Apologies in advance, I'm baring my soul today. If you want a post on minimalism or China, have a look in the archives :) If you'll take me as I am, welcome.
Today is the first wedding anniversary of two wonderful friends of ours. This time last year we drove the length of the UK to be with them on their beautiful wedding day. They got married in the Highlands of Scotland, where I grew up and where my Mum lived until she passed away 18 months ago.
Driving between wedding venues we passed through my Mum's village and stopped to pick up a forgotten jacket from her now empty house. My sisters and I emptied it as best we could but I hadn't been there since the furniture and everything else had been cleared.
I had directions to where a key would be hidden, deep in the bushes. It was raining and I snagged my tights in the brambles. All my life I'd never had a house key as the house was never locked. It felt wrong.
I went in to my old home, now entirely empty and was bowled over by a physical pain. The house usually so full of people and music was silent. Logic and reason left me, I ran around the echoing rooms calling for my Mum.
I found the jacket left out for me and ran down the driveway scratched, wet and crying, to my husband and children waiting in the car. I had one thought in my head: I need to get away from here.
I love the Highlands, my heart aches for its landscapes and people like nowhere else. I have dear friends and wonderful memories in every glen. The area made me who I am and I miss it desperately. At that moment though, I knew I had to get away, far far away.
That moment, for me, was the seed which grew into a mad idea that brought us here. There were many other factors; the chance to spend more time as a family, leaning a language, a career change, but for me, that physical unexpected urge was my first motivation.
Sometimes we need to put distance between us and a place where we love because it makes the loss of a relationship or a person just too painful. For me, being there is just too raw. Since I made my decision, one of my sisters has left the Highlands for Edinburgh, the other for a year in Australia, she says she needed a 'big country for a big grief'.
Often I wish I was nearer friends who I could tell stories with and who loved my Mum too, but I know they are there for me despite the distance. We'll go back one day, just not yet.
Missing my Mum is always going to be a part of my life but how that grief ebbs and flows, and my relationship with it, is up to me. There is no right or wrong way to miss someone but living in the past helps no-one.
I try to honour my Mum in the way I live, the way I parent and the way I strive to love, honour and treasure the dearest people in my life for all the days we have left together.