My Dad's favorite phrase was "sweeter after difficulty" - or "Dulcius Ex Asperis" for any Latin purists.
It's the Clan Ferguson (yes there's a real clan) motto.
"Dulcius Ex Asperis" and a bee on a jaggy thistle all-proper.
My Dad was a Ferguson through and through and thought the motto made complete sense.
His belief was that difficulty was part of nature - like the change of weather. And, as it was inevitable, it should be met with acceptance. Without blame or shame. With open-eyed observance, rather than avoidance.
Difficulty could hurt, damage, cause doubt and pain. It might even knock you over but it couldn’t ever break you, not without your say so.
As inevitably as it came, the weather would pass and nothing could feel sweeter than getting back on your feet again, with the sun coming out.
Than stretching your arms and taking a breath. Strong.
My dad like to wear check shirts. And socks and sandals when he wore shorts. His nose would take on gigantic bulbous proportions with too much sun. He and my mum loved dancing. He was nimble in his feet. Loved when Shirley Bassey was on TV, and would suck the sir through his teeth whenever there were snakes.
My dad invented "Chinese egg" and he'd always pick me up from a station so I wouldn't have to catch a taxi. He had the most hilarious arguments with my Mum about how to cook fish and he had the bluest of blue eyes.
7 years ago this week I looked down at my father on a hospital bed, trying to ingrain the image of him in my head, knowing I’d never see him again. Yet, still I see him, in my own hands, or when I try to style my hair, in my son's bluest of blue eyes.
In my mind both my parents are on a cruise in the Bahamas. The ship has all the mod cons apart from (ridiculously) phone reception and my parents really should complain about that, but they're having such a good time they don't.
My dad is wearing shorts and his nose has taken on gigantic bulbous proportions because of too much sun. He and my Mum are having an ongoing argument about the right way to cook fish. Sitting at the Captain's table. Or nimble on the dance floor. Far away from snakes. To the music of Shirley Bassey.
But this week, every year, the weather changes. It has to. It's inevitable.
This week every year I’m reminded who I am.