Wednesday, April 20, 2011

is Golden, Silence

What exactly does that mean, anyways? That your parents want some peace and quiet? That no news is good news? That no answer at all is more revealing than the truth, a half-truth, or a lie? That a picture is worth a thousand words? I am quite sure that I can out-platitude you, sir or madam.

In this case, the silence is golden adage means that there is so much happening and swirling around that golden = a barrel so stuffed full of things that when you tip it over to get everything to fall out, nothing falls out. So my mouth opens, but no words come out. It’s too full.


Ireland was…amazing, restful, wonderful, green, beautiful, relaxing, fun, eye-opening, spiritual, everything and more. And that was just the tea!

I jest (surely) but truly, the tea was divine, and Vor and I are nothing if not tea snobs. Well, I am a tea lover, but he is a tea snob. We have special tea equipment and tea procedures for making tea at our house, and he has declared that we can never live in Colorado because of the elevation—the tea is not hot enough when it boils, and it tastes wrong. I do pat myself on the back for making that connection before my engineer turned lawyer husband did—he was staring plaintively at his cup of tea, saying for the umpteenth time on our honeymoon that it tasted wrong, and I finally pointed out that we were in the mountains. High up in the mountains. Isn’t air pressure a problem? He looked at me with even more loving fervor in his eyes than when he had said I do days before, and he knew that this was why he married me (I jest again, surely). Yes! Elevation and air pressure and vacuum and boiling and tea—never these shall mix! He was then off on a tangent, trying to think of ways to create a tea kettle that would allow the water to get hot enough to create proper tea, and he lost me somewhere at hermetically sealed pressure chamber.

Anyways. Ireland. We flew into Dublin, and took the train across the country to the west coast, where we stayed in the lovely, quirky city of Galway for a few days. Our hotel was more of a large B&B, and it was in the middle of everything. We walked everywhere, expect when we took the ferry out to the Aran Islands. I had been to the smallest Aran Island (Inis Oirr) before, but this time, we went to the largest, Inis Mor. We rented bikes and rode around all over the island, encountering cows and sheep and stone fences and beauty and friendly Irish people speaking their supposedly native tongue to our hearts content. We sat on the cliffs that are the complement to the Cliffs of Moher, and listened to the silence.

From Galway, we rented a car—yikes—and drove a manual transmission on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road. It was actually easy to get the hang of, though I think it helps to have a passenger in the case (c’est moi) muttering under her breath: drive on the left. Left. Left. I need to be closest to the shoulder of the road. Left. Left. Left. I was the like the man who rode along side Caesar, whispering in his ear that he was only mortal. Left. Left. Left.

We drove from Galway to Limerick, saw my family for a few hours, and had dinner with them. We then drove to Cashel, and stayed the night there in a B&B, then crawled all over the Rock of Cashel in the morning. From Cashel, we drove to Blarney and crawled all over the Blarney Castle, and Vor kissed the stone. I declined, as I did not want to negate my gift of gab I previously received from kissing the stone by kissing it again. Or, I did not want to dangle upside down off a five story castle with nothing but the strength of my forearms and an Irish man named Paddy holding my waist preventing me from certain death. Again. I love Blarney—a teeny tiny town with delicious bakeries, lots of green, quaint shopping and a castle.

From Blarney, we drove to Kenmare. Kenmare is about 40 minutes away from Killarney, and is a small town situated on a bay. We stayed at a B&B that was on the bay, drove through Killarney National Park, experienced part of the ridiculously touristy but never the less gorgeous Ring of Kerry, and relaxed. After two days, we took a train back to Dublin, spent the night in Dublin, and came home.


Home—is where the heart is; is where, when you go there, they have to let you in; see also, you can never go home again. Or maybe, it is you can always go home again. I suppose it depends on the person, and the home.

We know what caused the acute attack that put my mother in the hospital, but we still don’t know what that spot on her liver is. We’re waiting, and we wait and wait and wait, for doctors, for referrals, for appointments, for tests, for results.

As the time ticks by, I think about how short life is. I think about how much fun it has been to be a child was born decidedly late in my parents’ life, and I think about the disadvantages. It has been fun having older, much older siblings, and one of the greatest gifts of my life to have nieces and nephews that I call brothers and sisters, because I am so close to them, in age and emotion.

It is one of the greatest heartbreaks I have that my children will not know their great grandparents, my grandparents, like most of my nieces and nephews did. They are physically long gone, though I fiercely promise myself that my children will know them through stories and my memories. The idea—the knowledge—the practical reality—that my children will not have nearly the time or memories that my nieces and nephews have had with my parents is so breathtaking, so cruel, that every time I try to voice the idea to Vor, I stop. These are words that cannot come out. I don’t know what else will come out with them. It goes beyond heartbreak. Silence is best. So, as I wait wait wait for my mom to find out about this spot on her liver, I think and try not to think.

The opposite of wait is go now go fast run run run. My mother in law has all her tests back from all doctors, and nothing surprising was found—no new news is good news. Thank God, no more surprises at this point. But, breast cancer it is, and so now we are in motion for treatment. We put our feet back on American soil and learned the latest results and the date for surgery. People seem to fall into two camps on this double mastectomy: the “if it saves her, cut them off and don’t look back” camp, and the “it’s necessary, but emotionally costly camp.” The camps clearly agree on the end result, but are certainly different in their emotional approaches towards us—and her—at this point. I, personally, would appreciate some balance.

There was a breast cancer run this weekend in town. I’ve always watched those runs from a distance and thought, yes, supporting breast cancer research is good. I’ve bought the flowers at Lowe’s that sent the proceeds from the sale of pink dahlias to breast cancer research. But as I stood behind someone in line at Starbucks to get some tea for this ridiculous cold I acquired, I saw that she was running in the race. She had the pink shirt on, and the logo. And for the first time, it was not abstract.

Anyways, the surgery is Monday. The day after Easter Sunday, which I hope and pray is good thing. This is no two hour in and out surgery. It is a marathon surgery.

Did I mention that Vor and I were supposed to fly to Florida this weekend? No, not for another vacation, though the weather is undoubtedly nicer there than it is here. We were going to say goodbye to his grandmother, whose health is failing. We were supposed to still be in Florida on Monday. So, changing those plans and tickets has been part of the go-go-go. I hope we get to see his grandmother soon. I hope we get to see her, period.


So that’s that. Despite the crazy and the bad, it’s good. Each day I draw a breath and the ones I love around me do the same is a good day. It’s golden.

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