There are very few people in life that have touched me emotionally upon encountering them as deeply as did my recently deceased uncle Willie. He taught me so much about awareness of feeling emotion. He had the natural capacity to stir in me emotions that I’d blocked out since childhood. He shared in silence with me the grief I felt upon losing the only person in the world I pined for throughout my whole childhood. Sr. Fabian had told me when I discovered her as an adult (after being told previously as a child by the nuns that she was dead) that I’d pined for her throughout my whole childhood. She was perfectly right, except that I never had a name for what it was I was painfully experiencing in Goldenbridge. Let alone know that it was indeed the excruciating attachment loss of a mother for whom I was pining. I was clueless about the roles a mother, father, uncle, aunt and sibling played and all that equalled a family. Except from what I could deduce from seeing the protectiveness of other children towards their siblings. Mind, though, I did have a weeny concept of the name aunt, as the matriarchal figure of the host family from Boyne St., who took me out on week-ends and holidays from Goldenbridge up to the age of nine years old, allowed me to call her aunt Dinah, even though she could have been grand-aunt Dinah.
I remember uncle Willie bringing home a lot of rose plants and getting me to help him plant them in the garden. He said that when they grew that the table would be nice if they were decorated with same. He said that aesthetically they would create a calm and stimulating atmosphere. He loved flowers. I remember helping Sr. Fabian with the flowers on the rockery in Goldenbridge. I felt so proud to be chosen to hose down the perennials. It was a far cry from hosing down the smelly soiled sheets from the babies and wet-the-bed Sacred Heart dormitory.
My mother also loved flowers and would derive so much joy sitting in their midst amongst the vegetable plot to boot. She taught me about silence as well and that people can communicate in silence to each other. She would have made a very good contemplative nun, a profession she considered seriously before her bad experience with a nun at her boarding school.
I would like to share this video with all those who’ve lost a loved one. I never knew what a loved one was till I grew up to be a woman and discovered that I was/had been loved from afar and also learned to love a tiny bit in return. Even if I did not know how to express it properly because of all mixed emotions.