10 things for 10 years: The 10 songs that soothed during my cancer battle

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
― Victor Hugo

A friend asked me recently about the 10 songs that helped me through cancer. She said that it might be interesting to share as part of my #10thingsfor10years project to mark 10 years living with cancer on 10 January 2017.

Music has always been a huge part of who I am. It formed me from I bought my first record aged 11 and has been a constant companion since then. I love music – no particular genre has dominion over another. I am mostly about the lyrics and if the song is something that speaks to me in a particular way at a particular time then it gets added to my list!

I listen to music on the radio, in my car, in my ears as I am out and about. I just invested in a new old record player and I am recreating my vinyl collection. It’s a joy.

Back in 2007 I was mostly listening to music on the radio and on my iPod which had hundreds of my favourite songs on there.

I can go from Bread to Prince, from David Bowie to Carole King, from Stevie Nicks to Ed Sheeran and all in the space of one playlist.

But to get back to the question I was asked about the songs that spoke to me most during 2007, those 365 days I had to give over to fighting cancer. Here they are in no particular order of favouritism:

  1.  Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol 

This song was on the airwaves in 2006 and it was a huge hit for Snow Patrol. My then two year old son loved it and he used to sing the verse with me and was so cute trying to get the words out in time to the music. Cathal was a huge fan of dinky cars and trucks – anything with four wheels. He would investigate cars and would try to sneak out to one of our cars whoever he could. This will always be a song that reminds me of him.

The song was always on radio playlists in 2007 and anytime I would hear it on the radio or on my iPod, it would remind me of Cathal. It also featured in Grey’s Anatomy and I used to watch that a lot in those days – you would think I would have enough of hospitals.

I love the lines ‘Let’s waste time, chasing cars…..’ I also love the line ‘I don’t quite know how to say, how I feel….’

Here are the full lyrics or you can listen to the song here

We’ll do it all
On our own
We don’t need
Or anyone
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel
Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life
Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?


2. Sky Blue and Black – Jackson Browne 

Jackson Browne is one of my all time favourite singers, lyricists and performers. I discovered him in the early eighties and I have been a huge fan ever since. He would fit into the same compartment for me as Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles but his voice is unique, distinctive and it leaves me speechless. I have a lot of Jackson Browne on my iPod and he was one of the people I listened to most when I was lying in my hospital bed too weak really to do anything other than listen.

I was really struggling to decide which song helped me more while I was sick. I am a huge fan of lyrics and I can sing along to most songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s and now. This Jackson Browne song wins the lyrics award every time. The lyrics are just sublime

In the calling out to one another
Of the lovers up and down the strand
In the sound of the waves and the cries
Of the seagulls circling the sand
In the fragments of the songs
Carried down the wind from some radio
In the murmuring of the city in the distance
Ominous and low
I hear the sound of the world where we played
And the far too simple beauty of the promises we made
If you ever need holding
Call my name, and I’ll be there
If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I’ll see you through
Sky blue and black
Where the touch of the lover ends
And the soul of the friend begins
There’s a need to be separate and a need to be one
And a struggle neither wins
But you gave me the world I was in
And a place I could make a stand
I could never see how you doubted me
When I’d let go of your hand
Yeah, and I was much younger then
And I must have thought that I would know
If things were going to end
And the heavens were rolling
Like a wheel on a track
And our sky was unfolding
And it’ll never fold back
Sky blue and black
And I’d have fought the world for you
(I’d have fought the world for you)
If I thought that you wanted me to
Or put aside what was true or untrue (true or untrue)
If I’d know that’s what you needed
What you needed me to do
But the moment has passed by me now
You have put away my pride
And just come through for you somehow
If you ever need holding
Call my name, I’ll be there
If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I’ll see you through
You’re the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You’re the whispering and the sighing of my tires in the rain
You’re the hidden cost and the thing that’s lost
In everything I do
Yeah and I’ll never stop looking for you
In the sunlight and the shadows
And the faces on the avenue
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
Sky, sky blue and black

Now listen to the song. The music and the lyrics and the voice just give me chills. This is a live acoustic version of Sky Blue and Black. I have never seen Jackson Browne in concert but in the most wonderful coincidence, Jackson Browne will be here in Ireland for a series of concerts in June of this year and I have tickets! It’s going to be another wonderful way of celebrating 10 years being cancer free. This is definitely on my bucket list of gigs.


3. The Cloud’s Veil – Liam Lawton

I like sacred music, liturgical music, religious music, choral music and I have quite a lot of this type of music on my iPod. I adore the Liam Lawton album Another World. It is a lovely mix of Liam himself singing and then the wonderful guest artists like Brian Kennedy and Moya Brennan. One of my favourite pieces on this CD is The Cloud’s Veil. The vocal is haunting and the lyrics are wonderful:

Even though the rain hides the stars,
even though the mist swirls the hills,
even when the dark clouds veil the sky,
God is by my side.

Even when the sun shall fall in sleep,
even when at dawn the sky shall weep,
even in the night when storms shall rise,
God is by my side.
God is by my side.

Bright the stars at night
that mirror heaven’s way to you.
Bright the stars in light
where dwell the saints in love and truth.

Deep the feast of life
where saints shall gather in deep peace.
Deep in heaven’s light
where sorrows pass beyond death’s sleep.

Blest are they who sing
the fellowship of saints in light.
Blest in heaven’s King.
All saints adore the Lord, most high.

This was a song that already had meaning and resonance for me as it had been the recessional song for my beloved Gran’s funeral in May 2006 just months before I was diagnosed with cancer. I was still at the stage where hearing it made me think of her and made me cry. It was a huge part of helping me process my grief. It will always be the piece of music that reminds me of her and it was a huge comfort to me when I was sick and away from family and friends in the hospital. When I found myself wanting to pick up the phone to speak to my gran, I would play this piece from Another World. This is a link to a live performance of The Cloud’s Veil by Liam Lawton.

The Cloud’s Veil became especially popular in the USA at the time of the 9/11 tragedy and featured frequently at Memorial Services for the 9/11 victims. Consoling music will always travel far and wide and that is the case with this song.


4. I can see clearly now – The Hot House Flowers 

I loved the Hot House Flowers when they were in there Don’t Go phase of music in the late eighties and early nineties. They were huge. Liam Ó Maonlaí was the heartthrob of the moment and his voice is one of the most clever musical instruments I have ever heard.

I was driving home from Tallaght Hospital one day in 2007 after a whole day of tests and treatment and I was feeling low and tearful. I was just pulling onto the N7 when the song I can see clearly now came on the radio. While the Hot House Flowers are not the ones to write or originally record this song, their version is the one that came on the radio.

Suddenly it just lifted me out of my sadness, worry and tearfulness. It just made the world feel a little better in that moment in time. It also made me remember the time I was chatted up by one of the original band members of the Hot House Flowers back in the nineties, but that’s another story for another time!

These are the lyrics and you can listen to their version of the song here. Oh and somewhere along the way I have become friends with Liam on Facebook!

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
Bright (bright), bright (bright)
Bright sunshiny day
It’s going to be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day


5. If I Should Fall Behind – Bruce Springsteen

This song kept popping into my head those first days in hospital in 2007 when I was newly diagnosed with a cancer they cannot cure. I adore this song. It’s a unconventional love song from Bruce Springsteen. Apparently Pierce Brosnan and his second wife Keeley had this played as their first dance song at their wedding – you can file that under useless trivia!

The lyrics and really the whole package of the song, and Bruce’s voice are simple but perfect:


We said we’d walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we’re walking a hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
We swore we’d travel darlin’ side by side
We’d help each other stay in stride
But each lover’s steps fall so differently
But I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for meNow everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
And I’ll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now there’s a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There ‘neath the oak’s bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin’ I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me


Back in January 2007 I was scared and worried about the diagnosis I had just received. I was mourning mine and Bryan’s future life together and at times I wondered if there would be a future life together.

If as we’re walking a hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me

My hand did slip free for a little while that year but I always knew in my heart that Bryan would wait for me and not leave me behind and something in that song, in the way it is sung, in the lyrics, in the meaning, really spoke to me during my early days living with cancer.

Here’s the song If I Should Fall Behind

6. Landslide – Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac

This has been in my music collection for so long now. It pops up in almost every playlist I have. I adore Stevie Nicks and this is the song of all songs by her.
This song speaks to me in it’s lyrics and the way she talks about fear of changing because she has built her life around this person. Time makes you bolder, children get older and back then all I wanted was to grow old with the ones I love.
The lyrics are wonderful.
I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought it down
Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too
Oh, I’m getting older, too

Listen to the song here. This is a gorgeous version from 2004 and she dedicates it to Lindsey Buckingham 🙂

7. Leader of the Band – Dan Fogelberg 

Daniel Grayling “Dan” Fogelberg was an American musician, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass. He is best known for his early 1980s hits, including “Longer” (1980), “Leader of the Band” (1981), and “Same Old Lang Syne” (1981).

I loved all his music. I discovered him when Longer was first played and followed him after that. I have a lot of his music on CD and loaded it all onto my iPod so I always had it at my fingertips. It’s mellow and chilled. It really used to relax me mid chemo and on the nights when I was so exhausted I could’t sleep in the hospital, his songs would be with me.

I had no idea that as I was lying in my hospital bed in Dublin, that he was in the final stages of his battle against prostrate cancer. Dan was diagnosed in May 2004, Fogelberg with advanced prostate cancer. After undergoing therapy, he achieved a partial remission. On August 13, 2005, his 54th birthday, he announced the success of his cancer treatments. He said that he had no immediate plans to return to making music but was keeping his options open. However, his cancer changed that and put a stop to him ever making any more music. Dan died on 16 December 2007, at the age of 56, just as I was looking forward to spending my first Christmas post-treatment at home with the family.

Leader of the Band means different things to different people. It reminds me of my gran – the leader of the band; it reminds me of the turmoil between parent and child and the sometimes wasted years because of that; and it reminds me of Dan and how cancer does not discriminate – it takes the talented, those who can sing and those who can’t hold a note.

My kids know all of my music as I am always playing these songs in the car when we are on long and short journeys. I used to look at the kids and think of this song and the words ‘The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing oldBut his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul……’  As I listened to the words I hoped that my kids would continue to grow in their love of music and culture and that I would be lucky enough to be around to share those experiences with them.

Here are the full lyrics and you can listen to the song here

An only child alone and wild, a cabinet maker’s son
His hands were meant for different work
And his heart was known to none
He left his home and went his lone and solitary way
And he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay
A quiet man of music denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once, but his music wouldn’t wait
He earned his love through discipline, a thundering velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand
The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band
My brother’s lives were different for they heard another call
One went to Chicago and the other to St Paul
And I’m in Colorado when I’m not in some hotel
Living out this life I’ve chose and come to know so well
I thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough
The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band
I am a living legacy to the leader of the band


8. Love Me – Colin Rae

This was our wedding song for our fist dance and I had forgotten about it for years until I heard it played on RTE Radio One in 2007. Colin Rae is the artist. He didn’t play at our wedding but a local band from Belturbet did and it was one of their prime numbers that they played so we thought we would keep it simple and let them play it for our first dance.

It was only in 2007 when I heard the words again, that I realised how sad a song it is. The lyrics are about dying and death but also love: ‘If you get there before I do, don’t give up on me ……’

I cried when I listened to the lyrics in 2007 and then I thought WHAT WERE YOU THINKING SUGGESTING THAT SONG FOR A FIRST DANCE AT A WEDDING?

Have a read of the lyrics below and then play the song. It’s a little bit country

I read a note my grandma wrote back in nineteen twenty-three.
Grandpa kept it in his coat, and he showed it once to me. He said,
“Boy, you might not understand, but a long, long time ago,
Grandma’s daddy didn’t like me none, but I loved your Grandma so.”We had this crazy plan to meet and run away together.
Get married in the first town we came to, and live forever.
But nailed to the tree where we were supposed to meet, instead
I found this letter, and this is what it said:If you get there before I do, don’t give up on me.

I’ll meet you when my chores are through; I don’t know how long I’ll be.                                  But I’m not gonna let you down, darling wait and see.

And between now and then, till I see you again,
I’ll be loving you. Love, me.

I read those words just hours before my Grandma passed away,
In the doorway of a church where me and Grandpa stopped to pray.
I know I’d never seen him cry in all my fifteen years;
But as he said these words to her, his eyes filled up with tears.

If you get there before I do, don’t give up on me.
I’ll meet you when my chores are through;
I don’t know how long I’ll be.
But I’m not gonna let you down, darling wait and see.
And between now and then, till I see you again,
I’ll be loving you. Love, me.
Between now and then, till I see you again,
I’ll be loving you. Love, me.

Yep, that wedding song will forever be filed under ‘What were you thinking?’

9. You Raise Me Up/Crazy Love – Brian Kennedy 

Brian Kennedy is one of my favourites and I was really soothed by his voice and his beautiful songs while I was feeling low in hospital during my stem cell transplant. His voice is unique and I can never listen to another version of You Raise Me Up without comparing it and finding it falls short of his version.

Some of his songs keeping me company and keeping me going were You Raise Me Up, Christopher Street, Crazy Love, Captured, Life Love and Happiness. 

His song Crazy Love will always remind me of my darling daughter Emma. She was nine when I was diagnosed and she was so brave. I spent my time in hospital wondering and worrying about her. She texted me and called me and gave me so much love down the phone line. I knew she was lonely and missing me – I used to ache to be with her too. I know that Crazy Love is a traditional love song but it just has so much in it that describes the way I felt being away from Emma. There’s a crazy, brilliant and wonderful love between a mother and a daughter that I was and still am lucky enough to have with Emma. These are the lyrics:


I can hear her heart beat from a thousand miles
And the heavens open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that’s where I belong
Yet I’m running to her like a river’s song

She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love
She give me love, love, love, love, crazy love

She’s got a fine sense of humor when I’m feeling low down
And when I come to her when the sun goes down
Take away my trouble, take away my grief
Take away my heartache, in the night like a thief

Yes I need her in the daytime
Yes I need her in the night
Yes I want to throw my arms around her
Kiss her hug her kiss her hug her tight

And when I’m returning from so far away
She gives me some sweet lovin’ brighten up my day
Yes it makes me righteous, yes it makes me feel whole
Yes it makes me mellow down in to my soul

Have a listen to the Crazy Love here.

Of course we were blessed in 2008 to have Brian Kennedy play a private concert in our house thanks to the Mooney Show on RTE Radio One. He sang Crazy Love and You Raise Me Up. It was a once in a lifetime experience. It was also a link I will always have to Brian. I have been lucky enough to be at many more of his gigs since I recovered and I even sang a duet with him her in my living room and on stage in a theatre in Newbridge. This is Brian singing You Raise Me Up for me in my living room.

I was on national radio a few times as a result of winning the competition and someone heard me in Co Mayo and took the time to write to me. A week after Brian Kennedy played in our living room in June 2008 I got a letter in the mail. It was a hand-written card inside a silver envelope with a lovely set of music. When I looked closer I saw it was the sheet music for You Raise Me Up and someone had written the lyrics on the front by hand. I opened the card and it was from Brendan Graham the composer of the song. He wrote me this amazing card and gave me a signed copy of the sheet music to his song. That was quite something to receive and I will always treasure it. People are so kind in the face of illness and adversity.

Adversity and illness can happen to any of us at any time. I was devastated to learn that Brian Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer back in 2016. Thankfully he is almost through it and the prognosis is good for him. We need artists and musicians like him to get us through tough days so I hope he has a long and music filled life ahead of him.

Brian Kennedy in the Drumm sessions 

10. Umbrella – Rhianna

I am not a fan of Rhianna. Her songs are ones I find myself singing along to as they tend to get so much airplay, but I do not own any of her music and I am not sure I would be tempted to buy any. But she is on my list because back in the Summer of 2007 the song getting all the airplay was UMBRELLA. Each time the door opened to the nurses’ station I would hear the bars of that song coming from somewhere. If I turned on the radio, it was there. I was in isolation in a small single room, unable to have the door or the window open. It was July and half the country was on holidays and I was stuck inside a hospital room. It rained every day of July that year and I was thankful that it did because I could not have managed it in there if there were blue skies and sunshine outside. On any other list of songs and music I was compiling this would not appear. It’s here because it was everywhere during the Summer of 2007. I’m not even going to bother posting a link to it because you know it off by heart and we are all fed up of listening to it.


So they were the songs I was finding comfort in and one I was being hugely irritated by. These songs will always remind me of key moments in my life (not the Rhianna one) and the key moments are the ones you recall again and again when your life flashes before you after a diagnosis of cancer.

Still, here I am 10 more years of music later. Still downloading music, still finding new songs and still raking through my musical first loves. No matter what happens, the music will never die…..

Brenda xx


10 things to take me out of my comfort zone

If you have stage fright, it never goes away. But then I wonder: is the key to that magical performance because of the fear? Stevie Nicks

If you have read my blog post 10 things for 10 years, you will know that number 2 on my list is: Do 10 things out of my comfort zone (I will need help with suggestions).

The first suggestions has come in and reads as follows:

How would ten minutes of stand-up comedy sound to you in a public venue with bad cancer jokes possibly the subject material but not essential.

How would it sound? Terrifying and totally out of my comfort zone, but I am up for it.

That’s one suggestion made and the challenge accepted. If anyone has a venue or an event they need a novice stand-up comedian at, please let me know.

I need nine more suggestions of things to take me out of my comfort zone!



10 things for 10 years

“May you live every day of your life.”
― Jonathan Swift

Today, 10 January 2017, I am officially living with cancer for 10 years. While the day of the diagnosis is not necessarily something to be celebrated, the fact that I have won through for so many years definitely is.

I have championed for 10 years. Back then I thought I had about 10 months to live and that I would succumb to the disease that year.  That was something terrifying to live with as I had a two year old boy and a nine year old girl and they both needed me. Being told I had a rare cancer that was incurable almost consumed me that day ten years ago.

While I am a strong person and I am delighted to be celebrating the past 10 years of being given a second chance at life, Brenda 2.0, has not come without its challenges and daily reminders that I am living with a really challenging illness.

In 2007 I spent 10 weeks in hospital for treatment, for stem cell harvest, for the transplant, and then for the shingles!

In 2008 I was admitted for a serious infection that I could not manage without IV antibiotics.

In 2009, on the first day of our family holiday, I was rushed to hospital in an ambulance with a pulmonary embolism. That was definitely one of my nine lives used up.

In 2010, there was another infection that I had to be admitted to hospital to treat.

In 2011 there was a respiratory infection.

In 2014 There was an admission to hospital for a serious respiratory infection.

in 2015 there was appendicitis. It should have been a keyhold surgery but because of my compromised immune system, it was five hours on the operating table as the infection and bacteria really took hold.

In 2016 I was told I might have a brain tumour and or MS. That diagnosis was given by a doctor in a small hospital who was not used to my complicated medical file and who panicked!

The list goes on. In between all of these I was at the hospital every week, every two weeks, once a month and now I go every eight weeks to haematology and every six months to renal care.

Even though I am in remission, you are never really done with the medical appointments and the daily reminders that you have cancer.

But today is a good day, it might even be a great day! I really and truly am celebrating the fact that I am still here and the hope that me still being here might just give to the medical team looking after me and to those who are newly diagnosed with this cancer.

When I was first diagnosed, I was always delighted to meet other patients and when they told me they were living with Myeloma for 5 years, I would do the maths and add five onto the ages of my kids. It wasn’t enough time. Then I met someone who was living with Myeloma for 7 years and I did the maths and added the 7 to my kids’ ages. It still wasn’t enough time. Then I met someone who was 10 years living with Myeloma and I thought, that’s better but it’s still not enough time. I have since met people who are living with Myeloma for 15 years and I realise now that I have become one of those younger Myeloma patients who is now creating new statistics by still being here after 10 years.

I have been thinking about this milestone date and year for a while and wondering how I might celebrate it. I have come up with a list of #10thingsfor10years.

It’s a list of 10 things I want to do to mark the 10 years. It’s as far from a bucket list as it could be because I don’t believe in those. These are things I want to do to celebrate, to mark 10 years of kicking cancer’s butt and to raise awareness of the disease (which is still rare) and also to show people that there is a lot of life to be lived after a cancer diagnosis. I am hoping I can count on your help with some of the things on my list. Here goes:

  1. I want to perform at least 10 random act of kindness for 10 cancer patients and/or their family and maybe encourage you to do the same so we have 10 x 10 acts of kindness for cancer patients.
  2. Do 10 things out of my comfort zone (I will need help with suggestions).
  3. Do a mini SU2C (Stand Up to Cancer) event with at least 10 acts taking part and all donations going towards cancer research and/or helping Myeloma patients.
  4. Postcards of thanksgiving and hope – send 100 postcards over ten weeks to say thanks to people who were there for me when I was ill.
  5. Do 10 acts of faith – Novenas, Pilgrimage, Walks etc.
  6. Have a thanksgiving event for friends and family in July to mark 10 years of my transplant.
  7. Do at least 10 random acts of kindness for the doctors, nurses and staff looking after cancer patients. These are the ones at the coalface, the life-savers and we all know the conditions they are working in.
  8. Raise at least 10 x 100 euro for cancer research.
  9. Do 10 interviews in the media to share the good news that there is life after cancer and to raise the profile of Myeloma. It was mentioned on Grey’s Anatomy the other evening -it would be great to have that level of recognition and awareness of the disease here in Ireland.
  10. Do 10 special things to celebrate with my kids and hubby.

If you can help me with suggestions please do. If you can help me practically with any of the above, I would be most grateful. All of the above will be subject at all times to how my health is but I hope that I can get through all of it.

Email me anirishgirlinterrupted@gmail.com if you can help with anything or want to make a suggestion.

If I can achieve even one or two of the #10thingsfor10years then I will be more than happy.

For today, I am simply glad to be here on earth and looking forward to taking the next 3,650 days, slowly, savouring each one, a day at a time!

Brenda xxx

The Choir – One Year On


“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

A year ago I finally got my act together and did something I had been wanting to do for a long time – I joined a choir. The In Caelo choir is based in Saint Conleth’s Parish, Newbridge, Co Kildare and we sing every second Sunday at Mass.

When I joined I was so nervous as I hadn’t sung in any formal way for years and had not been in a choir since I was in school.

Being in the choir has been one of the best experiences. It has been good for the heart, my breathing and really good for the soul and for headspace. We rehearse every other Tuesday evening in the church and I always coming away feeling great.

We have had an exceptionally great year as a choir. We sang for the President and his wife Sabina on Saint Patrick’s Day; we recorded some pieces in Irish for a charity CD; we sang at a hospice remembrance service; we performed as part of JuneFest and took part in a couple of carol services before Christmas, including the Community Carol Service in Newbridge. It was wonderful to be one of the choirs that performed and contributed to the sum of 2,830 euro being raised for charity. We sang in Saint Mary’s Pro Cathedral three times during the year.

Looking ahead to 2017, we have the great honour of being the first choir to perform a brand new Mass setting by Padraig Meredith and we have been asked to perform in Knock Basilica.

So full steam ahead for this soprano.

If you have ever even toyed with the idea of being in a choir, just do it…… it’s a New Year’s Resolution you will have no trouble keeping.