There is quite a lot of stuff hanging on the walls of Sean’s bedroom. Most of it has to do with rugby … team posters, pictures of players, newspaper reports of notable victories for Ireland or Munster; an autograph from Tyrone Howe, whom Sean met once; a letter inviting him to a training session with Brian O’Driscoll. Also an Ireland jersey.
The only two footballers that appear are Patrick Vieira and Kolo Touré, in their Arsenal days. There is a Kings of Leon CD sleeve, and five tickets to a party in a pub in Athboy last November, which featured some top international DJs (I think Sean knew one of them). There is a weight-training programme. For some reason, there is half an Australian five-dollar bill.
The small room contains a king-size bed in (a hand-me-down from his parents), weight-training equipment, a large punchbag (with wall bracket for hanging it up) and a speedball. There is a television and a CD player. There is an old brass shell-case from one of the wars, given to Sean by his English grandad.
Directly above the bed is a poster of Kurt Cobain (1967–1994) smoking a cigarette. This was placed there at a time when Sean loved Nirvana … he listened to nothing else for a year or so when he was around 13 or 14, directly after his heavy-metal phase. Their gritty integrity and non-commercialism as well as their music appealed to him.
Nirvana had passed his mum and me by when they were in their heyday … I knew hardly any of their tracks. When Sean got interested in them, we soon realized that they were a truly great band (surely the best three-piece ever). We used to listen to them in the car all the time, and often in the house.
Sean moved on to other things musically, but towards the end of his life often played Nirvana again. Their music is steeped in memories for the other members of his family. Memories of Sean, our son and brother, who died four weeks ago today. We miss you, Sean.