Monday, March 23, 2009

Jade, The Brightest Star In The Sky

Yesterday morning I woke to the news that I'd been dreading yet that was so inevitable, Jade Goody had passed away peacefully in her sleep. We were given the precise time of her death by her Mum, Jackiey, 3.55am.

As with any death no matter how long it's expected when it actually happens it's a total shock to the system. The passing is difficult to accept. For me it's the finality of it all, knowing that I'll never see that person again, that's the hardest part. Every time someone dies who meant something to me it takes me right back to the awful emptiness I felt at the deaths of my mother and father.

This morning is rather strange for me. My routine is slightly different. For the past seven months every morning I've been checking the online newspapers to see how Jade was doing even though in recent weeks the headlines and images that accompanied them were painful to view. This morning I did check the papers but this time to find out where Jade's two little boys had spent their day yesterday. Seemingly they were with their Dad, Jeff Brazier, who had the profoundly sad task of breaking the awful news that "Mummy's in Heaven, she's with the angels now". Those must be the most difficult words any parent will ever have to say to their child. I don't know where that strength comes from but I guess it comes from a combination of God and the loved one who has passed on.

Jade, please forgive my selfishness but I'm not quite ready to let go of you yet, my sense of loss is too raw but the memory of your beautiful bright eyes and that gorgeous smile makes it a bit more bearable. I hope with all my heart that is the image your family, especially your beautiful boys Bobby and Freddie, will forever remember you by.

I chose the above image of Jade that I've now named "Princess Jade" because that is what I see when I look at it. I see beauty and innocence but above all I see the little girl that perhaps once dreamed of looking like this when she grew up.

Jade, you told your children that when they are missing you that they should look up and you would be the brightest star in the sky looking down on them. Somehow now I imagine I too will be looking skyward from time to time. May you rest in eternal peace.

Above image sourced at: LivingTV.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Touch Of Nostalgia

I'm putting it down to the beautiful sunny weather we've been experiencing over the past few days. Yes, it's always the sunshine that triggers them. Memories.

Happy childhood recollections from a time when playing games didn't involve sitting at a computer monitor. No, these games were purely physical in nature. Skipping, playing ball against your house wall (one, two, three o leary!), beds (nearly every street had the chalk markings where you hopped from number one to number eight kicking an old polish tin, Nugget, I think the makers were, which you'd filled up with gravel to give it some weight), chasing, oh! the list goes on and on! All of that along with walking to and from school every day definitely meant you got all the physical exercise you ever needed.

Above is my avenue where my pals and I played all of the above games. Taken by me in 1969.

You might also notice from the above image that not many of my neighbours had cars. Only the families where the husband had any kind of a good job were the ones privileged to own such luxuries and some of these people even had a telephone installed in their hallways! We had neither car nor phone but what you didn't have you didn't miss.

One of my nicest memories of my summer childhood was when I'd be watching out for my Dad to arrive home on his bike just after mid-day for his dinner, yes, back then we had dinner in the middle of the day and tea at between five and six o'clock. While I'd be waiting for him the bread man, driving a Kennedy's electric van, would hover up the avenue to deliver his freshly baked loaves and pans but not to our house. We only got white bread from him on a Saturday as a treat because during the rest of the week my mother baked her own brown bread. Being a country woman my mother only approved of white bread being eaten in small amounts. What she didn't know was that sometimes my friends, when they'd go in for something to eat, would bring me out a jam sandwich or nicer still, a mashed banana and sugar sambo. I can still feel and hear the sugar crunching between my teeth! Sadly my molars' sorry state still bear testiment to those moments of Heaven.

Another treasured memory is again during the summer months when the monotonous sound of the dredger cleaning the bottom of the sea (my avenue faced onto the sea wall) and the subsequent cry of the overhead gulls looking for food would take me into a very relaxed state of mind, it was almost hypnotic. I still long for that sound. Those were moments I usually enjoyed by myself without the constant distraction of conversation. (You can view some of my Ringsend photos on: My Flickr Photostream) As a kid I was very aware of the sounds around me e.g. traffic in the distance (thin on the ground in those days), again the cry of the gulls first thing in the morning and on a winter's night the fog horn, its eerie signal guiding the ships home through a dense sea fog.

Above was the view from the end of my avenue. Taken by me in March, 1981.

It was wonderful living so close to the sea and of course we also had Sandymount strand on the other side, sure we were blessed! My dream is to retire back there some day. Some of the sounds may have long since been silenced but it's still a magic place no matter.


Monday, March 9, 2009

It's About Belonging

I am not good with gardens. In fact, I have not the slightest knowledge of how to create and maintain even the simplest little patch of blooms but there is something I do have an understanding of. I know that if a sapling is planted in poor soil and not tended to regularly it will not grow into a strong healthy tree. It will always be weak and at the mercy of the elements. I think the same applies to humans and animals.

I see the family as the soil. If we are born into a secure environment, our needs taken care of and are loved and nurtured by the people caring for us then we have a pretty good start in life. In other words that beginning, with our roots firmly planted and constantly showered with love and affection, will in times of upheavel and insecurity provide us with a strength strong enough to weather even the most violent storm.

Above images at: