Contemporary loss

The process of personal sfumato

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  • Published 20200505
  • ISBN: 9781922268761
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

ONE OF THE most popular Irish broadcasters and writers of modern times was Nuala O’Faolain. Abruptly, in the middle of an engaged and full life, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Later, when dying, Nuala was interviewed on Raidió Teilifís Éireann, the equivalent of our ABC. Perhaps because of her fame and the popularity of this particular show, the broadcast became a national sensation. It was as if the whole of Ireland listened to this most intense end-of-life conversation, delivered not privately, at a bedside, but into the national ear. There was lightness and laughter, but there was also despair, openness and a tearful honesty.

‘As soon as I heard I was going to die,’ she said, ‘the goodness went from life.’ Reflecting on that life and the understanding she had gained from it, she continued: ‘It seems such a waste of creation that with each death all that knowledge dies.’

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