Book on how Spiddal woman dealt with her only child’s death to give hope and comfort to the bereaved

Eamonn Goggin, who died in a car crash in 2006.

Eamonn Goggin, who died in a car crash in 2006.

A book of poems and photographs which reflect how a Co Galway mother dealt with the death of her only child is on sale nationwide.

Martina Goggin, who lives in Spiddal, lost her son Eamonn in a fatal road crash there in 2006. Everything changed for her that summer’s day, she says.

Writing in the foreword of the book titled “Under Connemara Skies - Towards Light” she outlines there was no longer purpose or meaning to her life.

“The future seemed a very daunting and black place. As I struggled daily to cope with the overwhelming sense of sadness and loss, exploring and expressing my thoughts in writing and in poetry was my way of working through the many and mixed emotions I had, and still have, in any one day.”

She says the reasons she decided to publish these “very personal” poems and reflections are twofold. “Firstly that it might help others who are grieving to know they are not alone as they make their way slowly on a new pathway to the future. And secondly, to raise funds for a national commemorative garden to remember and give thanks for the lives and generosity of spirit of all organ donors.”

Eamonn was on life support for five days and in keeping with his wishes his organs were donated for transplantation.

“In his memory and to the memory of all organ and tissue donors, my husband Denis and I set up Strange Boat Donor Foundation with the purpose of raising much needed awareness of the importance of organ donation. The proceeds of the sale of this book will help with the setting up of this national garden of commemoration and thanksgiving - Circle of Life - which will be located in Salthill Park.”

Writing in her introduction to the book RTE broadcaster Mary Kennedy, who launched the publication, said she met Martina Goggin while filming in Spiddal for a Nationwide programme to be transmitted on St Patrick’s Day.

“As Martina introduced Eamonn, two things struck me, the shy yet friendly demeanour of this young, strong handsome man and his mother’s obvious pride in her only son. She positively beamed! I can still see the expression of love and devotion on Martina’s face, that maternal glow.

“That was the first and only time I met Eamonn. Four months later he died from injuries sustained in a car crash following which he never regained consciousness. His loving mother’s maternal glow died that day too. It was replaced by a gut wrenching, harrowing sadness which saw Martina’s husband Denis, her family and friends worry for her wellbeing as she embarked on a journey through grief and despair to emerge slowly into a new reality. A reality in which it’s still unspeakably sad to have to live without Eamonn’s physical presence. A reality in which his memory is deeply cherished. A reality which has produced this collection of photographs and poems.”

She describes the book as “visually and verbally moving” and “stunningly beautiful”. “The collection comes as a direct result of Eamonn’s untimely death and can be shared now with others, to afford comfort, courage and hope to those who grieve. Sometimes their skies are dark and foreboding, sometimes they are bright and uplifting, an accurate reflection of this woman’s coming to terms with any mother’s worst nightmare.”

Ms Kennedy says for her the defining feature of this collection of photographs and poems is the feeling of hope. “With the passage of time this begins to co-exist alongside the feeling of loss as Martina, in memory of Eamonn, moves towards light and the future.

“As she says herself in

A Place So Black

‘but I could not have imagined,

the power of a place so black. A place

where no light penetrates

To escape

This dark abyss and once again see the

mountaintop, is a long and steep uphill climb

demanding a humble belief in you

being the inner light guiding the way.’”

Mary Kennedy says there is plenty of evidence that Eamonn is the “inner light” guiding Martina’s way on her “uphill climb” and believes her book will guide people who are grieving to a “feeling of hope and comfort” in the knowledge that they are not alone.

* Under Connemara Skies - Towards Light is available from all major bookstores nationwide and online from www.strangeboat.org

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