I've been worrying about this all week. Publish. Don't publish. Publish. Don't publish. I don't want to burden anyone, I'm afraid of sharing too much and I'm afraid of how opinions may change. But it wasn't until just now that I realised how much trouble can come from keeping secrets, how they can eat you up from the inside. And even if you don't know how to say it and where to start, it is so important to try. I'm still not sure, and I know I'll have moments where I want to take this down. But so far trying to go on as normal hasn't helped, so maybe it's time to try a different route.
My stepfather was there through the hardest moments when I was a teenager. He was always supportive. He was there when I had no direction after university, offering advice and guidance. Always practical, kind and funny. A co-conspiritor. He was there through my first boyfriend, my first job, fights with my mum, all the scariest parts of growing up.
Over time he was there a little less. He was there only occasionally, only when prompted, and never wholeheartedly. He was there a little less in his own life, his own job, in his own friendships and relationships. He was there a little less in the world. He became so faded until one day in February he just wasn't there at all. It was so gradual I barely noticed how faded he had become. And then it was too late.
His fingerprints are all over my life. I can't say where I would be today without him, certainly not where I am now. He helped to shape who I was, and who I have become.
That's all I can say. After that the story stops making sense to me - in my mind it feels like it's written in a language I once knew but can no longer understand. Maybe it will unravel for me one day and as I experience more of life I will learn to understand his decision to take his own.
He was a great man: an accomplished international war correspondent and a respected lecturer - loved by everyone who knew him. His friends and my mum worked hard to get his story into The Times and The Guardian among other places, and today, on Father's Day, it felt right to share it with you.
I wish you could have known him, he was a real charmer. And I really miss him, especially today.