Saturday, March 3, 2012

The case of the dinky pink computer

There I was in the computer store with my eldest daughter. The sales assistant had shown us a range of computers. It was a BIG day, I was there to buy my daughter her first computer. I found myself encouraging my daughter to choose the dinky pink computer although it was more expensive than the gun metal grey one. She looked me straight in the eye and said 'Mom, I want the grey one, YOU want the pink one!' 
I experienced a moment of absolute clarity. it was true! I wanted the dinky pink computer. I knew that every time I worked on it, I would enjoy the look and feel of it. I knew it would cheer me up and on each time I struggled with a new computer technique or skill.  
Sometimes figuring out your truth can be easy and so much fun!
This post comes to you from the dinky pink computer of Martine Brennan!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Catherine Hurley, Tonavane, Co. Kerry

My maternal grandmother Catherine Hurley born 5/10/1905 
Father Timothy 21/12/1870
Occupation 1911 Census Railway Milesman
Mother Elizabeth Dwyer (father James)
Occupation 1911 Census Dressmaker 
Marriage 18/2/1897 Castlegregory
John 4/1/1898
Michael 11/6/1899
James 29/10/1900-13/11/1964
Timothy 1903-1974
Mary 1907
Bridget 1909
Patrick 1920-15/4/2002 

My great grandfather Timothy Hurley Senior's
Father John (father John Murhill, mother Margaret Flahiff, Curraheen)
Mother Catherine Gallivan ( Aucasla, father Thomas, mother Mary Fitzgerald)
Marriage 12/2/1870

John Murhill born 4/7/1816 ?

Unless otherwise stated all information is gathered from the online record of baptisms and marriage of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day

I can remember so many Valentine's days when I felt so alone. It seemed like everyone had found that elusive relationship except me. At that time I measured myself loved if I was in a relationship and unloved if I wasn't. I maintained that hurtful, unhelpful belief for many years. Then my life went into a tailspin, and I found myself surrounded by friends, loved by friends, supported by friends. I began to understand that love comes in many different forms and in many different ways. It doesn't always come wrapped up in a "relationship."  I opened my eyes and saw all the love in my life that I had discounted and turned away from. I began to see that being in a relationship is only one aspect of being loved. Now I won't lie to you and tell you that I stopped wanting to be in a relationship but I did stop telling myself I was unloved because I wasn't.  So please, if you feel alone today open your eyes wide and see the love that is in your life. Then open your heart wide and receive that love, every last drop of it. And if you have even a little left over.. go out and give some of that love today.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"I don't want to be Irish anymore"

 "I don't want to be Irish anymore" she cried as I sat with her.  The silence deepened. "Tell me why" I  said. Day turned to night as out tumbled a lifetime of hurts, neglect and abuse. Secrets spilled out on the floor in a jumble of pain and anger. Silence fell again. We were in London. It was finally safe enough for this pained Irish woman to talk about what had driven her out of her home and her country.
My heart went out to her. She had carried her burdens alone and in silence for so many years. "How do you feel now?" I asked. "Relieved, cold, scared, scared something awful will happen now that I have spoken out" she whispered. I got a blanket for her and made some tea. I reminded her that what she said in the room would remain in the room. She studied me long and hard. Then she nodded when she knew I was telling the truth.
She asked me then "But what will I do?" I chose my words carefully. I wanted to honour the moment, her courage, her pain. "If being Irish means being hurt, neglected and abused, I'm not surprised you don't want to be Irish" I said quietly. She looked surprised, and then nodded again as if to say go on. Again I paused, we were now at a crossroads in this journey together. All the compassion I felt for her was in my voice as I said softly and gently, "Is it true that being Irish means ONLY bad things?" Silence again, then a slow beautiful smile unfurled across her face as she said "No, does not."

Living with Gifts, e-Conversation is a gentle way for you to reclaim all the good bits in your life, whether you are Irish or not.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Invisible Brother, Michael

Even as a very small child, I always wanted a brother. He would have been wise and strong and would have stood up to the bullies on the playground for me. When I was in my twenties I discovered that I do indeed have a brother. It was the first I had ever heard of my invisible brother Michael.
In 1967 my mother gave birth to my brother Michael. He died at birth.  I don't know if I have words to describe how I felt but I will try. Finding Michael made sense to me of the 'something missing' feeling I had grown up with. Finding Michael also made sense of my gut feeling that there was something going on in my family that I didn't know about. The details of Michael's birth and death made sense of my mother's wild grief, and the frailty mixed with anger that I sensed in her and didn't understand.
As was the custom, my grandfather and my father took Michael from my mother and buried him against the walls of the ruined church in the old graveyard in Churchill. Michael had died before baptism so he was excluded from a Catholic burial in the family grave. My mother was not told where Michael was buried. Custom forbade her from speaking of him. It was as though the waters closed, leaving no trace of my brother. My mother gave birth to three more children, only one of whom survived birth. Out of six of us siblings, only three survived birth.
How did my mother not go completely mad? How did she cope with six fear filled pregnancies? How did she deal with all the months of pregnancy and then three times to have empty arms? How did she feel living with my father who never spoke of our dead siblings for nearly thirty years, except once, in anger? How did she live in a community in which speaking of her beloved babies was forbidden? How did she continue to attend a church that would not acknowledge her babies and excluded them, and her, from it's consolation? Sadly I do not know the answer to any of these questions.
A few months before my grandfather died, he told my mother where Michael is buried. Thirty years after Michael's birth and death, my mother was finally able to mark Michael's life and approximate burial place with a small marble plaque. With this simple act, she found a measure of peace.
Sadly, my other two siblings who were born still, were never given names and we do not know where they are buried.
The secrecy around my siblings births, deaths and furtive burials caused untold harm to my parents and our family life. Anguish was always just below the surface. Like a simmering soup, bitterness festered in the background. I grew up feeling their pain but not understanding it.
Today, I remember my brother Michael. I feel close to him and think of him almost every day. His name is written in our family tree. Every future generation of our family will know his name and remember him. Michael is still my brother even though he died. Michael is still my mother's son even though she never held him. No church can ever take that away from us. Michael will never be invisible again
You are welcome to remember your siblings or babies in the comments section below