It is the big day I have been looking forward to for so many years. For so long have I wanted to spread my horizons further than London’s south bank and the memories that I have of Dublin as a child. A place that I recently felt urged to return to yet I didn’t really know why so I booked a cheap Ryan Air flight number FR115 a month ago and headed home for the first time in thirty years.
It wasn’t only to visit Mam in the hospice because that didn’t need to be done for a month continuously. I have been preparing for the outcome since her diagnosis and realistically could get there when needed to say my final farewells. There was something pulling me to my home town, like a gust of gravity that whooshed like a tornado over London grabbing only me and taking me over the Irish Sea to my place of birth.
I am off to Paris tomorrow on an adventure around Europe. I booked my interrail pass the day after I found out about Mam’s cancer as if to stick my two fingers up to the world for cutting another life short to that awful disease. Though travelling had always been at the back of my mind, at the bottom of my to-do list, I had always been waiting and making excuses about why not to go. Not having anybody to go with was usually the main one but for some reason also the world seemed a bit scary, scarier still each time I started browsing flights and hostels.
Receiving the painful news about Mammy removed this fear because nothing is worse to fear than death, the fear she had been instantly faced with, which could crop up at any time. On that day I headed straight to the nearest travel agents and paid one hundred and eighty pounds for my ten stop Euro rail pass inside three months.
‘Don’t you think you should wait until…’ Uncle Jimmy had remarked on the phone once Mam had told him my exciting news.
‘Wait for what?’ I replied. ‘My mother to die?’
I felt harsh saying this and even more so when Jimmy began to sob on the other end of the line, but I knew that Mammy wouldn’t have wanted me to wait. She’d have wanted me to go out and explore knowing that I could return at any time when things got really bad. She never wanted me to put my life on hold for anybody not even her and she was even more persistent about this after her diagnosis.
‘You’re twenty-two.’ She’d say. ‘Don’t hold out for me to die. It won’t be easy and no time waiting in expectation is going to make it easier.’