After struggling to come to terms with the loss of his beloved wife of 48 years, Pat is now embracing life again.
Love at first sight
Pat and Olivia met at a dance on Harcourt Street in the 1960s, were married a few years later, and children soon followed. “I met this lady and we fell in love as soon as we met. The rest is history,” Pat recalls. “I was 21 and Olivia was 20. I went home to the bedsit I was sharing with another chap, and I woke him up and said ‘I’m after meeting the girl I want to marry.’”
In the spring of 2015, a number of years after returning from almost a decade of visiting exotic locations around the world, Olivia began to feel unwell. Ultimately lymphoma was diagnosed and she died at home that August. “We had an absolutely amazing life together, but after she died I was in a very, very dark hole,” Pat says. “If I had believed that there was a life after this, that I’d meet Olivia in the next life, I’d have killed myself. That’s how bad I was. I still find it very hard to go up to her grave. On our 50th wedding anniversary I cried for hours up there.”
However, after attending group counselling organised through the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), Pat is now embracing life once more. He is active on a number of committees and also has a new lady friend, Geraldine, after registering on a website that connects people over the age of 50.
“Geraldine can talk about the husband she lost, and I can talk about Olivia, and that’s all very open. Having someone makes a huge difference; it’s made me start to plan again.”