I can’t sleep. It is rare that I can’t sleep, even with all the worries of illness throughout time, I have always been a fairly good sleeper but tonight I have tossed and turned. The boys and I have moved and although I know this is the right decision, it also became a rushed thing and a big move like ours shouldn’t have been rushed. It wasn’t really rushed if you look at it timewise from idea to decision to execution, but it was rushed in the sense of timing after Milo’s death. It feels like we never had a chance to breathe after Ian died and before Milo was diagnosed, and then again after Milo died before we went ahead and moved – not just house but country. We have moved back to Denmark where I am originally from and where we have a huge family and support network as well. Ian and I did this back in 2007 and he often remarked how he regretted not staying longer back then and giving it a proper chance, but circumstances, as often happen, made us go back to England- at least I know he would approve of our move.

That knowledge doesn’t make it any easier that this felt rushed. Milo died whilst the plans were all in motion – it was supposed to be an exciting move for all four of us but when the brain tumour cells took hold and went crazy they did it fast and furious. I had so looked forward to Milo enjoying time here with my family around him. It’s difficult to explain why we went ahead with the move so quickly after Milo’s death but the plans were there and the house had sold.  And we would have had to move house regardless as our house in York wasn’t the type of house I could financially support my family in alone in the long-term.

I feel perhaps also a little bruised and battered from my years in the UK. I guess emotionally in a way I had already moved as well – that sounds stupid but it had been planned for so long that I would have had to rewire my mind completely into thinking it would be best to stay, in order to be able to stay, and that somehow just didn’t work – most likely because the move is the right and the sound decision for our family. When we started thinking about moving back to Denmark it wasn’t an easy choice; the boys have lived their lives somewhat in both countries but had of course mostly built up their networks in the UK and Ian and I had built up a huge network around us as well.

Ian and I always lived our lives with a conscious mindset of being happy and often through new experiences. For many years it was difficult for us to travel as much as we liked, and illness put a stop to many career choices that may otherwise have been – for both of us. I think, in order for me to create a life for both myself and the boys that keeps honouring how Ian and I dreamed our family life would be, it’s important that we stay brave. I don’t want to sit at home for years wondering if life would have been a little different had I been brave enough to make a big change.  I want the boys to keep being brave in their choices and see that they always have choices. We might get it wrong sometimes but at least we keep trying.

Lucas has been accepted to a good school here in Copenhagen and it’s an important new start for him. It’s an important new start for me as well. Right now I am sitting still a lot and just thinking and resting – my body is tired and my mind has been working for so long in overdrive constantly concentrating on hospitals, illness, next steps, research and the boys’ mental health that I am trying to train it to be quiet. But I can’t let go completely yet. The boys still need me and I still need to somehow make sense of everything that has happened. I know it will never make sense. Nature is nature and we work with it as best we can.

If I can get my boys through this new start then I can start being excited about it as well, I think. I ask a lot of them, Ian and I always have done. Lucas has to learn Danish properly including writing and reading – he has been very keen on the move with that zest for life only a young boy can astonish you with, but I wonder if that stays once the normality of school life sets in again. Lucas keeps me forever on my toes with his sharp mind and humour, and it is wonderful to have time to appreciate that again.

Seb has a whole new life ahead of him. He finished A-levels, expectedly by those who know him and unexpectedly by anyone who knows only our story of sickness and death, by powering through his exams. He is such a beautiful young man (he won’t thank me for writing that but he really is); he has unfairly helped me too much in the past years with everything and I fear the time he now has on his hands to just be like all his friends is time he won’t know what to do with. Sitting still for too long never helped anyone but sitting still for a little is also a skill that we as people need to get through life and to enjoy life. This summer, after hopefully partying lots with his friends and celebrating all their efforts, he has decided to take a Gap year and come back to Denmark with us and I am so happy about this. One thing is (selfishly) I can’t imagine him not living with us but for him this is such an important time to have.

I know Ian would be so proud of him as he often said how he wished he had done just that instead of rushing into the grind of school to university to work – also one of the reasons we travelled as much as we could. Uni is going nowhere and will wait for him and life is out there to be experienced in so many ways. Hopefully he finds a job and some friends to have fun with for the year and maybe even travels some. It’s a brave decision but the right one for him. To take some time before embarking on more school hopefully means he finds out he has chosen right for Uni and will start on a degree he knows he will enjoy.

So it’s a time of huge change and upheaval and the boys and I have a lot to look forward to, navigating how we do this and allow ourselves to do this is the very hard part. For every moment I feel a little excited about for example the prospect of a new job that challenges me, I feel guilt. When I look forward to playing in the ocean and laying on the beach, I feel guilt and even when I look at the boys and feel pride, I feel guilt. It’s guilt for being here and getting to see them grow up, it’s guilt for not taking Oscar and Milo to the beach and it’s guilt for wanting to try and live my life somewhat happy again. And I feel sadness and anger. Sadness because even on my best days I am just also so very sad. Anger that I have to do all this alone. I am not angry at anyone, I am just angry. I imagine it must be hard for people to understand but I am feeling guilty, angry, sad, excited, proud and happy all at once. And all this is going to take some time to navigate, not just for me but for my boys, too.

I am so thankful we have so many friends and family that support us and the choices we have made. It hasn’t been easy for family and friends in England that we have moved, but they know how important this next year is for the three of us to have together in a new place so we can form a way forward and find some peace and happiness again. And the world is of course really not that big, both the UK and Denmark will always be our home.