Storytime Tuesday: I Got A Passport And Almost Used It — Then This Happened

A Life Changing Trip That Wasn’t Meant To Be

I’ve never been out of the United States but I was close to going to Tuscany when I was in my senior year of college for my photography class. I have so many friends that have been to Paris, London and Greece and I’m wondering when will it be my turn to travel. Shit, I can barely take a road trip in my state! As much as I try, it seems impossible to be able to afford a trip like that.. and now that I have two young children, the probability of that happening now is down to -1.3%.

So, what happened to me going to Tuscany while I was in college, you ask? Well, first of all, the trip was a 12-day photography workshop in Italy. I would have arrived in Rome, Italy to settle in for a day, then off by train to one of the several beautiful historical destinations. The whole itinerary included Florence, Pienza, and Venice that would have provided so many photo opportunities to capture that you just don’t see here in Dallas, TX. It would have been a dream trip that I would have never, ever forgotten in my life.

In late February, my photography teacher drove me to CVS to get my passport photo and I expedited my passport at the post office to have it arrive in enough time for the trip. I had the $700 down payment ready and I found tickets for a flight right around $685 round trip! Things were coming together smoothly… so I thought.

Since January of 2007, my Dad was in the hospital. This was nothing new that I haven’t been through with my Dad before. He was an ex-smoker with emphysema and also had asthma so there were times he had to be admitted to the hospital because of his breathing problems, but would come home after a week or two in the hospital. This time around was different.

I remember the night he went to the hospital, he looked different… like he knew something wasn’t right. The following weeks were a mixture of good and bad days. I would tell him about how I was doing in school and about the Tuscany trip. He said, “You really should go... I want to see the masterpieces you bring back so I can frame them in the house.” I told him, “I do want to go, but I’m worried about you.” “This too shall pass. Don’t worry about me.” He said.

The next day, my Dad was diagnosed with pneumonia and he wasn’t able to speak anymore. His doctors told us that his body is starting to shut down.

My mind and body go numb.

I run to the bathroom crying so hard that I hardly could breathe.

How can this be happening? He was fine the day before.

Doctors began coming into the room asking for my Mom to sign forms. My Dad had everything in order for this moment.

The DNR form.

How can I just sit back and watch my Dad slowly die and doctors not resuscitate? “This is what your Dad wanted. He doesn’t want to keep suffering like this,” my Mom said with tears in her eyes. “He knew for a while that this was coming and he prepared everything so we don’t have to make any decisions.”

On March 5, 2007 at 11:57 pm, he was gone.

My passport is bare and now expired today but had I went on that trip and my Dad passed away while I was 5400 miles away from home, it would have been a disaster. I would have regretted my decision and beat myself up over it continuously but I was with my Dad in his final days, which I am truly grateful. I’m happy this was a trip I missed. My Dad went on a trip of his own that he’s been wanting to go his whole life and I’m sure he’s there waiting for my arrival.