Ten months ago, I paid a deposit on a holiday. It was open ended, and cheap, as long as we took it prior to the end of August 2006.
Five weeks ago, we decided to book the holiday for the 23rd to the 26th May – three nights in a four star resort. It sounded superb. However, when I phoned the resort, they gave me the happy news that because we were booking in “off season” (winter in Australia) we were entitled to an extra night for free. As I had an appointment on the 22nd May, this meant we had to bring the holiday forward a week (15th to 19th May). We could enjoy a holiday for four nights instead of three, and we would do so during the week when it was quieter. Then, on the Monday, I would go to my appointment and I’d return to work on the Tuesday feeling happy and relaxed. A great plan.
I remember telling Barry that the holiday was booked. We asked if he wanted to come with us, and bring a friend. He was quick to say “no thanks”. I wasn’t surprised by this. Who wants to go on holiday with their parents, when they are 18? I saw Barry’s mind ticking over. I thought about the stories of teenagers and parties, and was quick to tell him that we didn’t want that happening while we were away. Now I realise that parties were the furthest thing from his mind.
The 14th was Mother’s Day. My family all went out to lunch on the 13th instead. Barry was his usual happy self – smiling and joking around with his older brother and his girlfriend. We had a wonderful afternoon. On the way home, Barry asked to be dropped off at his best friend’s house. It was the last time I would see Barry alive. How I wish that moment was different. How I wish I’d said something that might have changed his mind. I didn’t, but I did tell him that I loved him.
Barry rang me on Mother’s Day and we laughed and joked about “the present” Barry said he’d leave on my bed the next day (the day we were due to leave on our holiday; he planned to arrive home after we had left). We both knew it wouldn’t happen. He sounded happy, really happy. I was happy too. It’s pointless saying “if only”, but those words flash in my mind a thousand times a day. If only we hadn’t picked this time to go away. If only we had known that Barry wasn’t happy. If only …
Click here to go to Part 4: The Holiday and the Last Conversation