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The irony is not lost on me July 4, 2017

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I’m sitting alone in a school hall at obscene o’clock on a Sunday morning. I have a chair and a desk, an earbud and a portable charger for my phone. What else would I need? 

There is probably 100 people in this room and I have no desire or inclination to speak to any of them. That’s not strictly true. There is one child here that I hope to speak you very little and other than that I am happy to ignore the other humans in the room. 

I am at a “meeting of like-minded individuals” with my 12 year old. A place where people with a common interest come together and meet their tribe. I have attended many of these meetings throughout my own life, hoping to find my own tribe. What I didn’t realise in all that time is that I hadn’t figured myself out so there was no way I could find my people. 

I found my people years ago, they have been with me for 13 years now. They were there for the birth of my children and the loss of my pregnancies, for the pain in my marriage and it’s eventual end, for the journey of self discovery that came after that. I do not see my people from one end of the year to the other but they are in my phone every day. 

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We Are All Widows Now February 17, 2016

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We have had 4 deaths in a large family in more than 30 years.

My uncle died 23 years ago.

My grandmother died 16 years ago.

My cousin died 12 years ago.

My father died 24 days ago.  (Just as an aside… is that all?  Has it only been 24 days?  It feels like forever.)

There have been deaths outside the family.  Friends, loved ones, acquaintances.  A friend of my fathers.  My Godmother.  The child of a friend.

Within days of my father dying, my mother and aunt were sitting at the dining room table with a friend from back in the day.  Her husband died within weeks of my uncle 23 years ago.

During the conversation, with no one else sat at the table, my mothers friend said, quite honestly and very much to the point, “We are all widows now”

As I write this sadness is overwhelming me.  I feel this powerful need to protect my mother.  To mind her and keep her safe.  As fearful as I was of her dying before this, I am overcome with fear now.

I do not want to look at my siblings any time soon and have someone say “We are all orphans now”

King Prawn Cashew Nuts & Egg Fried Rice February 15, 2016

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My take away from the last 3 weeks is…

Take photos with people.

Take selfies, pose for photos, organise a photo shoot.

I don’t care.

Just take the photos!

You may look back at the hairstyle and cringe.

You may only be able to see the 15 extra pounds you wish you had lost before the photo was taken.

You might prefer to have worn nicer clothes.

I don’t care.

Just take the photos!

If you never speak to the person with you in the photo the file will just get archived and you will never look at it again.

If you see the person regularly you will, in all likelihood, archive the file and you won’t look at it again.

Until you want to look at it.  And it will be there.  And you can look at it.  And you won’t care about your hair or your weight or your clothes because the photo will be there.

The act of taking photos is like taking a one way journey in time.  You cannot go back and take photos but you can go forward and look at them.

So I don’t care about your weight, or your hair, or you clothes or the bad lighting.  And nor will you.

Just take the photos!

 

Cotton Fresh February 10, 2016

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My father loved aftershave and wore it by the bucket-load.  When I was a kid he called it splashy-splashy.  He would POUR it into his hands and do a combo throw/slap at his face.  Then, without washing his hands, he would dry them off on the hand towel beside the bathroom sink.

It took me YEARS to figure out the origin of the disgusting smell on my hands and since that realisation occurred I have take a fresh towel each time I go to their house.  I visited at absolute most twice a week and didn’t always use that bathroom so it wasn’t a big thing.

I have been there most days over the last 17 days.  Yesterday I took out a fresh towel and hung it up on a spare nail.  Today I went to take another fresh towel before realising that 1. yesterday’s towel was still hung where I left it and 2. I didn’t need to take a fresh towel any more.

I hope it takes me as long to remember not to take one.

Pride Goeth Before The Fall February 8, 2016

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In the December that my mother turned 19 a young, half blind man, made his way across the dance floor with the intention of asking her to dance.  He was faced with a few problems.

He had taken off his glasses once he figured out where she was.  He walked to her, knowing where she was when he had seen her last with the knowledge that once he got close enough he would be able to see her properly but before that it was a point and shoot exercise.  She could be gone by the time he got there and he wouldn’t have seen her leave.  He also knew, as he walked, that she might say no.  They had danced together that Summer, the Summer of 1962, but he wasn’t sure she would say yes again.

If he got there and discovered that she had left he could easily recover and no one would know.

If she said no, he was lost.  Quite literally, lost.  He had taken off his glasses.  If she said no and he turned to leave he had no idea where to leave to.

Pride came in the way of his ability to deal with rejection.

Thankfully she didn’t say no.

Can You Hear The Drums Fernando? February 8, 2016

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We waked my father at home.  He had a varied taste in music and his iPod could play for almost 12.5 days without repeating a track.

We played his music in the room with him, even through the night, while we had him at home that last time.

People visited.  Spent time with my father, my mother, my siblings, me.  They talked of golf ball markers and a dance hall in the 1960’s.

The music played the whole time.

I sat with him a few times.  I sat on the left side of the coffin.  Sitting there, looking at the left side of his face, he looked like himself.  He had no glasses on and it looked like he was just “resting his eyes”.  He never slept in the arm chair.  He was only ever “resting his eyes”.

The music played each time I sat with him.

I was overwhelmed by sadness.  Racked with guilt for the things unsaid.  At pains to find the thing that was bugging me, the thing I needed to say before they closed the lid of the treasure chest, locking him inside forever.

The music played while I figured out what I needed to say.

Then I remembered.  I apologised for embarrassing him when I left my husband.  I apologised for not saying it while he was alive.  My heart broke a little more.  I cried a lot more.

Then, to my right, almost too low to hear, the iPod changed tracks and from the speakers came “Can you hear the drums Fernando?”

I made my peace with my father in that moment.

He lost his best friend February 5, 2016

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Almost 44 years ago my parents attended the funeral of a little boy. 3 years later they asked the parents of that little boy to be my Godparents.  I cannot think of a better choice for my Godparents.  Even with 8 surviving children, and many many grandchildren, they took the role seriously.

By the time I reached my 20’s my father and Godfather were meeting on a weekly basis for coffee.  Every Friday morning.  The only reason they didn’t meet was if my father was out of the country.  When my father was in hospital they changed the location to his bedside.

They did this for 24 years.

They met for coffee on a Friday morning and my father died the following day.

Last Friday we buried him.

Today is Friday.

They are not meeting for coffee.

He called my mother this morning.

My Godfather is heartbroken.

He lost his best friend.

My father is dead February 5, 2016

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I don’t know how many blog posts I have written in my head over the last 2 weeks.  How many lines I thought “I should write that down or I will forget”.

My father is dead.

He died in an instant on the night of January 23rd, 2016.  He had a good death.  He died the way he wanted to.

Unfortunately he left behind more than a few broken hearts.

If music be the food of love, play on September 9, 2012

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I am sat in my kitchen listening to T play guitar and singing at my kitchen table.  It is such a peaceful experience.  Like having a live radio but let’s be honest, who likes kissing the radio?

The boys are either sleeping or are lying in bed listening to him singing.  Either way they are quiet and are heading towards 10 hours of childhood rest.  Tonight, after a day of moving furniture I won’t be far behind them.

Nothing you do surprises me December 24, 2011

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I have had nothing to write for the best part of a week because you have left me alone for that time. WHOOT!

But here I find myself thinking about you again. Last week you gave me €100 of the €840 you owe me and told me that there would be “more next week” so roll forward to today and needless to say there was no money offered up. I have stopped humiliating myself by asking you for money and having to tell the latest excuse so right now you owe me €840 and you haven’t contributed toward Christmas. Of course that isn’t stopping you coming out here in the morning to enjoy Santa.