Well, that was a great weekend for Irish rugby, with Munster, Ulster and Leinster all winning and all safely installed in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, and the first two having home advantage there: only the second time that three Irish provinces have got out of their groups, the first having been 2012 – too late for Sean. Best of all is that Munster are playing really well.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the Heineken Cup in our household from around 2002, when Sean first took a serious interest, onwards. Pauline and Susanna bought into it; for me it was very important and for Sean it was virtually a matter of life and death. He was a huge Munster fan; he also loved Leinster. Ulster never managed to get out of their group during the period of his fandom, and did not share in his adulation. (He actually died on a Heineken Cup weekend – after Munster and Leinster won, and before Ulster lost.) Continue reading
We found some video tapes of a 2007 long weekend in Westport, Co. Mayo, where we went to celebrate Pauline’s mum’s 80th birthday. Nuala’s four children, four children-in-law and eight grandchildren were all there – 17 people in total.
Sean was behind the camera on 27 April, filming us as we drank and chatted in the beer garden of a pub on a gloriously sunny day. At one point he is heard to say ‘We’re going to look back at this in years to come and remember what a great day it was.’
It’s like a metaphor for our lives now – we can see ourselves and each other, but we can’t see Sean. I often feel that he is still present behind the scenes, looking out for us.
In keeping with the idea of ‘New Year, fresh start’, I decided to change the appearance of this blog by giving it a different ‘theme’ from the one it’s had since I created it in May 2010 (this is easy with WordPress blogs). I think it looks fresher and cleaner now. I have retained the photo at the top – one that Sean took, of the Nine-Eyed Bridge near Virginia, Co. Cavan.
Pauline and I want to make 2014 a year of change for the better, after several years of consolidation and ‘staying strong’ following the devastation of Sean’s death in October 2010. Change is unavoidable and renewal is desirable. We want to develop ourselves and fulfil our potential. Susanna has made massive progress in her life; Pauline and I, though at a different stage, need to forge ahead now too. On some levels, of course, we will never ‘move on’ – we will always love and miss Sean.
A headline in today’s Irish Times reads ‘Tears at Dublin Airport as emigrants depart after holidays’. Pauline and I sometimes reflect that we would love it if Sean was in Australia, say (he was considering going there not long before he died). Airport tears are understandable, but the families of emigrants are, relatively speaking, quite fortunate. Emigration may be seen as a form of ‘bereavement’, but – these days especially – it’s a very mild form.
As part of my resolution to make changes for the better, I’ve been seeking new work clients today. Pauline has been developing an idea of hers. I intend to be more creative in 2014 – to write songs, poetry, non-fiction; to start and perhaps finish a novel.
As Jools Holland and guests sang on his Hootenanny show the other night [clip is from the previous year] – ‘Enjoy yourself … it’s later than you think’. May we all have a happy and productive 2014.