GRIEVING the loss of a loved one is never easy and everyone has a different way of coping.
Some turn to friends, others seek counselling, but for Janelle Courtney and her children, Brooke and Luke, the love and support they shared with each other made all the difference.
Mrs Courtney's father, Ray Thomas, died almost a year ago. For many years he had Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia.
Trapped inside his own failing body and no longer able to eat, Mr Thomas could fight no more.
"It's hard to watch your dad in that state when you are used to seeing him as a big, strong towering man at six feet tall," Mrs Courtney said.
"People often associate Parkinson's disease with uncontrollable shaking, but it's the stiffness of not being able to move that is hard to deal with too.
"I would often just sit with him and cry . . . it was just heartbreaking to see him like that."
In the first week of September, Mrs Courtney experienced her first Father's Day without her dad.
"The first of everything is always hard, and not having Dad around was not just hard for me, but for the whole family," she said.
"As a family we attended a Father's Day memorial services at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Leppington. It felt good to grieve with people who had been through something similar. We wrote Dad's name on a tag that was then buried beneath a camellia."
Mrs Courtney said she and her siblings always took chocolate mousse and ginger beer with them when they visited their dad.
"When he stopped eating, we would rub a little on his lips so that he could taste it," she said.
"Grief for everybody is different. You always have your days, but I live by the motto: gone but not forgotten.
"At first you dwell on the bad side of it — how it affects you, and having to see it.
"But then you focus on the good and all those great memories.
"When my dad first got sick I changed the screen saver on our family computer to a picture of him and my father-in-law when they were both happy and healthy. I leave that picture there because that's how I want to remember him."