Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 34

pray for a miraculous recovery . For millennia , people had left offerings of coins and bits of red fabric in honor of the goddess Mab at these archaic sites . There was sometimes a copper cup placed in the crook of a rock to take a sip of the healing waters .
Ferrying across the stormy Bay of Galway to the island of Inisheer , we rented bikes and rode up a curvy dirt road . The sacred well was encircled by rough-hewn stones characteristic of the Aran Islands . Brien had read that if you circumambulated this well seven times — while praying the rosary — healing would be assured . I had always known him to be an atheist who eschewed anything mystical , so I was shocked when Brien had confessed that a Druid spirit accompanied him throughout the thirty-five radiation sessions of his primary treatment . On the last day of that first round with cancer , Brien heard the Celt say , You have passed the test !
Brien , ever the skeptic , had become a believer . He went on with life for the next year , trusting that his head and neck cancer was cured . A probability that his oncology team confirmed — given his youth , good health and positive response to treatment .
As the mystic in the partnership , I have to admit I felt more than a little let down when the cancer exploded throughout his body . And Brien , of course , was crushed . But he carried on : taking fistfuls of supplements , doubling down on acupuncture treatments , juicing twice daily , and committing to a spiritual practice that involved chi gong , meditation and Celtic tarot cards . All in addition to ongoing rounds of chemotherapy .
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Despite his earlier enthusiasm , Brien made what seemed to me like perfunctory ablutions at the well on the island ’ s summit , and then left to visit the ruins of a castle nearby . Going toward the worldly — rather than the mystical — was more in keeping with the pragmatic man who had been by my side for almost three decades . Still , I felt a little concerned . I couldn ’ t help noticing that toward the end of our trip Brien had begun to speak of his life in the past tense , which made the bottom drop out of my stomach .
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A lifelong devotee of divine intervention myself — whether it was through chanting to Vedic gods and goddesses or reciting a modified version of the Hail Mary that turned “ sinners ” into “ seekers ”— I didn ’ t hesitate to take it upon myself to make healing happen at this holy well . Time slowed , as I went around clockwise , then questioned if I should have gone counterclockwise in keeping with the pagan tradition . I tried to hold fast to the prayer that he would be cured , as a searing panic rose from my belly to my chest and into my throat . After the third time around the rocky well , I felt my feet turn leaden as my mind began to race . Of course he ’ s going to die ... and sooner than later ... but he can ’ t he can ’ t he can ’ t .
I tumbled into the dark well of my mind , and all faith was gone .

“ Probably the best

preparation for letting go into the unknown was marriage , itself . At our wedding in the Peace Garden I wore a black dress , which seems strangely , and horribly , prescient now .
A new headline appeared : MY HUSBAND IS DYING . We didn ’ t know when or how , but he would certainly perish from this force of nature that had been unleashed in his body . Grief leaking into my bones , I hopped on my bike to rush downhill . I was desperate to wrap my arms around Brien — even if I had to do it gently . The tires didn ’ t grip on the loose gravel , though , and braking only caused me to skid and be bucked over the handlebars . Bumping on my belly down the road like an otter , I finally flew over a large stone and landed on my jaw with such force I was amazed I didn ’ t have to spit out teeth . Blood as red as the offerings to Mab dripped from the road rash on my chin .
I felt all alone in the world . Until I brushed myself off and saw a plump sheep , wriggling its head through a gate to gaze at me . And my wounds .

pray for a miraculous recovery. For millennia, people had A lifelong devotee of divine intervention myself—whether it left offerings of coins and bits of red fabric in honor of the was through chanting to Vedic gods and goddesses or re- goddess Mab at these archaic sites. There was sometimes citing a modified version of the Hail Mary that turned “sin- a copper cup placed in the crook of a rock to take a sip of ners” into “seekers”—I didn’t hesitate to take it upon myself the healing waters. to make healing happen at this holy well. Time slowed, as Ferrying across the stormy Bay of Galway to the island of Inisheer, we rented bikes and rode up a curvy dirt road. The sacred well was encircled by rough-hewn stones characteristic of the Aran Islands. Brien had read that if you circumambulated this well seven times—while praying the rosary—healing would be assured. I had always known him to be an atheist who eschewed anything mystical, so I was shocked when Brien had confessed that a Druid spirit I went around clockwise, then questioned if I should have gone counterclockwise in keeping with the pagan tradition. I tried to hold fast to the prayer that he would be cured, as a searing panic rose from my belly to my chest and into my throat. After the third time around the rocky well, I felt my feet turn leaden as my mind began to race. Of course he’s going to die...and sooner than later...but he can’t he can’t he can’t. accompanied him throughout the thirty-five radiation I tumbled into the dark well of my mind, and all faith was sessions of his primary treatment. On the last day of that gone. first round with cancer, Brien heard the Celt say, You have passed the test!  Brien, ever the skeptic, had become a believer. He went on with life for the next year, trusting that his head and neck cancer was cured. A probability that his oncology team confirmed—given his youth, good health and positive response to treatment.  As the mystic in the partnership, I have to admit I felt more than a little let down when the cancer exploded “ Probably the best preparation for letting go into the unknown was marriage, itself. At our wedding in the Peace Garden I wore a black dress, which seems strangely, and horribly, prescient now. “ throughout his body. And Brien, of course, was crushed. But he carried on: taking fistfuls of supplements, doubling down on acupuncture treatments, juicing twice daily, and committing to a spiritual practice that involved chi gong, A new headline appeared: MY HUSBAND IS DYING. meditation and Celtic tarot cards. All in addition to ongo- We didn’t know when or how, but he would certainly perish ing rounds of chemotherapy.  from this force of nature that had been unleashed in his __________________________________________________________________ Despite his earlier enthusiasm, Brien made what seemed to me like perfunctory ablutions at the well on the island’s summit, and then left to visit the ruins of a castle nearby. Going toward the worldly—rather than the mystical—was more in keeping w ]HYX]XX[YY[H^HYH܈[[YHXY\ˈ[ H[H]HۋB\Y H[&][X[]\H[و\\Y[YY[XZو\YH[H\[KXXYHHH]و^HXX KܚYYXZ[[^Hۙ\HYۈ^HZB\ۚ[ H\\\]Hܘ\^H\\\[Y[%][YHY][KH\\Y&]ܚ\ۂHHܘ][ Y [Z[ۛH]\YYHœY[HXYݙ\H[X\ˈ[\[ۈ^B[HۈHYZH[\H[[H]ݙ\H\BۙH[[Yۈ^H]]XܘHH\[X^YHY&]]H]]Y] \Y\Hٙ\[XX\YHHY\ۈ^H[H[[[ۙH[Hܛ [[H\Y^\[ٙ[]H[\Y\ ܚY[]XYYH]H™^H]YK[^H[˰