around me, through our house, the rooms he walked in, sat in, slept in, stood and munched celery at the fridge in, the stairs he left his trail of clothes on, the bathroom he forever forgot to rinse after shaving in, the shower he drew ‘I love you’ in the steam in, he was everywhere but nowhere. I could see him but only in memory. He who was so much my present and future was now only my past. Unless you’ve gone through it it is quite simply unimaginable. An old friend lost his wife to cancer the night before last and I keep putting myself in his shoes and imagining her presence but her lack of being through his eyes and I just wish he didn’t have to know how that feels. The sense that her life continues to echo on through their house, their family, all she did, all she achieved, all the people she touched…but why is she in the past tense? ‘Why?’. How can it be that she can be there and now be gone? Just ‘how?’. And that awful sense of how can I keep going without her and all that she brought to our lives. I can’t magic him through any of it. Grief is definitely a process that has to be experienced individually and everyone moves through it at different speeds. I may have forged forward and have used every ounce of that famous strength everyone told me I had from day one to create a new life without Col’s physical being in it. But I will never forget. I also can’t tell anyone that they will ever be over their loss. I can say though that I am happy now. I am so happy. But because losing Col altered me so much moments of joy, of pure happiness, like the ones I experienced just this weekend with Cameron, my family and all the chaos of all our children, will always have that tinge of sadness. There will always be a white feather from Col blowing in the wind as we gather (hopefully). I will always feel the echoes of Col in everything. However, that is no bad thing. Knowing that pain of loss means I can experience happiness and know how important it is to let yourself go and ride the wave of it because you just never know what could be taken away and when. So yes it’s painful to cast myself back into those early moments of loss but it is also a lesson in achievement. Look at me life. You may have taken my everything but, step-by-step, I have rebuilt a life and I can feel utter joy and happiness all the more because I have suffered complete devastation. I hope that my old friend will one day feel the same. One day. However long that takes.