I expected today to be horrible. To stink from beginning to end. One year ago today my world changed forever as my dad passed from this world to the next. I have cried today, though not for myself. I do have a tremendous headache, though I suspect that may be my penance for over-indulging in the Hallowe’en treats yesterday. Today has been quiet but in many ways it has been sweet. I am having an awesome hair day sporting my Jane Austenesque hat. My youngest has been charmimg rather than challenging. The rain has abated for the moment. Little things that have added up to a good day. There have been times this past year when I wasn’t sure I would have good days. Grey days, heavy with grief and loss. For instance, I could hardly bring myself to garden this year for in the garden I would feel his absence so acutely. So many times I wanted to phone my dad and pick his gardening brain, or ask him for more information about the birds that frequent my backyard. My expert isn’t reachable these days- I have had to rely more and more on my own knowledge and resourcefulness rather than fall back on my father’s. It is a lonely feeling; I feel at times like I am missing a limb. Today when I was sure I would feel the creeping, weepy sadness that has gripped me so many times this year I find that I am thankful and remembering good times and the many lessons that passed down from father to daughter. I have found, or rather regained, the confidence my father spent 39 years of his life cultivating in me. Even though I wish with all my heart that he was still here with us, I can at last appreciate and remember what he gave me and smile, instead of just cry. I can begin to understand the sweetness in his dying; start to decipher the meaning in it all. I can look forward knowing that I can survive tragedy and become stronger as a person and a parent. I can begin to appreciate the bittersweet beauty that is death and know that it is not the end, just a new beginning. My dad lives in my heart, and the hearts of all my family- today and forever.