Pat Keenan

Carmel and I was married for 43 years. I took her out for the first time on St Patrick’s Day 1977. I proposed to her in May 1977 and we got married on Boxing Day 1977. She obviously knew a bargain when she saw one (laughs). The best 43 years of my life. I was the luckiest man in the world she was a very intelligent, caring, determined woman, never complained, just got on with her business.

Somebody said one time if you miss somebody a lot you’re very lucky to have that memory of them that you miss them that much, you know, and it’s true.

Carmel was diagnosed in 2014 but then two years later this unfortunately came back, came back into the tissue of her lungs and the tissue of her liver and what was, and it wasn’t going to get better anymore and that’s just the reality of it.

Only for the palliative care in the last two years made her life a lot more comfortable than it would’ve been, you know, and I just could not praise it high enough. It was a life line for Carmel for the last two years. The palliative care was good to her and the wee lassies coming in to help her was more than good, and the medical assistance was fantastic. And Carmel’s doctor is in Ederney which is down the road, a small village down there, like a very small village, and the local doctor there was more than good to her. Carmel would just have to lift the phone and say I need or I want, and within minutes they would be up to chat to her. No, the support she got all round was fantastic and I’m lucky was able to do it for her too.

Carmel died, God love her, on the 8th March. If it had been 10 days later we wouldn’t’ have got into the hospital even to see her, with COVID and all.

To watch somebody who you knew and loved for 43 years it could be draining on you sometimes. If people realise that it’s not the end of everything that, in fact, that it’s people who are in to help you. And it’s not somebody who are coming to, sort of, preside over your last days on earth, you know that’s what I’m saying to you, that these people are coming, that they’ll be a help with anything you want.

There is nothing I would do to change it because, as I say, it was phenomenal, every sense of it and those ladies particularly made it for her. And Carmel would tell you herself she loved to see Ann and Janet coming through the door and it’s one of my last and abiding memories of the two ladies coming in here. And I would have no doubt about it, only for it, Carmel’s life would have been a lot shorter probably, you know.