5 July 2010


Paul at fifteen
Our upstairs phone has been out of action for a while so when someone rang at seven thirty last Monday morning, I knew I'd not have time to get downstairs before the caller was passed to the 1571 answer-phone service. We thought it would probably be Shirley's workplace asking her to come in early - but it wasn't - it was Josephine asking us to phone her. I knew immediately that something was wrong and the best that we could hope for was that Paul had had a heart attack before being taken to hospital.

When I finally got through, it was to Michael - Paul's oldest son and the last person to speak to him. He told me that his father was dead.

Has a week really passed by since then? In some ways it all seems like a horrible dream and in other ways it feels as if we have simply been actors in a film drama - various scenes, lines we had remembered so well that they just sprung from our lips.

On the morning of the burial, a moth of the night-time fluttered to Paul and Josephine's sunlit doorway before clinging to the stonework. Though a keen observer of Nature, Josephine had never seen such a moth before. She asked me to photograph it and I later discovered it was a "Light Emerald" - emerald for The Emerald Isle. Did it mean something? I don't know but all who saw it were left wondering.
I stood at the lectern in Kilfenora Catholic Church - packed to overflowing - and read from Paul's Letter to the Romans 12:9 - "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil..." I read it without faltering in my clear Yorkshire brogue, aware that through my voice I was reminding the congregation that our Paul - not Paul the Apostle - was born a Yorkshireman even though he had given his heart to Ireland.

Forgive me if it seems that this blog is threatening to transmogrify into Paul's tribute blog. Please be patient. Before too long, I'm sure I will return to my usual blogging pattern - i.e. no pattern at all! And besides, I know for sure what Paul would be saying to me right now - Don't be so maudlin ye daft bugger - stop wallowing in sorrow, fill yer pot and get on with the rest of yer life!


  1. Elizabeth1:03 pm

    YP,there is no need for you to ask for forgivness. I'm sure I speak for all your regular visitors when I say that we understand your need to talk about Paul and the events of the past week. Be gentle with yourself and take as long as you need...

    The Light Emerald is a beautiful moth, oddly most common in our own northern area. Perhaps there's an analogy there with the Yorkshire lad who settled on the Emerald Isle. Its also a moth which changes colour over time, the vivid green loses its intensity stage-by-stage, eventually to be replaced by a pale greenish-white. It may not seem so now, YP, but one day you will see the analogy there, also. xx

  2. As a lover of families and old photographs, I would not have you change a thing.

  3. Don't apologise at all....reading about your brother and the events of the last week has been, and forgive me for saying this, a sort of joy... a reminder that nothing matters but people, and family and love.

  4. Carry on as long as you want YP. These posts stand testament to the love you had for your brother. A fitting, immediate tribute.

    Chin up lad. I'm thinking of you.

  5. ELIZABETH Thank you for those "extras" about the Light Emerald. Rather like your daughter's posies.
    RHYMIE Thanks for dropping by and for your support.
    LIBBY You're right. Weirdly it has all been a "sort of joy" in the midst of the wreckage and it does remind you of what really matters.
    STEVE Thanks. I would make an amusing riposte but I can't.

  6. You're just reminding me how much I appreciate my own brother, and I'll be sure to put that reminder to good use. Thank you.

  7. It is your tribute to Paul, YP and also a good way of coming to terms with his death yourself. I certainly found that when writing my posts about Hugh's death. It is always good to give your feelings expression in some way.

  8. Sympathy and warmth from an occasional visitor to your blog.

  9. JAN, JENNY & DAVID Thanks for dropping by with your sympathy and understanding. Much appreciated.

  10. YP: It is no problem at all. I completely understand your need to blog about Paul. If you did it for a year I would still understand...so please do! He sounds/sounded so lovely...

    I still think every day of people I've lost who were not even related to me (as well as the ones who were). I really do not believe in sweeping those gone under the carpet. They are still amongst us in our memories. Every single day of our lives.

  11. My dear YP: Like the others said, write what you want and need to write about Paul, and we will be honored to read it.

  12. When my father died, a friend sent a card, and included her own words: "Time has a way of replacing the hurt with fond memories."

    I didn't believe it at the time -- i thought I would never get over Dad's death -- but truer words have never been spoken.

    There's nothing wrong with grieving, and I might hazard a guess that writing is therapeutic for you...so write on!


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