It’s 6 AM and the call comes in. It’s the only time these calls come in.
You are in one city and your family is in another. There’s been an accident and you need to get there as soon as possible.
Your head is spinning. Everything is moving at warp speed.
Questions dance through your mind. What if I don’t make it on time? How am I going to miss work? What about the kids? What do I tell them? You feel guilty for the selfish yet practical ones including – How much is it going to cost me to get there and back and what is the best way?
You don’t turn on your computer or your tablet or your phone. You aren’t looking for a search engine or a travel website, you are looking for someone to talk to, someone who knows you and your family and has compassion for the situation at hand and understands the urgency.
You call your travel agent. She is just up and starting her day about to leave for the office. As soon as you explain the situation to her, she goes into full action mode, her years of knowledge, her connections and her warm friendship with you all serving as ammunition toward the goal.
She arranges for you to fly out on the first AM flight to your hometown and for a rental car (she knows that you only drive SUVs) and she arranges for an upgrade at a 4 star hotel that you prefer nearby the hospital and then she goes on to book your brother’s and sister’s trips as well so you can all stay together and be there in the right place at the right time.
You try to remain positive as you pack and head to the airport. There are butterflies invading the walls of your stomach and your throat is dry. Your head is pounding and you feel the sweat escaping from your pores. You flash back to your childhood when everyone was young, healthy and happy.
You look at your life and that of your siblings. A collection of divorces, make ups, break ups and relationships that have thrown you up in the air and barely left you standing on your two feet. There are children from a first marriage mixing with children from a girlfriend/boyfriend. There’s a dog, a cat and a hamster. There’s the repetitive thoughts that come and go every so often –
“Should I move in with her/him or keep my place? Should I ever get married again? Will my kids ever get over the divorce? Will I ever get over the divorce?”
The career you always wanted and never ended up pursuing because in the end paying the bills was the final call. The city you ended up living in because it was your X’s hometown. The city your sister moved to because her second husband was transferred and would be out of work otherwise. The city your brother moved to because he was always a ski bum and never wanted an office job.
The bills to pay, the house to clean and renovate, the car to repair, the practice to drive your son to and from, the tears you wish you could wipe from your daughter’s eyes as you try to convince her that the latest teenage crisis will avert itself soon enough but never soon enough for a teenage girl.
But you are strong and resilient. You have made it through all that life has thrown your way and now you can only hope that the parent you are rushing to see can hang on long enough for you to hold their hand and kiss their forehead and whisper in their ear “Keep fighting because I am fighting for you.”
Your plane lands, you feel sick to your stomach. You are light headed and you are petrified of what you may see.
You turn on your cell phone and see that your Travel Agent has already transferred everything to the App including your full itinerary - car rental, hotel and even some practical and helpful suggestions along with a very special note wishing you and your family well.
You get into the SUV and you pull yourself together. You try to calm down before taking the wheel.
You drive out of the airport and within 20 minutes you are back in your old neighborhood. You pass the park you use to play in and the school you attended and the mall you hung out at and then there is the hospital where you had your first cast put on and you had your first stitches sewed. Now this is the hospital where your parent is holding on for dear life.
You take a deep breath as the sliding doors open and that unmistakable hospital smell breezes into your nostrils.
You find your sister in the lobby awaiting you and your brother. She hasn’t been up to ICU yet because she is afraid to go alone. Your brother stumbles in after you and for the first time in a long time you are all together.
The elevator going up seems to take forever and you find yourself staring at the ground rather than the numbers above. The door opens and you see all sorts of people, all family members looking pale and exhausted yet somewhat hopeful that everything will be alright.
A nurse approaches and explains that you can only go in one at a time and your siblings vote you as #1.
Another set of sliding doors open and as they close behind you, the thought that this may be an end rather than a beginning haunts you to the core but your feet remain on the ground and you move forward toward whatever awaits you and your parent in this journey called life.
When something urgent happens to someone you love in another city, you need to speak to a person. You need a human being to work out the logistics and to have the ability to feel and care and listen.
There is no substitute for human, heartfelt interaction.
Voyages Groupe Ideal – Ideal Travel
We share Life and all of its moments – We share Travel