|Events in May|
|Written by Brian|
|Wednesday, 15 July 2009|
Through the read more link, I've written a rather personal and difficult post about the events in May.
This is the fourth time I have started to write this post, the first two times I could not write it, about 20 minutes ago I actually wrote a piece that made me cry whilst writing it, but I didn't like it being part of the Brownout post so I moved it here and my machine over heated and the post was lost, so this is not going to be easy going through again.
The reason I have not being posting much, is I couldn't bring myself to talk about personal events, nothing really other than sports. Hence the posts about the Lions, and a lot of tweeting about the Lions and recently about Wimbledon & the Tour. But I'm going to try and write something a lot more personal now.
Last year my mother's partner, Alfie Stevens was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Alfie was an amazing man, generous, kind and very funny, full of life and he made my mother very happy. He came into her life at a difficult time and it was great for her, my mother is brilliant and gives so much of herself to so many people, so she deserves to be happy. But unfortunately, the last year has been very difficult.
I unfortunately didn't get to see too much of Alfie in the last year, living in London will do that, but every time I was home I got to see him with my mom. It was hard seeing the deterioration that the chemo had on him as he fought the cancer. It was difficult for them, and for Alfie's daughters, son & grandchildren. I met his daughters and grandchildren at Christmas, at Vigil Mass.
It was the first time I'd seen Alfie since his diagnosis and his battle with the cancer. Chemo takes a lot out of people, all the people involved. It was very harrowing and difficult seeing him and thinking about what he & my mother were going through. It painfully reminded me of another Vigil Mass a few years earlier, which was the last for my uncle Michael, who died of Motor Neuron Disease a few weeks later in January.
The spring was difficult for Alfie as his rounds of chemo and for my mom caring for Alfie. I hear that chemo wears you down body & soul. And I wish I could have been there more for my mother but unfortunately I wasn't able to get back before Easter. And the difference in Alfie's appearance was marked and it really sunk in, what I'd already thought & feared.
As a result of rugby that Easter weekend, I was back three weeks later for the Heineken Cup Semi Final, I got four tickets in the Hill and brought my mother, my girlfriend was also over. I was supposed to go down to Limerick with Rachel straight after the match but through a combination of wanting to stay and celebrate a memorable victory and just wanting to stay with my mother. It was a bank holiday in the UK, so I stayed in Dublin until Monday. That day Alfie went into the hospice.
Three weeks after the semi final on May 23rd I was at Murrayfield for the final, it was an amazing experience but unfortunately the joy was short lived as on the Sunday Alfie took a turn for the worse and I started making plans to fly back to Dublin.
On Tuesday night, May 26th, my mother called to let me know that Alfie had passed.
I had hoped to get back before he died, and maybe it was best I didn't and see him at the end, but instead have better memories of him. Thankfully I didn't miss any of the memorial services, I flew in on Wednesday afternoon and the wake that night was tough. It was difficult thinking what my mother was going through, losing the person who loved her and made her happy.
It was amazing, but unsurprising to see so many people at both the wake & funeral masses, as Alfie had touched a lot of people in his life. He worked at Smurfit's for over 50 years and he helped out at the hospice for years and they looked after him in his final days.
The funeral was difficult experience, and Alfie was buried out by Dublin airport, which was appropriate for a man who loved to travel.
Thankfully since then the family has had some positive times, especially for my mother who really has needed the boast. My older sister, Fiona gave birth to her second child on June 4th. She was actually due on the day of the funeral but thankfully the little lad wasn't on time. Ciaran Steven Nagle was 8lbs9oz and is a wonderful happy distraction for us all to remind us that life must go on and life exists in all its glory.
I've not been home to Dublin since coming back to London a few days after Alfie's funeral, I wish I could get home more often and be there for my mom. I talk to her as often as I can on the phone but I miss her greatly, and it would also be nice to finally meet my nephew. I will not be back now until August for his Christening.
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