We got back to Ireland last Tuesday, but I had a message on my phone stating I needed to call work. I called and my boss wanted me to go to Galway for a business trip. I had no time spent at home and now that I'm home today I've done nothing but be lazy around the house.
The wedding was nice and we had a great time being with my old friends. Still, the trip back to my hometown just didn't have the same feelings to it as in the past. Everything was the same, but it all seemed different to me. I felt like a stranger in a place I once belonged. It took me awhile to figure out it wasn't the place that had changed, it was me who had changed. Being in places I grew up brought back many memories that replayed in my head from a time since past. But it was like remembering a movie that I had watched.
The life I had lived there seemed so far and distant it was hard to imagine it was my life. Even the house I grew up in had changed. The trees that my father and I planted in the front yard when I was a young boy and had grown up along with me, were torn down by the new owners. The house has had many subtle changes over the years and all those changes have made even visiting the house and remembering the way it used to be a distant memory. It was the one constant that I could hang on to and remember my family. Now I have lost that.
Even many of my friends that attended the wedding and whom I haven't seen since I moved away have moved on. This is to be expected and you know their lives change as much as your own. Yet, in your head they are still the same as you last saw them. Some have now bought a house, had children, or changed jobs. Some are dating new people that just didn't seem to fit since I still pictured them with their old love. The only constant that hadn't changed was my friendship with Mike, Kelly, and Jen. It was like old times with us and it was on their friendships that I chose to focus myself and not on the past that had changed so much. We laughed because there were actually six Mikes at the wedding and would have been seven had my cousin attended. That made us laugh that parents at that time were not very original when picking a name for their boys. We always laughed at stupid little things and it was in the laughter of my friends that I found the most comfort.
Visiting the hometown was bittersweet. It was great to see my friends and my niece and nephew. But I also have to deal with my past. I went to the graves of my parents and my brother and spent time standing there on cold night thinking of them and missing them. I've often said it before, but I definitely know now after this visit that I could never return to this place I grew up. I don't belong here anymore. I'm no longer the person I was while growing up here. I've seen so much and done so much and still I want to know more and do more and see more. So much of life I want to experience.
I miss all those that I have lost over the years and would love to spend one more day with each of them. I wish they could have met Gareth and I could tell them the stories of all the places I've been and the things I've seen and done. I would like them to know that I'm happy where I am in my life and to thank them for helping me become the man I am. I talk to them and tell them these things when I am standing at their graves, but I don't know if there is anything on the other side and they can hear me or if I'm just talking to the wind. But it feels good to be able to say the words out loud.
Looking at the dates on their headstones makes you realize how little time we have in this world. How quickly this life passes and how I let so much time slip away. Just when I started to feel alone and maybe a little sorry for myself, Gareth came and stood by me and took my hand in his. It was at this moment I realized my past is my past, I can't change it. It is what it is. Looking into his eyes, I realized here beside me is my present, my future. This is where I should focus myself. For I know with him by my side this life will have many more special memories to live.