There Was Something About My Dad


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194 in stock


By Margaret McDonagh (nee O’Brien)

ISBN: 978-1-84747-474-2
Published: 2007
Pages: 22
Key Themes: poetry, bereavement, grief, mourning, recovery


There was something about my Dad, Paddy O’Brien, whom I sadly lost on December 3rd 2000. He was one of the kindest, most patient, tolerant, deeply understanding and intuitive people I knew. It is the calibre of the person that he was that inspired me to write about him. The poems which you will read in my book just came naturally as I started grieving for him.
I have wanted to write a tribute to him for a long time and also thought that perhaps what I’ve written might help other people going through the grief of losing someone special.

About the Author

I was born in the small village of Finney, Co Mayo, Ireland, the third last of eight children in 1959. My childhood was idyllic in many ways, I spent a lot of time when school was finished outdoors with my Dad looking after animals on our small farm. It was during those years that I observed a lot of the good traits in my Father’s nature, his kindness and how gentle and patient he was with animals and people alike. I left home a few weeks short of my 16th birthday and came to family in London, England to look for work. I’ve lived in London since 1975. I enjoyed reading and learning poetry as a young girl and as I reached my teenage years I wrote the odd poem here and there, usually about subjects close to my heart. Over the years I’ve found that the urge to express my feelings and thoughts in poetry usually came about at times of crisis and/or sadness in my life. That I believe is how these poems came about, I was grieving for my Dad in a foreign land and the pull on my heartstrings was very much for home, and home was where I had spent many happy hours in Dad’s company. I met my husband Sean in the early eighties and we married in 1986. We have two children, Kerry and Martin. Sean is from Bunnacornane in Connemara Co. Galway. The first time my husband brought me home, I instantly fell in love with the people and place. An affinity, which I’m happy to say, continues to this very day. I feel very welcomed and very much at home there. I grew up speaking Irish (Gaeilge) and English equally from birth. I love old Irish language songs (Sean-os) and traditional Irish music, my Mom plays the accordion. I also really enjoy Country and Western music. I believe music is as integral to the soul as food is to the body. I have written a lot more poetry since I finished my Dad’s and I hope to continue to do so as I enjoy the completed articles.

Book Extract

Just before each poem I will tell you a little about how it got started.

Ode to my Dad Paddy O’Brien (R.I.P.)

This first poem came about on the eve of what would have been Dad’s 82nd Birthday (my son Martin’s 14th Birthday). Dad had passed on December 3rd 2000 after a long illness, and although we were sort of expecting it, you are never really ready. I was told on the phone by my sister Eileen at 10.30 on a Saturday night that he probably would not make it till morning. As you can imagine, it was with a heavy and sad heart that I went to bed that night. I normally slept through the night, but that night at 3.30am I awoke to what felt like a butterfly light tap on my shoulder. I noticed my bedside touch light was on and I distinctly remembered having tapped it off before falling asleep. Somehow, instinctively at that moment, I knew Daddy was gone. I believe he came to say goodbye, and that’s what woke me. I looked across at my husband Sean sleeping soundly and realised he hadn’t woken me; he was on his side of the bed, we were not touching. I laid my head back down and within minutes the phone rang. I instantly leapt over my sleeping husband and picked up the phone in the front room to hear my sister Eileen’s tears as she tried to get the words out that Daddy was gone, but I already knew.

This was the first of many losses and shocks in the years to come, but that’s another story. I had 41 years of a lovely friendship with my Dad and knew long before I could articulate it that he was special and that I was blessed to have had him as my Dad.

Ode to my Dad (Paddy O’Brien)

Was it really you, who came to me?
In the early morning, before dawn,
Tapped my shoulder and said “Goodbye”,
So I would know you were really gone.

I really do believe it was you,
I felt your presence with me there,
It’s the kind of thoughtful thing you’d do,
Just to let me know you cared.

The phone rang then, but I already knew,
That you had finally gone to rest,
One that was earned, well and true,
For Dad you always did your best.

You brought us up with love and care,
To be good to each other and others too,
Look out for each other and always share,
So many good things learned from you.

So Dad you’ll know I miss you so,
From my life from day to day,
The loss is deep, God only knows,
Sometimes words just cannot say.

But I am lucky you were my Dad,
I’ve always known that to be true,
You were the best I could have had,
I was blessed to be loved by you.

So I’ll carry your smile within my
Your love in the crook of my arm,
And no matter how long we are apart,
I know you’ll see I come to no harm.



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