Posts Tagged ‘death’

My brother’s death

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

My brother hanged himself this day last month, on 23 March 2015. He was 60.

He took his own life four weeks to the day after I buried my mother.

It’s a lot to take in. I haven’t had asthma for 15 years, but I have it again. Doubtless, stress-related. Grief-related. Struggling for breath as my brother did this day last month.

It’s hard to know what to say. And yet writing is therapy. A poultice. Get it out. Express. Like struggling breath.

David was gay. He had a miserable time at home. And a miserable time in Ireland.

He wanted no prayers at his funeral. He told me so 26 years ago, just after I had left my priestly path. And he told his life partner the very same thing within the last two years.

Ireland was a cold place for gay men. Let us hope that Irishmen and Irishwomen will declare to the world for once and for all in the forthcoming referendum that gay and lesbian people are equal citizens. Let us hope that the fairness and justice of the Irish conscience will triumph over those who seek to muddy the waters.

Those hideous posters that shift the debate from equality – which is what the referendum is about – to canards.

Why is it that people of religious faith so often seek to impose their rules on others who choose not to be of their faith? Who would have gay men and women believe that there is something sick with them. It is the religious mentality that seeks to impose itself on others that is sick.

Why do they not protest to their god whom they claim is in charge of the universe – omnipotent, omnipresent, all powerful – and yet he does nothing about the children who are left orphaned by parents who die. Why don’t religious folk raise their banners and posters against their god found so wanting in compassion for his creatures? And why, instead, take out their unjust ire on minorities like gay and lesbian human beings? Why don’t they protest to their gods and deities, and their priests, about the so-called all-loving god who supposedly wants the little children to come onto him ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ when he inflicts cancers and illnesses upon those whom he supposedly created with love?

But rather than confront their manmade god, they seek to say onto their fellow human beings that equality is not for all. I beg you all: vote Yes for marriage equality.

And for those who seek to deny men like my brother the right to marry in Ireland I say: Shame on you! Be just to all. And be humble. Save your moralizing for your own conscience. Vote Yes!

A Shot across the bows

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Every so often in life we get a shot across the bows. It could be we lose a job or a major client. Maybe we get a health scare. Or someone we love becomes ill or is diagnosed with something we prefer they hadn’t. Something life-changing occurs. Unbidden. Uninvited. Unwelcome. We’re shocked. Numbed. Perhaps angry, outraged, confused. We don’t know what to do. Our plans are put on hold. They may even be torn up. Maybe we don’t get a place on a course we wanted. Or we applied for something and didn’t get it when we thought we would. Or we’re unemployed. Or an unexpected legalistic or bureaucratic procedure intervenes, giving us a smack in the face but also causing us to rethink what we’re about.

Such shots in the bows, these flares that cause us to rethink, are never welcome. But they are often good for us. They can jolt us from our complacency. They can be helpful injections of reassessment. Maybe we’re coasting along oblivious to a life outside the boundaries of the box into which we have placed ourselves. And we are forced to contemplate life beyond that box. People often talk about how the unexpected blow turned out to be a boon. The loss of a job leading to a creative and far more fulfilling career. Some legalistic shenanicans leading to a mature adult choice to change one’s life and its course for the better. A health scare that led to personal insight and a reassessment of one’s priorities and values. A death that resulted in our choosing a new and more fulfilling life for ourselves and our loved ones.

While the instinct to a shot across the bows may be to fight back, and there are times when that is the appropriate thing to do, recall that we always choose our response to everything. Choose to be radically open to the opportunities offered by the seeming blow. Of course, you may not see any opportunities. All may seem dark beyond the box into which you had confined yourself. But you are more than any box, more than any current job, course, plan, or seeming security.

Your security lies within you. Believe in yourself. The seeming slings and arrows of outrageous fortune always carry with them the opportunities for new and personal growth. As I look back at the various shots across the bows of my life, every single one of them led to opportunities, delights and personal fulfilment that I couldn’t have imagined at the time would come my way.