[The beginning of the third week after Ryan's accident was marked by a note on the blog kept by Sharon Browne, for Celtic Thunder. It gave very little information, but did confirm that Ryan had been hospitalized, and she implied that his condition was serious. There seemed to be some hope in her blog post that he was at least actually improving, though. Meanwhile the fire near Fort Collins had become rather serious, and new fires were breaking out elsewhere in Colorado.]
June 18, 2012
Yes, another candle. This candle is more broad, though, than my previous ones. It is certainly for Ryan, because even knowing he’s recovering, he’s not well enough to be back on twitter yet, and twitter doesn’t take much beyond being alert enough to text and having one hand free to text with. So, my thoughts are still with Mr. Ryan Kelly until he is well, and long after. I chose a pine cone candle though, tonight, because two of the major Boy Scout camps in Colorado have been evacuated now because of fires. Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, where I worked at one time, was evacuated a few days ago because of the High Park Fire, and today a new fire further south has caused Camp Alexander to be evacuated. So, in addition to Mr. Kelly, this candle is for all those camp staff, scouters and scouts who love these places and are hoping they escape the worst of the wildfires’ effects.
At another scout camp where I worked several summers, we used to do ‘candles’, at least when there was not a fire ban, after closing campfire every week. Each person held a lit candle, and could publicly dedicate their candle to a person or people who needed thoughts and prayers, or who did something really nice during the week, or who was simply a source of strength or inspiration to them. It was one of the most cherished traditions at that camp, and one I think of every night as I write my candle posts on this blog. In my mind I have a little white candle, and I am standing just inside the circle of all my friends and companions, dedicating the tiny dancing light of my candle to Ryan and all those scout camp folks, before blowing the candle out and sending those thoughts and well-wishes into the Universe with the tendrils of smoke.
June 19, 2012
June 20, 2012
Yay! A new candle! Ok, maybe the enthusiasm’s a bit overblown, considering. Still, it is a new candle, one I have not used already, anyway, and it comes to us via Ryan and Neil, since it is one of theirs from their tour blog. It’s really hard to believe that they posted their last tour blog video less than 3 weeks ago. When they got back to Ireland, I remember thinking I might actually finish up my fan letters to the two of them, and finally, actually send them letters, and right about the same time as I would have been settling in to write the first letter, I checked my facebook and saw the note that Ryan was in hospital.
Have I written those letters yet? No.
I was not really sure what to write after that sudden shock of news. But since Ryan is not going to be here for the Atlantic City shows, maybe he’ll be up to reading fanmail by the time I get my letter done and get the guts to mail it. Ryan is such an amazing person, and realizing that we probably did come very, very close to losing him has made me reevaluate things a bit. There’s a sentiment that pops up every so often, that when we love someone we should tell them, because no one knows what the future holds.
I hope with all my heart and soul that Ryan is getting better, so that he can rejoin his friends in the studio, on stage and in the CT community around the world. In the meantime, it is high time I start writing that letter, and one for Neil as well. I hope I have learned my lesson enough not to wait to write until he’s in hospital too!
June 21, 2012
Two weeks is a long time for contemporary society, and in a few days it will have been three weeks since Ryan was hospitalized. The rest of Celtic Thunder will be singing in Atlantic City in a few days, the newbie singer, Colm Keegan, is hard at work learning his parts… As the Beatles song says, “life goes on.” All those fans who feel self-righteously that they behaved correctly, by quietly waiting for news and staying away from social media entirely, have chimed in on the various social media platforms snidely denouncing as rude all those who did not remain silent, and those who wanted to respond to them have done so. The number of people still posting anything anywhere about Ryan has shrunk down to a mere trickle, and from now on till Ryan is back, those of us who have not yet shut up and moved on will seem to some fans to be obsessed and misguided.
But, real life does not proceed nicely in the short segments that match our modern short attention spans. However much time has passed, Ryan is still unwell, as far as I know. If there was any real use, any real justification for these candles two weeks ago, then this candle is just as warranted as the ones already posted here. And, as I said a few days earlier, I am stubborn; I said Ryan would get a candle every night till he’s back, and I’m prepared to hunt down as many candles as are necessary to make that happen.
Now, more than ever, though, is when it becomes more important that these posts remain more than just empty gestures. The numbers of prayers and candles coming from the rest of the CT community may be slowly dwindling a bit, but those that remain, I hope, carry at least as much hope and love as this one.
June 21, 2012
Still missing Neil
I really picked the wrong two CT guys as my favorites, it would seem. Unfortunately love, whether the fan kind or the romantic variety, is not tempered by reason or practicality. I’ve been ‘following’ Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne on twitter and facebook ever since they set up their accounts, and I rather enjoy having random posts from those two men in my facebook newsfeed and filtering through my twitterfeed. Keith’s posts are certainly random, and plentiful, but they just are not going to mask the fact that I am not hearing from the two I most admire. Every time I hear “Grenade” on the speakers at McDonalds, I am reminded that I am still missing Neil, and that since Atlantic City is almost 2000 miles from my apartment, I can’t even see him in the next few weeks by buying a ticket. No, my life is not ruled by the emptiness his absence manifests- I lived three decades of my life just fine before I knew Neil existed, after all. But, I have not forgotten him either.
June 22, 2012
Borrowing another batch of candles from the Acoustic by Candlelight tour pics. Photos of candles Ryan actually touched, and that he might have even lit himself, might be more powerful than random ones off of a google image search. Right?
Rumors had started flying about Ryan ever since we first learned of his hospitalization, and having official updates on his condition has of course not stopped new and recycled rumors from circulating. But the tone of Sharon Browne’s update this morning was quite optimistic. The first update might have been almost pure PR, but the message we read today said that Ryan is in fact getting better every day, that we may hear from him in the next few weeks. Thus, he is not just on the road to recovery; we can see roughly where on that road he is, and in which direction he is headed. With any luck, he’ll be back online long before I run out of candles, too, so that when I see him in November, when CT’s tour reaches me here, I won’t have had to start hitting up local churches yet, and Ryan won’t owe me a hug. Though, he is always welcome to one anyway, always.
In the meantime, Ryan remains in my thoughts again tonight as I send out another virtual candle into the virtual space of the Universe.
June 22, 2012
Reading through Neil’s very kind and thoughtful message again, his most recent blog post from earlier today, I am still amazed at how lovely a person Neil is. Neil puts so much of himself into his music and into his interactions with everyone, including his fans, that he could not have remained on twitter and facebook these past weeks. I think just about all of us who have heard his music could not have expected him to react to Ryan’s sudden misfortune in any other way.
I am glad that things are getting back to normal, enough for Neil to rejoin us online, and as always, I hope that we’ll be getting Ryan back again soon too. With any luck, by the time the Fall tour rolls around we’ll not only have our Celtic Thunder community back to normal, but it will be better than ever before.
June 23, 2012
Big Thanks to the CT folks here on tumblr
Before I get to my actual candle post for tonight, which I am still contemplating and composing at the moment, I wanted to post a heartfelt thank you to all the Celtic Thunder/Neil Byrne/Ryan Kelly fans who’ve been reading, liking and reblogging my posts. When I started my first candle post it took a day or so to convince myself that it would be ok to post it where anyone else could see it, and I didn’t tag it right away, because I was still not sure how it would be received. It makes me smile every time I see all the notes accumulating under what I’ve posted. And, every time one of my candles goes out into the tumblr Universe, it’s like a sort of virtual Tibetan prayer wheel, each like and reblog sending more hope, love and good thoughts out into the ether. Thank you!
June 23, 2012
Today has been lovely. Getting a message from Neil on my facebook newsfeed was one of the best ways I could imagine starting the day, and Damian’s posts about Ryan made the day seem even better. Walking around town today in the hot summer sun was so nice, the very hot dry air wrapping in around us all like a cozy woollen blanket (not one with buttons, sadly), the huge smoke plume to the north glowing a soft pinkish-orange against an otherwise brilliant blue sky. :) So ice cream cone candles seemed like a good Friday night candle to wind down the week.
I did not realize until reading their tweets and posts this week, just how much it truly bothered me- even knowing why they were not saying anything- not seeing Ryan’s friends posting about him. But now that Ryan’s friends are free to express their concern for Ryan openly, it seems as if the power of all our thoughts and prayers has been ramped up a notch or so. I am sure these guys have been praying for Ryan longer, harder and more deeply than their words could express, and even moreso while they were constrained from tweeting to us about it, of course. Still, with Paul, George, Neil and Damian, and all the others adding their voices to ours publicly, I can no longer imagine how Ryan could fail to recover completely. My hope and faith grow stronger daily that he will be back to his usual amazing self soon and that I will be seeing Ryan happy and healthy in Denver this November.
June 24, 2012
Seeing some of the lovely notes others have left for Colm on his new facebook page today, I was proud to be associated with all the lovely folks who also are fans of CT. I am also grateful to Ryan and the other guys for being the focus and inspiration at the core of CT. Without their influence, transitioning a new guy into the group under these circumstances could have been a train wreck of epic proportions. We can care about Colm, as fans, having never heard him, and knowing almost nothing about him, because we know and love Ryan and Neil and George and Keith and Emmet. We are reflecting back the light we have received for years from these guys and the rest of the CT crew. So, while these candles and the thoughts that they represent come from me, they draw on the light I in turn absorbed from Ryan and the rest of the CT folks. Until Ryan is well, he may be absorbing a good deal more light than he can send us back, but I am sure that once he is well, he will once again have me in his debt for the warmth and light of his music and those parts of his soul that shine through everything we see of him.