This may sound a little overdramatic…
Almost 3 years ago now I was lying in a hospital room in the ER after a bad car accident. My dad hadn’t gotten there yet. I was lying on my back, neck brace and all, staring up at the ceiling. I think at this point they’d given me some morphine and it was starting to kick in. But I thought to myself: “I have to get back to Ireland.”
I was weirdly zen that entire day (and no I don’t think it was just the morphine). After the initial freak out at the accident site, in the ambulance and then in the ER itself…I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t all that worried (which for me is an accomplishment in itself). What I was though was reminded of how short life can be. I was extremely lucky my accident wasn’t worse, that my car was in just the right position that the front of it took most of the impact (I had no side air bags because it was an older car and if the driver at fault had hit me just a little further down the car, he would have smashed right into the side instead of the front). In that split second when the accident happened, when everything went black before my head hit the steering wheel, I had a small taste of the huge realization of how quickly our lives can be taken away from us. I was able to walk out of that ER with just some cuts and bruises, a whole lot of soreness and some pain (and what would end up being a lot of emotional baggage to sift through), and the first thing that I wanted to do was to figure out a way to get back to Ireland, the country I loved visiting so much back in 2013.
Here we are, 4 years later from when I first went to Ireland and (again) almost 3 away from that accident and I haven’t yet been back. I had such fervor for wanting to carpe diem when I got out of the hospital but then life…the very thing which I was trying to live to the fullest…kind of got in the way. Not enough vacation time, other events to go to, other trips planned. I was so sure I was going to go back last year but airline fares got in the way of that one. So this year…2017…was going to be the year I went back. I was sure of it. Then this week some more obstacles presented themselves. It’s not a definite no go yet but I’m worried. I took for granted being able to go on my last few trips with relative ease through work. I requested, they got approved. But this one, the one I want almost as much as that first trip to Ireland, does not seem like it’s going to come as easily. I started to ask myself…should I just give up on going back? Should I go to a new country instead?
The answer always ends up being a resounding “no”. I’m determined to figure out a way. I’ve pictured myself looking out the window of an airplane and seeing those green isles come into view again. I teared up the first time I saw them because in a similar situation, many obstacles had come up which made my first trip to the Emerald Isle happen much much later than it was supposed to. I’ve pictured myself getting off the plane in that wonderful Dublin airport again and taking a cab back into the city. I’ve seen myself sitting in a pub again, drinking a pint with my mom. I’ve seen the incredible green that’s like no green anywhere else. I’ve seen the Cliffs of Moher because dammit, I am going to see those things sans fog if it’s the last thing I do.
I don’t doubt I would have a good time if I went to England or to Canada or somewhere else where maybe I could get the trip approval more easily. But I want so desperately to keep that promise I made to myself lying in that hospital bed that day. If there’s anything good that could possibly come out of that experience, I want it to be that it reminded me never to give up. Never accept an alternative in place of what you really want. Go where you want to go, do what you wanna do (thanks The Mamas and The Papas).
I’m sitting here, gripping tightly on to my Dublin mug, hoping to make the dream a reality.