Thursday, September 22, 2011

We're All Okay

I still can't believe dad's gone. I saw him in a coffin, know exactly what happened, and still feel like I'm waiting for him to walk in the door at any moment. He still seems so alive to me. I hope this feeling stays - I don't ever want to forget him, for my sake and the sake of his grandchildren, his legacy will live on.

We're all hanging in there and holding on tight. We have hope. Hope that we'll see him again after this life. Hope that he's in heaven right this minute catching up with all that have gone before him - my baby brother James, Uncle Jamey and GrandBob. We probably have the best guardian angel ever.

The support we've received from the community has been unreal and humbling. It's all because of my dad. He touched so many in this town (and beyond). He was the kind of guy that made every person feel like his best friend; would give you the shirt off his back. The inmates at the prison he worked at made us (My mom, sister and I) a card, some with a note. One of them reads:

"To the family of such a fine man: He was a well respected man of honor and integrity, firm and fair. He will be missed. I send my condolences and may God less you all at your time of grieving" - Name withheld

He was a stand-up guy. I miss him so much.

My dad with Iraqi children at Abu Ghraib in 2005

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eye of the Storm

I have a feeling that I am not fully processing my dad being gone yet. It's not real until I go home and he's not there. I have an intense sense of dread. I've been going over and over in my mind the simple act of walking into the house. Will I walk through the garage where it happened or will I avoid that space and walk through the front door. We never use the front door. It would be weird, but I don't want to think about where it happened, and being in that space seems like it would be too hard.

Justin has been tying up loose ends here and packing up the rest of the stuff in our apartment. Liam and I have been with K, T and H pretty much non-stop. I honestly have no idea how we'd be getting though all of this without them. I think it comforts my family to know we're being taken care of here.

This is our last full day in Dublin. Our flight to Detroit (with a lay-over in Chicago) leaves tomorrow afternoon. Please pray for a safe and smooth journey for my little family.

Dad, Jude, Kelly, me, Mom & Liam, summer 2010

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rest in Peace, Dad

It doesn't seem real. Can't be true. He was a month away from retirement. Would have celebrated his 53rd birthday this Wednesday.

He died suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday. Justin and I had just gotten home from a lovely going away dinner with our friends and Liam was being put to bed while I checked my email and facebook. I got a very urgent message from my mom saying to call her as soon as possible. I did so immediately thinking maybe mom and dad sold the house! It didn't cross my mind that she would have bad news. Devastating news. her voice was shaky. She told me to put Justin on the phone. Something was wrong. Very wrong. I asked her to tell me. She repeated to "put Justin on the phone." I took Liam and Justin went into the living room to talk to my mom. I was shaking as I was trying to get Liam to sleep. Racking my brain for what horrible thing could have happened. I could hear Justin speaking in a hushed voice in the other room. Not a good sign. He came back into the bedroom and sat next to me saying, "Something bad happened." I told him not to tell me. I didn't want to know. I wanted to live in blissful ignorance for a little while longer.

The initial shock of hearing your father is gone is unbearable. You resist the news with your whole being. I've been told there's no one or right way to grieve. Everyone does it differently. Distraction is good for me. I can't sleep. I can't stop thinking about my mom, sister, grandma, grandpa,  aunts, uncles. Everyone left behind. There's a huge hole in my world now. Nothing makes sense.

 He was an amazing man. He had a heart of gold. He was so passionate about his beliefs. He was my hero. He touched so many lives and was taken too soon.

Mom & Dad meeting Liam for the first time

Dad at Howth Pier, feeding the seals

With his two favorite boys

Mom & Dad in Italy - so in love!

I miss him so much and this distance is killing me right now. We're still in Dublin, heading for Michigan on Monday. I'm really not looking forward to going home, and him not being there. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I belatedly picked up a pair of rain boots (better known as wellies here) for Liam, thinking he might like to take a page out of Peppa Pig's book and give jumping in muddy puddles a try. Well he certainly likes it! In fact he wants to wear the boots all the time! He thrusts them into my hand saying "boo, boo!" I think these boots might be the best €7 I ever spent.

Have I mentioned his obsession with tractors and trucks? This kid is ALL BOY.

With Weather like This

One needs a cheerful umbrella. 

My umbrella from H&M does the trick!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Good-bye

I feel like every day whatever I do, I try to soak it up, remember every detail. Will this be my last trip to Tesco (no way, I go every day!) The last time I go to dear Herbert Park? And so on... and every time I see a friend I put off saying the horrible, awful, good-bye. In fact, I haven't actually used that word in any of my goodbyes. I like to think of it as a "see you later" - just pretend we'll see each other next week. It's easier that way.

On Sunday I met my friend Liz in the middle (Blackrock) to see her for [probably] the last time before we go. She's another one of my American friends with an Irish husband and very cute little boy, Mister Man. She's from New Jersey and tells it like it is - it's one of the best things about her! Funny, funny girl she is - I get a good laugh every time I'm around her.

The night after Justin left for Paris Liam got his first high fever and scared me senseless. Read about it here, I don't want to relive it again! So Liz swooped in and saved the day. I was in awe of her confidence and so thankful for her that day. It's something I will never forget.

Another memory that makes me chuckle is the sight of her walking into our "friend" Christmas party at the other Liz's house with glitter eye-shadow and a Santa hat. She is awesome!

I'll miss you dearly, friend.

. Liz looking wonderful and me with weird hair 

Typical Irish Weather

I went to Blackrock on Sunday to meet my friend Liz, for coffee (more on that later). My feet (and jeans) got soaked on the walk to the DART, and more soaked from the DART station to Starbucks. This is what it looked like when I arrived in Blackrock:

And about an hour and a half later as I was leaving, this was the view:

Doesn't even look like the same place does it?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bye Bye, Baggot Street Boobies

Friday night I had a fantastic girls' night out with a few ladies I met at my local breastfeeding support group. I've only known them since Liam's been born but I think you tend to get quite close to people going through the same big life events right along with you.

Honestly, I don't know what I would have done without these wonderful women. I started going to the clinic when L was 3 weeks old and in a sleep-deprived haze (me, not him). I continued to go to the group on the first and third Wednesday of every month and would look forward to seeing my new friends. Eventually (when we got braver) we started going for coffee after the group. Our favorite spot was a posh hotel just behind the clinic (The Dylan). They made a great mocha (and didn't mind us nursing in public)!

When L was 3 months old JDS left for a fellowship at the Irish College in Paris; a three month obligation, where our new little family would be split apart (what were we thinking!?). During this time these friends were invaluable. They had their own babies to worry about but would still lend an ear when I was having a particularly difficult day. I swear Liam and I wouldn't have survived without them!

Many of them returned to work after the new year and I hoped we'd still manage to stay friends. I am happy to report that we have, and I truly believe I will count these women as some of my best friends for a very long time. I look forward to watching their children grow up, as I've come to love them like nieces and nephews.

Saying goodbye to friends like this is not easy. We've been through a lot together! Seen one another at our worst. Seen each others boobs! How mush closer can you get? I sincerely hope to keep in touch - through facebook, email, whatever.

Thanks for the support, and most of all, thanks for the memories.

L to R: Sinead, me, Una, Catherine, Alison. 
Not pictured: Jenny, Melissa, Aoife & Paula

Sinead, me & Una

Catherine & Alison

P.S. We totally had a cocktail at The Dylan before we went to out to dinner. I have to say it was nice not to have a screaming baby to tend to!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One thing I will not miss about Dublin

Wet feet.

You'd have to wear wellies non-stop to avoid this inevitable fate. My poor shoes!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Next Week

Next week is our last week in Dublin. It's chuck-full of many farewells to the wonderful people we've met over the past three years. The blog is going to reflect that so get out the kleenex.... I hate good-byes. Tonight I'm going out with the girls I met at the Breastfeeding Clinic. We've become so close over the past year. These girls are amazing and I'll miss them so much. I'll give a proper write up on Monday.

Until then, will you send up a few extra prayers for my good friend Jennifer who lost her mother to a stroke very suddenly on Tuesday night? And also for our friends who had an explosion in their home, which consequently burned to the ground. Thankfully they escaped (along with their three dogs) unharmed. Read about what happened here.

Have a great weekend xx

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Budding Artist

I saw a cute idea for finger-painting on Pinterest and wanted to give it a go with Liam. He's still a bit young to understand what he's actually creating so honestly this was more for me than him! That being the case I let him do a little abstract freestyle when we were finished with the main project.

Birdies on a tree branch, by Liam (and Mama) 16 mo. old

Lovely artwork by Mr. Liam