November 29th. A day without significance in my life for over four decades, until five years ago when it became the day when the force that was young Daniel left this life, hopefully for adventures somewhere new.
Since then time has continued to tick by. My own children have grown up, some have finished school and gone to college. We’ve celebrated birthdays and Christmases. But at so many of those milestones we paused to remember the boy who was missing.
Five years can seem like a long time, but for those at the heart of grief it’s a mere moment. In that moment Daniel left secondary school after only a few weeks to begin treatment. He missed major sporting occasions, his Junior Cert and Leaving Cert and in June of this year he wasn’t there with his classmates as they graduated, no longer thirteen year olds, but young men of eighteen with all that life promises ahead of them.
Every year since 2013 has been hugely difficult for his parents and family, but this year, marking what should have been the end of school and the beginning of college and a new life, has been particularly poignant. Throughout it all his family have held their heads high and shown strength and courage beyond what anyone should have to.
My friendship with Daniels mum spans three decades. I was there when Daniel decided to make a rather dramatic entrance into the world and hard as it is to believe I was there when he left it. During all those years she’s been by my side as much as I have hers. Friends every step of the way. It’s been so hard not to be able to take her pain away. Tomorrow, I have little doubt she will stand strong, but tonight, before Daniels anniversary this is my wish for you my friend. Not all the words apply but the sentiment is true… ‘I wish to mother you.’
I’m here to mother you
To comfort you and get you through
Through when your nights are lonely
Through when your dreams are only blue
This is to mother you