The other day, the above picture popped up in my Facebook feed via Timehop, it immediately made me smile and reflect on the time at which it had be taken.

It had been a long winter: Cold and miserable, but mainly stressful.

After a constant struggle with cancer for 18 months, my Dad had died in the March. I was broken by his illness and his death. It was excruciating to watch him as he tried to desperately survive, and selfishly, I was knackered by it all, to speak in the vernacular.

In addition to this, we had started a massive build on our home. Although, the outcome was amazing, the whole process just compounded my stress: The endless negotiating with the builders, the continual layer of dirt that covered my house from top to bottom, the wrangling of party wall agreements, the relentless cold winter winds blowing in the back of tarp-covered house, not to mention the diminished living space and no garden made for a fretful time.

This picture was taken while we had a mini break in Kent over a bank holiday. We had primarily escaped to have a break from our building site of a house, but it also coincided with the nicest weather we’d seen that year. We’d spent the first day at an wildlife park, and the second day, by the sea in Whitstable. The sun had shone (and it was warm!), we’d spent the whole time outdoors, eaten some delicious meals, and been together as a four and laughed and enjoyed just being together.

I remember that weekend I had really enjoyed the moment, I hadn’t dwelled on the past, the future or indeed the present and the seemingly endless issues with building. I’d just drunk in the happy atmosphere of being somewhere lovely and being happy.

Three years on, and looking back at that picture, it made me stop and reflect: I’d always seen 2013 as my ‘annus horribilus’, but in fact it wasn’t. In spite of the stresses and issues it threw at me, it was a remarkably happy year with some wonderful moments in it, and even though right then I probably wasn’t thinking it, I was wonderfully lucky in so many ways.

Of course, I’ve come a long way from those dark days of initial grief, and though you never get over the death of a parent, I have learnt to live with it.

Timehop, thank you for reshowing me a photo I’d largely forgotten about, but tells me so much – there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, and that picture encapsulates me finding it.

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