Painful time for the PM
Anyone who's lost their father will know just how traumatic it can be. It feels like a rupture in the natural order of things. Dad is no longer there to give advice and perspective; to laugh with or - at times - at; and to be the head of the family.
Very few, however, have lived through a few weeks as dramatic and traumatic as the prime minister.
Changing jobs and moving house top the list of stressful experiences. Add to these fighting an election, forming the first coalition in 50 years and having a baby and you feel weary just thinking about it. All this less than two years after the Cameron's buried their child.
So far, despite all this, David Cameron has looked relaxed as prime minister - able to relax, to switch off and to separate the personal from the political, say civil servants who remember how hard Gordon Brown found to do any of that.
He once said of his father that:
"You know the glass with him was half full.. it was overflowing... normally with something pretty alcoholic in it and this great sense of optimism. I think, I hope, I have got my sense of optimism from him."
Inevitably the next few weeks will be a period of grieving for David Cameron.
It will coincide with an intense period of decision-making which will determine the future of his premiership, his government and the country as he draws up a programme of spending cuts on a scale not seen for decades.
He is facing a massive personal as well as a political test. He will need all of his father's optimism.