I always feel close to my Mum when I'm wandering and dreaming. I don't know why. We scattered my Mum's ashes at Lake Windermere so of course I feel closest to her there because she loved it and she specifically asked us to scatter her ashes there. That makes it even more special.
But being out in the countryside with the dogs makes me feel that she is near, almost as though I could have a conversation with her. Even if I'm thinking about something else - I often find a walk helps me to clear my mind and see a problem from a different angle - it's as though she's walking along next to me, listening to my ramblings. Perhaps with a wry little smile
She loved the countryside you see, dogs too, and I often think that she would love the life I have now. My home, my dogs, the countryside, the chickens ... all of it. And Forrest of course, that goes without saying. It is unfair beyond words that she never got to meet her grandchildren. But sometimes when I'm doing something I know she would have enjoyed, it's almost as though I'm doing it for her. As if I'm experiencing it on her behalf
Last week I took the dogs to the vet for their annual vaccinations and stopped for a walk on the way there. I went to a beautiful spot where I used to ride my horse years ago, it has a really beautiful valley which I used to explore as a kid on my pony too. My Mum had never been there - I feel like she has but I've just had a good think about it and she can't have been. But again, she has felt close to me there
I used to spend hours upon hours out riding and get home after settling my horse, tired, aching, hungry but brimming over with happiness. My mum would sit me down at the kitchen table with my heated-up dinner and listen as I regaled her with tales of where I'd been, what I'd seen, where I'd had a gallop and how Toby had been startled when a magpie popped out of the hedge in front of him and pretended he was going to bolt and we'd laugh because Toby would never do such a thing
My Mum wasn't a confident rider but I think if she had been, we would have ridden together an awful lot. I think that back then, she lived vicariously through me when it came to riding and perhaps that's why I feel that she lives through me now. Whenever I see a beautiful view, a bird close up, a country house, a pretty wildflower - I always think of her
What do you do to feel close to loved ones you've lost?