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Colm Breen

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“His hands were gentle, and his hands were strong…”

 The day before Colm died, he asked me to bring him down to the oratory. That previous week, he had spent a lot of time down there. On this particular day, he was insistent. So I wheeled him down and told him I’d be back in a bit. A bit passed, and I went to get him. When I opened the door, he greeted me with a huge smile. A smile that indeed triggered a memory in my subconscious.

That memory took place when I was 13 years old and we had just moved into Hempfield Close. A warm Saturday greeted me as I awoke and I decided to go into Charlie Cullen’s for a magazine and some fizzy cola bottles. To reach Cullen’s, the Breen’s house was en route. I could hear a worn, bur contented voice singing “In Mountjoy Jail, one Monday morning. High upon the gallows tree…”

I followed the voice to discover a shirtless Colm in the garden. Complete with chair, newspaper and a few bottles. I stopped and listened a while and took the whole song in. He stopped, looked up and winked at me. “Grand song that, chap.” I said it surely was and went on to Cullen’s.

Upon recalling that memory I smiled back at Colm and asked how he got on. He replied, “I’m grand now.” Then I wheeled him back to the ward and as it was signing off time, I left him in the room and said, “Now Colm, I’ll leave you at it. And I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodbye, Colm.” He smiled at me and waved a hand. “Goodbye.” Sadly, I didn’t get to see Colm the enxt day but I got to say goodbye and that makes me smile. Sleep well, Colm….

 

 

 

 

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Written by thepanch

September 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Posted in Thoughts

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Colm was a great character i met him 40 years ago and enjoyed his singing in the slaney valley hotel at the ballad nights. Kevin Barry and a song about the titanic were his favourites

    May he rest inpeace

    C key

    April 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm


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