Sunday, May 23, 2010

Scotland: Brothers Journey

Jon, golfing last year.

Two of my sons are on a golfing trip in Scotland. The story of this trip is perhaps one of the most touching, sad, and happy stories I can tell you.

Regular readers know that we lost our second son, Jonathan, in February. what you don't know is that his wife and my oldest son had been planning a golf trip to Scotland for the three brothers who golfed as a surprise for Jon's 40th birthday, which would have been this September 4.

The planning had been going on for about 2 years as details were worked out--which golf courses, reservations, flights, rentals, etc. It was to be the trip of a lifetime and would include playing a game at the famous St. Andrews course which I believe is the oldest known golf course in the world. The plan included stops at golf courses all around the Scottish coast.

All went well until the past January when Jon began planning to do something on the very days George and Jennifer had reserved for the trip. What to do? There was really only one thing they could: tell him about the trip.

The last time I spoke with Jon, he had called me in excitement.

"You'll never guess what Jennifer has done!" He said, and I let him tell me all about it. I'd known about the trip for some time, but I wanted to hear him tell me. He was amazed and humbled that his wife loved him so much that she would go to all the trouble to plan this trip--and that she had been working a lot of extra hours to pay for it so he would not see anything on bank statements or elsewhere that might give away the secret.

Jon talked happily for a long time that night, telling me about the trip, his delight that his brothers George and Derek would also be going, his pleasure in the recent accomplishments of his daughters, and his deep love for his wife. He was very,very happy, and totally contented with his life at the moment. We ended the conversation as we always did:

"Bye, Jonnie. I love you."

"I love you too, Mom. Bye."

Those were my last words to my son, and to this day I am grateful for the habit begun with my parents, to end calls to loved ones with those three simple words.

After Jon's death, the guys decided to call off the trip and take a refund on the tickets. But after a few weeks, they reconsidered. If Jon had been the one to survive, he certainly would have gone. What better way to honor their brother than to continue with their plan and celebrate his life and love of golf?

They are now working their way around the Scottish courses and sending brief messages via Facebook of their travels. George is trying to keep up a blog of their travels, although so far has hasn't been able to spot much except the first day of their trip. If you're interested you can follow along at


Country Whispers said...

What a great gift for your DIL to give her husband & brothers. I think that it is great that they have been able to continue with their plans. It's good for them all.
Those 3 little words (I love you) are always spoken in our house, whether it be as we leave the house to go somewhere or just as we hang up the phone. It may sound silly to some but you just never know when life will suddenly stop and I would rather have those three little words to cherish than any other.

Susan at Stony River said...

How wonderful that he knew about it, that he had so much of the joy of the trip he never got to take!

And how funny to me, that your sons have gone there as I've come here --

One of the big comforts after my Mom died was knowing that our last conversation on the phone ended just like that: "I love you" and looking forward to the next time we'd hear each other's voices.

I hope their trip is wonderful and the rain stays away!

Granny Sue said...

I wonder how many families say "I love you" as part of their daily conversation, Jessica. We've always done it, and for me those last words with Jon are something I will always cherish.

Susan, I thought the same thing--yall might have passed each other in the air! They had sunshine for their first two days, but rain is predicted for tomorrow, so they'll be wet I'm sure. I just hope they packed warm clothes!

Granny Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela said...

What a wonderful thing that Jon's wife planned. I'm glad that the other two went on. I'm not sure if you realize it or not but your family is one of a kind. The love all of you have for one another is something so special that I can't find the words to explain it. You did a great job raising your family!

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, Angela. We do love one another, which made losing Jon even more difficult. We're finding our way, slowly, to bridge the gap in our loves created by his loss.

gigihawaii said...

touching story, Sue! I am glad they are enjoying the trip!

Maggie and Roger said...

I love that they went on with the plans. They truly celebrate Jon. All of you do.
I love you my dear sister.

Granny Sue said...

I love you too, Maggie.

TheresaandJay said...

It sounds like they are really enjoying the trip. I am glad they are willing to try new things (like haggis!). Jon is probably there, sending their golf balls on errant drives just for fun! Such great sons you have Sue. Love you.

Granny Sue said...

They were supposed to go to Loch Ness today, Theresa. Reckon they'll see a monster? :-)

Twisted Fencepost said...

Yes, they should have gone, they wouldn't want them not to.

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