In the intervening years:
- I started and completed a PhD
- Neil and I travelled to New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and New Zealand
- We bought a house
My dad died a few years later: he'd initially rallied after mum's death, far more than any of us had anticipated, before declining swiftly and begrudgingly.
I mourn the loss of my dad as a man who could have been great, whose life had seen events I have only read in history books and who never got the chance to fulfill all the promise I can see he had looking back on his life. (And who was only just well enough to be around for some of my achievements).
But I miss my mum: I got my dad's Germanic nose and what intellect I possess probably comes from him. From my mum, I feel I got the curiosity to do something with whatever brains I possess, and her heart and empathy. At least, that's what I hope.
But mostly, as further birthdays approach, I want to reflect that I have been incredibly lucky and have the love of a good man and good friends. I have a lot to be happy about and mum (and dad) would want me to celebrate that.