Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Diary #2 of Cara Cunnyham aged 2 and 3/4..................

Hello everybody! Nanny told Cara that EVERYBODY loved my last chat. So here's another one. Nanny says it'll be more of the same and maybe people won't read it. But Cara likes chatting - people don't have to listen. Nanny says Cara is very wise and people should listen - but they don't have to.

When we left Granny Teresa's house we went to the mountain. Nanny is always  talking and talking about this mountain called Sliabh Liag. When Seamai was only a little baby Nanny brought him up to the place called Bun Glas and lifted him up in the air to show him where he belonged. Nanny was funny and said 'Kunta Kinte' when she lifted him up and Grandad laughed and called her a 'daft thing' - but she meant it. Nanny says we all belong to the air and the sea and the mountains - lots of people think its the land that's important, the land and the land and the land. Nanny says all the wars in the world were caused by silly people fighting over a bit of muck.

Cara and Nanny stood on the viewing platform and looked down at the Giant's table and chair. Cara wanted to go down to it but Nanny said it was too far. One day Cara and Nanny and Grandad and Mamai are going to go out in a boat to see the table and chair properly. Then Grandad and Cara walked a little way up the mountain. Cara saw the Giant's cloak of purple heather lying over the mountain. Nanny and Cara tried to hear the Giant snoring but there were too many people and cars at Bunglas. And the midges were out and Nanny was scratching and cursing. So we all got back in the car and drove and drove and drove to Swords.

Cara and Liamy and Seamai and Katie all got excited to be back together and jumped and clapped and hugged. Then Cara and Nanny went to the Pavilions to get Cara new shoes - Cara got nice silver sparkly shoes with lights on. Cara's feet twinkle and sparkle and light up like coloured stars when she  runs and skips and jumps. Nanny says Cara is like a fairy. Cara not a fairy. Cara just Cara. Then Nanny say Cara a grumpy boots. Cara not a grumpy boots or tired or a fairy. Cara just Cara. So Nanny got ice creams and we sat on a seat and had a rest and ate our lovely cones. Then we went to the playgound but Cara too tired so we came home and cuddled up nice and cosy and read stories until we went to sleep.

On Monday Cara put on her Peppa togs and Nanny took Cara to Skerries beach. It was a beautiful day and we made sand castles then broke them. We drew pictures in the sand and a big heart with our names and kisses in the middle. We paddle in the little pool and mashed the sand worm casings with our feet. They are squidgey! Then we sat at the edge of the sea and let the waves chase us. Cara is going to be a real wave chaser when she is big. But then Nanny said there were lots of jelliers about so we had to go away from the water. We went to the car and got dressed and then we bought cones and Cara sat in Nanny's seat and ate hers. Then we had to clean the car. Grandad gets mad at sticky messes in his car. Silly Grandad! Then we came home and had lunch and Nanny went off to her shed to 'work'. Cara thinks Nanny just drinks tea and reads books in her blue shed. Maybe she does. But that's ok. Cara went to the playground with Grandad. It was fun. And then it was time for stories and bed.

And then it was ANOTHER big day! And Cara went for her first ever time to the swimming pool. Cara had to wear a swimming hat and armbands. Nanny says swimming hats are great levellers. Everyone looks silly and can't be grumpy when they wear swimming hats. Cara held Nanny's hand and we walked to the edge of the water. 'It's beautiful. Nanny it's beautiful' Cara said. And Nanny cried. Silly Nanny! And Cara went in the little pool first and then the big pool where Nanny held Cara and didn't let go and bounced Cara up and down and we sang 'Nellie the Elephant'. Then we went in the Jacuzzi and Cara laughed and laughed at the bubbles tickling. Then we went in the Lazy River and Cara loved the way the water pulled Cara and Nanny around. Then the Wave Machine came on and Cara sat at the edge and let the waves catch her. It was SO fun. Then a bad thing happened. Nanny and Cara went to the showers and Nanny tried washing Cara's hair. And Cara cried and roared and cried and roared and all the people looked at Nanny as if she was trying to murder Cara. Nanny is no good with Cara's hair. Cara called out 'Mamai Mamai Mamai' and Nanny said 'I know I know I know' but she still kept washing. It was TERRIBLE. But then we got dressed and got a chocolate bar, so Cara felt happy again.

Nanny scratched a card and shouted 'Hooray!'. She won €25. So we went to a shop called Vinnies and Nanny bought a lump of books and Cara bought a pirate ship and a train and a tee shirt. Cara played for ages and ages with the toys in Vinnies and had nice chats with some people. Then we came home and Grandad took Cara to the Pavilions where Cara saw Katie in her work. 'Katie!' said Cara and ran and hugged her. Katie was delighted. Katie is Cara's friend. When Cara and Grandad came home Nanny was in bed. She said she was knackered. So Cara go to bed too. And we had stories. And Cara read 'The Gruffalo' to Nanny because Nanny was tired and Nanny said it was perfick. And Cara and Nanny talked about Mamai coming home and got excited. And now we have to go to sleep so we will have energy for Mamai.

See you tomorrow! Love youXXXXX

Monday, August 15, 2016

Diary of Cara Cunnyham aged 2 and 3/4....................

My lovely Mamai Rachel is away out foreign in a mad hot place on  holliers,  Cara is on holliers in Swords - staying with Nanny and Grandad and Seamai and Liamy and Molly.

Cara meant to write a diary every night; that way Cara will remember all the things I did and can tell Mamai all about it. But Cara is SO-O_O_O TIRED every night from running and racing and laughing and talking and skipping and swimming and painting and swan feeding and digging on the beach and going to the playground and dancing with Nanny and blowing bubbles with Seamai and watching Dora The Explorer with Liamy and calling to neighbours and going to the library and JCs and watering Nanny’s garden and taking Molly for walks that take AGES. Nanny says she’s tired too! And she’s only looking at me ! 
Last Friday Nanny and Grandad and me drove and drove and drove until we got to Granny’s lane and then up to her house called Donegal. On the way Cara seed a lump of windmills. Nanny and Cara think windmills are beautiful, like big giants guarding our country,  twirling and swirling in the wind making electricity so we can watch Netflix and have light in the dark and cook nice things to eat. Electricity is good. Cara not like some electric things. The Hoover. The lawnmower. Hand-driers in toilets. They too noisy. Cara HATE Granny Teresa’s blender. It is the noisiest yoke in the twenty six counties. We stayed in Drimreagh on Friday night and Cara and Nanny saw Stephen’s chickens and Connie’s cows and sheep and dogs.  Cara wanted to take one of Stephen’s chickens to bed. But Nanny said the chicken called a hen might lay an egg on Blankie – so Cara left them in their own beds. Cara thought the Gruffalo might be hiding in Connie’s shed cause Cara heard a big loud noise. Nanny said it was just a cow. It didn’t sound like a cow. It sounded like a Gruffalo.

On Saturday we drove and drove and drove to the place where the boat was to take us over to the island. Burtonport. Arranmore. It was Cara first time on the boat. It was BRILLIANT. Cara was a bit scared of the loud noises but Nanny and Grandad cuddled Cara so Cara didn't have to be scared. The wind blew and blew and blew and Cara hair was flying around like Cara was on a high swing. Cara laughed and laughed and laughed. Cara liked the white bits the boat made in the sea as it moved, Cara wanted to jump in and swim. Nanny said it might be too cold. Anyway Cara's Peppa togs were in Granny’s house.

Great Uncle Peter met us on Arranmore and took us to his house. It is a very beautiful house in a very beautiful place. Nanny said it it was so beautiful it made her want to cry. Silly Nanny! There was a lump of people inside the house and outside the house. Great Aunts CronaandAnneandAgnesandBridandTeresa second cousins (or first cousins once removed?) SineadandNiamhandCillianandStephenandMichaelandEilishandSeannaghandAisling and some non Cunnyham people too FrankandMaureenandClaireUrquhartandMichealandAnneFerry. Nicola Doogan wasn’t there. Poor Nicola. They were all very nice to Cara, but Cara was a bit shy. So Cara sat on Grandad’s knee and ate choccy biccies. They were all talkingandtalkingandtalking and Brid was making everyone laugh. Brid is the funniest person Cara knows. Even funnier than Nanny.

Then we all started our big walk around the island. Nanny kept saying ‘OhMyGod Cara! Look at that! Isn’t that so beautiful.’ And Nanny was right. She usually is. It was a good bright clear day and all the colours and smells were sharp and clean. Except for the sheep poo and the bunny balls. Nanny and Cara and Seannagh and Brid  strolled along behind everyone else 'cause we like to take our time and chat and admire the world. But then the wind got up – too cold and blowy for Cara so Cara cried and wanted to go back to the house. Nanny put Cara in the buggy and pushed Cara back; Nanny said she didn’t mind not doing the walk ‘cause some of those paths looked fairly steep. Nanny is a bit of a couch potato. But couch potatoes are cuddly. So that’s OK.

Cara and Nanny pottered about,  chatting and playing boules and Guess Who? and Connect 4 (Cara’s  rules – none of your silly proper ones). Then everyone came back from the big walk – they were all a bit red and shiny and thirsty and happy. So they all had wine or beer or water. Cara had a Caprisun. Then there was a  big feast, beetroot falafel (Nanny said ‘Totes delish’) curry and rice and Naan bread that Cara called pizza. And rhubarb crumble and ice cream that made Nanny make a funny moany sound because it was so good. And there was more chats and laughs and Claire Urquhart and Cara played  a brilliant jumping game with the boules. Claire is a lovely lady, very pretty and fun to be with. Claire used to play with Cara’s Aunty Eithne when they were little. Grandad told Cara that Claire and Eithne would run away and hide on Mamai Rachel and Nicola Doogan ‘cause they were the big girls and wanted to do big girl stuff on their own. Poor Mamai Rachel! Cara will never do that to her. Then Nicola Doogan came on the late ferry. Everyone was happy to see her. It made the day perfick, just perfick.

Nobody sang. That was strange. The Cunnyhams love to sing and Nanny says when Cara Cunnyham grows up she’ll be the finest singer in all Ireland. Maybe Cara will sing a song with Mamai, just for ourselves then later maybe for other people. Thinking of singing made me miss Mamai’s little voice right this minute, and her pixie hair and her lovely smile and the smell of her and her fingers fixing my hair. But Cara's not going to cry. Cara will have Mamai just for herself for a long long time. Mamai promised. Just like 'Owl Babies' Mamais always come back. That’s the rule. And Nanny told me too. And Nanny always tells the truth.

When all was cleaned up we walked down to the pier to catch the last ferry (that’s another word for boat – amn’t I a clever Cara!) There was a lump of Cunnyhams on the boat,  Cara felt sad for the people who weren’t Cunnyhams. Crona and Peter stood at the wall watching the boat sail away. CaraI waved and  waved and waved. Cara hoped they weren’t too lonely after everybody. Nanny said they prob’ly went straight to bed.

Cara was worried all day ‘cause Blankie was in the car on his own and maybe a sly old fox or A Swiper or a Gruffalo would take him. (Yes, Blankie is male – he told Cara he is). But it was OKAY! HE WAS THERE! So Cara cuddled him and fell fast asleep. When we got back to Drimreagh Grandad lifted Cara gentle out of the car and put on Cara nappy. Cara was so tired Cara fell asleep when Nanny was still reading The Gruffalo.I GOT TO SLEEP IN NANNY’S BED ALL WEEKEND! YAY!
Nanny is a bit of a lazybones in the mornings so Granda gets up with me and makes my Ready Brek or sometimes my Weetabix and puts on my Peppa Pig.  Great Granny Teresa has no Netflix for my Dora though, poor Great Granny, isn’t that very sad? Nanny says if Great Granny Teresa was a little bit better she would watch Dora with me and we could both learn to count in Spanish. She surely would said Nanny. Great Granny Teresa could do her knitting and Cara’d watch Dora and have wee chats. Great Granny Teresa loved chats. And crosswords. And hugs. And laughing. Nanny says Great Granny Teresa was a brilliant hugger. Even better than her. Cara feels a bit sad she never had a proper chat with that long ago Teresa. Sometimes Great Granny Teresa gets very sad and shakes her head and cries. Cara wants to cry too. But  instead Nanny showed Cara how to pat Granny’s hand or maybe blow her a kiss to try to make her not sad. Sometimes Great Granny Teresa gives a big laugh and her eyes are all twinkly. Only for a little while; then her eyes look they have clouds in them and Cara know Great Granny’s gone away, way way inside of her head. Nobody can go with Granny Teresa to that place. She has to go on her own.

Cara only told you about two days of her holliers but Cara has to stop talking and talking now because Cara is sleepy and Nanny wants to read her book. See you tomorrow xx

Monday, April 11, 2016

I'm in love..............

It’s a miserable day in Swords today. The rain is unrelenting, sky a brooding grey and it’s cold enough to warrant putting the heat on. The type of weather that normally sends me to the edge of the abyss.

Not today though.


I am ensconced in my beautiful blue she shed, my me shed, tigin Eibhlin, and am head over heels in love with it. The only sounds I can hear are the rain pattering on the roof, sporadic louder splashes of rainwater spilling out of my house’s clogged gutters, and the soft hiss of gas from the Superser. My shed is what has been missing all my life. My own space. Solitude. 

When I started dabbling in writing twelve years ago I thought I had found the thing that had been missing in my life, my thing, my passion; the medium through which I could communicate coherently with others, express my world view. It seemed to fulfil that ‘what’s it all about?’’ hole for me at that stage in my life.

However, I recently realised that writing is, for me, is also an excuse to be on my own. To return to those times in childhood and adolescence where I could lose myself in a book for hours on end, only emerging from the dreamlike trance books put me in when someone physically touched me, bringing me back from the world the author had created for me. With the shed I have regained that solitude, and can use it how I like; to read, to write, to think. I’m privileged to have been able to indulge myself and buy this space, and for the first time ever I don’t feel guilty about spending money on myself. It’s an investment in my mental health as much as anything.

I’m raved here in the past about the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Co. Monaghan. I love that place; the first time I arrived there I felt like I had landed home. If I arrive there for a visit in an  energized mood I can usually achieve really good work, if I go there blocked it can help unblock me (unless I hit the Red Biddy too hard! Alcohol blocks creativity for me). It is the deep stillness of the place. A space to think. To be.

I’m getting exactly that same sense of energy and home in the silence of my shed. The quietness is nourishing my little fire of creativity, stopping me rushing things and submitting too early; I feel the work I’m producing now is a lot better than my pre she-shed work, my output is certainly up. There are no banging doors in it, no ringing doorbells, flushing loos, thunderous poundings up and down stairs;  no blaring radios, no babbling tvs, no strummin’ guitars pluckin’ banjos plinkin’ mandolins or ripplin’ pianos. There are no hummin’ whistlin’, singin’ mutterin’ bargin’ males.  There is only my breath, the rain on the roof, my fingers on the keyboard or pencil scratching across the page as I write letters to make words that form sentences, slowly building something, all this underscored by the sibilant hiss of the SuperSer and the occasional rustle of paper when I need to consult a book.

In one word. Bliss.

I may well become a hermit. I suppose l’ll still come out the odd day to play with yiz! If yiz will have me, that is. M’wah.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Brussels 22/03

The horrendous events that occurred in Brussels on Monday 22/3/2016 horrified me; they didn’t surprise me - just made me sad. Sad for those who lost their lives  - including the suicide bombers who were deluded into giving their lives for a cause that, to many, is incomprehensible.

Why am I not surprised? I’m female, Irish and European; I know my gender’s, my country’s, my continent’s history, I  know the extremes misogyny/religion/nationalism, and/or the perceived lack of a heard voice, humanity can commit. In both Ireland and Europe we are familiar with the appalling cruelty humans are capable of - particularly when we dehumanize others. There is no justification for depriving A.N. Other of the one thing that we have in common. In the words of the great Alan Bleasedale ' we all - 'live and breathe and fart after four lagers and lime'. 

 All those who died have family – mothers, fathers, children or siblings perhaps, extended family certainly, friends who love them; people who are hurting now because the other human they cared for is gone, leaving that  person sized hole in their lives. 

An intolerance of the ‘other’, a lack of  any attempt to ‘walk in my shoes’ can very quickly get out of hand – as History has shown us. It is time we grew up as a species – we should aim to follow the lead of Antoine Leiris and stop hating; together ‘we are more powerful than all the World’s armies’

With those who lost loved ones yesterday, indeed on any day, I empathise; as for the rest of us, let us not hate – it will lead us again into the abyss.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Get on with it..............

I met an old friend yesterday and we rambled for a while together. He is in his seventies and hadn’t been well so we chatted about his health for a while. He’s feeling ok but has to take meds now all the time. I could see his vulnerability.
’I didn’t think I’d ever feel like this again’, he said. I knew what he meant. He had some mental ill-health about ten years ago and I had helped him through it.
‘You’re frightened?’ I asked. He nodded.
             ’It’s alright to be frightened. Acknowledge it, then get on with the normal things you do.’
 ‘But I could be dying!’ he exclaimed.
 ’We’re all dying. It’s how we handle the fact makes the difference.’ He nodded and I saw some of the trouble leave his face.
Not for long though. We started to discuss the election result, or rather non result.
’I can’t believe it,’ he said. ‘Are people that stupid and short-sighted?’ Do they not remember what Fianna Fail did? Do they not realise that our children and grandchildren now have to live abroad, away from us, because of their short sightedness? Their greed!’ He continued venting and I teased him to calm down or he’d have a ‘banger’. He laughed – a big shouty hearty laugh.
‘D’you know’ he said. ‘I meet two fellas I used to work with regularly for a drink. Both of them ended up at the top of the pile in their respective industries. One has a pension of about 60k , the other about 80k. And they voted for Fianna Fail. Because they felt too much had been taken from them by the FG/Labour coalition.’
 ‘Greed,’ I said, ‘pure greed. Still trying to keep up with the Jones’ I suspect’
‘That’s exactly it.’ He replied, ‘Bloody fools. Selfish bloody fools. I thought the government were doing a fairly decent job of cleaning up the mess. Well, I wash my hands of the whole damn lot of them.’
We parted then and I walked on thinking about how he felt. This man worked hard, paid all taxes and bills as they fell due. With his partner he reared a family, educated them, helped them out when they had to go abroad for work. One child is gay and chose to leave because Ireland of that time was so stifling for anyone different. The second child settled in Australia, has a good life, a partner and children. They don’t come home much.

I saw a great tee shirt logo some years back. It was the face of the iconic Peig Sayers (much hated by my generation of Dubliners) and underneath it was the legend ‘Recession, Mo Thoin’. It was the first time I ever got a laugh out of Peig! We have a great little country, lots of resources and resourceful people. Whatever the outcome of discussions over the next number of weeks for pity’s sake let there be no more Civil War and grandstanding politics, no more egos and squabbling. We’re all tired lads. Just get on with your bloody jobs and stop trying to keep up with the Jones’.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday and Heavy Breathers.......

My she shed is still a WIP so I removed myself to the library in a nearby village today. It was a gorgeous morning here in North Co. Dublin; very cold, but the quickly thawing ground frost left behind that nice crisp air and a blindingly low winter sun hung in a hard blue sky.

I had a good bit of reading to do, so found myself a quiet corner and began. There were a couple of students in the study area, and some very young children on the lower ground floor chatting and laughing. I have, of necessity, always been able to shut out the noise of the very young. A skill learned as the oldest of seven kids growing up in your average suburban semi-d.

After an hour or so I was deeply engrossed in my book but became aware of somebody settling into the desk behind me. That was fine, concentration briefly disrupted I checked emails and had a quick look on social media. Then, when I deemed my fellow reader should be organised I tried to get back to my book.


The noises emanating from the person were ridiculously irritating. Snuffling, throat clearing, sighing, tutting and (worst of all) very heavy breathing. I had to resist the urge to turn sharply and say ‘STOP BREATHING!’

 I gave up my hope of concentrating after ten minutes, when it became apparent that my fellow library user was simply a noisy person, completely unaware of same. Some people need to hear themselves breathing to make sure they’re still, well, breathing.

As I gathered together (quietly) my belongings I cast a glance at my intruder. Elderly, male, bald and a little overweight; he had the angriest looking cross marked in black ash on his forehead. It‘s Ash Wednesday and, despite making pancakes yesterday, it hadn’t registered with me. As I passed I stole a glance at the documents this man was working on. They appeared to be applications for attendance at a local Catholic primary school. I wondered about them. There has been a lot of chat in Ireland recently about parents trying to get their children into the local school and failing to find a place because preference is going to those baptised in the Catholic faith. A lot of parents are choosing not to baptise their children now, and finding it difficult later, as the Church is still the main patron of most schools in Ireland.

I know this particular Catholic school. It has a great reputation, and there are alternative schools in the area. But I’m a great believer in kids going to the local school, the one their pals from crèche or their estate go to. I have no idea if my heavy breather was judging parents as he read their forms – but the memory of his blackened brow staring sternly at these forms is a little unsettling – and of course the product of an over active imagination. But still…..

Anyway, I came out onto the Main St as the local church was emptying itself of its devotees. If an alien had landed this morning I think it might have been bewildered as to why most of the humans it encountered appeared elderly and marked with an angry thumb. Despite the warming sun I shivered. I know ashes on ones forehead are supposed to be symbolise humility – but it just doesn’t feel like that.

It feels like – ‘we are different’. 

And that’s my main problem with all organised religions, that - ‘we are different’ Not we are better (although many espouse that) but look at us, we are different – and we want to be the same in our difference. Am I making sense? Probably not. But I’ll never, ever understand slavishly following any particular group of teachings – when some of them are blatantly unfair and even at times downright cruel.

'Nuff said. Roll on me she shed! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Chapter Two - 'The Letters'...........(title credit to Barbara Hegarty!)

Right. So. 

I left here yesterday and posted a link on Facebook to the blog on Grandad’s letter to Mam for her 21st. My lovely cousin, Lisa Connolly, daughter of Mam’s sister – Norah, read the blog and my comment on FB that I had nothing with my mother’s writing on it.

 Lisa informed me she had a letter Mammy wrote her when Lisa was living in San Francisco. The letter is dated March 14th 1991. Six days before Mammy died.  When Lisa read the letter in San Francisco Mammy was dead, and Lisa read it in the company of Phyllis Glynn, a great friend of Mam’s, who had travelled to SF to spend time with her son.

Lisa couldn’t rest easy after she told me about the letter. My excitement was palpable on FB. And an excited Evelyn is an unstoppable force of Nature!  Up into the attic with my lovely, lovely Lisa and she retrieved the letter. Read it. Bawled for all that was lost. She told me to P.M. her my address. I told her not to post it, I was terrified anything would happen to it. I had to have it, to hold Mammy between my fingers again.

I couldn’t sleep, so pottered around the house – a little writing, a little reading, a lot of thinking. 

When the clock reached 7.30 a.m. I hopped into the car and drove the twenty odd miles to Lisa’s house, much of it down a winding country road (where bloody truckers don’t think the ‘dip your headlights’ rule applies to them). When I got near the house I realised it was probably a bit too early to have mad relatives dropping in for breakfast so I pulled into a service station and checked Facebook to see if there was anyone stirring in Lida’s house. Yes! She ‘liked’ a post of mine so she was up. I drove the last few miles and rang the doorbell. Lisa has three gorgeous children all early to mid teens and three magnificent LARGE dogs. I had them all as wound up as meself!

Lisa produced ‘the letter’ and let me hold it. She forbid me to open and read it until we both had a cup of tea in front of us.

Mammy’s sloping left-handed writing  on the envelope. I sniffed it. I could SMELL her! The unmistakeable smell of  talc. Of love. Of caring. Oh Sweet Jesus Tonight!

I could feel her energy between my fingers. Lisa’s daughters were going mad. The school bus was due and they weren’t going to get to see my reaction when I read 'the letter'. Just as I opened the envelope and unfolded  three A4 ruled, feint and margin, foolscap pages pages the bus arrived and the girls had to leg it. They wer raging – they didn’t get to take snaps. So I promised a detailed account. Here yiz are.

I started to read it aloud and my voice caught. 
   ‘Don’t read it aloud if you can’t’ said Lee.
    ‘No, I have to. I have to hear her in the room.’ I read on.

Here is the transcribed text of the letter plus the original document 

                                                                                                                   Bons Secours Hosp.
                                                                                                               (S.W.)Ballymun Glasnevin Hill
(Dad’s writing for Ballymun and Hill)
14th March ‘91
Dear Lisa,
How are you chicks? I believe you are away on holidays but by the time Phyllis gets to you - you’ll be back.
            Well here I am back in hospital – but you’re not to worry ‘cause I’m fine and coming on – it has nothing to do with the tumours. My head is marvellous – not an ache or pain. But my breathing is desperate. My lungs and chest are all congested and I sound like a train with all the wheezing and whistling. Judy was sitting beside me the other night and she says (sic) “Jesus – name that tune in 3.” You know Judy’s sense of humour.
            Lisa wants to know if I’m in for an oiling.
            But all joking aside, I’m in great form and that’s the main thing and Lisa – I’m not depressed and I don’t care about anything physical, as long as I’m not suffering from depression. As long as I live I’ll never forget the ten weeks of hell at Christmas and before and after it. It was like being in a deep black pit, that I couldn't get out of. I know it was terrible for everyone – it was the worst Christmas we all ever must have had (sic) – however its all behind us now – T.G. and pray it will never come back.
            I discovered a lovely saint, his name is St. Peregrine – he’s the patron saint of cancer sufferers and he’s working miracles in my life. Say a little prayer each day  to him Lisa, and spread his devotion for me. Nobody here heard of him. I’m trying to get you his leaflet and believe me he was no saint in the beginning, he did terrible things – but in the latter part of his life became a cancer victim himself and there are wonderful miracles attributed to him.
            Phyllis will fill you in on all the family news. Judy and Bill hae bough a house out in Killbarrack(sic) – and the final signing is 30th april. She’s delighted. It’s a grand house – I think it was £42,000, so another one for the high jump.
            Evelyn has moved in with Jim and they have rented a house out in Lucan.
            Aisling is home during the week and stays with Owen (sic) at weekends, so little by little they are finally making lives for themselves. T. G.
Me sons, well I just can’t get rid of them. They don’t know haow to boil any eggs. However they’ll learn bloody fast – can you ever see any of them starving.
Seamus is still ‘my hero’ the auld ‘boll---‘ is doing everything for me as I’ve got a lot weaker.
I’d say our Phyllis will have a ball. Her little new house is gorgeous. Ideal for herself and John. She ha had a few ding-dongs in it but unfortunately I haven’t been able to go as the night time I’m too shagged to go anywhere.
My bedtime is 9.30.
I’m not going to close this letter as I’ll jot down other little bits od info. As the days go on. I’m going to give Phyllis this note on Thursday.

By the way I saw ‘Beaches’ on Sunday, Louise myself and Lisa watched it on video, well the 3 of us laughed and cried our way through it. I thought it was one of the best films I’d ever seen. I just love Bette Midler.
(switches to Dad’s writing)
            Just came in to see ‘Big Mama.’ She asked me to add a P.S. So this is it +P.S.
Lisa, have to close as Phyllis is collecting this. Love to Mary and baby abnd she is gorgeous and of course Noel. I’m mad about my chopping boards. Judy has her eye on one but she can F off.

Love Liz
I love you

So there you are. I got Mammy back today. That is the power of the written word. I could hear her, see her in my mind's eye arguing with Dad over whether the hospital was Glasnevin or Ballymun. yanking the letter back from him and saying 'Now, see what you made me do,' at the little tear on page three. I could smell her.

Write something tonight for someone you love. shove it in a drawer. In years to come they will unearth it and you will be back with them. It is said we die twice. Once when our physical body ceases breathing, and again when our name is uttered for the last time.

 Elizabeth Kennedy Walsh 1937 -1991 will live here until d'Internet explodes. And some night, somewher in our little planet an idlly surfing finger will click in and Liz will leap off the page - fully formed again - her laughing living lovely self.

We love you Mam.