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Tag: mother

Our_WTC

Friday, 15 September, 2017 0 Comments

Our posts here this week have been dedicated to the 16th anniversary of 9/11. The focus has been the photographs collected by the Berlin-based artists Stefka Ammon and Robert Ziegler for their 9/11 remembrance project, MY_WTC, which displays tourist images of the World Trade Center.

Our final photograph is personal and was taken in October 1989. My late mother kept a diary of her trip to New York City and here’s what she wrote after her boat trip around Manhattan: “Seen World Trade Centre with its Twin Towers. Rise 110 Stories and 1,350 feet each and on one of them is a high pole to warn the planes not to fly too low.”

Mother with Twin Towers


Small acts of kindness and love

Friday, 8 September, 2017 0 Comments

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Small acts of kindness and love


Camelot in Cullane

Thursday, 7 September, 2017 0 Comments

“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.” Those words from the Lerner and Loewe musical were written with us in mind for this photograph shows our very own Camelot.

Home, sweet home

The camera never lies and what it captured with its eagle eye one summer’s day was an Arthurian castle with walls, enclosures and fortifications. Here we were secure because father and mother had built something of substance that would protect us from the elements and shield us from invaders. Well, that’s how one young imagination saw it.

The court was the kitchen. This was where ambassadors were received, feasts were enjoyed, tales were told, games played, songs sung and plans for the upkeep of the kingdom were made. Despite the many demands of “business”, there was always time for tea because tradition required that knights, ladies, clerics and scholars had to be entertained. Substance was more than just putting food on the table. It was hospitality, it was generosity, it was decency, it was dignity. The Camelot of my parents was the whole result of their labour and their pride in it was reflected in the attention they devoted to its upkeep. Paint was applied, weeds were banished and flowers were cultivated during that “one brief shining moment.”


In Memory Of My Mother: Second anniversary

Wednesday, 6 September, 2017 1 Comment

Haruki Murakami once said: “No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.” And as we wrote on this day two years ago: Our loss is enormous. Our hearts are broken. Our sorrow is great. Our hope is that our mother, Catherine O’Donnell-Fitzgerald (29 July 1928 – 6 September 2015), will smile up at us and down on us — eternally — because we will forever be in her debt.

In Memory Of My Mother

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see
You walking down a lane among the poplars
On your way to the station, or happily

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday —
You meet me and you say:
‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle — ‘
Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

And I think of you walking along a headland
Of green oats in June,
So full of repose, so rich with life —
And I see us meeting at the end of a town

On a fair day by accident, after
The bargains are all made and we can walk
Together through the shops and stalls and markets
Free in the oriental streets of thought.

O you are not lying in the wet clay,
For it is a harvest evening now and we
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight
And you smile up at us — eternally.

Patrick Kavanagh

Mammy


Never closer the whole rest of our lives

Tuesday, 5 September, 2017 0 Comments

When poets remember their mothers, they portray the complexities of a relationship in which the mother is both intimately known and yet oddly mysterious. In Seamus Heaney’s sequence Clearances, written in memory of his mother, he includes a sonnet about the beautiful ordinary moments that happened while he and his mother peeled potatoes in the kitchen. The silences are broken by “pleasant splashes” of water as the potatoes drop into a bucket.

But the next sounds we hear are of sobbing and of murmured prayers: “some were responding and some crying”. As his mother dies, Heaney recalls the peeling of those potatoes “when all the others were away at Mass” and “our fluent dipping knives — Never closer the whole rest of our lives.” The beauty of that moment is heartbreaking.

In memoriam M.K.H., 1911 – 1984

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives —
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Picking the potatoes


Martha Gellhorn on men and mothers

Monday, 4 September, 2017 0 Comments

“I know enough to know that no woman should ever marry a man who hated his mother.” — Martha Gellhorn, novelist, travel writer and journalist, who is considered one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century.

Martha Gellhorn


People die only when we forget them

Saturday, 29 July, 2017 1 Comment

Let us be grateful to those who make us happy. They are the ones who save our souls. And let us declare that there is no death. People die only when we forget them. So let us remember my mother, who would have been 89 today, because if you remember someone, she will be with you always.

Mammy in Bally “The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.” — Czesław Miłosz


Mother’s prayer book miscellanea

Wednesday, 14 June, 2017 0 Comments

My mother’s many prayer books are interleaved with an encyclopaedic variety of scribbled notes, novenas, supplications, cards, clippings and, of course, prayers. For example, there’s a “Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ”, an unused picture-postcard titled “Threshing in Ireland” and a faded newspaper cutting with the headline “Mother M. Solanus, Waterbury Native, Dies in Utica, N.Y.” Then, out of the blue, there’s this small item that contains all the components of a heart-breaking novel.

Mother's prayer book


To My Mother on Mother’s Day

Sunday, 14 May, 2017 0 Comments

In 1842, when she was 11, Christina Rossetti wrote her first poem, To my Mother on her Birthday. Rossetti has often been called the greatest Victorian woman poet, but her poetry is increasingly regarded as among the most beautiful and innovative of the period by either sex. Her poem, To My Mother, is dedicated today to a great and generous, loved and missed mother. May she “long us bless.”

To My Mother

To-day’s your natal day;
Sweet flowers I bring:
Mother, accept, I pray
My offering.

And may you happy live,
And long us bless;
Receiving as you give
Great happiness.

Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1894)

My loved and missed mother


The treasures of Mother’s prayer book

Saturday, 8 April, 2017 0 Comments

The funeral of Pope John Paul II was held on this day, 8 April, 2005. Both my mother and I were admirers of this powerful, saintly historical figure and a recent reading of one of her many prayer books uncovered a range of memorabilia from the time of his papal visit to Ireland in 1979. Two great people, then, who made so many lives better by their presence among us.

Mammy's memories


Father’s Day

Sunday, 2 April, 2017 0 Comments

Michael Fitzgerald (17 September 1917 – 2 April 2011): “He was a farmer and he was a deep thinker. He loved the land, its history, its substance, its moods and its meaning. He knew why people had fought and died for it and he understood the passions it generated. His hands were shaped by decades of wresting a living from the soil. Possessed of a sense of chivalry that has all but disappeared; he was one of the last representatives of a culture that had its roots in an ancient, a simpler, a lost world. Those who were privileged to know him will miss him greatly. His passing is our loss.”

Father

“Of life’s two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a labourer’s hand.” Khalil Gibran