Tia's 12th … birthday. Not a birthday, but 12 years after she was born, or came into our lives. She died too. Our first. The oldest that we don't have at home.

I don't know if I have a meaningful blog post in me this year, though I've written words about Tia for a number of years now on, or near this specific date: 31‍-‍August.

When I'm busy with work, it's easy to be distracted with life, the now moments. Not that I want to dwell in the past, but each year, I take the last week of the month of August off work, specifically to allow myself some mental breathing space. To let anything that does want to drift into my thoughts actually come.

I've generally been okay this month, or so I thought, but right before my week off started, I could start to feel… something pulling at me. Something pulling me down that I didn't have time to properly respond to.

For me, usually my grief turns first to anger. It's the "easy" emotion. The one that's closest to my consciousness and easy to take out on things around me. I don't get physical and I don't mean that I'm angry at Julie or the kids - more angry at the world. The whole world for being stupid and existing. I have an anger in me that wants to tear it all down, burn it all and rip down the curtains of existence until there's nothing.

Pretty severe I know. But I also know (though hard to see when "I'm in it") that the anger is the easy emotion, and the real feelings are under that. That sadness, or pain, is being protected by anger, the need to lash out. Not that I've fully learnt how to dispel the anger or even tap into the pain properly. I do know that writing helps me - a lot. This helps (though I'm through the fog now already). I know that disconnecting from the busy noise of the world also helps (i.e. walk away from the computer). I whittle too. This lets my mind settle into quiet. It's a good form of mindfulness for me too.

I told myself last year that I'd learn how to whittle a rose for Tia's graveside. I didn't manage to find the time at all (other distractions had the better of me). I told Julie on Sunday what I had wanted to do, and she simply said I had a few days still. So I started, and after four or hours I had managed to carve a flower. I didn't think I could, but it came out good.

12 years ago we held a funeral for Tia, and I took a single red rose for her and laid it on her coffin. Without realising, it was this same flower that I was making for her, and so I'll take it to her graveside today, as we leave flowers and cards that will never be read, and spend our day thinking about our girl that we carry in our hearts.

A rose for Tia