Erin Go Bragh

>Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. It will be my first without my mom and I’m not really sure how to handle it. She absolutely loved St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish. She had been to Ireland twice in the 70s — once on an organized group tour, where she met a lovely woman named Mary, and the second time she and Mary went on their own. They’ve kept in touch for the past 30-something years, continuing to send cards and make phone calls right up until the week my mother went into the hospital. In fact, Mary’s last card to my mom arrived while she was in the ICU so I brought it and my dad read it to her. She wasn’t conscious at the time, but I believe she heard every word of it.

Anyway, my mom loved Ireland. She even had a little shamrock tattoo on her hip. Her mother’s family is from County Cork and so St. Patrick’s Day was always a big deal in our house. Every year we would have corned beef, potatoes, carrots, and homemade soda bread. Truth be told, I never cared for the food that much, and I would eat my own stuff (especially once I stopped eating meat), but it was tradition and I loved it. We would eat in the dining room and listen to traditional Irish music while we ate. Before my mom got so sick, the house would have been decked out in shamrocks and leprechauns. After I got married and moved out, I could always expect a green envelope in the mail covered in shamrock stickers. The absence of that card this year is heartbreaking.

I don’t know what to do with myself tomorrow. My dad hasn’t mentioned anything, so I assume we’re ignoring the holiday this year. I plan on wearing my Durty Nelly’s t-shirt that I got in Ireland in my mom’s honor. She has talked about that place my entire life and I was finally able to go there in December when I was in Ireland for work. To be honest, when the trip first came up and my mom asked me if i’d be going there, I hadn’t planned on it. I had read reviews online and it didn’t seem that great. Once she passed away, I couldn’t get there fast enough. I thought it might be hard to be there at a place that she loved so much, knowing I would never be able to come home and tell her about it and compare stories, but it was oddly comforting to sit in this old pub where my mother made such good memories. I felt like I established a new connection with her that day. I still wish she was here so I could talk to her about it and show her pictures, but I’m at least glad I got to walk in her footsteps and see the country she loved so much and talked about my entire life.

As my co-worker and I were paying at, we noticed that people had written messages on dollar bills and other foreign currency that were then taped up to the ceiling over the bar (behind me). We grabbed a dollar and wrote my mom’s name on it so that part of her would always be there.

This is my mom (on the right) and my nana (on the left) at the airport right after my mom got home from Ireland. I haven’t been able to find any pictures of her when she was actually there; she didn’t really like taking pictures and preferred to buy postcards. 

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2 thoughts on “Erin Go Bragh

  1. >Great post! I think that's awesome you got to go to the same pub. I know she'd be super excited to know her name is written on that dollar bill. You're mom had such a knack at making every holiday seem special. I can remember the flag of Ireland, always hanging in your living room in Hillside. You're mom decorated so nicely. She made every holiday super festive. I especially used to love all the holiday candy she'd put out in crystal bowls, all over the room. I hear you about the food. We're actually having our traditional corn beef & cabbage tonight. I never cared for it either, so I'm having corn beef hash instead :p

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