Friday, January 17, 2014

Guest Blogger - Frances Cahill

I was keen to introduce a Guest Blogger on my blog and who better to ask than Frances Cahill, who did commence the Ultimate Blog Challenge, but after nearly two weeks doing well, changed circumstances (she's moving house) caused her to focus on family issues, but she graciously accepted by invitation to be my guest.

I met Frances a number of years ago - we have some special shared friends.   When I heard that Frances had written her mother's life story, I asked her several questions about the task.  Sadly, Frances's mother passed away in 2013.

Introducing Frances Cahill, who currently resides on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Frances Cahill

1.       You wrote your mother’s story recently – how long did you take to write it?
Actually Di my mother wrote it herself.  She wrote it in two volumes – Vol 1 was her early life and the years leading up to her marriage and Vol 2 were the years after that up to the time she entered an assisted living facility.
It was a project that she set herself after being encouraged by my sister.  It was a lovely way for her to engage her mind and gave her much pleasure to present each of her five children with a copy.
It took a period of around four years altogether.  I edited her work. 
2.    How many words did you have in the finished piece (roughly)?
Final word count would have been around 20,000 for both volumes – along with some absolutely precious photographs.
3.    Did you publish it?  Where?  If not, do you intend to publish it somewhere?
It hasn’t been published it was truly a labour of great love by my Mum.  She typed it all herself on her computer. I haven’t considered publishing it anywhere yet.  Her death is too recent.
But as I have mentioned to you previously – this task of writing the stories of our older generation must be seen as important and give into safe and respectful hands.
Their histories are the platform we built our lives on – they have a message to give us – always.
4.    What help did you have from family members, ephemera etc?
Family members of Mum’s generation gave some photos to Mum to illustrate her early life – walking a cow from the railway station in what is now suburban Brisbane! But she had so many beautiful memories stored in her own extensive photo albums.
5.    Any particular challenges while writing this?
The challenge was being objective with Mum’s writing – correcting the very few grammatical errors was one thing.  Keeping an impartial view of the content – impossible.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to do this work for her.  It means so much more now.  The scene she describes when my father died in her arms from a heart attack at 51 came back vividly at her funeral and now as I write.
My eldest brother paid tribute in her eulogy that she simply ‘got on with it’ in the face of huge obstacles – widowed at 41 with 5 children aged 7-17.  We have all learned from her and we do simply get on with it without wailing or drama.
I has always loved my mother but after reading the books again (rather than editing them) -  I came to a place of admiration for her courage and strength in the face of tough obstacles.

Doreen (left) with Frances

 Family Wedding Photo
Visit Fran's website/blog here
Facebook here
Helen O'Grady Drama Academy here
Helen O'Grady Drama Academy Sunshine Coast Facebook here



Suzy said...

Fran, Your mother sounds like a delightful person. Sorry for your loss but what a lovely gift she left all of you. Thanks Di for bringing this to us. Dropping by from UBC.

Dr Tandy said...

What a beautiful story. It is so nice to hear how you contributed to your family legacy. I did a similar thing for both of my parents when I was their full-time caregiver. Creating a legacy that honors our loved ones helps create peace and healing for all. What a lovely gift you both gave each other.

Aunt Em said...

Thank you for your kind words Suzy! She was an interesting woman and a wonderful role model for all of us!

Di Hill said...

Thank you Suzy, Dr Tandy and Aunt Em for your comments. It is great to capture wonderful stories - everyone has a story.