It's the school holidays and I am in York. We were here last August. I say we, but there were only three of us. At that time Emily was a resident in the mental health unit. She could have come with us but she couldn't, she was too ill.
I remember that holiday. We were only here for 3 days and crammed in as much as possible for the benefit of my boy. I bought annual tickets for the various attractions, which would admit 4 for the whole year. I told my son, who missed his sister, that the tickets were proof that Emily would return with us the following year. I said it, but I didn't actually believe it.
Last weekend I was ill, as in could barely walk. When it came to Monday, the day to get to the train station, I sat in my living room and sobbed. I cried because; I was tired, I felt ill, I was leaving my beloved animals but more so because, this time, Emily was coming with us. I just felt spent.
Why would that make me cry? Well the feelings were overwhelming, I never thought we really would get to this and it kept building up inside me.
It's not been easy on holiday. Emily switches into stroppy teen quite easily and it is difficult maintaining boundaries without squashing independence. At times she looks vulnerable and a moment later she is off out of sight. Managing her needs with everyone else's is exhausting. I am still feeling unwell and I will be glad to be home.
In the back of my mind I also remember that the first major signs of her illness manifested over Easter last year. Again that brings tears to my eyes. The year has been a very long one and yes, on the surface, it seems we have come a long way. In reality, the journey has only just got started.
As I retraced my steps around the beautiful Minster, I thought of the candle I lit for Emily and I almost wanted to light one for myself.