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Monday, June 17, 2002
Vacation Ends Suddenly

Wednesday, June 12, 7:30 PM

Petrified. In about 15 minutes, I'll board Continental Flight 22 for Ireland. My pulse is racing, it's hard to breathe and I'm feeling flushed. I never anticipated the anxiety I'd feel and I'm very aware I'm flying alone. Most international travelers, it seems, have a companion or two with them. Now, I don't mind flying alone, I do it all the time, but this trip is different. I hit some nasty turbulence landing here in Newark and it's my first trip to Europe. Combined, these two variables make me long for someone to fly with.

Ah well, I'm enjoying my book very much (Nick Hornby's latest) and I had time to pen a four page missive to my pop.

Alrighty then! The next time you see me, I'll be in Ireland! Whee! Pee! Hee!

Thursday, June 13, 12:50PM EST, 5:50AM IT

The sun is rising outside my window. I tried to nap a bit after the dork movie (Dragonfly). I write tentatively as I fear this pen will burst as the other did. While writing that letter to my pop, the pen I used nearly exploded. Well, it did dribble ink all over my hand, I suspect the culprit was air pressure.

So hey. That sunrise. While it's occuring on the other side of the plane, I'm witness to a crazy compilation of stars and an ever lightening cloud cover in varying shades of blue so deep you could crawl into it and sleep for a million years. You can literally see night turn into day-- a clear deliniation from the east to the west in a gradual incline.

The minute I boarded the plane all that anxiety I was experiencing disappeared. Probably in part because I've flown so much and probably in another part because Continental is pumping some sort of tranquilizer into the air vents.

While I tried to sleep, I thought of "Big Deals". The events in my very shallow and sheltered life that sort of blew my mind. I made a list and there were only nine items on it. I'm in the middle, or rather, on the cusp of a top ten event in my life. Up until the last few days, I've treated this trip to Ireland as a almost something to just just endure. I did not respect how important it is.

Had I not been going through this dreadful move to Florida, facing unemployment and my pop's illness, I could have properly appreciated the anticipation of such a trip.

Friday, June 14, 11:30 PM IT

Ireland sucks. That was my first sentiment during the first several hours I spent huddled away in the bowels of Dublin's airport. Customs was a snap, getting my luggage was a breeze, waiting the three hours for my travel partners in the baggage claim area was ungodly.

More on that later, I just need to jot down a few things before I crash. Items I may want to expand into entries later

* Staying awake
* Car rental woes
* Drive to Kilkenny unremarkable
* Moonarch
* Attempted to eat a piece of fish, sickened
* Drive to Kinsale beautiful
* Waterford, millenium ball, Lismore, veggie filo
* Economy of the Irish
* Goofy ghost tour
* Met someone from Ocala
* Own room in Danabel
* Stop the carnage
* Success
* In America, we call them little round turny things

Saturday, June 15, 12:50PM IT

My father died this morning and I'm leaving on the next flight out of Shannon. Being here felt like a dream and now it's turned into a nightmare and I want to wake up.

It was so odd, I hardly slept last night--even on top of jet lag exhaustion and a Unisom. I tossed and turned, a knot in my stomach. When I finally slept a little, it was fitful and full of dreams of twin sisters who were witches and their brother, Tom Cashel who saved me when I was chased by a giant pig. I awoke feeling hot and feverish in the night with my heart pounding in my chest.

When the woman who owns the B&B told me I had a phone call, of course, I knew.

The grief is hard and physical and tormenting. Frightening in it's intensity. I just want to go home, but I can't leave until tomorrow.

3:50 PM IT

The saddness, the sharpest of it anyway, seems to come and go in waves. It's been about seven hours now since I found out and there are moments where I can hold it together reasonably well. I wonder why I'm not feeling more devastated.

Also, now along with my intense longing to get the fuck out of Ireland and go home, I'm also struck with an equal desire to never leave Kinsale. To simply disappear into this hilly medieval town and never see anyone I know again.

Saturday, June 15, 5:45 AM EST

I'm writing from an electrical store in Kinsale that has internet access. My pop passed away a little while ago and I'll be heading back to CT on the next flight out. Sadly, I missed today's flight by a half hour. I guess I just wanted to let you all know what was going on. I may log in later as I have this whole day to fill while I'm waiting and the phones are unrealiable. The internet is the only real way I'm staying connected with my husband while he makes plans to meet me in CT.

Everything is so surreal.

Saturday, June 15, 7:40 AM

Still surreal and worse by the minute. I ditched my Mother in law and sister in law about an hour ago. I couldn't take their try-to-hard efforts to cheer me up. They are wonderful, but I can't be cheered right now. I have to endure this day. Push my way through it like it's forcing itself in on me. I expected it to feel bad, but not like this. This is entirely different.

Sunday, June 16, 9:15 AM EST

On the plane now and the farther I get from Ireland, the closer the real pain comes. It's washing over me in waves alongside the requisite guilt and inevitable regret. I'm very nearly consumed but for a tiny opening through which, astonishingly, I am able to breathe.

Monday, June 17, 10:13 AM

I finally arrived home last night after about 18 hours of travel and airport nightmares on no sleep. Sometime when I get my wits together, I'm going to write a strongly worded letter to Continental about their shabby and nearly heartless treatment of a girl who lost her father and just wanted to go home. They made it so hard for me.

And the airports, with their signs shouting "DON'T FORGET YOUR DAD ON FATHER'S DAY" didn't matters at all. I held my shit together pretty well for my mother in law and sister in law in Ireland, but once I arrived in Newark, with the stupid airline's and the stupid airport shop's help, the full force of it hit. Or so I thought.

Now that I'm here, in my parent's house, my mother's house, I can't even express the oddness of it. At times I'm tormented by the notion of how he died here. But then, of course, I wouldn't want him to continue suffering, and he was suffering. My brother and mother told me on that last day he said he was ready to go, that he just couldn't do it anymore.

So now I spend part of my conscious hours in a zone, a place behind this wall where it doesn't reach me and I can function and take care of my mother and get things ready for the funeral on Wednesday. And I spend part of my time in the middle of it where I feel everything--pressing down on my head, under my skin and in my heart.


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