Monday, April 14, 2008

I Probably Should Have Just Watched Hollyoaks

I came home this evening and sat down and listened to Nuala O'Faolain's interview* with Marian Finucane, and I cried.

I've been thinking a lot about death over the last while. I haven't turned goth or emu or whatever it is the kids are into these days, I haven't started saying rosaries or lighting candles, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to lose someone, and what it might be to die. Wondering if it brought relief to Conor, feeling horrified at how his death has affected his family. Hoping that it was a release for my Crash Grandadicoot, wondering how my Nana will cope with the loneliness of losing the man she has loved for more than 55 years. I spent yesterday afternoon with her and for the first time since his death I got the feeling from her that she was feeling very lonely, crushingly low. I miss Grandad, but I have been missing Grandad for a long time now, all through the long months of his illness. Now I worry for my Nana. I think of the spirit and resolve it took her to care for him for so long and I hope that the same spirit and resolve will help her to cope with his loss. But it's hard.

Nuala's interview seems to have stopped people in their tracks. It's easy to express sympathy, to offer kind words and hopes for the best. But it's very hard to sit and just listen. "Are you sure it won't give the people despair?" she asked. No, Nuala a chroí. You've made people think about what it is to be human - to be alive - agus is cúis misnigh agus dóchais sin i gcónaí.

*Broadcast on Saturday morning, it's been all over the Irish media since. Diagnosed 6 weeks ago with terminal cancer, Nuala speaks openly and with painful honesty about how life has been for her since her diagnosis. You can listen to it here or read the transcript here.

12 comments:

Tara said...

thanks for the link- i really enjoyed reading it. we're a bit caught up with ourselves here in the states when it comes to news so i'd likely never have heard about this otherwise...

AJ said...

Fuck !
I'm curious to hear her view on it. I made it through the first few lines of it fine but me reading an interview with someone dying of cancer is not a thing I should do in work....apparently....

backpedalbrakes said...

I made the mistake of listening to the interview in work yesterday and was like a complete zombie for about an hour afterwards. Having gone through the terminal cancer thing with someone, it was painful to listen to but so on the money. I'm in awe of her courage to speak so frankly about the whole thing.

conortje said...

very interesting interview - it's left me with a lot to think about

Annie said...

Your poor Nana, impossible to imagine what it's like, it must feel like having an arm cut off. At least she has a nice grand-daughter and family who cares about her.

emordino said...

It's strange. I read the transcript, and in my head she was being so tough and businesslike, and the first time I read "(crying)" at the end of a line it completely, completely shocked me. I suppose I was just trying to rationalise it.

Rosie said...

re Nana, you're right, Annie. she does have a lot of support and she is doing great, not "managing" but genuinely doing well.

i've just had an interesting conversation with some colleagues over tea about Nuala's interview. they felt that it was inappropriate and exploitative, more than anything they felt that it was unnecessary. i disagreed. i don't think death is discussed openly and honestly like that in irish society or media, certainly it's rare. again it comes back to the idea of people listening, rather than offering advice, sympathy or expressions of hope.

you should listen to it if you can, EM. i was in two minds as to whether to link to the transcript as i don't think it's really representative of the interview.

Potabasil said...

I listened twice to the radio Interview and it shook my very bones. The transcript however is not complete. The bit I was really touched by was when she was speaking of her room in New York and saying goodbye to it, she loved that room so much. I can't find that in the transcript. that said it's very sad and I also liked Nuala and her writing

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Oh this is sad news. I read her memoir just a few moths ago and thought it was incredibly honest and valuable to see a woman relate her life, warts and all, and to try to reconcile herself with it.

I don't think it was inappropriate either. I think it was bold and forthright and a very real picture of a woman trying to cope with the brutality of a life cut short.

I wish her peace.

Rosie said...

you're right, Potabasil, i noticed that too about the transcript.

well said, Sam.

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