My mom just passed away.
I have, unfortunately, had to say this quite a lot in the last two weeks, but this is the first time I have written it. It sucks to join a club that, while I knew it was inevitable, I didn’t want to have to join so soon.
But…life. So here we are.
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.” Les Brown
In recalling recent conversations and interactions with my mom, one area that crossed my mind was that of traveling. So, I’m sure you have noticed by now that I liked to travel. My last few conversations with her were from Dubai and the day that I returned from Dubai back to LA. I told her about the trip (and had sent her a few pics), and she was excited about the gifts I had brought her back for her upcoming birthday.
As I have contemplated the subject more, I realized that my mom had so many more places she wanted to visit. She had trips planned for 2018 already, and she wanted to plan a girl’s trip with me to the Caribbean in 2019. And one of my greatest joys in life was when my brother and I got to help pay for the monetary portion of my parents’ airfare on my mom’s bucket list trip to London and Paris a couple of years ago. This is a trip that she had been talking about for years, and not only did my brother and I treat them for their anniversary, but I assisted in all of the planning of the trip. I am so happy to have been able to do that for them and help check that *major* item off of her bucket list.
But one major destination my mom (and really all of us) have been talking about for years, my mom never made it. She never made it home, to the Motherland, the continent of Africa. We discussed the whole family taking a two-week visit in a few years to South Africa, specifically. We will never get to do that now…not with the whole family. She will miss the chance to get to a place that she always wanted to go simply because time just ran out. Which leads me to the biggest travel lesson I learned from my mom’s passing, and the advice I offer to all of you:
Don’t wait. Just go.
Now, that isn’t to say that my mom really even agreed with this sentiment. We bumped heads sometimes about the frequency of my travel, with her saying that I didn’t have to do it all and see it all right now, and that I could do and see some when I get older. Though not so much this year, but last year, this was a bit of a source of contention between us.
But I think that my mom was maybe-not-so-secretly in awe of my travels, of my willingness to pick up and go. When I had a long layover in Osaka, Japan, earlier this year by myself, and I left the airport solo to have dinner in the city and add (at least a little) of another country to my visited list, she was somewhat in awe. She asked me wasn’t I scared, to travel by myself and do things by myself overseas, including the long flights. I responded that there are certain places I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing alone, so I don’t, but for the other stuff, not so much. She said she was “amazed” and thought I was brave and adventurous. I guess that’s one way that my mom looked up to me, and that feels good that I could inspire her, even in an area where we didn’t always see eye-to-eye.
So where do I go from here? I guess I go forward. I kind of have to at this point, right? I have to keep being what my mom would deem “amazing” and see the world. I want to inspire her and make her proud, even from Heaven. And I have to take her with me. I plan to travel with her passport as well, and some other item, which I have yet to determine, but I have to take her with me. She earned that. So off we’ll go.