I was up all night finishing an assignment and happened to check my inbox as part of my ‘work avoidance strategy’, which usually alternates with the ‘I must-clean-the-bathroom-strategy’ at times of academic duress.

One email.  From a friend who is grieving a parent. My own dad died when I was sixteen and my sisters were much younger, so I’m familiar with the emotions. It happened at a fairly critical time in our lives and we all had to grow up quickly…but it’s a long time ago now, and although it hurts from time to time, we’ve adjusted to life with loss and carried on living because that’s what you do to thrive in the present.

Still, as I read the words on my screen, I felt tears stinging my eyes and running down my cheeks. Everyone deals with sadness in their own way, but somehow this note made me want to howl and sob. I couldn’t stop myself.  Of course, I know it’s more than just an empathetic reaction to a friend’s bereavement. And though I could put it down to sleep deprivation, the real reason my heart aches is that I’ve lost someone too.

There is grace in grief, and strength in allowing yourself to mourn. Absent friends. A much-loved pet. Dreams that have passed their sell by date. There’s also a time to wipe your tears away and make a conscious choice to savour every moment.  I’m going to do that today.