Friday, April 8, 2011


I had to look her name up. I had to look it up every year for the Christmas card, or if I was rushed I would just write to the Butlers from the Trainors. It's a beautiful Irish name, pronounced Eevan. We had it as a question in the New Year quiz one year, her husband, Graham always did the quiz. Aoibheann lived on our road, she always asked how you were, she always cared about the answer.

There have been two cancer stories up our street for the past few months, mine and Aoibheann's. We have sat in our various rooms, feared our fears, bristled our will, taken our medicine. We have just missed each other in our sojourns on the Cancer wards. We have asked after each other and felt our singular sort of empathy.

Aoibheann's story ended yesterday. She had it in her throat, they got it out eventually after bombarding her body and spirit with particularly poisonous chemicals and deadly radio waves, each of which affected her terribly. Finally a viscous sweep of her throat got rid of the cells. She was clear but some delicate thread was cut, she just went to bed for a rest and died. She was on the path to survival but somehow it didn't happen

Our road, which is full of old and new friends who look out for each other, feels damaged, chipped, cracked.


  1. Lovely Aoibheann - such sad news.

  2. Love to Graham and the family. Gone but not forgotten....

    Luke T

  3. I'm sorry, Jean. I'm not sure the thoughts and sympathies of a stranger would mean anything to Aoibheann's family, but I'm sending them nonetheless.

  4. I understand Aoibheann means "beautiful" as I am sure she was. Jean, you write so very well. I work in a dr's surgery and the dr said today that he saw a young male patient recently who said, Doc if I excercise regularly, never drink or smoke, follow a healthy diet and refrain from women will I live a long life - well said the doc, possibly but even it you don't live a long life it will feel like it!! Food for though eh? (love Jo a young widow, who lost her hubby with sarcoma and is now fighting breast cancer...)