Flying down the hills of Deerpark with the wind in my hair and my duffel coat flapping behind me as a young child….I was invincible…I was the living Action Man…I was Superman…Nothing could stop me!!! More often than not I usually got away with a scraped knee or a ripped pocket off my jeans. Back then there was no such thing as a fully intact jeans. Everyone I knew had some form of ripped jeans. There was no other choice. But when we immersed ourselves in whichever role was popular on the day, appropriate attire was the last thing on our minds…..our costume became whatever we had at hand….a lance took the form of a branch…our chariots were the broken toys that we would batter up and down the streets of our town… our fair maidens were nowhere to be seen…probably locked in a hidden tower waiting to be rescued.
In our minds we were heros who could rescue on a whim or kill the dragon with a flourish of a branch. The heros of our minds were heavily influenced by the TV of the time….the latest action hero or cool dude to hit the screens was adapted on the streets to suit our needs for world domination. This is what we needed to help us along in our little old worlds and boy were we happy. As we grew older our heros were replaced with a different form…musicians or bands for some…soccer or football for others.
I’ve come to realise with age that there is always some form of a search for a hero figure for all of us. We all seek an influence of some kind no matter how small…that small, sometimes insignificant spur that could change your life…a new perspective given light where once there was darkness. Thats how its been for me throughout my life and even though some of those “heros” may not be strictly heros in the true sense of the word…they have given me true inspiration at critical points in my life!!!
There will always be people who pass through your life…some good…some bad…but they all will have some semblance of input to your attitudes to life. I’ve written so many lines on these pages and one of the main reasons for my presence here is due to my sister-in -law Roisin…living and working out in Saudi Arabia…I wanted to keep her in the loop as to whats happening in our lives and from those humble beginnings it has developed into what it is today. “Return of Absent Friends” on blogspot was my first foray…a kind of shout out to the ones we love who may not always be around to bear witness. Roisin was the one I knew would appreciate my little ramblings…she had no other choice really!!
Yesterday was Roisins 41st birthday…her birthday coincides with my own and is always a reminder of the upcoming event for me….the passing years a constant reminder of our meagre existence. Last year was the toughest year anyone could imagine for her as she was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 40th birthday…some news to get on your birthday!! Roisin is a tough cookie and can be very hard to crumble. News like that could break the best of us but she shook herself off and got on with the business at hand… A series of operations, scans, chemo, radiotherapy, hair loss…the kind of stuff that would scare the shit out of me but she tackled them all head on. Thats the kind of girl she is and always was…independent and strongminded…
I’m sure there were moments when she felt defeated and worn out and cried aloud “Why me?”…….sitting alone with her thoughts analysing her life and questioning the meaning of it all…I know thats what I’d be doing….Life can really throw you a curveball and Roisin leapt up to grab it with both hands. You must remember that she was in a far off land with no family support…skype is no substitute for a hug or a hot cup of tea when you can’t lift your head from the pillow. A mothers whisper in your ear to say “it’ll be alright…I’m here for you..”…this is what you need when your spirits are low but she had no other choice in the matter….her close friends gathered the chariots of support for her and helped her through…the daily contact from Ireland with tears held back helped her to face the onslaught of chemo and its affects.
I will never forget the moment Roisin returned home to Ireland for a few weeks between chemo seesions. Her return flights were always an occasion but this was super special for us all as we wanted to show her how much we cared for her….a family gathered around to give her a boost of morale. Waiting at the arrival gates for her to arrive we realised how difficult it was for all of us…how much heartbreak we felt for her and her dillemma. As she walked through the automatic doors with her outstretched hands for the kids to give her a hug, there was the sudden realisation of all that she had been through over the last few months. Tears were shed by all and hugs for all her family after a long journey….I realised it must have been equally difficult for her to step off that plane and to lay herself bare to all around her…her life had been thrown upside down…interrupted by this terrible disease!!! Now she was home and after a full Irish fryup and a decent cup of tea..we were glad to have her back amongst us again!! It was our turn now to be there for her….
Thinking back to the days when we were younger going out on the town living life to it’s fullest…nothing could keep us from our hopes and dreams. God we had some good times back in the day…..Roisin has had her calvary and has come out the other side as if from a dream. Each time I think of her ordeal…it fills me with a respect of a woman that somehow I knew would come out grinning or guffawing as she does….. smoke rising beneath her feet as if on a dancefloor…suddenly the music starts to play and theres no stopping you…..just like the old days!!
If there ever was a hero to behold at this moment in my life it would be you Roisin….standing proud with the Hero badge pinned to your best dress….celebrating all the way !!!
Happy Birthday Rosy!!