James Keenan. 9th August 1966 – 25th January 2014

Well as you’ve guessed from the title, James died last Saturday. It was quite unexpected in the sense that we thought he had longer with us. He went to be on the Friday night and just didn’t wake up. I got the phonecall from mum on Saturday morning and just didn’t know what to do.

I went straight into Civic and bought a shitload of DVD’s. When I’m stressed I tend to buy things. I’ve no idea why but it does make me feel better. 

I don’t know how I feel. I’m distraught, relieved, angry and upset all at once. I spent 10 years or more believing that James deserved whatever he got, and now that he is actually gone, I can’t believe it. I’m gutted. My whole family is torn up and nobody knows how to deal with it. I don’t know why anyone would get cancer, or why it would be something that kills people. But they took my little brother’s dad from him. My mum’s husband. And as much as I hate to say it, my stepdad. And I did love him. You can’t live with someone for that long and not have feelings. I remember James before he drank. I remember the James that took me to the cinema, watched the Lion King on telly and drew pictures with me. The James that walked me to school in the mornings. The James before the drink. 

I wanted to get home for the funeral, but it just wasn’t possible. It was on the Monday, and I was still struggling with my own health. I can’t risk flying over when I’m not well. I’d just end up in hospital as soon as I landed. But I’m going over on the 16th Feb. This is the first time I’ve flown home that I’m not looking forward to it. I know what I’m going to. My little brother is blocking everything at the minute, and if I know him as well as I think I do, he’s going to crash as soon as I get home. Maybe in some ways that’s a good thing, because then I’ll be able to be there for him and he needs that. But on the other hand, I don’t want to see my little brother hurt that much. He’s so important to me, and I love him to pieces. I don’t know if I can deal with seeing him struggle that much and not being able to make it better. The best I can do for him is to be there for him, and I will do my very best. I will be home for the months mind mass, and I think that’s when it’s going to hit TJ. But I’ll be there for him, and for mum. I’ve got to be there for my family. 

But today, just as I thought I was getting my head around it all, things changed. I had managed to persuade myself that James didn’t give a shit about me, and that made it easier for me to deal with. If he didn’t care about me, why should I care about him? But I got a phonecall from my mum this morning saying that they’d got James’ belongings from his old accomadation. When I was sitting my Leaving Certificate, I had to do what’s known as a lino print. I spent ages working on it, and I was really pleased with the result. It was part of my mock and I did quite well in it. But I gave it to James at a time when mum was trying to make things work with him and he was off the drink, and to be fair thought nothing else of it. I thought it would be a nice thing to do and that he would appreciate it being a graphic designer. But they found it in his belongings when going through his stuff. He did give a shit. He did care. And that completely changed the way I look at things. And now I don’t know how to deal with it. Am I upset that he cared and I persuaded myself that he didn’t? Am I angry at myself for not giving him a chance? Should I have tried harder to make things work? Or was I right to just completely ignore him? I didn’t even get to say goodbye to him. He went to his grave thinking I hated him, and that’s the worst thought of all. 

I didn’t hate him. I hated the way the drink made him. I do miss him. I miss the James from 2000. I miss the person that he was. Not the person he became. I miss Him. 



James Keenan. 1966 – 2014