Just home. I went to a wake with my parents. They have two to go to today. A young man of 27 has died of Leukaemia after a recurring hard, hard battle of 20 years. I was at Search youth group at the same time as him ten years ago. My parents and his are friends. The house was packed. His mother, devastated but smiling and hugging. She wanted it to be over for him, but she didn’t want her eldest child to go. His tall, funny, friendly father now sombre but thankful for mercies. My mum and dad keep saying that they are ‘salt of the earth’ people. And they are.
Young men guarded the door and wiped away tears. You search for the words, get in the way. There’s not much to say. I know that his suffering and his friendship and his life will have touched others, and I hope that he’s not in pain, that he is happy and at peace. I hope love and prayers will envelope his Mother, Father and three siblings, and they will have the strength to go on, always remembering.
My only clear memory of this brave man is from my first induction weekend to Search Youth Group. There’s a special prayer time, after all the fun and the show of the entertainment, and everyone settles on the floor, late at on a Saturday night with candles burning before bed for prayers. It was always my favourite time if I’m honest. He sat on a stack of chairs, high above the rest of us (where he no doubt shouldn’t have been!) and eventually spoke into the dark about the cancer that almost killed him as a child. I’m not sure if his brave tears were pain, fear, or relief. He was 17 then. He was in long-term remission if I recall, and he was grateful. It always stayed with me, I don’t really remember his words, but his emotion and the huge ordeal he had faced, and unknowingly had yet to face. The example of speaking out and of voicing thankfulness and maybe fear.
I don’t feel qualified to talk about him, and I’m truly not jumping on the bandwagon or attention seeking in any way. Being confronted with such sad death wont leave my mind and heart and I’d like him to be remembered. It’s devastating when someone so young dies, and after so much pain. I truly believe that nothing is wasted and there are many reasons, and someday we will know.
Maybe I will someday share this with his family, or maybe it’s rambling and selfish. Maybe we could all do with remembering what really matters. ‘Focus on loving’ is what my dear Mammy says and I agree for once.
A lovely man who sang in the choir at mass for many years died today, also after a short illness with brain cancer. At the wake the young man’s Dad told us of another Derry man who died today aged 29, six weeks after his wedding, from sudden cancer.
Last night myself and my bestest buddy found ourselves free at the same time and went out for a drink last-minute. We just were able to talk about everything, which I actually don’t know has ever happened! Despite being a little afraid of half of Wetherspoons knowing my business (gin=loud) I feel better. And closer to her, and just some magic human connection that we all need. Grateful to have her and loved ones in my life.
Yesterday at the amazing Women of the World event that has come from Southbank Centre London to Derry twice now, I recognised a woman and it took me a while to place her. She’s a Life Coach that I went to a few times last year. I had almost forgotten about it. Immediately I felt dread in case she saw me. My life isn’t looking like much at the minute, specifically career wise. Then after a beat, I realised that the main things that I was struggling and discussing with her, and giving me much pain – are things that I have totally turned around. I said this to her, and she ‘squee-ed’ at my going for the Journalism, leaving the job and all the relationship stuff. But she nodded knowingly ‘I thought that might happen’ ‘I’m so happy!’ and although she wants to take the credit, I left feeling happier. Maybe I don’t have it all figured out at 25, maybe I worry and beat myself up so much, it’s looking like I’m going to have to eat humble pie and go into retail for a bit. But I’m blessed and loved, I do my best – everything does happen for a reason. When I’m not crying at my keyboard I do ok!
I raise my mug of tea to good people gone, families’ strength, life and loving and friendship.
I’m just a big bag of emotions and I hope I don’t hurt anyone or say too much. Feel free to let me know.