Sean …

'Good times' was Sean's comment on this pic

You’re missing the Magners League final this weekend, and the Champions League final … but maybe you’d have gone to the Kings of Leon in Slane … some of your friends are going, and they wish you were too … I know what a great time you had when you saw them at Oxegen, and you texted your mum to say you could die happy … I found our old Because of the Times CD the other day … great to hear it again; it was like you were in the car beside me … also some of your old compilations … amused to find ‘The Big Strong Man’ along with serious stuff … I remember when we used to shout it out on car journeys when you and Susi were small.

We found an essay you wrote on Othello as well … we remember how much you enjoyed Othello. Your teacher wrote ‘Lovely opening’ and ‘Style of writing is very impressive and you make many many great points’. You were always very good at anything you liked. You were so talented.

We’re enjoying our lives, but still missing you badly and thinking about you all the time. It’s a dull ache that never goes away, and never will.

We didn’t know before you went how many people loved you, and how many people’s lives you brightened – people of all ages. Now we know, because they tell us, and they leave messages online to say so. There was nobody like you, Sean.

I played pool with some of your friends in the pub last weekend, when we were celebrating Clio’s birthday … I beat Gary 2–1 at the end of the night. The women were talking about how charming you were. I remembered playing pool with you there on your 18th birthday – just the two of us.

But maybe I don’t have to tell you any of this, Sean. Maybe you know it all already. I really hope so. I often feel that you are here with us.

Love you always and for ever.




Filed under Death, Ireland, Memories, Philosophy of life

19 responses to “Sean …

  1. Cymbeline

    Hello Brendano. Fun, zany school photograph. Very moving letter to your son.

    There is always a sense of bright shining light when you speak of him and show us what he could do.

    • Hello Cymbeline. Thanks for this. You understand what I’m getting at.

      We’ve been away, listening to live music and (in my case) drinking beer. Six bands in the past two days. A good weekend.

      • Cymbeline

        Delighted that you had a good weekend. A change of scene is always refreshing for the soul! Talking of scenes, there has been an extraordinary festival of street art and theatre here. It may interest Pauline. The troupe is called ‘Royal de Luxe’. It attracted some 600,000 visitors to the city.

        • I badly needed a break, as I’d been working seven days a week for the past month or more.

          I’ll look up the festival … what a huge number of visitors.

          Every town, village or city needs something like that.

      • Cymbeline

        Have had more time to read up about the ‘Blues on the Bay’ festival. I see that it is held in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. Quite a scene by the looks of it. Energy.

        • We saw six bands in two days and one night. Especially enjoyed this duo (Australian man, Irish woman):

        • Cymbeline

          Not just a musical duo; a couple too. She is his ‘morning glory’.

          The thongs (flip-flops) are very Australian. I notice too that he speaks with a real Oz eccent about his love on the keet, but then sings with an American accent.

          Have you ever heard any Slim Dusty?

  2. No, I don’t know SD. None of the YouTube clips of Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson do them justice, I think … they’re really good … very ‘deep blues’ in places. She plays flute, tin whistle and washboard as well as drums.

    He is a stereotypical Australian. Example of between-songs joke: ‘When I was a kid my old man used to tell me he could smoke cigarettes through his arse. I never believed him till I saw the nicotine stains on his undies.’

  3. Cymbeline

    P.S. You have to listen to Slim Dusty. Like him or not, he is the Australian reference for Australian country music. Deeply loved.

    • I have checked Slim out on YouTube. As I expected, ‘Pub with no Beer’ is one of his … I knew the Dubliners’ version.

      I can’t honestly say I expect to be listening much to Slim.

      Coincidentally, this guy did a version of ‘Down Under’ when I saw him the other night … he’s an amazing guitar player …

  4. Cymbeline

    Mark Black’s ‘Rambling on my mind’ sounds Joe Cockerish.

    Right. I am getting seriously out of my depth here. I do not know ANYTHING about music. I do not have a musical soul.

    Your deep love and understanding of music is a gift, and it links you to Sean. That is what matters the most.

  5. Sipu

    Hi Brendan. It has been a while since I last visited your site. On the evening of the 29th of April, I was enjoying a party to celebrate the Royal Wedding. At about 21.00 I received a call from my brother who was up in Scotland with various members of my rather large family to attend the wedding, the following day, of a cousin of ours. He called to say that my youngest sister had suffered a heart attack and was not expected to live. In fact she died 2 days later. You, more than most, will appreciate the shock at the news of such an event. Kate was only just 50 and was outwardly very healthy. She did not smoke and was slim and fit. I cannot recall her ever being ill. Of all of us, she was the least expected to die in this way.

    It turned out that she had something called Long QT Syndrome which can lead to sudden death. Last year another brother was diagnosed with the same ailment and after a series of attacks was fitted with a pace maker. Our family has been told that it is probably hereditary and that we all need to be tested. I was struck by the similarity of Kate’s death to that of Sean and wondered whether the cause was the same.

    I flew to England for the funeral which was an extraordinary affair. Kate and her husband had recently bought a rather lovely house in Wiltshire that backed onto a grand old Anglican church, parts of which date back to the 11th century. When they moved in, Kate and Anthony had taken the precaution of inviting the bell ringers around for a drink. This hospitable move smoothed the way for Anthony when he requested of the vicar that a Catholic mass be held for the funeral. He pointed out that after all, the church had once belonged to the Catholics.

    Friends and family gathered round in great numbers and with greater enthusiasm and helped out with accommodation and meals and shoulders to cry on.

    The local Catholic church was much too small for the expected throng; so too it turned out was the Anglican Church. Nearly 600 people came from all over the UK and Europe, including Ireland and as far as India and the USA. It was a truly humbling experience for her family to realise just how much she was loved and admired by so many people. The service was beautiful with a wonderful choir.

    One of the three concelebrants was a priest who had once been her boyfriend. After they broke up, he joined the church and when she and Anthony got married 25 years ago, he performed the service. It was heart-wrenching that he should have provided the homily at her funeral as well. It appeared that he would burst into tears at any second, though he spoke beautifully and humorously. Anthony wrote the eulogy with help from others though it was spoken by a friend, someone who had been at school with me and who had also taught their children. Anthony was keen that Kate should be portrayed, warts and all. She would not have been happy with a glossy make over. But it was her foibles as much as her qualities that made her as loved as much as she was.

    Our own mother died when Kate was only 7 years old. She had raised her children with the understanding that she might one day die and that they would have to cope with out a mother as she had done. Her children did her justice. At the end of the service, one of her boys read The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

    • Hello Sipu. Thank you so much for an extremely moving comment.

      I’m very sorry to hear about Kate, who was the same age as me. It must have been a terrible shock for all of you, and this must be a devastating time … I know that you will be thinking about her an awful lot, and remembering old times. Clearly Kate was a lovely person and was held in very high regard. The fact that Anthony concelebrated the funeral mass (which sounds beautiful) must have made it even more poignant.

      We are not sure yet as to the cause of Sean’s death – the inquest hasn’t been held yet – and may never be. Pauline, Susanna and I had our hearts tested a few weeks ago, and everything seems to be OK with us (pending further tests). An electrical problem with the heart is by far the most likely cause of Sean’s death, it seems … it occurred as if he was simply switched off. (It may be long QT syndrome.)

      I wish you and your family all the strength you will need to cope with this bewildering event.

  6. Sipu

    Thanks for your kind thoughts Brendan. A slight misunderstanding; it was not Anthony who concelebrated, but another priest, a friend who had once been a boyfriend of Kate when they were at university.

  7. Cymbeline

    Dear Sipu. Please accept my condolences.

    Hearts and loss. Hearts and love.

  8. Sipu

    Thank you Cymbeline, that means a great deal to me. xx

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