I was quite startled when this photo came into my inbox earlier this year. I hadn’t seen it before. It was from Megan Rose, my nephews’ step-sister who is the child in the picture. Sadly her cousins Sinéad and Aoife are dead, hit and run and unintentional injury. Naming them and the causes does not ease the pain in any way. I have always been of the view that we are part of a very large coterie of parents whose children die before them.

They die from accident, homicide, suicide, cancer and heart disease. There are populations of young people who die in famine, war-torn zones or refugees. But behind each individual is a set of parents who are left with unspeakable grief and loss.

And so, 1st August is our Aoife reminder day, sixteen years gone this year.

I am always prompted to write something for her at this time. Please read, share and send me feedback.

the time of year again and again

wouldnt you think that after all these years

it would get easier and less of a belt in the gut

but it doesn’t if anything the blow is harder

add a guilt attack for the periods of not remembering

we’re sitting in the heat and high humidity

in a place that was largely of her getting

she directed pearse to show us the location

we fell in love with it and came back to buy

so now sixteen and fourteen years on

we perch, swelter and are grateful

not grateful for her unintentional injuries

not grateful for the big hole and ache her absence leaves

grateful for having her as part of us for that time

grateful even for the irritations and blowouts

grateful to see how she grew and blossomed

grateful to have loved her so dearly

Peter Clarke

30th July 2020



05.08.2020 10:16

Beautiful Peter.Thank you

Sammy W

04.08.2020 11:40

Thank you, Peter, for these tender words. Sending love.


01.08.2020 20:43

A great gift to find/create beauty in the sadness of loss. Keep well Peter.

Leo Smyth

01.08.2020 18:52

Thanks Peter. Honest as always, insightful as usual, a lovely remembrance.
Thinking of you and Margot.
Sixteen years and forever too soon.

Tom Dredge

01.08.2020 11:34

Thanks Peter for this lovely poem. You can feel the heartache and loss even after all those years. My brother lost his son twenty years ago on 5th August. The Irish Times today carries an In Memoriam.

Marguerite colgan

01.08.2020 07:48

Beautiful words. Thinking of you, Margo and the family. Bless you

Maurice C

31.07.2020 21:41

Thanks, Peter. On Aoife reminder day I hear/share the grief and loss which, while unspeakable, is tempered by gratefulness for having loved her so dearly. Moving pure thought especially in these times

Dylan Ryan

31.07.2020 21:10

Aoife was my biggest cousin.
When we were very young we would lock ourselves in the bathroom of our grandparents when it came time to depart. Goodbye Aoife....

Brian Conway

31.07.2020 20:44

Heartbreaking and beautiful


31.07.2020 20:42

Memories of playing in the woods, on the green, sports days, braiding Aoifes hair when I thought I wanted to be a hairdresser and getting the odd sweet from Mr. Gibney.

Mags Dromey

31.07.2020 16:08

Another moving tribute to Aoife - lovely Peter. Can’t believe 16 years have passed since that beautiful creature graced this earth. Our thoughts are with you.


31.07.2020 16:21

A great excuse to let my tears drop


31.07.2020 15:13

Bawling. Thanks Peter.

Latest comments

25.11 | 22:15

Grief is experience through the mundane. Simple but powerful. The accompanying image really compliments the poem.

07.11 | 11:14

Hi Peter,

A great observation! Social media can be a scary place... I also need to reduce my time there



06.11 | 16:24

A great one, Peter, in the context you describe. I don't read social media myself, I doubt my equilibrium could stand it. 'The balance of his mind disturbed' yes, I think it would be.

06.11 | 15:59

Yes, gossip is a weapon of mass destruction.

In my business as well as personal life I have zero tolerance.

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