yes

One more sleep.

It is hard to write anything tonight as my stomach is in knots. Tomorrow is voting day. The simple question ‘Should we extend marriage rights to gay couples?’ has become complicated. Only a few months ago there was a large Yes majority, which has been greatly reduced since the mischievious addition of the welfare of children to the debate. The poster ‘Every child deserves a mother and a father’ certainly got to many.

The funny thing is no one is speaking of the families who will gain two mothers!

My thoughts are with my brother and his partner tonight, and all those who wait for tomorrows results. As I think of it I am so angry, that it has come to this. How ridiculous that we can discriminate against love in this way; that my brother, who shared a life with me, needs to ask his fellow countrymen, his hetrosexual countrymen, for permission to marry.

For those of you not living here, I apologise for another post on this topic, but the island of Ireland is totally gripped by this referendum. Families have been divided and friendships lost and others tested. Large numbers of new voters, just eighteen years old, have registered for the first time. Large numbers are returning from abroad to vote and others have cancelled travel plans. Many believe it is a young versus old vote. I wish it were that simple. I think the truth is that this question is asking more than if you agree with same sex marriage, this question is asking do you accept homosexuality.

Tomorrow we will discover, if this country I love is a place to be proud of, if it’s people, my people accept homosexuality and believe in equality.

No wonder I feel sick.

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I wrote a story…

I wrote a story last February, which was published in ‘The little book of Love’ anthology. It is, to date, the story I have enjoyed writing most, and the one whose characters I continue to think of. I’ve decided to share it here with you tonight.  I hope you enjoy it.

Goodnight Jimmy

Sitting beside Jimmy’s bed in the half light of morning, I listened to his shallow breathing, each breath a gasp, followed by a pause. I could hear the rattle in his chest as he exhaled. The tick of the clock marked each second of the long night, which thankfully was drawing to a close. Outside I could hear the ward waking up. The breakfast trolley would be appearing shortly and the quiet corridor busy once more. My family would be calling, checking on their Dad, and giving out I’d stayed the night. Truth be told it was easier to stay, because I couldn’t sleep without him. I smiled as I recalled our parting each night; he kissing me on the top of my head saying,

“Goodnight me darlin”, and with a cheeky wink, hot water bottle tucked under his arm, he’d add, “I’ll keep the bed warm for ye”.

“I’ll be up shortly” I’d reply.

Grasping the arms of the chair I leaned forward struggling to stand up, glad the children weren’t around to notice what an effort it was. Slowly I uncoiled, working against gravity and age to straighten myself. Catching sight of my reflection in the mirror I was taken aback. The state of me! I looked every day of my eighty four years… at least I think I’m eighty four. I noticed how stooped I look despite the fact I was now standing. I was glad of the poor light. There is little worse than looking in the mirror barely recognising the wrinkled old woman looking back at you.

I turned to look at Jimmy. God love him he looked a right state. He was the colour of the bed sheets, a waxy white, and his mouth was half open. He had lost so much weight over the past few months his face was shrunken, his cheek bones clearly defined.

I reached out to stroke his cheek, and felt the stubble of the previous day’s growth, like sandpaper against my skin. He would not be happy about that. Jimmy liked to be clean shaven. Reaching for his hand beneath the sheet I noticed his fingers were long and bent. They too had lost weight. I never knew fingers could lose weight. I took his hand in mine and stood there, watching him.

I thought back to the days when we first met. I was twenty one, and a bit of catch if I do say so myself.  Jimmy was only a young fella of seventeen, with a mop of black hair which was cut short at the back but long on top. Whenever a gust of wind blew, it would catch the hair and hold it up. I smiled, it’s many a photo we had of his hair standing on the top of his head.1930 wedding

At twenty four we were married, a joint wedding with our two best friends. We were living over in England in those days and our parents couldn’t make it, as it was too expensive. We sent them on a few photos, and Jimmy had written to his own Mam a couple of weeks beforehand, hoping the letter would arrive on the day of the wedding so she wouldn’t feel quite so bad that she was missing it. God he was an awful softie!

Not long afterwards the children began to arrive, Margaret, Frances, John, Madeline, Josephine, James, Peter and little Charles. After Frances we moved back to Ireland, Gods own country, back to my roots, to Ringsend in Dublin, and the extended family. I sighed, those were happy days.

“Do you remember when we moved into number forty two Jimmy?” I said breaking the silence.

I knew he wouldn’t reply, but they say the hearing is the last thing to go, although that would be a miracle because his hearing went about four years ago.

“Ah Jimmy do you remember the excitement? The kids were all running around bagsin’ bedrooms and running up and down the stairs, and you hittin’ them a clatter trying to calm them down. We thought we were made didn’t we? Them were great days alright weren’t they Jimmy? We were happy there the whole gang of us”

The door opened and two nurses came in. One was the friendly blonde one, the other I didn’t know. She looked like a student nurse.

“Hi Mary, we are just going to do Jimmy’s checks”

“No bother nurse, he’s definitely breathin’ anyway”. They kindly laughed at my lame joke.

I stood back and watched as they took Jimmy’s temperature and blood pressure, fixed his pillows and propped him up, all without a peep from Jimmy. If he was in the whole of his health he’d have made great sport of their attention. He was a real charmer was Jimmy in his day, always trying to impress the ladies.

After they left I sat back down in the big chair by his bed. It was meant for Jimmy, but I couldn’t see him ever sitting on it again. Imagine that? My Jimmy was dying. I may be old but I’m not stupid, I knew we hadn’t long left together.elderly couple

“We’d a great life, didn’t we Jimmy?”

I looked at him sitting up and felt my heart breaking. He looked half dead. I stared at his chest as it rose and fell. The pause between breaths was getting longer. I knew I was losing him. His loss would be unbearable. I knew what that felt like, for how could I forget?

It had been a beautiful sunny Tuesday in July, when Frances and Josephine came tearing into the kitchen, roaring and shouting,

“Ma our John has had an accident. A car’s hit him. He’s bad Ma, come quickly”.

I was sitting feeding Peter at the time. He was about a year old. I ran out and lying on the road was my beautiful boy, our John. He was just lying there on the flat of his back, not a mark on him. I knelt down, calling him, shouting for him to wake up. No one came near me, not even the kids. I’d say they all knew our John was gone.

It took me a wicked long time to get over losing him. Margaret was about twelve at the time, and she was a wonder with the little ones, a real Mam to them. Jimmy was heartbroken too, but we grieved so differently. I tried to just get on, for the kids sake, but Jimmy, the old softie couldn’t cope at all. Then the work dried up and money got scarce. Oh the rows were dreadful and one night out of the blue Jimmy announced he was off to England.

So off he went and I gave him the Lord’s Prayer I can tell you, for leaving me with a gang of kids. He wrote regularly, and sent money. Did I miss him? I just got used to it, and I was too busy trying to keep my sanity. Then Tommy came along.

Looking at Jimmy I was glad he couldn’t read my thoughts. Tommy! It was a long time since I’d thought of Tommy. Jaysus he was gorgeous and a lovely fella too. Great with the kids, and… for God’s sake who am I foolin? It wasn’t his love of kids that I admired. I was still a young woman, and a lonely one at that. Tommy was good to me, and to my shame I didn’t turn him away.

I looked at Jimmy. He was barely breathing at all now. I wonder should I call the nurse… or the kids.

“Jimmy, can ye hear me?” I put my face near his.

“Jimmy are ye alright? I’m still here ye know”.

I stared at his face up close. There was no sign that he heard me. Should I say something about Tommy? Release myself from the secret I’d kept for nearly fifty years? ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’ they say, and I wanted to agree. It was all in the past now. What good would it do? I’d made my choice, and never regretted it.

I stroked his hair and bending over gently kissed him, leaving my cheek resting next to his for a time. As I did so I could feel a hot tear slowly journey down my face, and I waited for it to fall onto his cheek. Oh how I would miss spending time with him, sharing cups of tea and hours of chat. I’d miss the way he patted my hand, and called me dear and darlin’. The way he helped me with my coat, and the many happy moments we shared each day.

“Just then the nurse returned and I quickly wiped my eyes. She kindly put an arm around me and asked,

“Would you like a cup of tea?”

“Yes please nurse that would be lovely”.

Looking at Jimmy I said, “Do you think it will be much longer?”

“I can’t say for sure, she replied, but I think it would be good to get the rest of the family in. I’ll go and ring them for you if you like”.

“Thank you nurse, I said, that would be great”.

As she left the room I sat quietly once more with the clock for company, stroking his hand.

“Jimmy darlin’, I whispered, as I put his hand to my lips, I love ye me aul flower”.

A steady stream of tears began to fall, and I struggled to breathe with the pain in my chest. It was my heart breaking I suppose. He was leaving me, I could feel it. He gave one large gasp, and then there was silence. I waited. Oh God could he be gone? That fast?  I held my breath but I knew. I stood up and lay across his chest, wrapping my arms around his thin, lifeless frame.

“Jimmy” I sobbed loudly not caring who may hear. “Oh Jimmy” I cried, as the enormity of his leaving took hold.

He was gone and I was left. I looked at his face. He didn’t look dead, or old, or thin. He just looked like Jimmy, my Jimmy, my pal, my love for over sixty years. Leaning over I kissed him, he was still warm as I whispered,

“Good night me darlin, warm the bed for me will ye Jimmy? I promise I’ll be up shortly”.

photo credit: Wedding via photopin (license)

If you would like to read any of the other love stories you can download The little book of love here.

all about me

A to Z of me.

This is a post perfect for today. Why? Because I went away with a group of girlfriends for one night, and we may have had a fantastic night, perhaps a little too fantastic, and I just may be feeling a little tired. I may be feeling uninspired, and I may be wondering what time would it be okay to go to bed?

So I got tagged by fellow Irish blogger, ‘Put the kettle on’ to do an A to Z post. This is a great way of getting to know more about fellow bloggers. However for me it’s a little difficult, due to the fact that this is a personal blog, and most of you know more about me than I do!

So maybe use this as a check list..

Did you know?

A. I’m Always right, and I really dislike it if I am wrong. I will deny being wrong to my death.

B. I have two Brothers. One who is a vet the other who is involved in electronics, and no one in our family has a clue what exactly he does, although I think I do (and remember I’m always right).

C. I live in Co Cork, abeautiful part of Ireland. Where I live is a small village with everything you could want from town to beach close at hand.

Near where I live.

Near where I live.

D. Ah this is easy. I’m a Dub. I was born and reared in Dublin. No matter how long I will live in beautiful Cork, my heart will always tell me I’m a Dub and proud.

E. One of my favourite words is ‘Eejit’. I use it when someone has completely annoyed me, but it is also my affectionate word of choice for my OH, “you’re some eejit”

F. This is for my two groups of Friends, they know who they are, who mean the world to me. We have more fun than most people I know.

G. Is for my Godchild who recently became a godmother herself, as ‘the small girl at the top of the slide’ had a beautiful baby boy.

H. Maybe I never grew up, but all these years later, despite rearing four children, I still believe Homework to be the greatest waste of time. All those hours in my life I can never get back. I am seriously allergic to it.

I. I love you. Three words which I say regularly to those I care for deeply, my Oh and my four kids. Unless of course I’ve a few drinks, after which I may also say them with deep feeling to my dog.

J. The first letter of the first name of my only bridesmaid, Jeannine. A friend I made early in my nursing training, who now lives in America. Someone who was there for me during one of the most difficult times of my life, as I watched my dad suffer with Motor neurone disease. I lost him six weeks before my finals, and my friend was there for me every step of the way. She is someone who will always be dear to me, regardless of distance.

K. Nothing coming to me here, except Krap, or Kool, or Kerry!

L. Last night was a great night. We travelled to West Cork and lived it up. We may have had Prosecco and lost track of time, deciding to have another before getting ready to go out, only to discover we were already late for our booking. West Cork time is very deceiving.

Allihies Village, hidden among the mountains.

Allihies Village, hidden among the mountains.

M. Most of what I write is not thought out in advance. I just sit down, open my laptop and decide there and then what I’ll write. Sometimes it might be better to think a bit first, but you who read are always kind!

N. Yes you all know I was a Nurse but I’m not sure if you know I fainted almost daily for the first nine weeks. In the end the ward sister placed chairs about the ward corridor for me to sit on to try to break the habit. It was a big hospital, but the word spread and one day in the lunch queue I heard a fecker of a student doctor saying “Better get her her lunch quick she could faint at any moment”.

O. The name of my oldest friend, who I am back in contact with online thanks to facebook. Orla and I were childhood pals and she introduced me to swimming. A sport I am passionate about to this day.

P. My biggest ambition is no secret I’m sure, one day, some day, I want to be a Published author. That means I need to sit down and write serioulsy. I keep saying I will, but now I believe I am, but don’t hold your breath.

Q. This is a ridiculous letter and I’ve no good story about a Queue or a Queen.

R. I hear every day mothers and others say they didn’t sleep last night. My mum had a saying ‘A Rest is as good as a sleep’. I have always found it a very soothing thought on sleepless nights.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/41258145@N03/7268561194">2000-158-19 Medal, Olympics, 1920, Antwerp, Gold, Reverse</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a> Try it.

S. Reminds me of the Swimmer, who should have medalled at the Olympic games, but instead blew his chances by bringing my case and others to the attention of the authorities, and eventually the media.  There are only a handful of people in the world like him. I owe him a massive debt (and an olympic medal!)

T. One mad day my buddy and I headed off to get a Tattoo, each. Many years later I still love my tattoo, and laugh at the memory of that day.

U. Another ridiculous letter. I never went to University, but if I did have a chance to go now, I’d do a writing course of a course in psychology.

V. Nope no chance of anything coming to me on this one, Very bad.

W. If I had one Wish it would be to watch my children grow old (and remain in good health, and to see them happy, to have grandchildren and yes for himself to grow old right along side me).

X. The last time I had an X ray was over thirty years ago. I had just had my most succesful year swimming and then one morning in the pool my lung collapsed. I was not allowed return to full training for one year. When I did, the following September, I worked very hard to get back on the Irish team. I was selected depending on the results of a medical. The consultant failed me, saying he couldn’t guarantee the air bubbles on my lungs would not burst on a flight. I was gutted. I argued and pleaded explaining how hard I’d worked, and what it meant. The result was he looked a little harder at my X Rays and changed his mind.

Y. Yer man, the fella I fell for, and I will be married twenty five years this year. (I was a child bride I hasten to add)

Z. I have zero tolerance for a lot of things, and I am not a great person for hiding my feelings.

So there you have it. Now you know even more unnecessary things about me. I tag… well anyone who would like to do an A to Z. It’s a bit of craic and I’ve enjoyed reading them in other blogs.

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photo credit: 2000-158-19 Medal, Olympics, 1920, Antwerp, Gold, Reverse via photopin (license)

photo credit: Muffet via photopin cc

Thank you, one and all.

Sometimes the world can seem a dark place. We look around and miss all that is good and fun, we hear the harsh words and cruel jibes, but fail to notice the smiles and gentle touches of others.

Sometimes we see only the rain, despite the many hours of sunshine in a day.photo credit: davidyuweb via photopin cc

On Sunday my brother’s sky was grey, and he was sickened and weary listening to so many comment and judge his life. Unable to remain silent any longer he wrote a letter. He needed his voice to be heard, to try to express to those who don’t understand, that love for him is no different than love for anyone who is not gay. I was only too happy to publish it.

From the moment it was published the sun began to shine for him.

Tonight my brother would like me to say thank you. To so many of you who took the time to read his words, and to those who tweeted about it or liked and shared it on facebook. The response has been enormous, and has gone a long way to reassuring him that there are very large numbers who wish him every happiness in his relationship, and believe what he has is no different to what heterosexual couples experience. He was amazed by the response, and especially thankful for the many kind comments he read here.

I too would like to add my thanks to you all, but unlike my brother I am not surprised by the reception he received, for I know how supportive and wonderful you all are, and as always you didn’t let me down.

Go raibh míle, míle maith agaibh.

photo credit: davidyuweb via photopin cc
photo credit: Muffet via photopin cc

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This is my life.

Today my brother wrote me a letter. He did so because he had read a hate filled post online, related to the upcoming gay marriage referendum. For awhile he was upset and mad, before realising that was not the person he was. Insteadphoto (42) he put pen to paper in a piece he titled ‘This is my life’. He is happy for me to post it here, and I am honoured to do so. For me it says it all.

This is my life.

My darling sister….since we were children together I have always felt you have known my inner soul.Our childhood games of playing exotic languages…dressing up….climbing hills, getting scratched and bruised…dirty and dishevelled in Donegal hills… forged a bond so strong that time,distance or living separate lives can never untangle.
You are me,and I am you.

When I walked you down the aisle, many years ago,trying hopelessly to fill Dads shoes,I was the proudest man in the world.
I beamed with pride,looking at the happy smiling faces looking at the pair of us…a real couple of swells…not a mucky pair of kids coming back from childhood adventures,rather two siblings, proudly marching down an aisle…declaring a mature,loving and well considered decision to send you off on a journey of a lifetime..a voyage so exciting and joyous that folks came from far and near to witness,with big hats,bigger hair, mandolins, guitars …and lashings of wishes of LOVE AND HAPPINESS for you and your wonderful husband,starting off on life’s roadphoto (41) together.

Years passed and I saw you and your family grow, develop and thrive.I watched from afar my closest pal,my confidante develop and grow into all that our Mum and Dad could ever have wished for….such a beautiful girl as you..after some very trying and difficult years….you really were a Rose, blooming through the snow.
I watched, I smiled, but in my own heart I ached with loneliness.

Years passed and despite a few futile and very unfair dalliances on my part, with some truly wonderful and exceptionally beautiful women…I came to the crossroads…..MY CROSSROADS.
Following a period of ill health,I had a few missing years,when I misbehaved in spectacular fashion…pretending that This Life was not so bad after all…..I rocked and rolled…lurching from one weekend to the next…convincing myself that the folks I met along the way were entirely adequate to meet MY needs…
I had such a loving heart and happy soul…I fully expected to experience it in all the friends and lovers I met along the way

How wrong I was. Most everyone I encountered was filled with dread, fear, self loathing and hurt. I lost count of the amount of times I fell in love, all the while hiding behind the facade of a young eligible but deeply flawed and troubled soul.

AND THEN LOVE ARRIVED.

NEVER in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what it felt like!…This is what all the feckin songs were about! This is how our Mum looked at Dad….THIS……THIS…was something I had honestly never felt possible. This was, FullSizeRenderin my mind..a gift from GOD,the universe…or whatever you believe in. This was life.

You know me sister dear…..How I like to sing…..Jesus,how I wanted to sing….If I could…I would have gone on the LATE LATE SHOW and sang my heart out!
Perhaps for the best..that never happened .At the end of the day…it really was not such a seismic event…it happens every day…millions of times all around the world. BUT FOR ME …AND MY HEART IT WAS A FIRST.

We all know that in two weeks time I…along with about 400,000 other Irish people have to go to polling stations to ask YOU, my sister, my friend, my equal…IF …if I am so lucky…if WE are so lucky..if WE are so blessed, that if WE fall in love…and that IF WE are ALLOWED to marry ….OUR TRUE loves…maybe…maybe you just might say yes?

Your ever loving brother….Michael

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We all need hope.

Imagine how much of every day we hope. We hope the weather will be good, the traffic will be light, our children will grow up happy, someone will love us. Every day we fill our lives with hope.

What happens when hope is taken away?

I can clearly remember writing a post shortly after Daniel died. One line in it read,

“We woke up this morning with no hope”.

At the time it was sickening. After months of hoping Daniel would get better and come home, it was all over. We had hoped his chemo would work, that he would get a transplant, that the transplant would work and finally that the virus would be beaten. Suddenly there was nothing left to hope for. Danny was gone.

What next?

Hard as it was for those of us who loved Daniel to deal with this new world without hope, it must have been overwhelming for his parents and family. I spent time with my friend during those early days, but I can never pretend to know what she felt. Despite her pain I watched as she continued to search for hope.

Then one day she found it.anam cara

It came in the form of an organisation called Anam Cara, which literally translated is Irish for ‘Soul friend’. This organisation was begun by a number of bereaved parents who wanted to offer support and comfort to other parents who had lost a child. Anam Cara do not note the age the child was, nor how they died, only that a parent has lost a much loved son or daughter.

Daniels mother did not wish to be a part of this club, but sadly she was. Meeting other parents who had experienced the pain she was feeling was hugely helpful, but one of the greatest gifts this group gave her, was hope.

As she listened to members speak in those early days, she heard what she needed to hear,

‘I had a child who died and I have survived’.

Some were one or two years bereaved, others more. At last she had mentors, people who knew her fears before she expressed them, who knew her pain, her sadness and what her loss really felt like. Those of us who were her friends were of little real help, for we, like her could not imagine life without one of our little ones, regardless of their age, nor could we imagine surviving, yet here she could see there was hope, she could survive. She would survive.

Today we went to a fundraising lunch for Anam Cara, called ‘A lunch to remember’. It was humbling to be in a room knowing how many gathered there had suffered the unthinkable. The atmosphere was upbeat and I felt Daniel close to us all, as we spoke easily of him, and were made aware of some of the others who were missing from the lives of those around us.

It was a very special lunch, for a very special group, who I will always be grateful to for bringing back hope into my friends life. Anam Cara, and those who work so tirelessly within it, thank you, for all that you do.

As for my buddy. Daniels mum, you inspire me every day I breathe, and I have no doubt your Anam Cara Daniel is ever by your side. xx

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photo credit: Eustaquio Santimano via photopin cc

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The day 1,198 died.

This day 100 years ago, eighteen kilometres from the Irish coast, a German submarine sunk the luxury cruise liner the Lusitania. 1,198 drowned, 761 survived.

In the weeks leading up to her departure from New York, the German embassy in Washington posted a Sinking of the lusitaniawarning to prospective passengers in fifty newspapers. Many passengers were worried but travelled regardless, comforted by the knowledge that wealthy members of society were on board.

On May 1st the ship left New York. Arriving off the coast of Ireland on May 7th, look outs were in position on board, as it was known that submarines were in the area. At 14.10 a torpedo struck. There were forty eight lifeboats on board, only six were successfully launched. Eighteen minutes after being hit the Lusitania sank (it took the Titanic three hours).

The word went out around Queenstown (now known as Cobh) and rescue vessels of all sizes made their way to the scene. It took three hours for the first rescuers to arrive, by then most of those in the water had lost their battle.

Today in Cobh thousands have gathered to remember the day a small Cork town became a final resting place for so many. Wreaths have been placed on the memorial, and on the mass grave where 169 were buried. Tonight a flotilla of boats will sail into Cobh harbour, each carrying white lights to re enact the arrival of the many boats who had left the shore on their rescue mission over six hours earlier, some carrying those who had survived, others those who had not.

Tonight I too would like to remember a maritime tragedy often forgotten.

photo credit: LUSITANIA (LOC) via photopin (license)

photo credit: Photo# 1734 - Houston Zoo - 2009 via photopin (license)

To the small girl at the top of the slide

Sometimes a moment comes when we realise the years have flown by. We have celebrated birthdays and are aware we are getting older but we rarely feel it… until we have children. As we begin to celebrate their birthdays and mark their aging we wonder, ‘how can we have children that age and still feel young?’.

Today I had such a moment.

I was visiting one of my closest friends, whose eldest daughter is one day overdue her baby, the first grandchild.

Before me she sat, excited and nervous in equal measure. I marvelled at her beautiful bump and imagined little one inside, soon to arrive into a large, loving family. Unknown to her, there was a moment I had to look away.

My mind had wandered to a beautiful summers day over twenty years ago. Two young mothers, not much older than this girl is now, drove to a city park for a picnic with two, two year old girls and a three year old boy. For what seemed like hours those little ones played on the slide. Two of the party racing to the top screeching in delight as they slid down. The third of the trio in much less of a hurry.

She was a blonde bundle of fun. Each time it was her turn she carefully climbed the ladder, stopping on almost every rung to look around, oblivious to the mayhem she was causing as the ladder filled up with impatient little ones pushing behind her. If her mum or I tried to hurry her, we caused a further delay, as she stood to smile and wave in our direction. Eventually, to the relief of the waiting queue, she would manage to sit down and push off, at no great speed. Having landed, she would amble pony tail swinging, to the ladder to begin the slow climb once more.photo credit: RTD Photography via photopin cc

It is hard to believe this little girl is almost the age her mother and I were then.

As I try to get my head around the fact that I am no longer that young mum, equally I struggle to believe the small girl at the top of the slide is soon to have her own little one. Time marches on and this young lady now moves at a much faster pace. As I ponder her impending motherhood I hope she will enjoy the ups and downs of the years ahead, with the same enjoyment as she did that day so long ago, and that she knows her mum and I will continue to watch from a distance, just as we did all those years ago.

To that small girl at the top of the slide I say, ‘Best wishes sweetheart. Enjoy. I have no doubt you will be a wonderful mum” xx.

photo credit: Photo# 1734 – Houston Zoo – 2009 via photopin (license)
photo credit: RTD Photography via photopin cc

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

Ireland, make me proud.

My country is about to be tested. In less than twenty days I will know if the Ireland I live in is the country I believe it to be. I will know if we live in a society of inclusion and equality, or if in fact we remain the country of ignorance and bigotry we used to be.

On May 22nd we will vote as a nation to decide if same sex marriage will be given equal status with heterosexual marriage.

The campaign has got dirty, with the ‘no’ side clouding the issue with talk of children’s rights and same sex referendumfathers rights. Their argument is unnecessary as many gay and lesbian couples already have children, so the point of their argument makes no sense.

My children are passionate about this vote. Never before have I seen them so animated. Their uncle, my brother, is gay with a lovely partner. They are together seventeen years. I don’t know if they will marry, or if they even wish to marry, but I will fight hard to give them the right to. The very idea that my brother who grew up by my side, should not be allowed by the laws of the land I love, to marry, is ridiculous to me.

As the date comes ever closer I am becoming more anxious. What if the ‘no’ vote win? How will I feel living in a country I’m ashamed of? How will I feel for the hurt my brother, his partner and thousands will feel?

I can only hope that there is no need for my fingers to be crossed and that those I live my life alongside everyday will do the right thing. Hopefully come May 23rd I’ll be standing tall and shouting from the rooftops…I’m Irish and proud!

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photo credit:

New Year

What if?

One of my biggest regrets in life is that my dad died before I made a life for myself. He wasn’t there to give me away ( a job brilliantly done by my younger brother), nor did he meet any of my four children. I would love for them to have known him in person, to have heard his lovely gentle accent, to groan at his love of puns, and to call on him for DIY advice.

For over twenty five years I have had that regret.

However this morning I had some time to spare and I read a blog which triggered my imagination. It was the blog of losingórlarose

This blogger sadly lost her youngest child in June of last year. One of her posts was titled My ‘rainbow’ grandchild. I had never heard the expression ‘rainbow child’ before, but she explained it is a term used to describe children born to a family after the loss of a child. Instantly I thought of a friends family, who welcomed a baby girl into their lives after losing her brother. It was not however the term ‘rainbow child’ that made me think, but something that was written within the post.photo credit: davidyuweb via photopin cc

She wrote ‘A lot of people believe that a baby’s soul doesn’t enter the physical body until the moment of birth, that the soul stays near to the mother’.

That really made me think. Imagine if this was true?

That would mean my friends little girl will not live her life never having met her big brother, because she did in fact meet him, before ever meeting his mum, dad or big sister. Who knows, maybe having met him she brought a little bit of him with her?

I, who as you know have no religious belief, have greatly enjoyed this imagining all day. I have spent moments dreaming about my own dad meeting each of my little ones long before I did, and sending them to me with all his love.

Whatever the truth of it I thank the blogger ‘losingórlarose’ for the lovely thought. I hope those of you reading who are mourning may gain some comfort from it also, if not tonight perhaps some day in the future.

photo credit: davidyuweb via photopin cc