On January 14th, Kathy and I got married at the Mater Private hospital in Dublin. Two days later, Kathy passed away peacefully.
She had been diagnosed with cancer less than 3 weeks prior.
I wrote this letter to Kathy in the days that followed, and read it at her funeral. She’s probably cringing as I type.
Miss you Case :-)
A Letter To My Wife
To my darling wife, my pretty lady,
We always said we were a team, but now I’ve lost my captain.
I’m writing this in your bedroom in Ardagh, surrounded by everything that encapsulates your life over the past 29 years. A room the essence of you.
We’ve been through so much since we first met in Mary I on the very first day of college in 2006. We’ve been to so many places, done so many things, and achieved so much, it’s hard to know where to begin.
I think it’s the little things I’ll miss the most though:
- Your 4 minute limit on boiling an egg,
- Your obsession with silky labels,
- Your love of the snooze button,
- Your penchant for Tommy K,
- And your grá for a glass of Sauv Blanc, no ice.
I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that you’re gone. I so badly want this to be a dream, but, in reality, it’s a real-life nightmare. People say there are no words. The truth of it is there are - unfair, undeserved, one hundred percent unnecessary.
I’m not writing this letter for you to bemoan the cruelties of this world though, I’m writing to tell the world just how great you are. You hold my hopes, my dreams, my love. You’re one of a kind and I’m lucky to call you my wife.
As one of your favourite songs says, “Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.” You seem to embody these cheesy Garth Brooks lyrics - you’re never afraid to take that jump.
A proud Limerick woman, I knew the Green & Red would eventually creep in. At first, you’d wear the Limerick jersey to the Mayo match, then came the wristband in Croker, eventually followed with you pulling on the green and red jersey yourself. You then knew the Saw Doctors lyrics much better than I, with the Mayo obsession culminating with us driving a green and red rickshaw around India called Mayo4Sam.
You had no fears when it came to travelling, firm in the belief that it broadens the mind. We ended up in some odd situations on our holidays, often seeking out something different. When I’d suggest yet another random activity, you were sometimes not so keen but you always said yes - you’d take the risk, accept the challenge. It probably helped too that I’d sell it by promising plenty of beach time.
From sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert, and waking up covered in sand, walking along a plank on a cliffside 7,000 feet in the air in central China and even those 5 ever so surreal days we spent in North Korea, where may I add, you frequently asked questions you probably shouldn’t in such a country, we saw much of the world together in a unique way, and we had plans for so much more. Our Scratch Map now left unscratched. items to wear in the bech of the wedding that is affordable
Your passion for teaching and the energy you brought to Prosperous was inspirational. You had such love for Scoil an Linbh Iosa, its staff and students. I’ve been told you were the heart of the school, that you brought such positivity and a unique perspective to it - in the classroom and the staff room, from your school plays, to your dancing, the basketball court and the hurling field.
The plans we had for the future - a house in a Naas, three kids - Keegan, Kelly and Casey - the name we knew people would question. They’d support Limerick in the hurling, Mayo in the football. Before any of that though, our planned wedding on August 3rd - for 2018 was meant to be the year we got married.
Last Sunday, on the eve of our 11th anniversary and seven months ahead of time, we fulfilled our wish.
We always wanted a wedding a little different, but neither of us could have imagined what unfolded. Last Saturday, from the moment we decided to kick off a chain of events that would go on to include high court judges and government ministers, you were beaming. As adrenaline and euphoria kicked in, the illness took a backseat and wedding planner Kathy kicked in - handing out orders left and right - like normal really.
The smile on your face as you walked into the Oratory in the Mater Private in your Jenny Packham dress with your mink nail polish - your radiance, your beauty - it’s everything I’d hoped for and more. The love was never stronger, the joy palpable. It’s a moment that will never be forgotten.
You held out long enough to get that walk down the aisle, the moment of “I do”, the matrimonial kiss.
You leave behind a heartbroken family, devastated friends and soul crushed colleagues. You’d given so much and had so much more yet to give.
While you’ve taken this final journey on your own, departing ahead of time, I know you’ll be waiting for me in Arrivals when my time too finally comes. While you wait, I know you’ll meet all those that have gone before. You’ll also finally get to meet my dad, and fill him in on the last 11 years. Tell him I said hi.
You told me that when you were gone, I’d need to take on your strength, and it’s something that I hope I can do, if even a fraction. Your approach to tackling the past three weeks is testament to your character - your strength, bravery, determination, and positivity.
You’re an inspiration, KC.
You’re my travel companion, my jiving partner, my secret keeper, my best friend, my wife.
I love you, pretty lady, always have, always will.