There are many longstanding reasons I’ve dreamed about going to Ireland. They range from lighthearted to deep and meaningful, and I will share one of each below. Yet there is a compelling new reason that has ignited my desire to a peak level of urgency and fervor.
First – a fun reason I’ve wanted to visit Ireland: My favorite color has always been green. Sure, you hear lots of people who love red or blue, but when asked my favorite color, I often get raised eyebrows or strange looks. Still, I have always loved green, not just for its looks, but also for what it represents. We use green to indicate newness, a fresh start. Someone working on a new job is “green,” new fisherman on a vessel are called “greenhorns,” and other idioms using green abound. Green also represents health and vitality and our beautiful earth. Green smoothies are touted as health drinks. “Going green” by saving paper is considered admirable stewardship of our resources. And the green of nature has inspired everything from poetry to love songs. I love green and all that it stands for – even the center stone on my wedding ring is green! I purposely sought out the rarer green amethyst over the usual purple, and the ring has been a wonderful conversation piece ever since. My love of green has meant that the expansive green lands of Ireland have haunted my travel visions for years. How could a green lover like me not want to visit The Emerald Isle??
Secondly, and more seriously, I believe in the importance of knowing and understanding one’s heritage and feeling a connection with where we came from. I also happen to believe travel is one of the best ways to accomplish this. I visited my motherland of Norway several years ago and felt it gave me a sense of place. It helped me understand what my ancestors dealt with as they braved the arctic winters, fished in the fjords or built their renowned Viking ships. I also loved hearing the lilting, guttural sounds of my (technically) native tongue as I visited shops and museums. So from the time I met my husband and found out he was of Irish descent, I have been secretly planning to take him to Ireland. Yes, he’ll love the Guinness and the golf, but beyond that, I know he’ll love being in the place his family originated. He has a passion for family, and I am excited to help him better understand and appreciate his own personal history. In fact, he’s the reason I subscribed to Authentic Ireland in the first place. I’ve been secretly squirreling away tips and ideas for an amazing trip and was hoping to take him after saving up for a few years. I’ve learned that May is a wonderful time to visit Ireland, and my husband’s birthday is in May, so it all seemed perfect.
But then came January 23rd of this year. My husband and I were on speaker phone with his other siblings from around the country. We all listened quietly as each child said goodbye in turn. We were told when life support was unplugged. A few moments later, we heard the words “he’s gone,” and just like that, my young husband was without a father. It has not even been two months since that heart-wrenching moment. He still picks up the phone to call his dad before realizing he can’t. He gets teary from glancing at his dad’s watch to check the time. He loses patience at things that seem small. He devours books on grief, trying to understand. He is lost, without direction; I see him drifting, grasping at anything to try and get his bearings. His grief is almost palpable. As his spouse, I too am in uncharted waters, doing my best to offer support, but knowing my feeble attempts to comfort him don’t reach the deepest recesses of his pain.
It is now more than ever, that my husband doesn’t just deserve this trip – he needs it. He needs to feel the connection with his roots again; he needs to get away to make space for his grief. He needs to walk where his ancestors walked and breathe the sweet Ireland air that echoes his own family past. He is an amazing man and an incredible provider. However, continuing to work and provide for me and our five children while also performing countless mundane daily tasks has not allowed him to fully process this loss. Sometimes we need to completely remove ourselves from “regular life” to get to the heart of our deepest needs. That may be rest and relaxation. That may be peace and quiet. That may be a celebration. Or as in this case, it may be the chance to unwind, smile again, and have fun, while also making room for this new companion – sorrow. Please vote for me so I can help my sweet husband heal. Please allow me to give him an opportunity to look back at his heritage so that he may more healthily move forward from his loss.
Taking a vacation to Ireland can be a truly amazing way to reflect on life when taking some time away from the everyday routine is needed. It is full of serene, peaceful places, especially if you choose to stay one of the many little Ireland cottages that are sprinkled among the rolling countrysides. Contact us and get going today – we’ll handle the stressful stuff.