We have been blessed with six wonderful children, but the only one that I thought would stay at home was Morgan. He was a true home bird. But life just turned out differently and he is the one overseas. In a way, we hold ourselves responsible. We always travelled with the kids when they were young, from spending summers in Portugal and Spain and even travelling to the world cup in Italy. That sense of adventure and exploration was with them from their youngest days.
My first taste of emigration was when my second eldest went to college in London. She would spend ten years teaching in England, but we always knew she would ultimately return home. Before returning home, she spent a year in Australia with our eldest as the travel and adventure bug continued.
Morgan went to America for the first time on a J1 Visa in 1999 and after working in a Summer camp in Florida for a number of summers after, he ultimately met the love of his life, Jenny. In the Spring of 2002, she travelled home to Ireland for Saint Patrick’s week and we could see that things were getting serious.
In September 2004 he moved to the US. This was a real struggle for me, his Dad and the rest of the family. We missed him very much. But we knew deep down that she was the one and she has truly made him happy and this has brought comfort and joy to my husband and myself. What I missed the most was when he would come in the door and announce, “I’m home”. Dinners at the kitchen table were always a hive of activity in the O’Sullivan household and I miss the days of the talking and laughing, storytelling and challenging.
Communication since 2004 has greatly improved. Initially we had one computer in the house and if honest, it was beyond me. As a result, I took computer classes and in time I was able to send emails. He would purchase a phone card and manage to phone once a week. We would look forward to those early calls and share the latest updates with his siblings. Now, we have FaceTime and Skype and are in daily contact. The world has become such a small place and the reality is that Morgan very often learns of any major news before his siblings. While he is abroad, Morgan knows everything going on in Ireland and Europe and very often brings updates to us. His sense of Irishness is not in doubt and he does everything he can to keep the link with home strong. I do my best to send him sweets and Taytos and even the Holly Bough from home.
Morgan has always talked about coming home, and I am sure that he would love to come back one day. We would love it too, but the journey of life can bring you down many different paths. And it hurts me to this day that that opportunity did not arise for him. I feel that he has grown and developed in so many ways while being overseas and he has been rewarded for his ability and work ethic. He is married now with three children, who he has sought to instill a strong sense of Irishness into. They all have their Irish passports, and his colleagues at work would confirm his strong sense of culture. He is now an American citizen, and America is truly lucky to have him, but he will always be the boy from Blackrock, Cork. I could not have asked for a better son and there is not a day that goes by when one of the family doesn’t talk about him. We miss him all the time.
I know he had to go. I know it was better for him. But I wish he was here. There are times when I am at family events and I almost zone out thinking there is one person missing from the dinner table. Whether it is a birthday or communion or christening or Christmas, there are so many he has missed out on. The phone and the advent of FaceTime and such have made it easier. Yet I still feel crushed that he is so far away. He may have left Ireland but Ireland has never left him, and knowing my son, it never will. His voice deserves to be heard.