To the world:
At 8.26am on Sunday 5th November 2000, my sister woke me with a white face and tears in her eyes. Our beautiful dad, (Tom) 68, had died unexpectedly and quietly at home in Ireland. Grainne (my sister) are living in the England.
We spent the rest of the day trying to get a flight home to be with our mum and our other sister and two brothers. Even though, the flights were fully booked, and there was a long stand-by list, through the kindness of one airline woman Sue, (and we both still that dad helped us out also), we arrived home in Cork at 7.30 pm. We left our bags in the airport and were reunited with our family at 7.50 pm, 10 minutes before the rosary for dad began.
Tom O'Driscoll, dob: 09/07/1932. Where do I begin to try to explain how much he meant to me and my family, his sisters and friends.
On March 31st 1996, at the age of 63, dad suffered a massive stroke that left him paralysed on the right side, wheelchair bound and unable to speak.
Over the next couple of months, he improved little by little and the most impressive improvement was in his mental attitude to what had happened to him. After a short period of mild depression, sadness and anger, dad came to terms with his condition. After that, he went from strength to strength.
Although he never recovered his voice or the ability to walk, dad lived the rest of his life with great dignity and happiness. My family often commented on how peaceful and good-humored he was.
We put that down to a life lived-well and well-lived. We honestly think that my dad looked back on his life and he had no regrets. He lived a good life, married the woman he loved (who minded my dad with such care and tenderness over the last 4 years, and was with him when he left us), had 5 children that he loved, 2 grandchildren that he adored and felt joy, happiness and love every single day.
Born in 1932 to a farming community near Skibbereen in West Cork, my dad learned hard work at a young age. After his schooling, he went on to Dublin to college to become a vet. Dad achieved what few people ever achieve, he became a legend in his own time. Anyone from the college days in Dublin in the 50's would remember my dad as 'Skip' which was his nickname and he had a wild couple of years. He finished college (after taking several extra years to complete his course) and went to work.
In 1960 he met my mother. After an eight year courtship they were married in January 1968. The were joined by their five children,
This was the O'Driscoll family. We were all born into the same house and this was the house that dad would breath his last in. Ours was an happy, loud, energetic, loving, content home that always extended a welcome to anyone who called, and call they did.
Our house was always full of people, friends and neighbours who just popped in to say hello. One story comes to mind, a friend of my dad's called in one evening just about 6 o'clock. The house was full of activity and there were several friends of ours there. A few days later my dad met this man's wife and made some comment about her husband thinking that we lived in a madhouse and this woman told him that her husband had returned from our house and told her I just called over to Tom's house and do you know something, it is not just a house, it is a real home.
Sometimes people get confused when you talk about your family and think that you are saying they are perfect. Our home life had all the same troubles that affect other families, but it really boils down to how you copy with any situation. Us children all grew up knowing that we were very much loved and that we were all very special people. The testament to that is that we are a very close family and love and protect each other fiercely.
My sister Maeve had a baby girl, Grace, in April 1995 and my brother and his wife had a daughter, Niamh, in February 2000. You never saw a prouder grandfather than dad, and his delight in his two granddaughters was obvious to anyone who say him with them.
My mind fills with memories, they wash over me and fill me with such happiness and feel so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life and I look to the future to the wedding that he will never be able to give me away at and the grandchildren that he will never be able to see and sadness fills my heart.
Good bye dad, we all love you and miss you and we are better people for having known you.
Your loving daughter