A year ago on 8th August, James and I got married. We are looking forward to celebrating our first anniversary on Monday (starting with a thrilling trip to the dentist for James) and more than that, to take a trip across the world under the guise of our second, ‘extended’ honeymoon.
Ever since date number one in December 2012 (shivering with our fish and chips in a wild and windy Westward Ho!), we spoke of our desire to travel, as so many people do. However, from my experience, it seems that this stays a pipe dream for many, as they never end up taking the leap to making it a reality. I completely empathise with this, and think that it is highly likely that James and I could well have been looking back to this moment a few years down the line, saying, “If only…”
In part, I have a friend to thank for giving us the push we needed to make the decision to do something brave and book those flights.
At the end of last year, I was shocked to see that a university friend of mine, Cormac, had posted on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour and had been given approximately 4 weeks to live. He was 27 years old.
I was fortunate enough to visit Cormac while he was ill, and so appreciated the time I was able to spend in his company. When he died a few weeks later in December, I felt deeply affected. I grappled with so many emotions, but the overriding one was ‘why him and not me?’ I compared our lives and all I could see was that I was plodding on, not making much of a difference to anyone (in my eyes), having some real up and downs with regards to teaching, whereas Cormac was truly someone who had always grabbed life by the horns, lived spontaneously, and always focused his attention on meaningful, worthwhile projects.
After working through some of those feelings, I ended up being hugely encouraged. I felt utterly privileged to know someone who lived life in the way Cormac did, and felt inspired to be a little more like him. I started running (encouraged by his awesome marathon efforts) – admittedly I have become a little lazy in this department as the year has gone on – and, more importantly in terms of the point of this blog, felt compelled to make sure our travelling dream became a reality. This, in turn, was how I ended up teaching my tutor group the lesson on ‘Dreams’, covered in my first blog post.
Within weeks of Cormac’s death, James’ grannie also passed away from cancer. It was a tough month to face so early on in our marriage, but one which has given us the inspiration needed to do something different. We are on this earth but a short time, and we want to make the most of our time here. Without our respective losses last year, I don’t think we would have had the courage to quit our jobs and travel to the other side of the world.
So thank you, Cormac and Grannie Rose.