Hilary Conor Guest-blog post below.
How a tragedy and a passion to give voice caused me to self-publish a debut fiction novel focusing on Ireland’s Social History.
Back in March 2017 I was not a person who religiously watched the daily news bulletins or read the daily news-papers.
On March 3rd last year I called my mother to wish her a happy birthday. She related her gratitude and then asked me a question that was to change the direction of my life and the predominance of my thoughts forever. It was an innocent question about one of the biggest national scandals ever, that had broken that day. My mother asked:
Did you hear on the news that nearly 800 babies’ bodies were discovered in a septic tank in Tuam, Co Galway?
In that moment something took a tight grip on my heart. I still don’t know what it was, but it was painful, and I knew that somehow the scandal had deep resonance within me.
My mother went on to relate the story revealed on the news.
After finishing up the phone call I switched on the TV, checking Facebook at the same time to see that several friends had also tagged me in articles related to Catherine Coreless’ findings.
In doing so, I quickly realised my kinship with these innocent lives.
They were all born in a Mother & Baby Home, so was I. They were all born of ‘fallen women’, so was I. Their lives all began under the supervision of the nuns, so did mine.
Throughout the coming days, more devastating news was revealed that similar secrets of disposed babies was likely in all the other Mother & Baby Homes around Ireland, all nine of them.
I was born in 1974 in St. Patrick’s Mother & Baby Home, in Dublin, by far the largest Mother & Baby Home in our state.
Over the following weeks, the outrage died down the scandal went off the radar. TV coverage moved on and less and less articles and conversations filled our social media news feeds.
But my heart continued to break. Each day I walked around smiling outward through an abyss of silent devastation and sadness. The anger I felt towards state and church blew its punches to my being every day. Filled with grief, guilt and despair, I was lost. Tears flowed from my eyes, while the images of innocence in unrecognized graves haunted my mind.
Being a Spiritual Practitioner and Hypnotherapist I had all the tools to deal with pain, anger, and grief, but in this instance none of these tools were effective. It was too big. I was helpless. The thought ‘it could have been me’ repeated in my mind over and over, followed by the guilt that it wasn’t me, and the victims lay silenced for decades, their soul legacy unknown to the world.
The helplessness to fulfill a will to do my part was like a drug that paralyzed happiness and joy, and amplified frustration, anger and heart break.
One morning, at the end of March I woke with a sense of everything being perfect in my world. It was a bright sunny morning. My husband lay sleeping beside me and my three daughters were also lost in peaceful slumber. Life was perfect, and all was well. That perfection lasted about three seconds and the devastation came thundering into my mind once again, it’s heaviness weighing down on my being before I rose from the bed.
I got up that day and got the kids off to school, by now, behind the mask of my smile, my eyes were already swollen with the familiar sting of tears. I had nowhere to turn. I desperately wanted to step up and do something to make this better, but I had no idea what that was or how.
With eventual acceptance that my own efforts were ineffective and knowing I could not continue to live in this abyss of devastation, I eventually turned to God.
I stood in my bedroom, with a broken heart, tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
I looked up and asked for help:
“God, help me see this differently, because I cannot find a way forward”
That is always my last resort question. Usually I ask, then I let it go in the knowing that later that day the answer will come, be it through people, places, a movie or some other medium.
However, within moments something happened that would go on to consume my every thought from that moment to this.
The plot for what was to become my first fiction novel began to download in my mind.
It was about a baby girl, born in a Mother & Baby Home in mid-sixties Ireland. She was given up for adoption by a mother who loved her without condition and the story followed her childhood of rejection and judgement due to the consciousness of Irish Society. To add to the mix the young girl had a beautiful psychic gift, including clear communication with her spirit guides, angels and an ability to see beyond the veil of illusion into realms beyond the third dimension. When you throw in Roman Catholic Ireland’s stance on that one, you get a good sense of where the story goes.
If I am completely honest, writing the story that downloaded in my mind made perfect sense to me, while scaring the living day lights out of me at the same time. I loved writing, and, in the past, I had thrown out the odd self-help article, admittedly with deliberate caution, targeting the audience whom I knew would say, something like ‘Gosh Hilary that was great, well done you!’ But to write a novel? That was a whole different realm. In fact, that was HUGE. I didn’t know the first thing about creative writing, albeit effectively and certainly not to the standard of a good author. The last time I encountered the task of creative writing was when I was seventeen years old sitting my Leaving Cert.
But this felt right.
I wanted to give voice to those who were silenced, it didn’t even matter if no one heard or read my work. The point was I was doing something for these treasured angels and for all those magnificent mothers who still carry the pain to this day caused by the aristocracy that controlled our nation. Once I wrote the story, did my very best and shared it out there, I knew I was doing my part, for them. Of course I hoped that someone listened and heard, but control of same was out of my hands and I knew I just had to show up, be the vessel and pray for the best outcome.
The purpose of the story was to help the thousands of innocent souls be heard, have voice, and be seen for the pure innocence that they were. It was also my way of contributing towards healing the pain within the hearts and minds of the thousands if not millions at the effect of the judgement and condemnation that controlled our society.
In some way it made sense that giving life to this novel would go towards doing all the above.
So, about an hour later I sat down and wrote the words that flowed from my mind.
The words, the purpose and story has continued to dominate my mind every moment from that day to this, mostly in the hope that I do it justice.
Will I continue to nurture Saoirse? You bet I will!
Will I continue have her back and guide her in the right direction as best I can? Nothing will stop me.
Do I hope that she lives a life that gives hope, healing and inspires forgiveness and joy within the hearts and minds of all whom she encounters? It is my prayer every single day.
My wish for all who read Saoirse is two-fold:
I hope and pray that she inspires freedom to all effected by her story, because in some way it resonates with you.
I dearly hope and pray that she gives just voice to the souls who inspired her, and helps their light shine bright in recognition of their perfection, wherever they are.
Spiritual Wellness Coach,