A new website has been started up which asks a different question each day, with people being encouraged to write a response on their own site if the topic takes their fancy.

Today the question is Who do you Miss Most in Your Life?

Doesn’t sound like it is necessarily going to be the cheeriest of topics, but I thought I would give it a shot!

I’m not a huge “people person” who needs or wants a huge crowd of friends around me, so therefore I tend to lose contact with people fairly easily - and to be honest this doesn’t bother me at all, so I wouldn’t say I really miss them.

I don’t mean that in a bad way, if I think back to the times we had together then it does sometimes bring on thoughts of “where are they now, what are they doing?” but then I just get on with things and they are forgotten about.

So it was quite hard to think of who I miss the most.

When I was very young I lost a little sister who died in her sleep when she was only a few months old.  Although I was only two or three, I do remember a little about her but mainly I remember the day she died rather than her as a person.

I think about her from time to time, but mainly in a “what would it have been like to have a sister?” type of way rather than a longing for her return so again I wouldn’t say I really miss her as unfortunately she wasn’t around long enough for her departure to leave a big hole in my life.  Obviously my age at the time had a lot to do with that too, a baby appearing on the scene when I was a little older would probably have been a much bigger deal and her death would have affected me a lot worse.

Because of this, she can’t be the person I miss the most - I don’t think you can really miss someone you didn’t get the chance to know - but if I could choose someone who could come back into my life then it would be her over anyone else I have met and lost contact with.

So my quest continues - who do I miss the most?

My dad has a large family, lots of brothers and sisters, so consequently I have more than my fair share of cousins.  When I was young, my parents and my Aunty Dorrie and Uncle Andy would go on holiday together - along with their daughter Emma.

They lived in Inverness which seemed to be about a million miles away and was very exotic (not in a warm, tropical way though).  We used to battle our way through snow, wind, rain, sleet and hail to head up there for an occasional weekend away or they would do the same to come down and stay with us.  The roads are a lot better now (as are cars), but what can be done in 4 or 5 hours now seemed to take forever when I was a youngster.

Emma and I were the same age (and still are funnily enough…) and got on well which made the weeks we spent together when growing up an extremely enjoyable time.  In those days we could go for weeks or months without seeing each other or even speaking - in today’s age of e-mails, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, mobile phones, etc it’s hard to comprehend just how different things were even ten or twenty years ago - but when we met up again it was like we had never been apart.

I’d usually start by asking her how Nessie was and if she had seen her lately, then we would move onto what we had been up to since last we spoke.  I’ve never really been one to talk about things like that, but it was different with Emma for some reason.

Her being the same age and therefore in the same year at school probably helped as we could talk about things we had been doing to compare the performance of our respective teachers, etc.  In a way I suppose it was like having a sister of sorts - she was an only child like me, in fact she had also lost a sibling too - but there was none of the usual family bickering you associate with children.  We were never really competitive, never tried to outdo each other with report cards and suchlike - as far as I remember anyway!

A lot of the “milestones” in my life came with Emma - I got my first compter the same Christmas as she got her’s (a ZX Spectrum 48k when we were about 5 or 6), went to my first concert with her (Michael Jackson at Glasgow Green in 1992), bought my first single with her in Inverness (A Song for Whoever by The Beautiful South) amongst a multitude of others no doubt.

When she was down here with her parents we would go out and about visiting other relatives, both the ones we shared (through my dad and her mum being brother and sister) and also the ones I wasn’t even related to (her dad’s family).  We used to like going to see her grandad as he worked on a farm and lived in a little cottage in the middle of nowhere.  Although we went to visit him neither of us actually spent all that long in his house, we would always venture outside to talk to the horses, cows, sheep or whatever else happened to be in the fields round about.

I remember one day we went for a walk along the road and came back in a bit of a panic - it was a beautiful day, all blue skies and blazing sunshine (isn’t it always in your childhood memories?) and we had taken our time to stop and have a look about the fields.  Then we had heard some strange noises coming from a hedgerow and went to investigate before running back to her grandad’s house when we got a bit scared - of course he offered the obvious explanation that it was fairies we had heard, and we didn’t go back outside again that day!

Whenever a memory pops into my head from sometime in my childhood Emma is there or thereabouts.  Thinking back we probably didn’t see each other a great deal, but obviously most of the good stuff happened when she was about.  I have loads of memories from school which don’t include her as she wasn’t there, but we would spend some of the Easter and October holidays together as well as a week or two in the summer and the odd weekend.

I used to like it when they were coming for a weekend because it meant I was allowed to stay up late to await their arrival (they had to battle through the elements to complete the marathon trek south remember).  Then when they did arrive, Emma and I would be packed off to bed while the adults would stay up talking late into the night.

A campbed would have been put up in my room for Emma so just because we were upstairs didn’t mean we were asleep and we too would talk until we were literally falling asleep.

It was inevitable that we would grow apart in later life.  Emma met a guy she wanted to marry and I headed off to university - it’s funny that as growing up she was the one who always wanted to go to uni and I had always gone along with the idea just to copy her!

Her wedding was thirteen or fourteen years ago this year, and as far as I can remember I think I’ve only seen her twice since then - neither time was for very long or involved either of us talking very much.

The first time was when my dad and I were in Inverness collecting a new car he was buying.  On the way to the garage my Uncle Andy spotted her and her husband walking along the pavement so we stopped to say hello - it only lasted a couple of minutes and I’m not sure I even said anything at all.

It just seemed different, not like it had been - we were both living different lives then, I was in Edinburgh at university and she was married and had kids.

The next, and last, time I saw her was actually at her grandad’s funeral which must have been about five or six years ago.  I had visited him so often I actually felt like we were related as well so thought it only right that I was there.  To be honest I wasn’t sure Emma would turn up and so hadn’t given any thought to what it would be like to see her again.

She was there though, sitting at the front with the family as she should be, and I didn’t really see her until we were leaving the church.  She was standing at the door and we hugged on seeing each other, but again we didn’t really speak.  I had to get back to work and she was going to the graveside so it was another chance missed to have a bit of a catch-up.

Until a year or so ago that was the last I had heard from her - I could have made an effort to get in touch but to be honest I wasn’t sure I wanted to, or that she would want me to.

Then on my 30th birthday she sent me a text wishing me a Happy Birthday and promised me that being 30 wasn’t as bad as people make out - obviously as she is the same age as me she had turned 30 earlier in the year.

Since then we have sent the occasional text to each other, at Christmas and New Year and the like but perhaps I should be making more of an effort to get back in touch properly.

After all is there really any reason to miss people when there’s no good reason why you shouldn’t be in contact?