We get through time, somehow, after loss. This too shall pass, they say, and the intensity and immediacy of it does fade, but the feeling of loss and grief stays and reminders are what keeps us going through each new day that we have without them in this world….. blessed to have known you….. for Jackie

“like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow”

Robert Louis Stevenson
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At some stage in our lives we all have to experience loss. Loss of a relationship, loss of money, material things, loss of a loved one. Many many years ago when I was courting, my now husband, I broke off our relationship. He was very upset and so was I at the time, but I just felt that the time wasn’t right. Someone said to him ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’. He told me this when we got back together.

Throughout our lives we have many different types of relationships with family, friends, partners, teachers, work colleagues etc, each with varying depths and ties of commitment, love and connection. Sometimes it is easy to break the ties and other times it is very difficult, impossible even. Some ties will never be broken, whether the person is here or not. So we must count ourselves very lucky when we are able to say ‘Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all’. Loving some one and feeling love is just the most precious gift and one to treasure forever and be thankful for.

Having lost my dear friend one year ago today, I am thankful for the years we had together as friends, like sisters, thankful for the experiences we shared and the memories that linger on, to keep her alive. This post, is for her…….


The many times I reach for the phone, then realise

No, no now

As I take the milk carton from the fridge and in bold writing the ‘use by’ date

Is that specific date

A wasp as it weaves its way in my direction, like it’s on a mission

Reminds of you running and screaming down the isle of the bus to avoid it’s sting

When the person next to me orders a J D and Coke at the bar

When I see a Sainsbury’s bag, ad, Next, River Island or Karen Millen Label

All signs

A packet of Benson and Hedges, Marlboro Menthol, Vapes

Reminds me of players No.6 and us getting suspended from school for smoking on the bus

And having cigarettes on our person

Oh how we howled with laughter

Vaseline cream and cotton wool to take off your make up and moisturise

how you swore by it

Progressing to Lancôme, Miss Dior and any brand of lipstick, so long as the colour was right

Sunbeds, sun bathing and prickly heat

Strong tea, strong coffee and bacon ribs

Dundalk, Coventry, Nuneaton and South Carolina

Place names remain, all reminders of you

Every time I walk through my front door and your photo is there to greet me

Every pic or meme I post on Facebook, the absence of your like, emoji or comment

Reminds me of that empty space

Laughing, crying, celebrations and times of sadness

My mind transports to you

Every time I see two old ladies, talking, laughing, sitting together

My future longs for you

In the noise and the silence, every morning and the last thing at night

All reminders of you

The staghorn tree in rich rust red, standing prominent and tall

Planted in memory of you

Laughing eyes and a bright white smile

A plethora of ordinary things will continue to, thankfully,

remind me of you.

24/03/1965 – 23/09/2021

For my best friend, my sister from another mister, my heart and my thanks

Mutability [“The flower that smiles to-day”]


The flower that smiles to-day

          To-morrow dies;

All that we wish to stay

          Tempts and then flies.

What is this world’s delight?

Lightning that mocks the night,

          Brief even as bright.

   Virtue, how frail it is!

          Friendship how rare!

Love, how it sells poor bliss

          For proud despair!

But we, though soon they fall,

Survive their joy, and all

          Which ours we call.

   Whilst skies are blue and bright,

          Whilst flowers are gay,

Whilst eyes that change ere night

          Make glad the day;

Whilst yet the calm hours creep,

Dream thou—and from thy sleep

          Then wake to weep.

Photo Dump

The importance of being present, but also when looking back can be a good thing ……

authors own…. two admirals on the buddleja… it’s a sign!

Don’t you just love holidays, and that holiday feeling. Whether you are going away or staying home and having time and permission to ‘opt out’ of the usual routine.

About 10 years ago we went away for 5 weeks to Spain. Myself and the two younger ones were there for the entire 5 weeks. My other half and the two older ones (17 at the time) came for the last two weeks. My mum and my niece, also came for the first couple of weeks.

The sun was hot, the pool and beach was fun and the evening entertainment was always something to look forward to. Karaoke on tap, and one of the young ones, loved to sing!

I always take lots of photos on holiday, whether home or abroad, in fact, I always take lots of photographs, full stop. I take photos of anything and everything in nature and of my family and friends.

I love looking at my photos as they are a reminder of a specific time and place with specific people. During the 5 week holiday I had taken probably a thousand pictures on the camera. The two eldest girls were getting their exam results whilst on this holiday, so we found an internet cafe to access the school portal to get the results. As a result of my putting the camera on the table beside the computer, and in the excitement of getting their ‘results’, someone stole my camera. When I turned to pick it up, it had gone.

I placed a sign in the internet cafe for them to even just give me back the memory card, to anonymously post it through the internet cafe letterbox and they could keep the camera. I was so upset at having lost the pictures, the memories of that holiday with my family. I offered a reward, but no one ever returned the memory card and so, I have no pictures to look back on, of that holiday.

Since then I now take most of my photos with the camera on my phone and so I make sure to photo dump all my pictures onto my facebook account, that way, I can be sure that if ever I loose my phone, at least my pictures will always be there, somewhere in facebook land and I can access them at any time from anywhere.

The other good thing, that I love about that, is I get a yearly reminder of what happened on that particular day the previous year (s) and it fills me with joy as it takes me back to that time and place.

Over the years we lose people, for one reason or another, friends, family, work colleagues etc. It is nice, to look back and remember them and the time the photo was taken and re live the moment, or talk about it, laugh about or even cry about it.

I am surrounded by physical photos of the people I love most in the world, my family and friends, in my home. This past year my best friend and my dad died, but I love looking at their photos I have framed and displayed. They are happy smiling photos of a time I was with them and I am either in the photo or have taken the photo and they are smiling at me as I take it. Every day, my heart lifts at seeing their smiling faces, even though I know, there will be no more memories to be made with them. It makes the memories I did have, even more special.

So I will keep taking photos, of everyday things, and every day places or holiday photos, with family, friends and nature, and I will continue to photo dump them so that I can keep going back to that time and place that made me smile, or made me feel joy and laughter and when I am old and forgetful (if I am lucky enough to get old and forgetful) I can look back at them, and they will be my reminder of a life lived and what I deemed was ‘the best things in life’ (which are usually free), like the love of family and friends, shared experiences and of course, nature, which gives and keeps on giving in abundance

Westlife Concert Cork 12.08.2022 with my big girls….

I read, he fishes….

Light and shade….

The Long Sleep

Sad times can evoke and trigger such good times through memories. I count myself lucky that I have so many happy memories of a life lived and shared with loved ones…..

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

It was strange passing by the doorway

Knowing you no longer occupied the room

The first time I went in, after you died

I cried

I looked around at the remnants of you

The hospital bag, clean pyjamas, slippers and

Unwrapped sweets

Wurthers originals, your favourite,

The same initials as your name W. O

William O’Reilly

all I could do was stare at it all

The picture on the bedside cabinet of padre pio

Your ‘pal’, sure didn’t he always look after you

Your holy medals, always kept in your breast pocket

Next to your heart, to keep you safe

and your easy start, the ‘inhaler’ has given you  

your Last breath, its last puff

and now all this stuff in this 10 ft. sq. room

will no longer will be touched by you

But you cannot be wiped clean from them

You are engrained and sustained in it all

and the holy Medals, in the palm of my hand

will still withstand life and death and I will never forget

your laugh, your smile, your funny ways, you.

They come with me on my journey

And I keep them safe and they keep me safe

Knowing you are at the heart of them

The smell of cigarettes filled the air and the stub in box

Of your cardigan pocket, a lasting legacy of your last

Kiss, where your lips wrapped around its filter

And you drew in the nectar of your addiction

No contrition or remorse or feeling bad

They were your comfort, your solace, and I get that

I loved them too, before I finally gave them up.

Now, more than two months on since you passed

as I stand in your room

No sign of you, no sight nor smell,

the paint and paste swallowed it up

but my mind can recall it all

the ghosts of this room

once my own, spent teenage years in a new life,

a new house, a new bedroom, and yours

was down the hall then

almost 40 years have passed since

I last slept in there

I remember it so well

Me and Jackie, giggling and talking

All night, until morning broke

when sleep finally muffled our chatter

and found us

So much joy and laughter contained

Within the walls

Yet so much sorrow, but

Now, as I slip in between the sheets

And darkness falls on the room

I remember the ghosts of both you and her

I drift and dream of great times

Good and happy memories

and as the long sleep takes me

on a sea of peace and calm

happily, I sail away with the

ghosts in my heart

Voices from the past

We don’t have to see them, to know they are there, beside us. But when we still hear their voice, it makes the heart sing.

They say you forget, after a while, what someone looks like or sounds like, after they have passed away. Photos are always a reminder of their faces and in this day and age, we all have so many photos, thanks to our smart phones.

Voices are another matter, unless we have voice messages or video clips to physically hear them. However, today, after unpacking more of my boxes since my move I came across my old letters.

These letters are one my prized possessions. I have had them since I was 14 years old…..quite a long time ago. I knew they were packed away safely in storage but whilst they were there, my dear dear friend Jackie died. We had our last facetime in September, the night before she passed, and said our goodbyes.

Today I re-read her letters which she had written to me back in 1980. As I read them I could hear her voice, her expression, her tone, her giggle, her humour and her warmth. It was truly wonderful. In reading them she brought me back to my teens when we were full of angst, emotion, humour, confusion, sorrow and love….pretty much the same as I feel now, so nothing changes!

To Dear Jackie,

I still miss you, but thanks for it all. Keep talking to me.

Love you always x

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