Another Blog from Northern Ireland
Yesterday on Facebook I joked about time-traveling when I visited a 2,000 year-old monolithic portal tomb in Northern Ireland. How could I have known I actually would transport through time – well, for a brief few minutes, anyway. Getting ready to leave Dad’s house in Robin Hill for the Legananny Dolmen, I found my purse too heavy with coins, so I separated the US coinage from my British, and found an old purse of Mum’s in the spare bedroom closet to put it in. Since her death in 2003, I still find random items of hers that had been overlooked. Inside the purse I found a few sheets of paper, tightly folded to fit. Recognizing my mother’s writing, I discovered this to be an excerpt from a diary apparently written over 15 years ago when she first visited me in the States. I wanted to inhale the words at once, my eyes already scanning over the page. But I force myself to stop. I’d keep them for later, when I had time and privacy to enjoy it properly. Tucking the purse into my bedside drawer, I smiled at how many times I’d read something like this in books, and always scoff when the person hid their letter, or whatever found treasure, to read later. Not me, I’d thought. I’d never have the patience.
But I did! All day long I kept getting a little thrill in my heart at the thought of the secret pages waiting for me at Robin Hill. When the day finally came to a close and I’d tucked myself into bed, I withdrew the purse from the drawer. Carefully, I extracted the pages and smoothed them across my lap. I found myself instantly transported back to my first summer in Oregon. Mum wrote that she had enjoyed her visit very much. She’d listed all the places we’d gone, restaurants we’d frequented, and jotted down one-word comments, describing her impressions. I vividly remembered how diligently I’d planned their trip and how important it had been to me they had a great vacation. I had fallen in love with Oregon, and I wanted them to as well. Mum’s diary plainly showed that they had had a truly marvelous time, and were happy that I had taken so well to my chosen country.
Seeing her witty and sometimes irreverent notes, I remembered her laugh, the way she poked fun at life. A reference in the diary to star-gazing reminded me how one night I’d proudly set up my new telescope for them, as Mars was reputed to be clearly visible that month. Mum had laughed until tears fell; it turned out the broiling, volcanic orb we saw through the lens was actually a street lamp.
Last night in Robin Hill I slept better than I have in a long time. It felt as though Mum had reached through time and space to remind me to take joy in just being alive. It doesn’t matter that the good times may be as fleeting as those precious few notes in her diary. The years since her death have been difficult, but today I felt a renewed sense of purpose and hope. And all because she had tucked a few pages away to be forgotten until I found them 15 years later. We may never know the effect our words have when others read them. But we have to hope that they might bring someone a moment of peace and clarity, as my mother’s words brought to me last night.