I don't think I've ever known a festive season when so many people I know and care about have been grieving the loss of a loved one, among them the family and friends of Lib Dem legend Neil Trafford and the 3 children in my daughter's school having to face life without their mum, who died of cancer recently.
On top of that, I was very sad to hear last week of the death of Vicki Harris, former Lib Dem candidate in Aberdeen South. I had worked closely with her since moving back to Scotland in 2000 and particularly in the run up to the 2005 election where she so nearly unseated Anne Begg. She worked hard, campaigning ceaselessly for local people. I admired the fact that she let nothing faze her, and just got on with the job, bringing new people in to extend the delivery network and take on roles within her campaign.
My heart goes out to her husband, Mark, whom she married just one week before she passed away. He was her agent during the 2005 election and was such a calm, patient and wise support to her.
My mother-in-law passed away at Christmas 21 years ago. To lose someone close at any time of year is awful, but it seems so much worse now, when the emphasis is on being wtih loved ones.