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Life’s Steeplechase by Gwyn Cooper Flynn

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Article by Gwyn Cooper Flynn © 14 July 2017 .
Posted in the Members' Blog ( ).




All throughout my childhood I wanted to be 29, as did my little sister, this was mainly due to the fact that Johnnie Lancer on the TV was 29 at some stage and we decided that that was the perfect age, as he, in our eyes was perfect.

However the day after I turned 29, my almost 4 year old son took my candles and set the house alight, destroying the complete inside of the very old house, which while having 3 foot thick external walls had timber walls inside, so up like a shot the house went. I could not blame the little fella he hadn’t meant to burn down the house he was just playing with candles and when he heard his mammy come into the room he threw them behind the sofa where I kept my drawings and paintings which acted like a firelighter and set the sofa ablaze which then burned the carpet, curtains etc etc., but 13 months earlier 3 children had perished in a fire 3 miles away so everything is relevant.

So much for being 29.

7 months later I was involved in a car accident which meant I would spend the majority of the next 18 months in Beaumont hospital. I was left with limited use of my right arm.

29 was not being so kind to me after all.

I was very depressed for a while as I felt I had lost everything, I had left one morning with the world at my feet, truly feeling I could do anything and I tried most things and by that night I needed to be fed. I had 4 little boys at the time and became pregnant again (I did say in I was in Beaumont for the majority of 18 months, I got home an odd time!) Anyway with the help of my wonderful husband I managed the new baby, a little boy to join the other 4 boys, I now had 5 lads under 10.

Then almost 4 years to the day after my accident my beautiful husband dropped dead, he was never sick and had recently had his medical for his lorry licence.

I then faced a life without my love, limited use of my arm and 5 little men ranging from 2 to almost 12. I promised myself and my husband that I would never be depressed again as it is a dark world, and only his strength, love and support had brought me through it, so I survived. I didn’t have a choice – my little boys needed me to be a mam and a dad to them, they were my reason to go on, they were part of him and I was only finishing the job we had started together.

I was widowed at 33, but I trained as a driving instructor and began my own school – found I did not like it so I made a new year’s resolution at the millennium to get a job to raise my boys. I then met a wonderful man, a clergyman who gave me wonderful support, he was married but in time we became close and he left his parish and his wife, in the midst of a lot of press coverage and hurt and we set up home together, and he minded the lads while I worked in the bank within 6 years becoming A.M.

In time we married. After about a year together his car slipped on ice and crashed , my youngest son was seriously injured and spent time in Crumlin with a fractured skull and broken leg and slowly recovered, he was 6 at the time. Then when he was 8 he developed pneumococcal meningitis and we were told in Temple Street. that he was brain dead and would have to turn off his life support, but a miracle happened and he survived with a slight hearing drop in his left ear, he had to train every muscle in his body to work again but his hard work in physio and with his older brother paid off and he made a wonderful recovery.

My husband was able to return to ministry and I took a career break to mind my parents and see the last 2 boys through school, then at 16 the youngest was again struck down with meningitis, same old story but this time in Beaumont, again a miracle happened and he recovered, this time a hearing drop in his right ear, but they decided to investigate why he had got this awful disease again, they discovered that his fractured skull had not mended properly and his brain was protruding into his nose. A wonderful surgeon in Beaumont operated successfully on him in August 2011, he was back in the ward at 5.30 and at 6pm I got a call in the hospital to tell me my Dad had passed away. Talk about mixed emotions.

September 2014, my Mam , who I was minding 24/7/365 died after a short illness, she passed away in our rectory with myself and my hubby holding her hands, and praying just as she would have wanted as she loved my husband, who was the kindest most Christian person I have ever met.

I will always miss her dearly as we were very close but in the end it was a happy release for her.

My husband took the funeral and gave her the dignified send off she deserved.

13 days after Mam died my husband suddenly dropped dead at a meeting in one of his churches. Because we lived in a Rectory I had to move out and leave the life we had built in that area, I came home to my boys who are all grown up now and have lives of their own.

I have spent 32 months coming to terms with this, I was not depressed but very very sad and lost, people tried to make me have counselling but I knew I just needed time. When my first husband died my little boys needed me so I had to get back in the saddle very quickly, and I had no time to think and wallow, but this time I was not needed I had all the time in the world, far too much time really.

I decided early on I was not going to go back to work I just wanted to sit and feel sorry for myself. After hubby no 1 passed away I had to rebuild myself as well as my life. The woman hubby no 2 married was his wife, not the old Gwyn, I had to change to survive widowhood and now I have had to rebuild myself again. I have changed much about myself and indeed now I feel I want to go back to work and get on with this life.

My boys and their wags have been my lifeline, they gave me the space and yet surrounded me in love and allowed me regrow as they too knew I would. At times I wanted to give up I just wanted the hurt to go away, I did not care if I lived or died, the boys understood when no one else did. My best friend played her part too, she knew I needed time she was with me the last time too as was my baby sister. My sense of humour has been my saving grace throughout all my troubles, it may be the only sense I have ever had but it has stood to me, I have five sons so you need a sense of humour and lots of patience !

Losing my second husband was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I have risen from the ashes like a phoenix and I can’t decide if I want to go back into banking in a new area a new start and pick up where I left off….trouble is I’m a little over 50, widowed and overweight so who will want me? I am not an employer’s target market and while I have lots of banking qualifications I am out of the business world for the past 8 years. I think I just want to write and paint instead but I might need to win the Euromillions to survive.

I just published my second Children’s book, I have also just published my first Novel or novella really, it is a racy love story called Loss, Lust and Love, followed by the sequel called And Emma, both got good reviews from Book Viral. I am almost finished the prequel and had hoped to write the last in the series of 4. I draw/paint and I blog www.wheretofromhere.net these activities have saved me, regenerated me and nourished me over the past 32 months.

As you can imagine, all these stories are just headlines, each one has a long story behind it, so, one day I will probably write my autobiography but for now it’s Onward and Upward it’s time for “Gwyn Time’ now. This was written in May/June, the next bit was added recently

And just when you think things are going well, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer on Friday last 30/06/17 so the race is on to write book number 4. Always pragmatic the only question I asked on receiving the diagnosis was….I have tickets, flights, car hire and hotel booked to see Robert Daws (favourite actor and author) in How the other half loves in Oct, what are the chances of me going……?


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