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,
friends talking,
giving away small pieces of ourselves,
emotions mixed in the cauldron of friendship,
reading poetry
as sleep fought the battle
of noise from hotel corridors,
and the anxiety of an unwell friend

Joan Quotes:-

"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.

They'll reminisce
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


  1. What a beautiful tribute , she sounds like she was quite a character and I'm she lives on in the hearts of all who knew her.

  2. She sounds wonderful. I don't blame you for not erasing her number. Sounds like a good memory for you.

  3. She was wonderful and quite a character and I am sure Kez & Lolamouse, if you had known her, she would be in the listing - 'Great women who make me smile.'

  4. Great post...how good it is to have had people like that in our lives.just buried one of my oldest friends.worked today at the cafe for the first time knowing that she wouldn't be coming in...unreal.

  5. Sorry to hear about your friend Gerry - Good people are what makes life great worthwhile! X

  6. Beautiful! A wonderful tribute to your friend. x

  7. A very moving tribute Louise, 'When I'm Gone' made me cry, I love Joans quotes, especially about the hotel rooms and living dangerously:)Thankyou.

  8. Still think about her a lot. Miss her all the time :( the quotes Louise are genius. She was just so funny! And yes, that hotel quote is the best :) I still have her on my blog list, and Facebook friend, and her number on my phone. Also I've kept old emails from her, even when they didn't say anything exciting. Can't quite delete any of them :(

  9. Thanks Adrian, Sussannah & Niamh for your lovely comments.

    And Domestic Oub, what can I say, I've gone all maybe I can't take the number out of the phone right now. Will leave it for a couple more days-then decide. X

  10. Louise, this had me in tears.

    One of my best friends drowned three years ago at the age of 24 and I miss her every single day. She, like Joan, made my life better by just being herself. I still have her number in my phone. Sometimes I even text her as it feels like a more 'real' way to let her know I'm still thinking about her.

    About a year ago, on a particularly bad night, I text her going to bed telling her how much I missed and loved her. That night I had a really vivid dream that she text me back with the words, 'I know you do. I'm fine. I love you too.'

    Haven't felt the need to text her since!

    Heatherbetsy xx

  11. Oh Heatherbetsy - Reading your comment moved me too - Maybe I will keep Joan's number in my phone - for those bad nights! X

  12. It's early days for me but I still have my father's number in my phone. I don't know when or if I'll be able to delete it.
    Thank you for the beautiful words about and by Joan. People don't always feel ok talking about death and I find it comforting to know I'm not alone. Sometimes I forget.
    I'm sorry that you lost her.
    Deb. xo.

  13. A lovely and moving tribute Louise - it is difficult losing a friend, difficult to lose anyone you love.

    Anna ;o]


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