As we make our way through life we gain badges to sew onto the sleeves of our souls. Some badges we win and some we are given. There is one for “first love” and another for “first heartbreak”, two more for “leaving home” and “feeling lonely”, the “success” and “failure” ones lie side by side. As we mature our sleeves fill up with our experiences and the contents make us the people we come to be. One of the hardest to accept is “loss”. The word bereavement is stern and unforgiving, dark and harsh like grief itself. There is no humanity in this word, but it is the one used to describe the monumental event that defines the act of being human. As Benjamin Franklin said “There are only two certainties in life, death and taxes”, if we take into account the avoiders and evaders that leaves only one inevitability. Last week one of my fellow bloggers wrote, touchingly and truthfully, about the death of her father. This woman’s words struck a chord with me, in fact it struck a whole symphony. As she talked about this difficult time, the similarities to the loss of my own adored father were unavoidable. They shared the same profession, same obsessions and both their lives were shortened by an unrelated operation. Memories were stirred in the great tea cup of life, memories of alternating numbness and acute anguish, memories of guilt and fear, but most of all memories of a man who I miss every day and I know I was lucky to call My Dad. So to you PG, with your raw and cruel pain I can offer perhaps a little solace. Kind words may temper and an embrace console, but they will not give you the two things you want most; your father back and the hurting to stop. What I can say, with faith, is that in time the balance will be regained and you will be able to celebrate the man and not mourn his loss. The badge is in place, it will make you who will come to be.