Sunday marked the anniversary of Amy's death.
It was odd in a way to think that it's been 365 days since that horrible day and I can still see, feel, see (and dream) everything as though it was yesterday.
The last 365 days have been hard. Sometimes incredibly so. So much sadness and grief at losing Amy combined with the harsh practical realities of what life as a family of three rather than four means.
Trying to hold down a full time job but be a good Dad at the same time.
Amy was my guide in so many ways. She was such a loving and caring mother - always wise with her advice and always so careful to steer Audrey and Elijah correctly and appropriately. Never a 'helicopter parent', but always there when they fell or cried or just needed her love and attention. I worry sometimes that they miss out on a 'mother's touch'. I try to do my best (and people tell me all the time that I'm doing a 'great job') but I sometimes laugh at myself and think that I'm at best a poor imitation of how I saw Amy look after and care for our children.
And then there's the loss of my soul mate. That's an over-used term, but it's true. I miss Amy every day and in so many ways.
I realised quite quickly for example that the two of us consulted on everything. Even without thinking about it we'd bounce thoughts back and forth between each other - whether it was irrelevant things like the colour we should choose for the curtains or more important things like the school we should send our children to. Some people argue about things, I don't think we ever did (or at least if we did then I've forgotten) but I know we used to share a lot of thoughts and feelings and decisions, whether they were important or not.
I've had to make decisions on my own in the last year. I've started a new job, changed a couple of things in the garden, bought the kids new clothes and made a thousand other decisions which previously would have been made in partnership with Amy. I can't deny that it's been hard.
I haven't studied 'grief'. There's a whole host of books or sites that you can read, which I probably should. I just know that the loss of Amy still hurts in the pit of my stomach like a pain that won't go away.
I read some stuff that I wrote immediately following Amy's death - about thinking that she was about to come home at any moment and hearing her laughing in the room with the kids. I don't feel that so much anymore, but the feeling still returns sometimes. A couple of times in the last year I have seen people in crowds that looked a bit like Amy - they wore their hair in the same way and carried themselves in the same manner and it was a strange feeling. They weren't her and I knew that, but strange nonetheless.
Even last week Eli sat on the garden step (one of Amy's favourite hang-outs) and smiled at me and I saw Amy in him in - in his eyes and smile and the way that he looked across the lawn at me.
I found a written piece that Amy wrote for a brochure for a cancer charity. She wrote it not long after her diagnosis and it was full of optimism. It was beautifully written and so thoughtful and hopeful. I wish Amy had written more as she had a much nicer way with words than me.
And so I face the next 365 days. And my life is still very much like that - Audrey has to get to ballet today and I have to remember the library bags for school on Thursday. I'm getting by one-day-at-a-time. Kind of fake it till I make it if you like. At least I've done the year of firsts - all sad - our wedding anniversary, Amy's birthday, the kids birthdays and mother's day. I guess I know what to expect next year.
I've been really helped out in the last year by some people and less so by others. That's life I guess.
Amy's wonderful breast care nurse told me only a day or two after Amy's death that the pain never really goes away you just learn to live with it and at the moment that seems like sage advice.