Our family is in County Claire, Ireland, walking the Burren Way. On one stretch, we walked 13 miles to the little village by the sea, Fanore, only to discover this is the burial place of one of Miska’s favorite modern poets, John O’Donohue. He left us too soon, in 2008. The cemetery is a small plot tucked into a stark, bare hillside, with an expansive view of the wild Atlantic. John often said that if we’re to endure times of bleakness, it is essential to always keep the image of something beautiful in your soul. His resting place does just this.
I met a young woman who was visiting the grave of a loved one. She was friends with John and shared stories of how he’d light up every room he entered, and how in the lashing rain, she’d take her dog to the beach — and John would be the only other person out there, reveling in the tempest as she was. He’d ask how she was, and she’d reply with a quick response.
“No,” he’d say (and you have to hear this in the strong Irish lilt John had, as well as this woman). “How are you really?”
So, I hope you are keeping your heart’s eye on something beautiful. And I hope you have someone near you who every once in a while says, “No, how are you really.”
Thank you, John. You gave us so much.