Are there stand out moments in your life that you will never forget? A proposal, a sad goodbye, a happy result?
Many memories from my past can be summed up in simple sentences which have lived on in my mind over the years. Occasionally I hear the voices of the past speak these sentences once more.
“Let your brother play”, “Don’t be such a telltale”, “You forget you are a girl not a boy”, “Go to sleep, no reading”. These are some of the many many sentences repeated throughout my early childhood years.
“You are so odd”, “You have no study done”, “Where are you going?”, were the familiar ones from my teenage years.
Then there were the more stand alone moments. The ones which shape a life.
“Dad had a heart attack”. Spoken by my mother the first time my father became ill. I was fifteen.
“What will you do now?”, were the words my Mom said to me on seeing I did not get the results I needed in my final school exams in order to get into nursing. They were spoken in a quiet and supportive voice which allowed me to acknowledge my incredible disappointment and make the decision to repeat the year. I often wonder if my mom had been confrontational would I have made a different decision.
“Would you like to come out with me?”, said to me by my now husband, one night, when we met on holidays in Cyprus over twenty five years ago.
“Your father, John, has Motor Neurone Disease. I’m sorry. There is no treatment. It is terminal”, the sickening words spoken by the neurological professor to my mother and I changing my families worlds forever.
“Oh Tric, he’s gone”, the words spoken by my mom to me moments after my Dad died, when I rang her to say I was on my way home. In shock I asked “Where has he gone?”.
“Forgive John”, the most ridiculous opening words spoken by a priest at my fathers removal service. How could any priest think that was an appropriate opener at the service of a man who had lived two years trapped inside a body, fully alert but unable to move. Two words I’ve never been able to get past.
“That finger looks very bare”, my boyfriends romantic proposal.
“Will we say we’re going to Perth?”. The two minute discussion prior to going into a party, on what part of Australia we would go to for a year or two. The decision was made in that moment and never regretted.
“I do”, our wedding vows exchanged. Thankfully we’ve lasted the many tests of time.
“It can take a long time to become pregnant, especially in my family”, words spoken just after our honeymoon and ten days before a positive pregnancy test! I guess I can be wrong sometimes.
“It’s a boy, I know it because of mothers intuition!”. Words spoken by me many times during my first pregnancy, before the arrival of my daughter!
“I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat”. The day it was confirmed I’d miscarried my second child. We called our little one Dara.
“It’s a boy, it’s a girl and finally one last time it’s a girl”. The happy announcements on the arrival of our second, third and fourth children.
“I’m afraid they’ve decided to not challenge him. If we lose, it will set a precedent in law and they are not willing to risk it”. The news given to me from the high court, that the man who abused myself and many many more, was to be let off on the defence it was too long ago for him to provide an adequate defence. It was less than ten years. A brave family of girls did manage to challenge this defence years later and even though it was 33 years since the abuse they had suffered they won. We would have won!
“Just come and look at it, if you don’t like it we’ll stay here”. My tactical way of telling my husband I’d found the house of our dreams, even if he had not actually been dreaming of it. Happily he loved it and we’re still living in that selfsame house of my dreams.
“Do you have any idea how hard this is?”. The words said to me by one of my closest friends the day we buried her mother three weeks after her only sister died of breast cancer aged thirty nine. Her bravery that year continues to inspire me years later.
“I’ve wanted one for years too”. The day that same friend and I decided to go and get tattoos.
“Goodbye sweetheart”. Simple words, said through tears, as my first and second children left for college.
“The news is challenging, Dan has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia”, the text I got from the little warrior Dan’s mom in November 2012. He was 12 years old.
“We’re taking him home”, the very sad news spoken through the tears of a heartbroken mother, that Dan’s fight was almost over. He did come home for two wonderful days even if his leaving broke hearts, and left his family forever wounded.
“I’m going to be a grandmother”, the wonderful news from a friend in the days after we said goodbye to Dan. The sign that life goes on and for most of us better days will return.
“Every day that passes brings a tiny bit of healing”. The helpful words of great comfort that a bereaved parent shared with my friend when she wondered if she would ever recover.
“Night Mom, I love you”. The simple words spoken each night by my little one, which make me smile and be grateful for every day I live.