Sometime around 6 pm my stepmother phoned to tell me that my father had suffered a fatal heart attack in the mid-afternoon.

My doted-on baby half-sister is 5. He was very close to her, being extremely conscious of being very old for a father of an kid of that age, but I thought he would certainly live to see her grow up.

I don't seem to be able to travel without a black tie in my pocket these days; my father-in-law died on 13 November; our accountant died the same day, in a car crash I think (he was 32 with a young family). Our cleaner died of stomach cancer in December, in her late 50s. I wish people I knew would stop dying for a while.

My father was 27 years older than me; his father died 27 years ago. At least I know more or less what basis I'm working on now.

When my father-in-law died last November, my wife said that what she really couldn't come to terms with was the vanishing of the intelligence that had existed. That's where I am now.

There are some odd bruises around our anything but tight-knit family, which is spread over four countries. It's all very weird for the moment. I think I'll just do displacement activity for a while.

Tim Hughes, 5/5/34-21/5/02