My Writing

Day 29: House, Husband and 2.5 Kids

You are at a cemetery reading gravestones.  Write about one of the people you find.

Her headstone was minimal. Grey stone with black letters.


Beloved wife and mother

1937 – 2006

It wasn’t a particularly well kept grave. There weren’t many flowers left. But the monthly visit from her eldest daughter kept the grass from overgrowing. There was a small battery operated candle at the foot of the headstone that had needed a new battery for at least two years. It was something her daughter kept meaning to do but never quite managed to remember after she crossed the gate out of the graveyard.

Miriam was the youngest of three, her father was a farmer an her mother a housewife. Her childhood was mostly spent helping her mother cook and bake while her father and brothers laboured in the farm. Her father had a tendency to disregard her around the house. Not out of malice, he never mistreated her or went out of his way to ignore her. It was just that he didn’t really see the need for a daughter. He had his sons to help with the farm and his wife to cook his meals and take care of the house. So he never paid her much attention. Until she was nineteen, at least, and she met her future husband. Donal O’ Rourke was the son of a businessman in Dublin, he had a good education and was expected to take over his father’s business as soon as he was an appropriate age. Miriam’s father took to him immediately and was ecstatic when the two were married a year later.

Miriam and Donal moved to Dublin where Donal had a house ready for them. He was a good husband, he provided for her and took care of her. She was pregnant within a year. He first son, Michael, was born in May 1958. He was exactly what Donal had hoped for. He was going to take over the business when Donal retired. She had her second son exactly a year later, Sean. Donal hated how Miriam doted on him, but he never let her dote on Michael. Michael was to be the man of the house when he was older, Donal didn’t want too much of his mother’s influence to hinder that. Sinead was the last of the three kids. She was a latecomer, born in August 1964. She hadn’t been planned but she was loved nonetheless. As she got older Miriam did all the things she had done with her own mother, she cooked and baked with Sinead and taught her how to sew a dress and darn a sock. But Sinead got bored of it quickly. She wanted to go with her father to work and get out of the house. Donal laughed it off. It was just a phase she was going through. She’d find a boyfriend in no time and realise what she really wanted was a family of her own.

She did find a boyfriend. Alan O’ Donaghue. They didn’t, however, settle down as Donal and Miriam would have preferred. They traveled. A lot. They spent most of 1985 in Peru, while 1986 was spent in central Europe. Miriam missed her daughter. She rarely phoned or spoke to her parents for fear of her father answering the phone. They hadn’t spoken since he voiced his displeasure at her traveling and sharing a room with someone she wasn’t married to. Miriam had cried the night Sinead left. But there was no changing Donal’s mind. As long as she was living in sin she was not welcome back in his house.

Donal died of lung cancer when he was fifty nine, thirty two years of smoking finally catching up to him. Miriam was left in the house on her own. Michael and Sean would visit every Sunday, which she appreciated. Sinead would come over on Christmas Day for dinner before going to Alan’s parents in the evenings. They had never married, Sinead didn’t see the point.

Miriam died of a heart attack in her sleep on 31st July 2006.

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