Hello, Dear Readers. I hope you've all been keeping well since I checked in last.
My dad's funeral was yesterday, and I'm not quite ready to come back to the blog again. But I'm starting to feel strong enough to imagine about what the rest of my life might be like, to think about a future that won't have my father in it, but will still hopefully be joyful again, one day.
Whatever peace and comfort I've felt over the past few weeks has come because of the amazing love and support around me. Some of that has come from my family, and from friends that I know here in Real Life(tm). Everyone who knew my father had something wonderful to say about him yesterday - some little gem of a story about his kindness or his humour. The renal nurses who visited him at home, his social workers, people that he used to work with, neighbours: he had an impact on them all.
I've also received a humbling amount of support from other people. From Dear Readers, who've posted loving, kind comments to me here on my blog, even though I couldn't reply. From my friends in the YA Think and Authors Allsorts groups, whose wonderful package of letters and cards made me laugh (Ruth) and cry (Liz) and experience every emotion in between. From Tweeps, fellow bloggers, and online friends, who've emailed messages of love and support. From my Furtive Scribbler friends who've been with me through it all. From my marvellous agent, and from my editor, who've poured compassion and understanding all around me, and from the lovely folk at Walker Books and Candlewick Press.
Every comment, every card, every bar of chocolate, and every flower, has felt like a warm hug around my heart. And it helps. Please believe me - it helps so much. Grief is a terrible, isolating thing, that makes you feel as if there's simply no hope or joy left in life. You have given me joy, my darlings. It is as welcome, as vital, as a brilliant shaft of sunlight piercing the clouds after weeks of rain. It makes me hope again, and that means all the world to me.
Thank you all. I love you all. I will be back... soonish. Don't go anywhere in the meantime.