Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Invocation from Achill Island
After hiking up the hill from the cell phone towers
to the statue of the Virgin perched at the peak
the phone rang (thank god for good reception; we couldn't
have been in a better location) and it was my son Nelson
telling me that his older brother Reilly was in the hospital
with chest pains. I tried not to panic, and told Nelson
to call me back immediately when he found out more.
About twenty minutes later, the phone rang again,
to discover that R. had suffered a heart attack. He's 23.
No more information except that he was being transferred
to the Cardiac Unit of the hospital.
Then I panicked.
I recall very little of the 45 minutes drive
back to the house. Paul kept trying to reassure me:
he's young, healthy, doesn't smoke.
No blood pressure issues. It didn't help much,
there on the back roads of County Mayo, 6,000 miles
from Seattle. I felt centuries away. Light years away.
A lifetime away. Inescapably remote.
The good news is that it appears to be minor, his heart muscle
looks good. I spoke with him on the phone, and he insisted
I not come home. He made me laugh.
He sounded like Reilly.
Paul said, "I feel like we should celebrate.
I know that sounds weird, but you know what I mean."
Yes. I did. What a very short time ago sounded
like dirge suddenly sounded like a jig. An Irish jig.
Keep it slow for a while, though.
I need some time to breathe.