Growing up, my Mum always said we would travel to Ireland together when I graduated from college. She traveled to Ireland when she graduated from high school and wanted to share the experience with me once I completed my undergraduate degree.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go according to plan. My Mum unexpectedly passed away on April 15, 2006 when I was nineteen years old and a sophomore in college. After her passing, I vowed that I would make the trip to Ireland in her memory.
Funny how time slips away, though… Three years after her passing I graduated from university and didn’t make the trip as my first “grown-up” job required me to start the Monday following graduation. And as the years rolled by, there was always an excuse not to go. Not enough time, not enough money, no one to travel with…
When April 15 rolled around in 2013, I was shocked that seven years had passed without my Mum. Furthermore, I was frustrated and ashamed that I hadn’t made the trip. What was stopping me? I wasn’t married. I didn’t have kids. I didn’t even have a dog. Seven years felt like an awfully long time to procrastinate on a trip that was meant to honor my Mum.
And just like that, I woke up one morning at the end of April 2013 and booked a flight to Dublin, Ireland departing a few weeks later. I purposely scheduled my trip around Mother’s Day as I thought it would add an additional layer of meaning to the trip, while also providing a much-needed distraction.
Looking back on my first trip to Ireland, it was an amazing experience and memorable adventure. But on Mother’s Day in a foreign city, I found myself missing my Mum.
I missed my Mum when I graduated from college and wanted her in the audience. I missed her when I received an exciting job offer and wanted to share the news with someone who would be proud. I miss her when I’m sick and when I’m lonely. I miss her when I can’t remember what works best on stains on the carpet and when nobody else cares how rude a driver was when they cut me off on I-75. It’s the fact that I can’t talk to her or ask her for help or guidance that makes me miss her all over again.
I’m finding that as I get older, I need my Mum more than ever. I need her here for her support and guidance, and to have her listen and care. I have a huge gaping hole in my life and it hurts terribly.
However, visiting Ireland to celebrate her life and sharing this special journey in her memory provided unexpected comfort. I’ve always had a passion for travel, but I particularly love how travel, in this instance, helped bridge the gap between the living and the deceased. I’ve since returned to Ireland two more times and each time she’s never far from my mind, but that first trip will always hold a special place in my heart.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there – and a very special Happy Mother’s Day to my mum who I love and miss dearly.