John’s family in Northern Ireland loves it when he comes home. They don’t say he’s come to visit, to them John is home.
After our hike up to see Cloughmore Stone, and a bit of breakfast, we packed up and headed to Poyntzpass in County Armagh. I’ve been there once before, for John’s Uncle’s funeral service, and to lay some flowers on a grave.
When John and I were married, his sister told me of an Irish tradition of the bride placing her bouquet on the grave of a relative instead of throwing it to the single ladies.
Knowing we were going to Ireland a few months after our wedding, I saved part of my bouquet to lay upon John’s Father’s headstone in Poyntzpass. So we headed back to the little church and graveyard to pay our respects.
I wanted to take some photos of John in Ireland and thought the right place would be his father’s home, Corcrum. The sun was shining and was the perfect contrast to the green fields of this beautiful place.
We said goodbye to Corcrum and headed to Newry for a visit with John’s family. Arriving at his cousins’ home, it felt familiar, even though things had changed since he was last there.
We all had a wonderful time, and talked of remembering when the last time John was “home” and what had changed since then. There was a new grave to visit, and elders who were so much older than last time.
Falling asleep that night, I reveled in the complete quiet and darkness of the countryside. With the cool breeze coming through the window and the curtain open, it was wonderful to feel such calm.
The next morning John and I went for a walk around the area. But after a few moments, I told John I needed to go get ready, and left him to go on by himself. I could tell he needed some time alone.
Every since we had arrived in Northern Ireland, I could sense John’s ever so slight mood change. He has fond memories from his childhood here and deep roots that are a visible connection for him.
Soaking in the countryside around him was good for his soul.
After breakfast and visits to more relatives, it was time for us to say goodbye and head to Dublin.
John has this thing he does when his heart is full and there are no words to convey his feelings. When he was saying goodbye to his cousin, Barry, I saw him do it. He leaned his forehead on Barry’s and held it there for just a moment of connection that said I love you….
…because you never know when you’ll be back home again.