The world certainly throws some cruel twists our way. Regular readers will know that my daughter Lavinia died earlier this year, aged 33. She had a long struggle with the effects of reactive arthritis but seemed on the pathway to a better life with a new drug.
Unfortunately the new drug seems to have helped mask a bacterial infection in the jaw which lead ultimately to a cerebral abscess and her death.
When this happened in May we were distraught, and it has been a long hard year for us all, her mother, her partner, her family and friends. This past week has been especially sad as the six-month anniversary of her death coincided with what would have been her thirty-fourth birthday.
Little kindnesses have sustained us - the friend who thinks to bring some fruit or flowers; the friend who realises that the company of children is a blessing and brings youngsters to see us. One special friend brought a prized gem from her garden. She is a galanthophile (lover of snow drops) and she brought one of her prized possessions, a special Greatorex hybrid named "Lavinia," accompanied by a delightful card and soft, comforting words.
She is an internationally known garden writer, and connected by marriage, her later husband being the brother of one of my uncles. She has not had the easiest road through life either, with debilitating illness and the early death of a beloved husband, but somehow manages to always hold fast to the expectation of a new spring rather than dwelling on the coldness of winter.
Her concern was especially poignant as her eldest son also suffers from arthritis, and has had a difficult time coping with the pain and dislocation that the disease carries with it.
This week Michael passed away and I am very sad that my friend will have to suffer that devastating pain of losing a child.
I'll gather some sweet peas and some rose buds from my garden and take them around for her and her aged father.
Tonight give your kids an extra hug and be thankful for all the springs you have.