Nine years. A long time, and yet it never goes away. If anything, more things come back. For some reason I had a flashback on the train home last night, mid-way through chatting to a friend. The time that mum was the one having the op, she was the one with the cancer and we were waiting for news. You were out, and came back to me crying hysterically on the stairs. You immediately thought something was wrong with mum, but it wasn’t that – at all.

Somebody had been really nasty to me on an internet message board. Sure, they weren’t to know about the things going on in my life and how much worse it felt, sitting at home in York waiting for something, but I don’t remember what.

“Silly girl” my dad said, walking into the front room, sitting down and watching tv, probably while eating cheddar biscuits with a bit of cheese.

I just cried a bit more on the stairs as at that point I had nobody. I knew my mum would be okay, she was having the cancer cut out of her. What I didn’t know was that a handful of years later it would go for my dad. But this time it succeeded. We lived through the most stressful time I’ve ever lived through, constant trips back up to York whenever things looked shaky. Amazing friends offering free train trips up there and support. On one hand I’m glad H never witnessed any of it, but on the other she will never meet her grandad.

But I had my annual cry on Sunday. We had a long lie in, doing schoolwork and chatting. I asked her to ask me whatever she wanted about my dad, as I can tell her what I think she wants to know, she’s the only one who can tell me what she’d like to know. Just H and I. She was okay with mummy crying. It wasn’t a big one, but enough I got a hug. She understands.

The questions change as she gets older. This time it was “did you see him die? what was it like?”. I told her the truth. She seemed okay with that.

I know nobody except my mum, my sister and my auntie will remember today. I still smile when I remember that point as we drove to York District Hospital and Radio York said “So! It’s Friday the 13th today! Has anyone had anything really bad happen to them?” and we both burst out laughing. “Yeah, something absolutely horrible and really quite bad, but I don’t think it’s one for Radio phone-in’s” sort of laugh. That point where we became three, standing in the car park of the hospital at 2am hugging each other, as the previous days, week, months were over. No longer a four. One set of pain gone, replaced by three new cases.

Nine years. It gets easier, apart from anniversaries.