There are people in your life who are gliders, and those who are shapers.
Both equally important, but with very different roles.
The gliders walk along side you. Keep you company. Offer support when needed, friendship, and generally brighten your life.
The gliders at work are the ones you're relieved are coming to the staff drinks when it looks like everyone's dropping out.
Who lend you something ace to wear to a party when you can't bear to squeeze into the bobbly pre-baby black dress again, which was a bargain from Primark in the first place and never meant to be promoted to a wardrobe staple.
They are the people who add sparkle.
And then there are the shapers.
The shapers do just that.
They shape your life. Give you direction. Become your continuity. Help you develop your belief system. Your sense of right and wrong. Through the way they live their life, they become a guide as to how you want to live yours, and the way you want to bring up your children.
The shapers are the ones who keep you on track. Who tell you when you're being an idiot, or give you the advice that you're unwilling to hear from everyone else.
But shapers are also those people in your life who just get on with it. And through their actions, become someone you'd like to be like yourself.
A recent death of someone I loved very much got me thinking about the shapers, as he, most certainly was a great shaper in my life and a huge influence on the kind of parent I'd like to be to Nancy. Approaching it with love, patience, but mainly a sense of humour, which put things in perspective and stopped you fretting about the small stuff.
When someone you love dies, it's so massively hard to find your angle. To see past the loss. Because ultimately you want to have that person back.
There's a sense of utter injustice. An unfairness that is all-consuming.
Selfishly I want to have all those I love around me. Forever. For Nancy to know them. For them to influence her life as they have mine. For nothing to ever change.
But that's obviously not how it works.
When you lose a shaper in your life, it's like an important piece of an engine has been removed. Nothing feels like it will work properly. You didn't realise how important that piece was, but now the engine's just making a God awful noise.
As we sat at the Wake, it became clear what a huge impact he'd had on so many lives. How he'd been the shaper for so many people.
And I thought maybe that's it. Maybe that's the angle.
A shaper is always with you as they have helped make you who you are in the first place, whether they are physically present in your life or not. Because, short of a lobotomy, they are part of your core.
That doesn't make it easier day-to-day. Or make it seem any more fair.
But it is a huge wake up call to treasure your shapers and enjoy your gliders as they are your engine.
And without them, you're just a Fiat Punto grounded in the lay by waiting for roadside assistance.