Ten days ago, my old friend Emma died. She was one of the most passionate and courageous people I have ever known, one of the very best friends I've ever had. Without her, I may not have survived the first years of illness. She had a brain aneurysm, then a stroke and died at the age of 32.
Today is my thirty-third birthday. I had decided against posting my usual review of the year, but then it would be wrong to behave as if this has ruined the year. Emma was around for most of 2013. She won't be around at all in 2014, which makes 2013 an altogether better year in this respect. Death is a permanent absence, not a dark blot on a timeline, even if there is a particular point when it is more painful than it will be in the future.
In the end, I decided that the thing I can't do is write about the lows of the year, which have been numerous and some remain ongoing, but since none of them involve the death of someone I really love, they're all pale and pathetic just now. Meanwhile, I am very lucky and an awful lot of good things have happened for me this year.
Thus, the positive aspects of my year, in bullet points:
Next year will be completely different. Right now I have many many feelings. They're not all bad, by any means; I count my considerable blessings. It is also impossible to lose someone so brilliant without reflecting on your tremendous fortune for ever having them in your life, for their good example and all the lessons they taught you.
I hope you all have a super Christmas if you celebrate it, a lovely break if you don't and an extremely happy New Year. Thanks for reading, commenting and generally being around in 2013.