Somewhere at the start of the pre-Christmas madness, I decided to make personalised book-bags for some of John's little friends (yes, John's friends are all girls.)
I stitched them in the late hours of the weeks before Christmas, ticking the names off my list as each new bag was hung from my curtain pole, and I thought about the sweet little people for whom these bags were intended, and I thought even more about their mothers.
And as I thought of them, I realised that they were the reason why I was laboriously hand-stitching names on bags late at night in those full days before Christmas for children who were too young to appreciate them.
They were the people whose friendship had made this year such a joy, whose visits had stopped the days from dragging in an endless succession of emptiness and whose presence in my life was such a blessing.
Two days before Christmas I drove from place to place, dropping off brightly wrapped parcels here, and jars of fudge there, and greeting those that I loved.
I drank tea with friends and I brought my boy into bright, warm houses to play happily with other people's toys.