You know when life is just plodding along nicely and then a tornado arrives into your world and leaves you spinning? Yes? Well, so it has been for me over the past few weeks.
There I was, in my heavenly retreat, Allihies, West Cork, enjoying my holidays, when the word came through that my edits for my book were in. Excited and worried there was a lot to do, I was not sorry I’d no laptop on holidays with me in order to check them out. We agreed a one month turnaround and I put them out of my mind, enjoying fully the final few days of my holidays, most especially the final few days of time on my own with yer man before returning to a hectic full house of six.
Next on the hit list was the packing up of my eldest who was leaving for a year to work abroad. Inside, I wailed quietly (and by night when I was alone, not so quietly) as I smiled and chatted to her, delighted she was getting the chance to go, despite the arrival of Covid while wondering how I would live in my world without her. The call to go came quicker than I had hoped and before we knew it she was gone and all too soon so too was the lingering smell of her perfume and sound of her laughter.
Picking myself up two days later, I steeled myself for the first airing of the BBC Sounds podcast ‘Where is George Gibney.’ This is a podcast I’d agreed to take part in almost two years ago. As a thirteen year old Gibney was my swimming coach, he was also the brute who stole my childhood and the childhoods and innocence of many other young children.
Who among us likes to hear their own voice? Not I, but it was not the sound of my voice which made me cringe but the thought of my family and friends listening, many having no real understanding of my past.
When it was over I took some time to digest it all. I was no longer that little girl, alone and afraid. I’d spoken out. And as I watched the enormous reaction on social media I contrasted it to the first time I, and some of the other victims had spoken out, twenty-five years ago. Back then we had been denied justice and been disbelieved by many. How the world has changed. Within hours of the episode airing so many had offered their support and as I processed it all over the next few days and since, I smiled broadly.
It’s never too late to be heard.
Thank you to each and every person who has already listened, to the BBC Sounds team, to Second Captains and Ciaran Cassidy and most especially a huge thank you to Mark Horgan, who not only listened, but heard what I wanted to say.
You can listen to the podcast here, or download it from BBC Sounds.