Arlene Doherty, Clara, Nancy, Lucy


My mum is a resilient, stoic 81-year-old. We kept our distance for the first 3 months of lockdown, although her Edinburgh based grandchildren regularly visited her ground floor flat and talked to her through the window. When the regulations relaxed, she came for her first sleepover. Champagne was chilled, her favourite meal cooked and she cuddled into her granddaughter as we watched a film. She was rather quiet. The next day she explained she had been so overwhelmed by being physically close to her family again, that she could not speak. I am touched by this very simple expression of love.

I want to slow down the pace of my life so I can concentrate on seeing the riches that lie therein. My family, my friends – the ones who have been in my life for 50 years and the ones I have only just met – and everyone in between. I want to say the words ‘ I love you’ at the end of phone calls or park walks or café catch ups – and not be embarrassed or wonder if I’m being too forward.