Before and after

Sandra O'Hagan
2 min readJan 30, 2021

I falter so maybe I’m not ready, perhaps it’s just too soon.

My mundane life is already back to a sense of normal. The ordinariness is almost a comfort.

So different from the unimaginable experience of the journey, knowing what was to come. Love and heartache. A loss too great but a peace that brought relief. Never expecting the outpouring of grief from a town I’d never been to before. Three days of limbo: kindness and support, punctuated with crassness and insensitivity. So surreal and far too difficult to comprehend. The agony of returning, wretched with our sadness and wary of everything.

Home was a relief, togetherness a blessing. Being alone with memories and thoughts felt safe.

My happy, cheeky little boy has gone.

His struggle for life, started immediately, with a fated syndrome that was so cruel. As a family we got through it, as a little fighter Conor beat off every setback. Finally everyday happiness was ours. Twin brothers getting on so well with a big sister to torment and play with. Life was good. Birthdays and Christmases, day trips and holidays. Dressing up and video games. Parties, pets and picnics.

Puberty saw the syndrome make its next move. And it hit us hard. We had already entrusted our faith in various doctors, who had usually exceeded our expectations. Now we turned to the mental health professionals for help. The cycle of needing help, getting help and him accepting help was endless. It was a constant in our lives. Every conceivable element came into play. Others saw a typical teenager but it was much more extreme. Eventually, Conor took his guitar and travelled, sleeping under the stars in Galway and even France and Germany.

I’m so proud that he lived his life, how he wanted and was always true to himself. He made many friends and everyone that he met remembers him fondly. His lifestyle took its toll, even for the survivor that Conor was. That said he ‘bloody well wasn’t going to make it easy’. Finally his body was too weak but it only fitting that Conor waited for our journey’s end.

My happy, cheeky little boy has gone.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

Always in my heart. Love you Con. X