Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

We have two lives & the second one begins when you realise you only have one!

June 4, 2019

Mario de Andrade

This beautiful poem written by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945), a poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist who was one of the founders of Brazilian modernism, was shared with me by my great friend Fr. John Ahern.

*MY SOUL HAS A HAT*

I counted my years
& realised that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure,
But when he realised that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
& who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow, with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
& the second begins when you realise you only have one.

Send this to all of your middle aged friends!!

…It is forbidden to keep it

More beautiful music please..

May 14, 2019

Cork Youth Orchestra

It was another magical night in Cork as we watched the superb Cork Youth Orchestra perform with Altan and the Lee Singers at the majestic City Hall.

The performance by the orchestra was just spell bounding as we watched 128 talented young musicians play together, powerfully and passionately conducted by Tomás McCarthy.

It was moving, watching the different sections of the orchestra playing together, creating powerful, beautiful, uplifting music and I was reflecting on the huge feat that we were witnessing, the seamless coordination of so many young talented musicians.

Cork Youth Orchestra

There is huge credit to the conductor, the musicians and the proud parents who all played their role and while we just turned up to experience the special performance on the night, I can only imagine the amount of hard work and countless hours that must have gone into what we were witnessing.

You could feel the huge sense of togetherness on the night and you knew this was the magic ingredient, because without this togetherness the uplifting performance would not have happened.

It made me think about how much we can create and how much we can achieve when we come together with a beautiful, common goal.

I took a photo during the performance and at the interval I opened up Twitter to tweet about the magical evening.

As I was about to post I spotted a jarring tweet about a bombing in Pakistan, where gunmen had forced their way into a hotel and started shooting indiscriminately, leaving four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier dead. Six others were injured.

How can we come together and achieve such beautiful things and how can we be consumed by so much hatred that we can kill others?

More music please…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sad times and amazing mums

January 21, 2019

This week last year was a tough week, probably one of the toughest.

Dad was at Marymount Hospice and visibly getting worse with each passing day and there was a relay of family members sitting by his bedside 24/7 holding his hand and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

The visitors came and went, all coming to spend some last time with him and he tried his very best to be attentive and at a minimum give them a customary thumbs up as they left.

Laura, my sis was terrific and barely left his side, my brother Colin (who had to come from the States) was a star and the grandkids showed their true colours and my own Ellen also had a path worn to that place, where we all hate to even contemplate, but one where dignity and care are delivered with an abundance of compassion and kindness.

I tried my best to play my part, visiting for hours each day and yes I did do a few overnights but I must admit I struggled with that caring part, that minding, nursing instinct – it felt strange for me as this was my strong dad, the one that cared for us and not the other way around.

I think in a funny way, that he would have realised he was in serious trouble if I was by his side helping him with his food, or drinks as that was all he was able for at that stage.

On the night of the 25th January, 2018 my dad, Michael Canty peacefully slipped away with us all by his side.

I deliberately haven’t mentioned my mum yet, but on this night she insisted that we all said a Rosary, not one decade but the full shebang!

I whispered to my daughter, Ellen that this might finish him off – humour can be a great way to lighten the pain at such times and dad would have been the very first one to say something funny to cheer you up or take your mind off something bad.

I spoke too soon and literally with the very last words of the Rosary, with us all sitting in a circle holding his and each others  hands he took his very last breath and left us.

Mum is a colossal tower of strength and was incredible with dad during his sickness, minding both him and us. During those last weeks she barely left his side and while she was losing the love of her life she still was so conscious of how all of us were coping at this awful time.

Since then mum has been incredible. It’s nearly a full year on and in particular the last few weeks have been really tough for her.

We all know dad took a bad turn on Christmas Day, we know the day he left the house for the Bon Secours and never came home again, we know where he was on New Years; Eve, we know the day he was told he was going to Marymount (that was heart breaking “I thought I was getting better, now I’m really worried” he said) and we can pretty much relive each calendar day until the 25th and the funeral.

Mum has been so positive, organising the funeral, responding to all the letters and cards, getting out as much as she can, she goes to mass each day and visits the cemetery, she comes over for dinner regularly, she meets the neighbours, she visits dad’s sister, and she warmly greets the procession of visitors who all enjoy her fantastic company. If she’s not up to visiting she tells us, and that’s ok too.

Of course she is in mourning and of course she is deeply upset and she does have her teary moments but she has been a warm, brilliant, caring and strong person for the rest of us.

Dad was lucky, we are all so lucky.

So, on this tough week I wanted to acknowledge and salute one of the very best people that I know on this planet, my mum, Ann Canty.

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Missing the simple chit chat

December 9, 2018

 

Mum called me this morning.

She had been to mass (as she does each morning) and she wanted to share a little moment with me.

The gospel that morning had been about the two blind men that Jesus had cured in Galilee by touching their eyes.

Mum told me that when she heard this she had to do everything in her power to keep the laughter in, as she instead was thinking of the rhyme that dad used always share with us and all the grand kids.

He used deliver this rhyme with actions and funny gestures and in some ways it summed up everything that this gorgeous man was all about. He had a great sense of humour, he adored children and would do anything to make them laugh.

One fine day in the middle of the night,

Two blind men got up to fight,

Back to back they faced each other,

Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t, see

So they chose a dummy for a referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,

A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralysed donkey passing by, kicked the blind man in the eye,

Knocked him through a nine inch wall,

Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,

And came to arrest the two dead boys,

If you don’t believe this story’s true,

Ask the blind man he saw it too!

This was a tall tale that has been passed down from generation to generation and everyone seems to have a slightly different version.

Mum thought of dad as she does all of the time and she couldn’t stop laughing.

She missed him and misses him every day. She misses the simple chit chat the most and of course, his humour.

He wasn’t there with her, as he always had been but of course he was, he always is.

Mum misses him, we all do

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Staying bright in a dark world – Eleanor O’Kelly Lynch

May 12, 2018

Eleanor O'Kelly Lynch with her daughter Lauren, CdLS awareness day

When you meet Eleanor you just have to be struck by the “brightness” around her.

Every time she walks into a room, every time you bump into her on the street you notice the bright clothes that she wears, the warm smile and the positive, happy glow that will always leave you feeling a little better about yourself.

Eleanor O’Kelly Lynch runs a successful company called Golden Apple Training, which specialises in Sales and Customer Service training.

I met her for coffee one day, prompted by something really nice that she had commented on a blog post that I had written about my dad who passed away in January of this year.

Other than the “brightness” and the training company I knew very little about Eleanor and this quick coffee turned into the most revealing of conversations.

I learnt about a fantastic, proactive career but I was also staggered to hear about a rare, debilitating and very cruel disease that her daughter, Lauren has called CdLS. (about 40 people suffer from this in Ireland)

I’ll be honest with you and admit that I fought back the tears hearing about the life struggle that Eleanor has had in coping with Lauren, who she adores.

I wondered how could you cope a single day with this life challenge and how could you cope for 25 years and still manage to have the brightest disposition ever?

We (Fuzion Communications) were more than happy to give Eleanor and the CdLS organisation in Ireland a small hand promoting their National CdLS Awareness Day (12th May) but I also asked her to sit down with me to do a podcast.

I wanted to figure out the secret to being so bright and positive when life is just unbelievably cruel and challenging each and every single day.

Listen to the latest episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast to discover her secret….

Fuzion Win Happy PodcastGreg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Nice dreams and bad jokes..

April 19, 2018

Dad and me

We were sitting at the dinner table and the conversation was flowing.

Mum had told us about some friend of hers who was suffering badly with arthritis.

When I hear that word I just can’t help it, and I cracked one of my woeful jokes ….

That fella Arthur should get a life and leave people alone

Dad just cracked up at my poor joke and was in convulsions..

I looked over at him, grabbed him and gave him the biggest hug and told him that I loved him.

Then, I woke up and realised it was just a dream, a nice dream – He was there, for just a beautiful moment.

Miss you Pops … 

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Why Cheltenham?

March 19, 2018

Cheltenham

I was standing in the queue at the Spar on Mount Street in Dublin waiting to order a coffee to get me in shape for the day’s work in the office.

I spotted Dave, a buddy of mine from the drinks industry who I hadn’t seen for a few months collecting his coffee and he nodded across to me.

He made his way over and as jovial as ever he explained that he was exhausted after a few days at Cheltenham: “Jesus, I’m getting too old for this crack and I have a mountain of work to catch up on“.

When we both worked in the drinks industry these “junkets” were part and parcel of the job and while fantastic fun they invariably involved lots of travelling, late nights with more than a drink or two!

Dave is still working in the industry “The recovery time seems to be much longer these days” he told me.

The conversation went on and he asked that question: “How’s your dad doing?

He obviously hadn’t heard.

This is always tough because the answer always leads to some awkwardness and invariably warrants a much bigger conversation.

Dad, sadly passed away at the end of January” I replied and I started to give him some of the details including how he passed, how everyone was coping and both of us stood there holding our takeaway cups and we spoke about mortality and our different experiences.

Life is short” he said “and we never quite know how short it will be“.

We both stood there nodding and contemplating in silence.

That’s why we have to go to Cheltenham” he said and we both went on with our respective days.

He is right..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Sorry for your loss…

February 12, 2018

Sorry for your loss

Another phone call, another person reaching out.

I haven’t spoken to her in a long time but I can guess why she is calling.

The thing is, my dad sadly passed away two weeks ago and I am still receiving calls, texts, emails and cards from many people offering their condolences. As well as this, people are still stopping me on the street or pulling me aside at meetings and having a private word.

The condolences vary from a simple “sorry for your loss” to people who knew dad and will share their own memory of him, to others who want to share their own personal experiences with grief and loss.

In many cases I can end up having the most personal conversations with people, who up until this moment I would have only had a professional relationship.

On one occasion (there have been so many), just last week, I stood in the corridor listening to one man telling me fond stories about his own father who passed away over 10 years ago. I got a sense that he just loved the opportunity of talking about his dad – my relationship with this man has changed forever.

A part of me feels that in reaching out it allows everyone to be a little human and share something that is normally private and precious to them. I get the feeling that people want to connect, they want to reach out at a level that is beyond the every day superficial interactions, and death in a very strange away provides this opportunity.

The reaching out by people, has been so incredibly welcomed – I always wondered, if it would feel like a nuisance and a little tiresome to the person on the receiving end of the barrage of condolences, but it is so much the opposite.

I also get that very often people are very uncomfortable about what to say to the person who has suffered a loss – just shake their hand, give them a hug and let them know you are thinking of them.

Each and every interaction is a valued support.

So, please, whatever is going on in your busy life, reach out to that colleague, that neighbour, that old acquaintance when they have suffered a loss.

It’s worth everything to them.

Greg Canty

Michael Canty – No Ordinary Man

January 30, 2018

Michael Canty - US ArmyDelivering a Eulogy at the funeral of your dad, one of the most precious men in your life, is a huge privilege and an opportunity to show people who this great man is (I prefer that word to ‘was’).

I’d like to share this with you:

My cousin Tommy, who was like another son to dad, sent me a gorgeous text about him, which goes some way to explaining why he is so special.

He was just an ordinary man with no airs or graces. What you saw was what you got and everyone loved him

While we all have our own memories and stories about Michael Canty, over the last few days we have all got to know him a little better by sharing some of these with each other.

We heard about his buddy in Primary School, Joe Kenny who told us that no one messed with Michael Canty, because he was the one who took on the bullies who were mocking a poor lad with a hunchback.

We heard about the young Michael Canty who was shouldered back to his house after playing a key role in a school final.

Michael Canty - In the armyWe saw the fantastic adventure that he had in the US Army through the brilliant photos that he used send to mum with lovely messages to her. “To my beloved wife“.

They both wrote to each other each day so each day they would receive a letter.

We heard about the footballer who played in America with the Newark Portugese.

We read about the fantastic footballer and the cup winning captain who was a great teammate. He captained the first Cork team to win the Oscar Traynor Cup, in 1966.

Michael Canty - Oscar Traynor Cup winner 1966We heard about the two young girls that he saved from drowning at a beach in Cork. I am guessing my fear of water might come from witnessing that incident as a young kid.

We even heard from the young adults in the neighbourhood who remember fondly kicking ball with him on the green. They used knock on his door to see if he would come out to play!

We heard about the man who knocked on the door about two years ago, enquiring about Michael. He hadn’t seen him at the gym in a while and he was checking to see if he was ok.

Everyone did love him, even our dogs who knew he was a very special man!

One of the most fantastic things about Michael Canty was his sense of humour and his talent for putting others at ease.

Even in his darkest days at the beginning of this month the very sick Michael Canty leaned over to me in hospital and whispered “where in the name of god did the doctor get his pink trousers“.

We would tease him that he was getting loads of attention, to be told “Aren’t I worth it

While January 2018 will always be remembered as a terrible, very sad month in some respects it was a very special month when friends, neighbours and family rallied around to help in any way and to support each other. In the middle of all of this sorrow there was love, kindness and laughter, and plenty of it as we shared some of these special stories.

It’s very clear that the very special Michael, and all of his special characteristics have been passed on to those around him – he lives on, in all of us.

It’s only right that we leave the last word to him.

If we described him as being an “ordinary man” he might have an issue with it.

With a cheeky grin he would say…. “I’m not ordinary, I’m outstanding in my own field!

You certainly are Pops…..

Michael Canty - RIPMichael Canty, my beloved dad, my buddy, Rest in Peace, you will always be with us.

Greg Canty

Dad passed away peacefully at Marymount University Hospital and Hospice on January, 25th 2018, at 9:45 pm.

We were by his side.

 

 

 

 

Crushed Ice

January 21, 2018

Crushed ice

It’s dark, I open the fridge door and there it is glistening in the light.

A full beaker, crushed ice crystals of all shapes and sizes looking back at me.

This isn’t for an exotic cocktail, not for a delicious Mojito with the best of rum, fresh lime juice, mint leaves and sparkling soda water.

No, this is our saviour, this beaker of crushed ice, this will get us through this long night, it will carry us through till morning, it will take us peacefully to the next day.

I just need small pieces but these pieces in the beaker want to stay together.

The spoon I’m using to search for small pieces is just too awkward, the rummaging is making too much noise and causing its own problems.

A small plastic cup is the answer. Grab the pieces from the beaker without discrimination and let’s break them up quietly in the forgiving plastic cup.

This is working, I now have small pieces and we can get through this long night together, me, him and the crushed ice.

Small bits of crushed ice on the spoon, into the grateful mouth, sucking relief from these magical crystals as they gradually turn into water and relieve this awful thirst.

The hand gesture, more crystals on the spoon and into the grateful mouth.

I watch him, this powerful man that I adore, this superstar sucking on these crystals, extracting huge relief.

I watch, another spoonful is ready of this wonderful, magical crushed ice that is our saviour. I make sure the pieces aren’t too big for that grateful mouth.

Another spoonful of small crystals into the mouth of this giant of a man, more sucking, more relief.

Are you alright pops, are you doing ok?

I hold his hand and rub his head and he closes his eyes and finds some peace from these magical crystals for another small while at least.

We’ll make it through this night, me, my dad and the crushed ice.

Greg Canty