I’m officially on my way to Ireland.
It’s finally here.
But it’s all a bit different.
I’ve written about how preparing for the trip has a different feel without Mom. As I laid out my clothes, there was no one there telling me I was taking too much or to help me decide on this shirt or that one. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed her as I got ready for this trip.
And as we come up on the 2nd year anniversary of her passing, I’m feeling her absence even more.
Then there’s the Dad factor.
While he’s a very young 86, I know how much it means to him to have me in the house with him. It eases his loneliness. Even on days when we don’t chat much, I’m still a presence there.
And I’m there to help him out if he needs it. Or to chat about family goings on. Or to watch golf with.
As I fly away, I know I’ll worry about him.
Now don’t get me wrong, the rest of the family — my older sister and brother and their spouses and their grown children who have kids of their own — are all nearby with the exception of my youngest niece and her husband. And he has friends. So there are plenty of folks around to help out if Daddy-o needs it.
But this will be the longest period of time he’ll be alone in the house since Mom’s passing on April 4, 2015.
And as a daughter, I’ll worry. At least a little.
Because I’m with him day in and day out, I see the little subtle changes as he ages. But I know he’s in good hands.
And I’d never leave if he wasn’t such a rock star for an 86 year old.
So as I take off…
On this adventure, to find new places in Ireland and Scotland (and maybe other destinations) to suggest to all of you, I do so as a different person.
My mom is no longer here on this earth. I don’t get to hug her goodbye or get emails from her as I travel along.
My dad is slowing a bit.
It’s all just different.
But it’s also life.
And while I know Dad and I will miss each other, he’s a Dad and he wants his daughter to do what she loves.
Funny that Dad and I…
Have always had our differences. I was always closer with Mom. But with all that we went through with Mom, it brought us closer. Mom always “got” me. Dad struggled to understand me.
When Mom and Dad went to Ireland with me in 2010, and as we were packing up to leave the next day, my mom and I had a brief conversation that speaks volumes to me. I asked her if she was ready to go home. And she said yes, that it was time and she was looking forward to being home again after this 3 week trip. Then she looked at me and said, “But you could keep traveling.” I told her, “Yes. I could keep on going.”
She knew me. She understood my need to explore. She “got” me.
Dad has taken a while to understand that in me.
But I know he “gets” me more now.
And so as I leave…
With a slight tug at my heart, I do so knowing that my dad understands that I need to do this. That being gone for 2 or 3 months, exploring new places, is just who I am.
Mom will look out for him. I know she will.
And I know that she is cheering me on as I follow my dreams — dreams that she always encouraged me to chase.
I’ll get my big hug from Daddy-o as I leave.
And I’ll feel all the love of both him and Mom in that warm embrace.