I can't quite believe that it was 20 years ago today that my parents died. The day is no different from any other day really but I've been thinking about this particular anniversary for a while now. I don't feel sad. At least sadness is not an overriding feeling I have- I'm generally content and when I think about how my life has turned out I feel happy and grateful. And when I think of Caitlin and Paddy I feel love, respect and pride.
I just get twinges of deep sadness when I think about the younger versions of myself, Caitlin and Paddy, and, especially now, Joseph, Isobel and Paddy's Jo too.
In general I think about mum and dad less often these days, but lately I've been thinking more about the actual day that our world fell apart. This invariably turns into the heartbreaking thought that it could happen to my own children. It almost paralyses me sometimes. Although, of course, I am not actually fearful of anything happening to us as I choose not to live with unnecessary and irrational fear of things that "could" happen.
Anyway, anniversaries just get you thinking a bit. Especially about all the people who have been so good to me and have in their own ways helped to fill the gaping hole left by the loss of my parents. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues and Steve and the boys. Of course that hole will never completely disappear.
But I've learned a lot of useful stuff along the way too. Make the most of what life throws at you. Hold those you love close and always be there for them. Life is too short to worry about things. We all have reserves of strength that we can tap into when we need to. Death and loss does not have to be the end of the world. That sort of thing. I've now also reached the point where I'm totally comfortable with my own philosophical thoughts on life and death, and even liberated by them.