THE widow of Irish and Munster rugby legend, Anthony "Axel" Foley, is the newly appointed ambassador to the Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick. Olive Foley recently spoke of her grief experience following the death of her 42 year old husband, in October, 2016. Shortly after Anthony's death the principal of her sons' school provided her with Sr. Helen's phone number, founder of the Children's Grief Centre. Speaking about the support provided to her young boys, Olive said "Over the last year and half she [Sr. Helen] has supported the kids and really seen them through a very difficult time so I have really seen first hand the work she has done. It is quite extraordinary to be able to give children a beautiful place where they can go to, and express themselves through talking, express emotions through art and all these different lovely mediums. She and her staff do incredible work.
If you did a straw poll and asked folk what is their favourite season I'd hazard a guess that a lot of the answers would be Summer and Spring. After all they are the two seasons of growth and renewal. What's not to like about Summer? The days grow long. The sun shines and it's holiday time. Spring is the beginning of the end of Winter. Daffodils poke through the cold, wet ground and Mother Earth awakens from her Winter sleep. So, what about poor old Autumn/Winter? I like being different. I am not a great fan of Spring or Summer. There's too much light around. I love the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness that poet John Keats wrote about and and the Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
I haven't posted in a while. Apart from being on sick leave from work for stress and anxiety I've caught a nasty cold and a really irritating cough. The runny nose is gone but the cough persists. I had a similar cough last autumn/winter. That lasted for four months. I just feel drained and tired. My daughter is on holiday in New York and the house is so quiet and empty. I really love the autumn season, so, I try to stay focused on keeping healthy in both mind and in body. I had the largest crop of apples in the thirteen years since I've lived here. I made loads of chutney and stored two full boxes of apples in my shed. Everyday I look out at my garden and look at the leaves turning into many different hues of autumnal shades. Leaves are scattered everywhere and the small wild birds are flocking around the bird feeder as they try to survive.
And the "Mother Of The Year" awards goes to... Where were we? Feeling miserable? Being a useless mother? Not sleeping? Too much crying going on? No energy? Yeah, something like this. So, school has started. And we survived the first week. Another big achievement considering I nearly poisoned my daughter. And I totally grossed her out. All in one day. Last Monday - first day of school. I started off do well. Got up early to fix her uniform, to make her lunch, to make sure she gets up on time. Doddle right? Just one kid left, nothing else to worry about... When we left the house I noticed I had used a blue thread to fix her black uniform. Oh, well. Spent the day doing whatever until it was time to collect Katie from the bus stop. As she walked towards me I noticed a somewhat not impressed look on her face.
It piddling rain here in South Galway and I'm in my living room covered up with a soft Pennys throw. It's darkish outside and it really feels like winter. Maybe we've bypassed autumn all together. I've been making pot after pot of my not world famous apple & ginger chutney. So, it must be autumn. Right!! The house is so quiet. Even Daithi the cat is staying nearby. I think he and my dog Lola feel the loneliness of the empty nest that I'm surviving in. Denis the goldfish hasn't really changed his routine so I'm pretty sure that he is oblivious to my plight.
I'm trying so hard to make sense of my World. This post may be an exercise in naval gazing. I make no apologies for that fact. Definitely a deep, dark look at the way I now view the world. There are plenty of opinions and advice given to us when we are bereaved: You'll get over it. Time heals all sadness. You'll find someone else. You've got to get on with things. You should be better by now surely?
What a month this has been! I was dreading it and so looking forward to things that happened this month. First Philipp's adventure. And I am still on a high about how well that turned out. (Did I mention just how proud I am ) And then there was the last weekend. I was so looking forward to seeing Rodney's friends. And, OMG, how I was dreading it. For many reasons. There was the obvious question - would I be able to let Rodney go?
Our son climbed Mount Elbrus this week. The highest mountain in Europe, one of the seven summits. Now, while this in itself is remarkable for anyone to achieve, it was something else for Philipp. Not only had he lost his dad just three months ago, he is also very ill. He doesn't talk about it much, it's not an illness one likes to talk about. Is isn't a visible illness either, so if you'd see him, you wouldn't notice. He's a bit pale, a bit too skinny, maybe. He wouldn't tell you that he is ALWAYS tired, that he's running to the loo ten times a day, every single day. He wouldn't tell you that he is in pain. He wouldn't tell you that he was hardly able to leave his room for two years, that he had spent his teenage years pumped full with high doses of steroids and tons of other meds.
I talk to my children about their Dad very regularly. Tell them funny stories about my life with him or stuff he told me about his younger days. I’m trying to fill in the gaps. I edit out the bad stuff because that was between him and me as I’m trying to keep a positive set of memories alive in their heads. They have lost a male role model. Someone who was there to teach them to drive, teach them how to make pancakes, teach them how to survive life and all its difficulties. A father offers a very different relationship to his children than the mum does. Of course, we both loved our kids and raised them together but, each parent brings their own skill to the job of parenting.
I've been watching the 2016 Rio Olympic games from the start. I've loved watching many sports over the years but, to be pretty honest I've lost my mojo for getting into all things Olympic because of all the doping and corruption scandals. I began to watch last week with a huge dose of cynicism. Today I shed tears while watching the rowing finals. Ireland's O'Donovan Brothers have won a silver medal. It will be the first medal in Olympic rowing that Ireland has won. I felt very emotional and move