Nothing Exists Alone

“Take my mind
And take my pain
Like an empty bottle takes the rain
And heal, heal, heal, heal

And take my past
And take my sins
Like an empty sail takes the wind
And heal, heal, heal, heal”

Tom Odel ( Heal )

 This week is and has been emotional. Yes, unless you’re a stone, technically every week is emotional to some degree, but for whatever reason , this one has been particularly so for me…and it’s only Friday.

It’s also Good Friday, which is a weird day here. Things are sort of open, but people act as if they’re closed. People are heading away. People are panic buying Easter Eggs.

People are not reading blogs today. I send a blog every Friday, and the Good Friday one always has the lowest open/response rate. It’s the blog that nobody loves. But maybe it’s only meant for one person. Maybe it’s you ? Most likely it’s actually me, but , hey, you’ve read this far……

It has been a busy week. On Sunday night I drove Jake back to the airport for his return to Edinburgh. It was great to have him home for the weekend, and a special treat to have him all to myself on the trip to the airport. It’s not sad, per se, to see him go, it’s wonderful to see him happy, exploring, it’s more a happy sad, if that makes sense. On my way back from the airport I treated myself to a coffee and a packet of peanut M&M’s in Applegreen, and then Nick Cave’s ‘Bright Horses’ came up on my Spotify and I started to sing along with it, cried, took a deep intake of breath…while munching the M&M’s, choked, coughed and pebble dashed the steering wheel with tiny candied, half chewed brightly coloured peanuts.  

I laughed. And in that second remembered Dad telling me about the time he went to see Jaws in the cinema when he was in London on a business trip. He was eating a large bag of  peanuts and when Matt Hopper , the marine biologist is checking the abandoned fishing boat under water and the one eyed body pops out, he screamed. It was only when the film ended and the lights came up that he saw to his horror that when he’d screamed , he sprayed peanut fragments into the back of a long haired blonde lady’s head in front of him. As he was putting on his jacket, she started to put her hand into her hair and asked a friend if it was dandruff…

I started watching 3 Body Problem on Monday and was hooked immediately.

Tuesday was an epic day.

I had an appointment to meet my stoma nurse, Martina. If asked what were the benefits of getting cancer I would honestly answer that the main one was having an appreciation for every little wonderful thing in my life, and then meeting Martina. We rarely discuss my stoma. We chat , openly and honestly. It’s therapy for me, and I get a hug at the end. When I came home afterwards my Soulmate asked how did it go, as she knew there were a couple of things that I’d been finding difficult to deal with , and put into words.

“Great !” I answered.

“Did you mention…”

“Yes !”

“Did you cry ?”

“Not really.”

“Not really ? You either did or…”

“A wee bit.”

“You needed that.”

“I did.”

I then went for a run/chat with Tiny Ray. We followed our favourite 5k path through Rossmore, with a downhill last kilometre, finishing at Tom’s CoffeeDoc. Ray went to change his sweatshirt , so I said I’d order the coffees.

“Do you want anything to eat ?”

“I’ll have whatever you’re having.” He answered.

I ordered an Americano for myself, a black tea for him and two sausage rolls.

Tom was handing them to me as Ray arrived.

“Do you’s want ketchup ?”

“Yes please.” I answered.

“For what ?” Ray queried as we walked to our table.

“For our sausage rolls.”

“You know I don’t like sausage rolls !”

“I did not !” I answered.

Ray was looking at me as if I’d voted Fine Gael 1,2,3.

“And I hate ketchup !”

“ I’ll get you a sandwich instead.”

“No…it’s alright…” He got up from the table and handed Tom back the ketchup sachets and asked him for strawberry jam instead. He then happily dipped his sausage roll in his jam, and chatted away to me as if I had 5 votes in the upcoming local elections and that he was guaranteed all of them.

On Tuesday evening an old family friend of ours, Paul, visited for the first time in over 5 years. John, Stephen, Gerry, Dermot, and I met him and Es in The Hillgrove for dinner. Paul said that he can still recall the first time he’d visited us , twenty years ago, and the look of horror and disbelief on our faces when he told us that he didn’t drink tea. And then that no matter how many times he’d visited subsequently he was always offered a cup of tea.

“We were sure, like voting for Brexit, you’d cop yourself on eventually.”

It was that kind of evening. We reminisced about old friends and the many adventures we’d all had together.

We also discussed ghosts and how we’re all connected.

It really was that kind of evening. Yes whiskey was involved, and some people went to bed at 2.00am. Wednesday was a very quiet day at work.

My Soulmate’s twin sister, mother of my evil goddottir , Ger arrived from Wales this week. We had dinner in our house on Wednesday evening. The twins had celebrated my brother John’s birthday that morning by putting on their inflatable Unicorn costumes and dancing on his lawn.

I watched another tranche of 3 Body Problem , and went to bed, happy.

Yesterday I met my two brothers for breakfast to celebrate John’s birthday. We chatted about meeting Paul, the evils of drink, our futures, the quality of Mallons sausages, and Stephen’s irrational hatred of science fiction.

On my way home I stopped at my neighbour’s yard to say ‘Hello’ to Kieran and his son Chrissie. They live either side of us. Many years ago, when you left Ballinode village, once you were beyond Murrays Fireplaces, and Turleys, for the next mile every house on this road was McMahons until you got to ours. Chrissie’s birthday is around this time…that must be why he’s spending a lot of time tidying up his house this week.

Chrissie’s partner Shauna has undoubtedly changed his life forever, but more importantly, she has improved our lives. Eileen regularly goes to Shauna’s ‘Women’s Circle classes, and I have been on magical journeys to my past and future led by her through her breathwork classes.

And most importantly of all, they own Molly, who lets me throw sticks for her occasionally.

My Soulmate and her two sisters went out for dinner last night. I lit a fire, ordered a divine Chinese takeaway consisting of Beef with Green peppers in Blackbean sauce, fried rice, AND chicken balls, and watched the last two episodes of 3 Body Problem.

I cried during episode 7.

All week Eileen and I have been rudely awoken between 5 and 6 am by Tuna. We have then indulged in a game of ‘Cat, What Cat, I’m Asleep’ until one of us, mostly Eileen, gets up and feeds/throws from window, the aforementioned spawn of Satan.

This morning I got up and saw this sunrise…and then threw Tuna out the window.

All of this randomness is connected.

Nothing is unconnected from anything else.

It just seems that way sometimes.

Sadness is directly connected to joy. You are only sad because you miss someone, or sometime. But you had to have those times, those people in the first place. Reminisce, don’t regret.

Things you never suspect connect.

When Chrissie was 9-ish he was at the same school as our younger kids , and for three Christmases in a row we had to endure him murdering the Kerry Polka on a piano accordion in the school concert. Little did we know then that he would put in our lawn when we were away one weekend, look after our kids when they started going out drinking, provide hay bales and help set up the outdoor cinema for Robyn’s 18th birthday, drive Dad’s 1967 Pagoda to his Deb’s, smile all the time, call me a bastard …twice, introduce Shauna into our lives…and let me throw sticks for Molly.

And that’s just what I can see from my window, now.

Maybe it makes no sense to anyone else.

Last night I collected the McKenna sisters from town , left Ger and Catherine home, then driving out the road to Lisbane, my Soulmate held my hand and squeezed it gently.

“What ?” I asked, smiling.

“We’re very lucky.”


Yes, we are.

Hope you are too.



P.S. This is Tom Odel’s ‘Heal’  

Author: paul

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