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Ireland will miss you too.

Have you ever left your country of birth to begin a new life abroad? Was it a journey of choice, or one of necessity? Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to leave your homeland at eighty four years of age? photo credit: <a href="">soilse</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

As a young twenty two year old I left Ireland for Australia. One freezing cold January day, my now husband and I, kissed family goodbye at the airport and off we flew, for our chosen adventure in Perth. Leaving that day was so difficult. My father was just over one year dead, and my Mom and some of my family came to the airport to wave us off. I can remember struggling hard to hide my tears, and looking back I will be forever grateful to my Mom for being brave, and making our parting so much easier.

We were gone for about sixteen months and enjoyed ourselves enormously. Ours was a journey of choice. Many are not so lucky. For them the emigration is forced. Leaving all they love behind in order to look for work, and build a better life for themselves and for their family. These are the two types of emigration I have always known of. However recently I have learned of another.

In a few weeks time an elderly gentleman, whom my friend and I visit regularly, will leave Ireland for England. He will leave the home he shared with his wife who died a few years ago, and travel to live with his son. His house will be packed up, he will say goodbye to his friends and neighbours, to his wife’s burial place, to his much loved back garden, and to the country he loves dearly.

In the past few weeks we have had many a discussion with him about his leaving. He is naturally heartbroken and very reluctant to leave. We try to paint a nice picture for him, of what it will be like to live with his son, who clearly thinks the world of him. However last weekend as I arrived in England for a family wedding, my good pal was very much on my mind. As I sat on the train, watching the countryside pass by, I tried to imagine what he would think on that day, not too far in the future, when he sits on a train, on his way to his new life. Looking out the window I tried to tell myself that this countryside is so very like Ireland, all hills and fields. Yet as I gazed out my window I shook my head. For even though I saw those fields, and cows and farms, I could see no likeness to home. For in my heart these were English fields, and those farms had English houses on them. Certainly very pretty, but definitely not like home.

I can admit that it has  greatly troubled me over the past few days. My good pal has lived in England in the past. He did so for forty years, having left Ireland at sixteen by sneaking onto a boat without paying. He lived a good life there, married and raised his son, but thirty years ago he returned ‘home’, for good. He remarked the other day, wistfully, in his soft Kerry accent , ‘By God, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have to leave this good country again’.photo credit: <a href="">debs-eye</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

As the days and weeks tick by, ever nearer to us saying our own goodbyes, I am filled with regrets. Regrets we met this lovely gentleman so late, and huge regrets that we cannot take this awful burden from him. This week we will call to see him as always, and as we do so we will pass the old fashioned trunk he has taken down from the attic, that is sitting there alongside his other old suitcases. Each time I see them I imagine them full, as they were when he and his wife arrived ‘home’ thirty years ago. I also imagine him, someday soon, filling them with the life he has lived here. Closing them up, and taking them away. Away from his ‘home’, from the Ireland he holds dear.

I know in many ways he is a lucky man. His son and family eagerly await his arrival. They look forward to a family Christmas, their first in many years, and there are great grandchildren for him to meet. Yet I know despite all the love they have to give him, this man loves Ireland. He loves it with all his heart and soul. My friend and I know how hard it will be to say goodbye to him. We cannot begin to imagine how hard it will be for him to say goodbye. To leave home at eighty four years of age.

It is certainly a side of old age and emigration I never knew existed. I hope in my own future that I never have to experience anything like it. I wish my good pal an easy passage, from his life here in Ireland to his new life in England.

He will be greatly missed…. and not just by this country.

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Why are we still together?

Do you remember when you first fell in love? Did you feel as if you were spinning, lightheaded and on top of the world? Did your love last?

I was still a teenager when I met my now husband. A lifetime of water has passed under the bridge since then. We have lived through many highs and lows. Shared the joys of giving birth to four children, and all the difficulties and pleasures parenting them brings. We have been torn apart by grief and have on occasions had great rows, most of which we now cannot remember the ‘why’ of.

So after all these years do we still get in a spin when we think of each other? Do we feel any of those heady feelings of an early love? What keeps us together?photo credit: <a href="">Simon Daniel Photography</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a

Last Saturday my husband and I traveled to a family wedding. The thought of which was all consuming last week. Flights and hotels to be confirmed, not to mention the dread I felt about what I would wear. I am very much a jeans kind of girl, and dressing up is really not my ‘thing’. However a dress, shoes and even a handbag were borrowed, and off we flew, a weekend of partying to begin.

As predicted the weekend was all we could have wanted and more. However, the elements of it that were all I had thought about in the weeks before, are not in fact what I remember foremost in my mind tonight as I look back. It is not the laughter, the time alone with my husband, the meeting of family, the visiting of a new city, nor the break away, which fill my heart tonight as I look back fondly on the past few days.

It is something very different.

It is something that was said during the wedding ceremony. Words these two young people, about to begin a life together, said to each other, and they are playing on a loop in my head ever since.

As they were about to marry, the reverend recalled a conversation he had with them on his first meeting. He had asked what were the qualities they liked in each other and what did they get from each other. Words such as kind, loyal, caring and honest were used as they described each others attributes.

Then the bride said of her young husband to be, ‘He makes me better’.
Separately her husband to be said, ‘She makes me what I am meant to be’.

As I listened my mind stilled, and those words echoed, over and over again. ‘He makes me better’, ‘She makes me what I am meant to be’.

On occasions I have wondered about my own marriage. What it is that keeps us together? What it is that has allowed us to remain friends and partners for over two decades? Finally, this weekend I believe I have found the answer, for myself anyway.

‘He makes me better’. ‘He makes me what I am meant to be’.


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You don’t know everything about me.

This is more an update than a post. You might think I share a lot here on my blog, but I bet you didn’t know I’m off to a wedding tomorrow. Or that it is a plane ride away? Or that I am having a complete breakdown. It’s 11pm,  I’ve just checked in, booked a train ticket, and  finished packing. Oh yes and after much wondering I am wearing a dress, and heels!

The wedding is not until Saturday, so we have a day to wander around. Hurrah you say, that sounds lovely, just youphoto credit: <a href="">caribb</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a> and your other half. Childfree. However due to rotten plane timetabling we leave our house tomorrow morning at 5 am and arrive possibly wrecked at 8 am. As it is a wedding, my husband will be carrying his suit, and both of us have pull along cases, which always, rightly or wrongly, remind me of dorky school goers. Tonight  as I did a last minute check of everything, I discovered that we cannot check in until 3 pm. Imagine? We will be arriving in Cambridge approximately 9.30 am, and for the next five hours we will have to wander about viewing the beautiful sites, like two who were just let out of a home.

I already know the conversation. ‘I’m hungry’.  ‘A city is a city’. ‘Where can we sit to watch the Ryder Cup?’. ‘What time is it now’. ‘I think we’ve been down this road a few times already’. ‘Stop annoying me’. ‘Why didn’t you book an early check in?’. ‘Feck off’. ‘You’re really annoying me now’.

Hopefully once we eventually check in and relax the day will begin to improve. Slowly the clann will arrive, and I have a feeling some of us will be a bit thirsty. Then after a further look about our surroundings, I believe some more drinking and eating will take place, and so it will continue.

I am actually really looking forward to the whole weekend. It is a major treat to get away, and to go to a family wedding.  However my poor other half is not quite as thrilled. His football team, that he is an official of, (official what I don’t know, selector, minder, water provider, adviser, who knows) have been training since last November. Just as the beautiful bride walks down the aisle, the ref will be blowing the whistle to begin the semi final of the championship, starring his team. Later that day, at 5 pm an even greater sporting occasion begins. If we were in Ireland the shops would empty and the pubs fill. The replay of the All Ireland Hurling Championships will begin, (for those of you who have no idea what that is, take it from me, it is the fastest, most exciting and skilful game on the planet). For the uninitiated to miss this is sacrilege.

So all in all not the best weekend to drag a man away. However, I’m sure he’ll get over it, and I know I will.
Don’t miss me too much. I’ll be back with all the news, or maybe not. Slán.

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The disadvantages of public blogging…. people you know can read it!

Who reads your blog? Do any members of your family read it? How do you feel about friends or neighbours following it?

My blog is public. I know some members of my family read it, also friends and others I know. However, I imagine to myself that they rarely bother, and even if they do, that this very post I’m writing is one they definitely wont read. It is, I know, denial of the highest order, but it is the only way I can write and press publish. Until that is I meet them, and they speak of something I have written, or they tell someone else whom we are speaking to, that I blog. Then my bubble is well and truly burst.

‘What do you blog about?’, is the question most non bloggers ask me, while looking at me as if I have something unidentified and not pleasant, stuck on my face. It is a question that always embarrasses me. I never know what to say. What do I blog about? ‘Nothing much, I answer, just whatever I am thinking about’. This answer usually leads to a sympathetic nodding of the head, accompanied by an ‘Oh’. Quite clearly most people don’t get credit: <a href="">Annie Mole</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

My own family tolerate my ‘hobby’. They watch as I sit typing away, and I suspect they think I’m a little bit  touched. Sometimes, especially in the past year with the death of young Daniel, I type with tears pouring down my face, totally lost in what I am writing. That you might say is a good thing, but I am usually typing in the sitting room, with at least one of my children present watching television. They are oblivious to the idea I might be concentrating on what I’m doing, so regularly they sit chatting to me, expecting me to answer them, and take in every word they are saying.

My poor husband despairs of this blog. He initially lived in hope that I would quickly gather a following of millions. He imagined how we would cope with selling advertising space on it, and what lovely things we might get for free to review. Eighteen months later he has given up. This blog is a major disappointment to him, and I suspect in some ways, you my readers, are like a third person in our marriage.

As I said my blog is public, but it embarrasses me hugely whenever anyone refers to it, even close friends, especially if I have posted about my family. On one occasion last Summer I wrote a post called ‘My husband is so lucky he married me’. In it I described my other half getting really mad at me, so mad he left the house in a temper to go for a cycle. I shared that he should be grateful to me, because of me he is in great shape. The day after I posted this, a friend texted me to say she was laughing her head off as she had just passed him cycling along, and was wondering what I had done to upset him this time!

My children rarely read my blog, I think. But occasionally they do. One night I had written a post about my Dad on his birthday. He died over twenty years ago, and I was feeling a bit nostalgic. I had not told my children that day that it was his birthday, but sitting watching TV late that night the door opened. My eldest walked in and gave me a rare heartfelt hug. As she did so she said, ‘Sorry, I didn’t know’. It was lovely.

However my children reading also has it’s downfalls.

One evening I wrote a post for my own mom, thanking her for all she had done for me over the years. I had been reminded of all she did for me while mothering my own gang.  A few days later my daughter came into the kitchen. ‘Lies, lies, it’s all lies’, she shouted, with a twinkle in her eye as she began to take out the ironing board. ‘What is?’, I replied, and then looking at the wrinkled top she had with her,I remembered my post. In it I had written,

‘When my daughter asks me where her blue top is,
and I say ‘I’ve just ironed it’,
because I knew she wanted to wear it out that night.

I say ‘Thank you’.

I began to laugh. Look at it’, she said, pointing to her top. ‘It’s blue and I’m going out tonight and you definitely have not ironed it’, she laughed.small__4907060147

Then there was last night.

For two days in a row, out of the blue I got a notification on wordpress, ‘tric liked your post’. At the time I was no where near my laptop, and if I was I certainly was not going to like my own posts. When it happened the second time, I wondered to myself, had someone stolen my identity on wordpress? Then last night I went into the kitchen where my other half was sitting with his laptop open. ‘I’m reading your blogs’, he said, as if I have more than one. I smiled as he had recently discovered I had made the Irish Blog Awards Finals, so I knew he was seeing what it was all about. ‘Yes, he said, I even ‘liked’ a couple of your posts the other day’. Mystery solved. He was reading my blog while logged in as me. I had to smile, but also tell him to log out or don’t like!

So while I love having a blog, and thoroughly enjoy writing it, sometimes when it is read by those close to home, it can be just a little bit embarrassing. However, to date it is not enough to make me stop. Not yet anyway.

Mind you who knows what I’ll write about tomorrow!

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You do make a difference.

Do you shy away from grief? Would you cross the road rather than comfort someone who has lost a loved one? Do you wonder what to say? Does seeing someone mourn make you uncomfortable?

I do agree that it is very hard to watch someone hurting. Since young Daniel died I have seen up close the pain of a mother who has lost a child. I have watched her mourn on a few occasions, as the loss of Daniel spills over. However mostly I have watched her dig deep, put her grief to one side, and continue to support her children through this life changing event. Her strength has been extraordinary.

I am not the only one who is there for my friend. There are others around her and her family, doing their helpless best to comfort and support them. We muddle along doing what little we can, but almost daily we feel helpless.

As those of you who read my blog regularly know, I was dreading last Friday night. It was a big night in our local GAA club in memory of Daniel.  It was the final of the Rebel óg under 12 league. I was not looking forward to watching boys like Daniel running around, playing the game he loved. Boys of twelve. The age Dan was when he was told he had leukemia. The age he was when he played his last game.

However the night was fantastic.  People came to the pitch in droves. The local pipe band marched the boys onto the pitch, and there was a wonderful air of occasion. Sadly our team, who had luckily made the final, lost, but only by a few points.dannys cup

As we left the sidelines and entered the pitch for the presentation I looked around. There were quite literally hundreds of people milling around. As Daniels parents stood together the crowd gathered in a circle around them. It struck me how many who were not actually family or close friends had turned up. So many who had come to the club to show this family, by their presence, that they had not forgotten Daniel, and to show their support. As they gathered around them last night it was as if they collectively were reaching out and carrying Dans family, helping them through.

Daniels mom has often said to me, that these occasions remembering Daniel are not easy, but that it would be harder if these days stopped, and Daniel was forgotten. Today as I remember Friday night I am so pleased. I know my friend will be delighted at how well it all went, how lovely it was to remember Daniel in a way he himself would have loved, and to have been supported by so many.

In our lives we often shy away from awkward situations. When a bereavement happens many do not know what to do. What should they say? As time goes by they wonder should they speak of the loved one who died, or is that just upsetting the family?  There are not many families who have the level of support Daniels family do. Others have lost children, and are hurting desperately. For them there are no memorial events, no occasions for them to know that others know they are in pain, and that their loved one is not forgotten.

I have learned many lessons on grief this year and one of them is, that remembering someones loved one is so important, and acknowledging their loss equally so. We do not need to do it in our hundreds, but we do need to be do it. To take the time to reach out to those who are mourning, and to let them know that we have not forgotten, that we do still care, and we know they still hurt.

Do not be afraid of grief. Your words or deeds can make a really big difference to someone who is already hurting so much.

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I’ve been made redundant!

Don’t panic I’ve not lost my high paid job (as I don’t have one). No I am referring to my life as a mother.  Tonight another door on motherhood closed to me forever.

I was sitting down, minding my own business, happily watching nothing in particular on TV, and feeling all was quite good in my world, when the door opened. In came my youngest. At twelve, no longer a young child, but my baby regardless of her age.

Goodnight Mom’, she said, as she bent down to give me the usual Goodnight kiss.

‘Night sweetheart’ I replied, hugging her in return, but truthfully, I was trying to see over her shoulder and listen to the last two minutes of the mindless soap I was watching.

‘You don’t need to come up tonight Mom’, I heard her say as she left the room. ‘Okay darling‘ I replied, in not listening mode, while staring at the TV wondering would he really die?

A short while later my husband walked into the room and said, ‘She doesn’t want us to go up anymore, did she tell you?’.small_9861136874 (1)

‘What?’, I thought as I looked up. Then her words came back to me, ‘You don’t need to come up tonight Mom’ . I tried to get my head around it. No more ‘goodnights’. No more goodnight kisses, no last minute hugs, no shared moments lying together on the bed as she revealed something in her day she hadn’t told me earlier. No more bedtime.

Quickly I put all such thoughts out of my mind. ‘ Ah don’t mind her, she doesn’t really mean it’, I said.

I waited the usual twenty minutes or so and then up I went. I have begun to get used to the closed bedroom door, the closing of which was the last punch she gave us a couple of weeks ago. Unperturbed I opened it and went in. Now it may have been only twenty minutes since she had left me downstairs, but as I entered her room I knew times had changed. I was definitely getting the vibe, ‘Not Welcome’.

Many years of mothering have ensured that I have grown a thick skin. Choosing to ignore the frosty atmosphere, I bent over her fake, ‘I’m almost asleep,’ position, and gave her the obligatory bedtime kiss. She reached up and hugged me, but as she did so I knew, this was it. There was no softening her  determination. These nights were no more.

As I kissed her I breathed in, inhaling twenty three years of bedtimes. Hoping it would allow me to forever remember that warm, tucked up smell of a child. My child.

An hour has passed and it is slowly sinking in. Yes there will be no more broken nights, no more early mornings and for that I am not sorry, but there will also be no more bedtime stories, no more bedtime chats, no more end of the day moments spent lying together.

I cannot help but feel redundant. I have been a mother of young children for over twenty years. Now what?

……………………..Well let me tell you what. Two weeks have passed since I wrote the above so here is the update.

Each night when she goes to bed she says ‘goodnight’ to us, but there continues to be an air of threat in her voice, as if she is warning us she still means business. However after she leaves I no longer feel sad. As I sit where I am and continue to watch, uninterrupted, the programme I was watching on TV, I can indulge in a glass of wine knowing she wont be calling me. I can light a candle, open the lap top and relax, enjoying the banter of social media. I can go to bed and not worry about a duvet that has fallen off or of waking a child while I tuck her in. I can sleep all night.

There is also another side to this loss of a young child. For hand in hand with bedtime, goes morning time. This morning I was blissfully reminded of it. I woke early and lay in bed relaxing. No one to disturb me. After a late night last night I was a little dehydrated, so I went downstairs for a cup of tea, and I made myself some toast. Alone.  I then happily toddled back to bed with my breakfast and a book, knowing that I could stay there uninterrupted as long as I wished. As I settled down, reading my book and re hydrating, I congratulated myself on a job completed.

Yes there is a lot to be said for redundancy. In fact I can highly recommend it!

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Good news!

Remember that miserable blogger who wrote the last post on this blog? Well that girl has left the building! Look at my shiny new button. Yes I am a finalist in the Irish Blog Awards, I have made it to the final ten in Best Personal Blog.blog_buttons_FINALIST

When I read on facebook earlier today, that the list was published, (how did I function without facebook) I was taken aback. Not just because I made the final, but because before clicking on the link I froze. Only then did I realise I really cared. I really wanted to make it to the final. For no matter what we write about blogging being a hobby, a passion, a joy, blah, blah, blah etc, etc for many of us it is so much more than that.

‘My thoughts on a page’ is a very real part of me now. I often write from the heart, sometimes taking too little time to edit or wonder should I publish. The nature of these posts mean that this blog is, in essence, an extension of myself. I may be co incidentally in the ‘Personal’ category, but this blog is very personal, to me. A place I go, to laugh with others, to wonder, to rant, and in the past year, to mourn.

So today I am over the moon with the result. Last year I made the Final, as some of you know, but I was so new to blogging I had no idea what that meant. This year I do, and I am thrilled.

Sadly I’ll have to inform my dearest beloved that there is no commercial windfall associated with this ‘honour’, which I’m sure will lessen his delight at my success. However money isn’t everything.

Last night I went to sleep with a dread in my heart, as today is the day we remember young Daniel on the GAA playing field, as they present for the first time the Danny Crowley Memorial Cup. I couldn’t imagine watching a group of young boys aged 12 playing football. I couldn’t imagine going in afterwards and listening to his father give a speech, and being so proud of my friend, his mother, standing so bravely alongside his siblings. I was worried about the amount of tears I would shed in a most inappropriate fashion. Have you seen the person who stands with silent tears falling down their face? Well that is not me. I am the one with the red eyes, blotchy face and runny nose, barely able to stem the flow of tears, while stiffing sobs!  I am not exactly pretty or good looking, but when I cry…look away, I am a very ugly crier.

However now I have a lighter heart, helped in no small measure by my own good news. I also feel strong. I will watch the match, I will cheer on those young boys, and I will stand and cheer as speeches are made and young Daniel is remembered.

Then I will join his family and friends and we will have a toast to his memory, and to as many other things as we can think of!

Thank you all once again, for your ongoing support, and of course for reading, ‘My thoughts on a page’. I love you visiting, reading and of course commenting.  Results in two weeks, but Finalist is good enough for me.

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Maybe I’ll post tomorrow.

There are times when I sit to write and the words just fly. They are typed before any conscious thought has taken place. In a way it is similar to free writing. Usually on those occasions there is hardly need to edit, and I am often surprised by what I’ve written.

Then there are days like today.

Today I have tried to write. Tried in vain to write, I should say. I part wrote, a humorous piece, a serious piece, a personal piece. All of which I deleted.

For today I am caught up in a spin of thoughts, all centering around loss. It is eleven months this week since young Ben died, and as I go to school I still miss seeing him en route. Then there is Daniel. Yesterday as I stood in his house, seeing him smiling out from so many photographs I felt his loss anew.

This Friday night we are gathering for a very special football match. It is the final of an under twelve league. This year it has a new trophy, The Danny Crowley cup. A memorial trophy for young Daniel. photo credit: <a href="">photosteve101</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

As I think about it, and the presentation that will follow, I feel my temper rising. I think of the many words I would really like to write, most of them unprintable. The words I can write I don’t want to. Words such as ‘Memorial’ and ‘Graveyard’, stick in my throat, as do the words, ‘Memories’,’Died’,and ‘Gone’.

I am so angry today. So very angry.

So today I cannot write. I have tried and I have failed. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe the fact that I have written this post, about what I cannot write about, will in fact free me once more. Or maybe I will just have to wait a few days, and take the time to be angry and to be sad.

I’ll just have to wait and see.

My apologies to those of you who read this far, hoping for something better. I did too, but it was not to be.

Maybe tomorrow?

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This is my song

What song best says who you are? Not the song which you think others would associate with you, but the song which, to your mind, best describes you. The one you yourself most identify with.

Yesterday I was flicking through facebook, and I came across a post asking this question. I have no idea where I read it, or who posted it, but the person was suggesting that the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams best summed them up. So I began to wonder, what is my song?

Immediately one song came to mind. It is ‘Concrete Angel’ by Martina McBride.

Generally speaking anyone who knows me now would probably think of me as relatively chilled out, content and photo credit: <a href="">Ed Yourdon</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>happy. However this is not the person I have always been, and to this day a part of me can never forget the girl I used to be.

Whilst I do not sing it from the rooftops, I do not hide the fact that as a teenager I was abused. Not by a member of my family I hasten to add. It does not define me, but it is a part of my past. During those years my world was a lonely place to live in. Whenever I hear this song, time slips away, and I clearly remember that troubled girl I used to be. I remember her isolation, living alone, in a world of so many. I remember her belief that this was her lot, and I remember feeling lost and at times very lonely.

During those years I spent a lot of time inside my own head, battling to survive. I often went away to a different world, to a place where I was happy, where I could be free. It was part of what kept me strong, and allowed me to eventually survive.

The words of this song perfectly describe that escape.

‘The teacher wonders but she doesn’t ask
It’s hard to see the pain behind the mask
Bearing the burden of a secret storm
Sometimes she wishes she was never born

Through the wind and the rain
She stands hard as a stone
In a world that she can’t rise above
But her dreams give her wings
And she flies to a place where she’s loved
Concrete angel’

That girl is a long way from where I am today, but deep down she never really left me. We have shared a lot of hard times together, and I will always be grateful for her strength, and her ability to survive.

Thankfully for me life got a whole lot better, and I now live in that world, which at the time I could only dream of, with a man, who at the time I could never have imagined.

This is my song. What is yours?

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I can’t believe I did that.

Yes, there are some things I did as a younger me, which perhaps I would not be overly proud of today. I would like to think I am not the only one. I was a bit of a ‘devil may care’ individual when I was younger. Someone who, here in Ireland, we might call ‘a chancer’.

However there is one incident I remember which perhaps I should be ashamed of, but guess what? I’m not!

It happened when I was a newly qualified nurse. I was working night duty on a ward, but I also was responsible for another smaller ward, which was looked after by a student nurse. During the night I would regularly call over to her to ensure all was well, and to supervise the drug rounds.

Night duty is often a very busy time, as patients who are sick tend to continue to be unwell by night, when there are less staff on duty. Many nights I worked twelve hours with no break. On busy nights such as those, it was always a delight if a patient gave us a box of sweets. They were greatly enjoyed by all.

However on the ward I was relieving, if a patient gifted chocolates or sweets for the nurses, the ward sister thanked them profusely, and then locked them in a press. She would later give them to the kitchen staff, consultants or, who knows who, as a present. Anyone but the nurses.

One night I called over to this ward, with a box of chocolates we had been given, to share with the student on duty. While I was there the nurse remarked that she had been given a box of sweets when she came on duty that night by one of the patients, but the nurse in charge had locked them away before going home.

In a flash I could feel my temper rise. How dare she? That patient had specifically kept them for this young nurse. I was so cross. The student nurse was sitting down at the desk. I asked her to move, and sat myself down. The desk had a locked cupboard to the right with a drawer above it. In the locked cupboard were the stolen boxes of chocolates. I carefully removed the drawer and lo and behold, we now had perfect access to the chocolates below.

Much to the students horror I began to unload the cupboard. All sizes and shapes of boxes of chocolates and sweets. Some were still wrapped. It was almost Christmas, I knew most of them would be given to the consultants and kitchen staff as ‘gifts’ from the ward photo credit: <a href="">Shelley & Dave</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>sister.

Without a worry about the rights and wrongs of what I was about to do, I asked the nurse which one she would like us to open. She was shocked, and didn’t want to have anything to do with the ‘robbery’ . Not one bit deterred, I settled on a very large beautifully wrapped box, which I suspected contained chocolates I loved. I carefully unwrapped it and took out the chocolates. I opened them up and was delighted to see that there were two layers. I chose a few of my favourites and tucked in. Then I left for my own ward, leaving the chocolates on the desk.

Returning to my own ward, my fellow nurses all got a great laugh out of what I had done. Most of the nurses in the hospital were aware of that particular ward sisters policy re chocolates, and no one thought she was right. Worryingly my companions that night all agreed they would never have done what I did.

Unrepentant, I returned to the ward later to discover the student nurse had succumbed to temptation. A large majority of the chocolates were gone. Rightly or wrongly I was delighted. The student asked would I please take the remainder up to my own ward when I was going as she didn’t want, any ‘evidence’ left around when the ward sister arrived in the morning. I smiled and told her I had a much better idea.

Here is where I possibly crossed the line…. I removed every chocolate from the almost empty top layer. I then put the emptied top layer on the bottom, beneath the full layer. I carefully re wrapped the box of chocolates. Removing the drawer once more I placed the half full, beautifully wrapped, box back in the cupboard, and with a huge amount of satisfaction I returned the drawer.

It was almost morning. Work continued, and eventually it was time to go home. As I left the hospital that morning I was still highly amused by what I had done, and even more delighted to imagine, hopefully a consultant, receiving those chocolates for Christmas, and discovering a layer missing. In my imagination I went one step further, I imagined him ‘gifting’ them to someone else, unaware they were half eaten!

I slept happily that day, more than satisfied with my nights work. Twenty years later is it wrong that I am still satisfied by what I did that night?

Maybe you can identify? Feel free to share, I’d love to know I am not alone.

photo credit: ransomtech via photopin cc
photo credit: Shelley & Dave via photopin cc