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.


  1. T--This is so unbelievable. Let me know if I can do anything. It's terrible to be far away at times like this.

  2. Wow, that must have been awful for you. Glad he's doing ok, but it seems like you've had a lot to go thru over the past months. Hang in there.

  3. What a frightening experience - You must have been ready to fly home under your own power. I'm so glad to hear that Reilly is okay.

  4. Oh sweetheart. I feel your mothers' panic clear to the tips of my toes. Lighting a candle for Reilly tonight and saying my prayers to the Virgin.


  5. Thank you, all of you.

    Your comments mean the world to me.

  6. Holy cow! If it's difficult for me to wrap my mind around a healthy 23 year old having a heart attack, I can only IMAGINE what is like for you.

    I'm so glad it wasn't worse, and you are more relieved than I can imagine.

    All our best to you, sweetheart, and your son and your family.

    Love, C.

  7. Whew! My thoughts are with you, and I hope that Reilly's keeps sounding like Reilly. (I'm still having a hard time believing it--23?)

  8. I'm hoping that Reilly is making a full recovery and that you will be able to relax enough to enjoy the rest of your trip. What sudden news and to be so far away...

  9. Oh I am so glad your son is okay. I can only imagine how you must have felt!