My vacation changed my life.....

by Sharol Rasmussen
(Rocky Mount, MO.)

I just got back from my greatest vacation ever. My vacation changed my life...You see, I've been in a rut, for a very, very long time. I got divorced back in 2000, at age 43, and haven't fully recovered from my ordeal.

It had been a rough union of 19 years, with many off and on times, mostly off. We just didn't fit, or truly understand each other, with absolutely no communication. It didn't help that we had an age difference of 23 years. I was young and dumb...

had wasted so much of my life, suffering from depression and anxiety-I was so sick of feeling like that. I had made too many mistakes to count with my daughter, who still hadn't forgiven me, my life seemed so hopeless.

My daughter is only 19 years old, a favorite time to blame mom for all her problems...We too, never clicked, it was always her dad who came to the rescue, they had a special bond....However, things were about to change for us. My daughter invited me to visit her in Spain for a month.

My anxiety was getting worse and worse, and I found myself hating to go out of the house unless absolutely necessary. After suffering an asthma attack coupled with some extreme anxiety, I was afraid to leave the comfort of my home. I was truly afraid to get into an enclosed plane, and had visions of going crazy on the flight, and having to be carried off the plane in a gurney.

My daughter begged me to go, we needed this time for ourselves. I realized this was the most important thing I would ever do and I had to go. But how? It all seemed so daunting...I went to a therapist several times before the due date, and got some much needed anxiety medication for the trip.

At first I thought there was no way I could handle the flight because of my rotten seat, which I couldn't for the life of me get the seat back, and no direct air-vents overhead.

I was ready to pounce off the plane, but begged the steward to let me sit in first class with plenty of legroom and real air-vents overhead. At first he gave me a hard time, but relented when he saw what bad shape I was in. I sat there until take-off, and prayed the whole time with double doses of medication, just in case.

The flight to Toronto was short, only taking a couple of hours, but the other flight was much longer, taking 12 hours, but I made it.

My daughter thought for sure I would never make it, but I did. She was so proud of me, and so was I.

We spent the first week in Spain with my daughter writing a 20 page essay, and finishing her tutoring Spanish students, etc. She had spent the year studying abroad, and traveling.

After the week was up, we flew to Greece. It was only a 2 hour flight, and I found myself gaining more confidence with each flight. After arriving at the islands, we both knew we had to talk.

My daughter had spent all day in the sun, and had one too many beers when she came back. This seemed to give her the courage to talk to me. She told me how much the divorce hurt her, and what my four years of heavy drinking had done as well. We had a big fight several years back, and she still hadn't forgiven me.

I listened to her, without interruption, accepting all blame. I know it takes two to tango, but I didn't go there. I told her how much I loved her, more than anything in the world, and how truly sorry I was.

We hugged and kissed and had the most wonderful dinner of our lives, enjoying the spectacular sunset, and the promise of a new beginning.

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