The week leading up to his leaving, when not dealing with packing boxes and furniture removal and endless shifting of stuff from the attic, from sheds, from under beds and little used cupboards, had mainly been spent reassuring our son. Playing up the positives: how he could chose a new bed and covers for his new room; how he could Skype his dad every night on the days he wasn't seeing him; how he could help with the move by packing a box of toys and games to keep at the other house.
So busy was I with all that – and rightly so – that I didn't think of how I might feel on the Saturday night, when, as our son slept, my former partner said a terse good-bye and walked out of the door. For good.
It didn't help that the move had caused so much of our history to resurface; a whole wadge of photos of us and our then baby son taken during one of our first family holidays in France fell out from behind a shifted bookcase. Home made birthday, Christmas and Valentine cards were unearthed in a chest of drawers.
All very stark and gut-wrenching reminders of what we once had. And somehow I just could not throw them in one of the dozens of refuse sacks that lined the hall that had so many other bits of our life in, bits of our life now consigned to the dustbin.
An hour after he left I was worn out and craving wine. Something to ease the empty feeling in my stomach, and to get rid of the what-ifs that were buzzing in my head. But I couldn't leave the house to pop to the local shop because there was no one to mind my son. I was the only adult in the house. And I desperately did not want to be. It was horrible and I hated it.