Ten years ago I was in the same part of the world. Scotland. I had been here for a couple of months spending time with my gorgeous sister. All my sisters are gorgeous but Joanne was a lot like mum and dad seemed to favour her ( in my young girl opinion). There was no jealousy in this ‘fact’ but rather a simple acceptance of that is how it is.
Joanne was facing the last few months of her life and we all knew it. I was here to do whatever she needed me to do. Drive her red car to the doctor, hospital or shops through the narrow crowded roads; make her tea and sort her meds while her family maintained a semblance of normal; watch breakfast tv in bed because she was too sore to get downstairs; shave her legs because bending had become too painful and a girl still has to have her dignity- this proved rather hilarious trying to figure out how to hold the razor outwardly…. All these moments which became cherished memories of the fabric of my life that I was lucky to share with her….
A decade later, I am fortunate enough to be here again to share new moments with my Scottish family. I am excited and eager to explore the countryside, shops, transport, their home, their lives. It is a huge privilege to be able to do this- to be let in- to watch how people live. This time around most of my siblings are retired and free from the burden of work and it is great to see how they handle their time and play. My brother rides his bike, and seems to be an adventurer on wheels planning rides, trips and journeys. Although I don’t share his passion for wheels, I am loving hearing about it and learning about cycle paths and possible adventures his future may have.
I hadn’t planned a formal trip this year, it sort of fell into being. Youngest sibling, Debbie has a sense of adventure bordering on the insane yet seemingly fitting, this year. She is a week away from running the West Highland Way, a trail foot race of a 100 miles. Ten years ago us sisters became familiar with the same stretch of land as we walked it together but took seven days to do it. This drover’s route had us crying, laughing, moaning and celebrating our lives as we wrestled with the landscape, our boots and beds. Debbie is taking up the challenge to do it in 35 hours and we are here to help. We are going to pay homage to the route after she has completed it and for me I owe it my thanks. It set me on my physical journey of running and I never expected to continue running, ten years later. I am returning with gratitude to my home country, the 100 miles that I can barely remember in detail but the route lies firmly in my heart.
What an honour to be able to do this, to be here! How lucky am I!