Thursday, August 11, 2011
Thoughts for the Weekend - Joan O'Flynn
A little under 2 years ago a friend of mine died. Her illness came quickly and took us all by surprise. To say I loved this woman as a friend does not come close to how important she was to me. Joan was a writer, an actress, a radio presenter, a mother, a grandmother, a wife, and the best of friends. She made me laugh often. I listened to her advice because I knew she was so wise. My life was better for her being part of it.
Anyhow (fav crutch word), today something strange happened. By accident I hit her number on my mobile phone. Now I know it's pretty odd that I still have her number in my phone, it wasn't like I was going to be able to call her. But when she died, I couldn't remove it. I realised when the number came up today, that I am now ready to do it, although I haven't done it yet. I know for sure when I do, I will cry because well that's just me.
Because I thought of her again today, I read a diary which I kept the last time a number of us as friends went away on a writers retreat. We all knew without being told that Joan's time was close, so we treated her like a Queen, in fact that was her blog name 'DramaQueen'.
Below is an extract from my diary which I hope you will enjoy. I have also put some quotes from Joan which I recorded in the diary, and her beautiful poem - 'When I'm Gone'.
The Last Weekend
We all stayed up late,
giving away small pieces of ourselves,
emotions mixed in the cauldron of friendship,
as sleep fought the battle
of noise from hotel corridors,
and the anxiety of an unwell friend
"The gift of a book, is the gift of language."
"When you are an old hen like me, you won't care so much."
"I used to be like you, checked out of hotel rooms on time, now I live dangerously."
"Stop doing everything, let the idiots look after themselves."
"Never stop writing, I want to see your book on my shelf to remind me how clever you are."
"I guess the lung cancer missed out this time around."
"I'm only slagging you, if I had half my voice left, I would talk endlessly just like you."
When I'm Gone
The grown ups
will know it's in the order of things,
and shed some tears, heave a sigh of relief
to hide their grief and fears of their own mortality.
through the drab funeral days,
and kiss and laugh and cry and probably fight
because that's what families are like.
But the children will forget the look on my face
when they won a race, or gave a hug
or shrugged off a childish worry.
They won't know the glow each grandchild brought,
As they wrapped themselves around my heart.
They won't hear of the fear when ill health came,
lying awake feeling the heartache,
fearing the pain of the future.
They won't remember
because who can share
the things too frightening, too precious, too rare
that we hold in the soul of our being.
By Joan O Flynn -my good friend