2011, a review
By any criteria you care to mention, this has been some year. Peaks and valleys, highs and lows. My health, like the economy, is going to shite, but my spirit is growing.
The love I am receiving from so many is driving me on; I can no longer drive. Love is walking beside me; I cannot walk. My family growing in strength, as I grow weaker. Flocks of friends hover; rhyme, wine, song, laughter, not a whine. Possible isolation, loneliness, dispelled by community; company.
Winning awards all year, three of them! I can’t type, but I can think! This column I love to write, love it when some stop and say they read it, and it did them some good.
Mad Pride June 2011, Fitzgerald’s Park, 17,000 people attend. There was a grace to our effort in Ballydehob and we got rained out in Tullamore, but that went Nationwide. Roseanne Kidney, so brilliant and Moray Bresnihan, Goldiefish Events make it all so easy. Lizzy Mac and her co-designer Eoin Fleming make it so family friendly. Mad Pride Ireland is fuelled by passion which is why it looks so casual.
Our effort to open a national debate is working. Our radio campaign is so effective. Questions are being asked in the Dáil and the Senate. David McCarthy of McCarthy Consulting, so professional, well done my great son.
Our board are great, they let us be and advise when asked, it is so great to have trust from good people. Mad Pride is building allies across the health sector, politics, business, funders, the media, we are trusted, our motives are pure and our methods sound.
This small ever growing regional paper, your local paper, the first and the best in coverage in this nation on mental health. Herself, the boss Deirdre O’Shaughnessy so able, not easy these times!
We are causing a debate to be had; we are opening doors where secrecy thrived. 'In the person's best interest' will be a catch phrase synonymous with abuse in time. Responsible journalists like Jennifer Hough at the Irish Examiner are pursuing this now, the flood is building into a tsunami. Even Joe Duffy has stuck his toe in.
Won an award for our RTÉ radio documentary 'Lives less Lived'. 'Behind the Walls' caused a stir. We have Kathleen Lynch a tough, kind, northside practical lady. I like her so much but I am causing her much trouble. She must like me, appreciate my motives. Strong woman, she appointed me to a national body where she knows I will stir the pot some more.
'Mental illness' is not about lack of resources, it is about an ethos based on the right to force a cure, on victims, who are patients. I will fight that abusive ethos as long as I have a breath in me.
My daughter Jill ( a fabulous modern woman) her husband Tom, my son David, his wife Sarah, are building a cocoon around me! My grandsons, fine small men, hold me. So many reasons to be so proud of this year.
Lizzy Mac, I love her so dear, she is always near. We had a date last week, the pictures, dinner, chocolates, wine and beer in the sitting room; magic is possible anywhere.
I am now in a debate on the end of life, thinking of rewriting Bernie Murphy’s placard 'the end is nigh'. I am writing this on 15 December, 5am in the new St Patrick’s Hospice where I had the strangest afternoon of my life yesterday.
I was at a concert for the dead and the dying yet there was a sense of hope and joy. While I was sipping a gin and tonic, I sang 'Summertime' without being asked, wrote a poem live, had it finished when time ran out. Respite, time to think despite it all, assess transgressions at the time committed huge, but now! Valuable time, evaluate ( but I still rang Liveline, did an interview with Irish Independent, and Zoe the documentary maker, rang the Dáil, God bless texts, I sent many).
Love conquers all. That is a simple fact. Life is a beautiful thing with all its flaws, pain emotional or physical; is a motivation when love calms the waves. This has been some year. I have loved it, I’m dying yet growing, go figure. I’m a tough old bird. Austerity is the new buzz word, the cold winds are blowing. Well huddle up ,find love, in this life it really is all that matters.
2012, we will see? I will carry three words back to Lizzy Mac from here. They will simply be, I love her.
Love conquers all.