…from the Emerald Isle:
It has been awhile since I last wrote to you.
The neurosurgeons successfully removed the cyst from my brainstem and so far so good.
I had the operation – which lasted nine hours – and has left me with a Blofeld scar running the length of the back of my head. But a week later I developed complications; an infection akin to meningitis. So spent the whole season of Lent and more in hospital pumped full of antibiotics. It was from my hospital bed I heard the shock of Pope Benedict’s resignation and the excitement surrounding the election of Pope Francis.
Double vision has been a problem, hence my inability til now to contact you. In addition, my energy levels are very low. Like a car battery that cannot hold its charge, I’ll probably fall in a heap after punching out this email to you.
I asked the neurosurgeons what was it. Apparently the ‘cyst’ was ‘inflamed tissue’. To be honest I don’t care. I have another MRI in late May but God willing that it is the end of it. The operation, the consultant told me, was very dangerous and that if anyone has had the operation (I suppose in the UK) then I am the second.
So here I am, still, thank God.
In my head I planning to join the Down and Connor pilgrimage in July to Lourdes, if I get the green light following the MRI in May. God willing, I will get to fulfil my promise to return and hear confessions, without nodding off.
While in hospital I was able to listen to the complete audio recording of The Lord of the Rings on my iPod. To be honest, looking back, I feel exactly like Frodo. Having faced Mount Doom, I find myself now back in the Shire that has been scarred by Saruman’s fear and pettiness – particularly the machinations of the visigoths across the world and my own Weathertop melancholic weariness. So the road goes further on… So please keep me in prayer, but one of thanksgiving. Lest I forget I have passed through fire and death, in the hand of another. Christ is risen, yes, Christ has truly risen!
Fr. Niall Sheehan
Father, thank you for the grace, strength and healing you have given your servant Fr. Niall. Help him with your grace and help him to be the sacrament you have made him to be, for the growth of your Church, and for his sanctification. Mother Mary and St. John Vianney, pray for him. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!