Thank You, Trish

Have you ever told someone just how much they mean to you, or how grateful you are that they are in your life?

Trish and I

I first came across ‘An Experiment In Gratitude’ (I have included links at the end of this post) while preparing a lesson on happiness for one of my English classes. The idea is to write about a person who has had an influence on you- then you call that person and read to them what you wrote.

I wrote about my mother, Patricia.

I managed to capture the moment on video- and the result was a truly heartfelt, and intimate interaction between mother and son.

Click here to watch me read my letter to Trish, and listen in on the special conversation between us that followed.

I should mention that Trish had no idea I was recording our conversation. What you see is genuine, and very typical of how we interact with each other; we are an extremely close, tight-knit family. Also, apologies if anyone was offended by our ‘colourful’ language.

The message I wrote went a little something like this.

One of the most influential people in my life is my mother Patricia.

She has many defining characteristics. She is absolutely hilarious, even when she doesn’t mean to be- her laugh is infectious. She is adventurous and outgoing; she is loved but all of my friends, who all say how cool she is. She is never afraid to show her emotions, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. She is a truly special soul- extremely loyal and caring towards her family- whom she would do anything for. She is selfless to a fault, constantly putting others first. We were never found wanting, and she never asked for anything in return (except for maybe the odd cup of tea).

She is an incredibly resilient woman who has shown immense strength and courage in tough times- and she has had more than her fair share of struggles. The passing of her father when she was just 18 years old was a sickening blow. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder soon after- at aged 20- and has lived with it since. Her mother also died relatively young at the age of 63, and her sister Ann was cruelly taken away from us far too soon. More recently, her independence has been completely ripped away- as a degenerative eye condition has robbed her of her eyesight.

Despite all of this she still has the inner strength to carry on and look at the positives, with the constant help and support of her beloved husband of course- her rock- my father Seamus (also an immensely strong character, who has had a huge influence on me).

She has always joked that I got my good looks from her, but she has given me so much more. She has taught me some important values and principles of which I carry with me to this day.

She has always encouraged me to look inward, and do whatever feels right- never pressuring me into something I didn’t want to do.

She has always stressed the importance of happiness in our daily lives. She would say, ‘I don’t give a sh*te what yee do or where yee go, as long as yee are happy.’ This has stuck with me and is something I remind myself of constantly.

Trish continues to have a huge influence on me, and is a constant source of support and guidance. I am extremely grateful for all that she has done- and continues to do- for me. I owe her absolutely everything.

I had always wished for her to have had a daughter, so she could have been afforded the deep and meaningful conversations which she sometimes craved- but never got- having been surrounded by four emotionally closed off men for most of her adult life.

I probably don’t tell her often enough, but I love her very much and I appreciate everything she has done for me.

Trish is an amazing woman- an inspiration. I’m very much looking forward to seeing her for the first time in 2 years this summer, so I can give her a big hug and a kiss, have a chat, and share a laugh over a cup of tea like we used to.

Thank you for everything Ma. I love you dearly.

Happy Birthday.

An Experiment In Gratitude was part of a segment created by the awesome people at Soul Pancake– entitled ‘The Science of Happiness’- and it was where I first encountered the idea.

Feel free to try out the activity for yourselves; write about a person who has had an influence on your life, then call them up and read what you wrote about them. It was lots of fun, and it was a powerful and moving experience.