A Winding Down
*a note to my paying Patrons here on Patreon. This is a public post so that I may share it with my extended family. I’m sure you’ll understand.
Some prayerful words for my family.
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
It is said that all good things must come to an end. And so it is with this grand adventure of mine over here in Ireland, among other things.
In recent days I find myself both wishing never to have to leave here, while at the same time, feeling very far from home. Last night I attended my final Thursday evening trad session at Christy’s. Lovely as ever, this one had a special feel to it. One year ago, they lost one of their own, to Covid from what I understand. A lovely old fella called Tim Curly O’Sullivan. He attended the session religiously and played the spoons along with the other lads who play together each week. And so last night, his family gathered to attend the weekly session. Tunes were played, songs were sung. It was lovely and raucous. At a couple of points in the evening, everything was stopped and over the intercom would play a song, sung by Curly himself – from a time before now of course – to a complete and beautifully respectful silence. I was dumbfounded and moved close to tears. As were many.
This last week or so has been rough for some of those close to me at home. We received news about a week ago that Tony’s brother Mike was grappling with advanced cancer. Tests were being done, texts and phone calls were being exchanged across miles and time zones. From one day to the next was bad news, then occasionally less than bad news and then back to bad news again. In the end, in quick fashion, Mike died as he lived, on his own terms and in the company of family members who loved him. As one if his amazing daughters put it to me, “awful, but maybe the best awful it could be.” Wise words from a wise young woman.
It is strange for us to find ourselves here, myself in Ireland, and Tony fixing to join me for some exploring and quality time spent along the wild West Ireland coastline. Late in 2019 we had a very similar situation and sadly, upon his arrival here to meet me then, his mom had turned ill quite quickly and she too passed on. As I wrote in that blog post from the before times (we’d no clue the times ahead!), Ireland is actually not a bad place in which to ponder loss, the passage of life in general and perhaps our own mortality while we’re at it.
It is one thing to lose a parent, precious as they are to us. We are ‘supposed’ to lose our parents eventually at some point as life goes on. Heart-breaking, but natural in life’s progression. But to lose a sibling is another matter. Our siblings hold some of the keys and secrets to our origin story. Our siblings were steeped in the same familial brew in which we came up in, and in this way, they know a side of ourselves few others have access to. So to lose a sibling is to be confronted with a host of complicated and maybe even existential emotions.
So, a good chunk of my heart has been tugging back home toward Ohio in the past few days. I am looking forward to getting Tony over here and plying him with salty sea air, good food, time with the dearest of friends and perhaps a pint or 3 along the way. We’ve been long apart -not the 6 month-long naval deployment ways of auld, but a good long time indeed. It is time he come and collect me back home I suppose. I am sending sunshiney-rainy Irish blessings to the Bogard clan back home in Ohio and wishing all the deep peace of the running wave to them. In the days ahead, it is my hope that Tony can tap into the respectful quietude so readily available in a country such as this. Where the concept of the line between this life and the next is a bit blurred. As far away as I’ve felt at times here, it is good to be in a place with such a healthy relationship with not only the end of life, but of life itself.
As these final few hours of my residency roll along into eternity, winding themselves inward toward one another into the tapestry of memory, I keep painting, listening to and playing the music I love, and attempting to remain steeped in the gratitude of this moment.
God rest ye, Mike Bogard. You are well missed by those who loved you.