Wow, I knew it would be hard when the first of my children left home - but I was completely unprepared for how hard.
Yesterday we drove Ashleigh to Docklands and helped her sort out her new room, unpack all her things, fill in a host of forms, and start to settle into the new phase of her life.
Then at back at home some bedroom moving took place as the other three settled into their new spaces and roles, Kate and Joe finally getting their own much needed space, and Hana realising that now she's the "BIG" one.
I had had a few tears during the day, after a couple of loving messages from friends enquiring if I was ok, and as Ash hugged me to say goodbye, made harder by the tears of the others. But it was much later when the ache started as the enormity of what had happened hit me, things here will never be the same again.
I hadn't realised that there would be an actual physical pain like a bereavement, and I was unprepared for the flood of tears that came. I thank God for the friends that stood with me in the dark moments last night, and today of course looks brighter with the dawn.
Things won't be the same here again, but we will soon learn how to live with the changes.
I'll finish for now with the words of the song that helped me through the pain, a prayer that all Christian parents have for their children. 'Find your Wings' by Mark Harris.