My father died recently. He had been ill for six months and died at home surrounded by those that loved him most, with discomfort but no pain. He and I had always had a lovely relationship and I was dreading his death; I had managed to get to fifty-four in the fortunate position of never having lost someone close. Friends had told me about the unbridgeable gulf of death, the terrible finality of it and the grief that I would feel.

It hasn’t been like that. There was plenty of grief to be sure – before he died. Tears would erupt at the oddest of times and I found it difficult to speak of him without choking. But since he died, hardly at all.

I have a strong sense of having absorbed him into my life. We had left nothing unsaid and his life had been happy and long. For my mother there is the terrible physical loss of someone with whom she had shared her life for nearly sixty years. Though we spoke at least once a week, we lived far apart and so that physical loss is not so obvious. I think of him often – but at the end of that telephone where he has always been. Even at their home – my home since I was born – I have a strong sense of his presence. This is not a religious thing but a feeling of him being in the very fabric of the building and in the flowers of the garden he loved so much. He is in the next room. It is the comfortable silence that exists between close friends who do not need to speak as they sit together in the same room.

Maybe this will change. I hope not.

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