Letter 10

28/12/2012 17:14

        22nd October 2012


        Dear Catherine,

I started to get a head cold last Wednesday which got worse and I stayed in bed or relaxed a lot of the weekend.  I am a lot better today so I decided to write this to you.

I am sad you have not kept contact with your cousins in Dublin & Majorca.  John and Fiona had four boys.  I don’t think you knew the eldest Ciaran very well.  He lives in Dublin with his French wife Sophie and four children.  The second one is Rory who also lives in Dublin and is married to Adrienne and they have one child.  You didn’t get much opportunity to see him as well.  Then comes Gavin who you must remember.  He is a big handsome boy I am sure you remember and lastly Gregor.  He came to the house a number of times. He is clever at Art and came to London to get a Masters degree at the Royal College of Art.  I know you liked him, probably most of the boy cousins from Dublin.  We went to see him at his College one day you came to work with me and he wanted to take you around the Royal College of Art to show you what it is all about, but I am afraid you never got the opportunity to go.  Maybe in the future if you are interested!

I am sure you would like your Majorca cousins.  Cathy, the eldest who is disabled, I think you met when she stayed at our house and you may remember her.  Marie Antonia, the middle one who is going to marry an Irish boy next year, I don’t think you know.  Lastly Cristina the youngest, who is very pretty.  I went to her wedding but you wouldn’t come with me, a few years ago.  She has had two miscarriages over the last 4 years and is pregnant again now, expecting her baby in about 4/6 weeks.  Everybody is praying that her pregnancy is successful and that her baby is OK.  It mush have been a terrible experience for her to have two miscarriages.   I sent you a birthday card but unfortunately you never received it.  In it I had put a card telling you about your guardian angel, who would look after you.  I attach this letter I just received fro your cousin Marie Antonia, I mention above.  I hope you understand it and that some day you will receive my card.

Hi Brendan, good to hear from you too. Glad also that things are good in work! :) I know Mammy's prayer well, I used to say it over and over with john when i used to visit him on saturdays, and the only way you could engage with him at all would be through old songs or prayers... i printed it out (together with some others) to have close by, as i only know those prayers off by heart in Spanish!! He'd say them so fast that he wouldn't actually say the words but string the sentences together into one big long sound, and then at the end he would slow down completely and clearly pronounce: "world-without-end- A-MEN" haha! :) And then we'd have to start all over again, and do the whole process over and over. A bit like the rosary! It's funny how the same thing can evoke one thing in one person and something different in another. You obviously associate that prayer with Mammy (and i know Marie does too), while to me it reminds me of John while he was ill...


When we went to see Lorna Byrne the church was SO silent that you could clearly hear people quietly breathing beside you, or the sound of their clothes shuffling as they stirred, it was quite amazing! They had to close the doors as there were so many people there, and many people never made it in. The priest had never seen the church so full, or so intensely quiet. And all she said was that she could see all our "angels" standing beside each one of us there in the church, and that we are never, ever alone. And that their only purpose is to love and help us, and to encourage us to act in loving ways every moment of every day. It is a lovely encouraging message.... I would recommend anyone, of any faith or without faith at all, to hear her speak, she is the most gentle and loving speaker i have ever heard, there is something quite remarkable about her... After seeing her, i was uplifted for about a month, you should try to go if you can! I am not a catholic myself, my memory of being raised in catholic spain is unfortunately negative: my experience was of rules, guilt, hierarchy, and of church staff preaching one thing while doing the opposite, which really confused me as a young child! And while your memory of the guardian angle prayer is positive, the prayer i remember the most was one we had to constantly repeat:  "i confess that i have sinned, in word, thought, action, and omission, through my fault, my most grievous fault, etc" It made me feel awful and like i was the worst person on the planet! Anyway, thankfully, i have huge faith, but not in a christian God per say, or a Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim God (although i keep hearing that you should chose ONE spiritual practice and stick to that), but like to believe in a God of all people and faiths - I believe in all religions at once and in none individually, it's a bit of a cop out maybe, but it works for me haha! :)


I often think of Catherine, and wonder how she is. I really hope that you will be re-united as i know that is what would be best not only for you but especially for Catherine. It must be so hard not to be angry all the time... i don't know how you manage that, i know it would be a struggle for me... I hope that she is safe and that the love you have given her throughout the years is keeping her going through your separation from each other. At least, in the meantime, it is a heartening thought that she has her own guide or angel minding her, and guiding her back to you, hopefully soon.

I'll pray for that Brendan. Sending you much love,

Tonia X

I hope you can understand who she is talking about.  When she mentions ‘mammy’ she is referring to my mother, who died 6 years before you were born.  She was a very gentle and warm person who would have loved to meet and know you.  She was very loving to me when I was young, which made my childhood very happy – the kind of childhood I hoped you would have, but I discovered all of us are different taking different experiences from our lives.  ‘John’, of course, was your uncle John.  He died in December 2011 after a long illness with cancer.  I am sure you will remember him.  One year he came to the Czech Republic with us and watched you learn to ski.  I could see he would have loved to ski as well then, but his illness was just beginning at that stage.  I am sure you would have loved him too, if you had the chance to know him better.  I certainly loved my brother and miss him a lot.  That just leaves my dad.  He died in 1982, 14 years before you were born.  Again he would have loved to know you and I am sure you would have loved him as well.  Life is strange sometimes, who we get to meet and spend time with  and like or not and love or not, there just seems to be so many ‘what ifs’.  I have to get back to work now, so I am afraid that is all for now,

        All my love for now,


dad  xxx                                                                            @ work