I am so humbled to share with you this beautiful memorial by Sean Corcoran of The Art Hand, who has used my handpan improvisation as the background music for this Campaign to Prevent Suicide. We have had two young men in our family who have committed suicide, so this is a cause very close to our heart. I am posting here a statement from Sean & Mags, to explain the campaign and how you can get involved ...
Statement from Sean Corcoran
I’m so very proud of Mags O’Riordan for her determination to help others despite the tragedies in her life. Her mother Breda and herself showed great courage in facing up to so many mixed emotions while creating this sand art memorial to Donal and Nen. I’m sure that dealing with the consequences of suicide is never easy. Losing a partner, a brother, a son, a friend, leaves a vacuum that must be very difficult to fill with so many unanswered questions tangled into the anguish and grief.
Mags is the founder of the Donal O Connor Memorial Cycle, now in its 7th year. Joe Lonergan and I were approached by Natalie Garland Cooke to come up with a concept for the launch of this years event. All kinds of ideas went through my head including celebrations of hope and unity through a group sand art event. The more I thought about it though I felt it was more appropriate to allow Mags a more intimate opportunity to express her own tribute. Since she has dedicated so much of her life to helping others I felt it was the least she deserved.
I have facilitated many memorials down through the years, from small private gatherings to larger public events and collaborative artworks. The process of sand art is very therapeutic and participants often feel a real inner peace and a connection to the surroundings. The temporary nature of what is made has its own poignancy. Whatever emotions surface during the process can be dealt with in an uncluttered way. There’s the chance to wipe the slate clean as the tide washes it all away in an uplifting way.
I’m so happy that Mags and her mother were able to confront their own feelings on the day but yet they were also able to celebrate Donal and Nen’s lives in a calm and fun way. I’d like to wish Mags and the crew all the best with the cycle on September 9th and congratulate them sincerely for making such a real difference in so many peoples lives. The memorial cycle page is HERE.
Thanks to Darryl and Lauren who helped out on the day. Thanks to Donal O’Flynn for his assistance on the campaign and thanks to Cheryl Beer for the soundtrack on the video.
To follow is a statement released by Mags O'Riordan
Suicide steals peace. It takes your peace of mind leaving you filled with relentless questions and an overwhelming burden of guilt. That's why I was very surprised to feel a real sense of calm and peace today working on my sand art tribute to my boys. Thanks to the generosity of Sean and Joe of the Art Hand I had the privilege of creating a tribute in sand to Donal and Nen to launch the 7th Donal O Connor Memorial Cycle which takes place on Sunday 9th Sept on Waterford Greenway.
My little brother Nen should be 40 today, instead he's forever 32 so it was really special to create this piece with my mam. We spent a relaxing and fun day together in great company remembering the boys and gaining new skills - it was poignant and light hearted in equal measure. The day started with a trudge down a boreen to the beautiful and secluded Bridies Beach which is reached by a small climb down stones and rocks- the laughs started there! Sean and Joe sat us down and explained how the sand art is mapped out- their scale is based on paces and their instruments are sticks and rakes - it's quite incredible to watch them work.
We were joined by Darryl, who founded Waterford Marine Search & Rescue, and his lovely girlfriend Lauren for the raking of the art. The work is more physical than you might expect, I have guns of steel after it, but it's also incredibly peaceful, all you can hear is the sea and the lapping of the waves. I felt like I was in a dream, my mind stopped whirring and I was just watching the words take shape - it was a unique experience. When the work was over I went for a paddle in the sea and let the waves come in over my feet, it felt like a release. Like letting go. Sean encouraged me to write a few words in the sand so I started writing things as they came into my head, before I knew it there were tears coming down my face and I just started writing the things I wanted to lose - pain, worry, guilt - and the things I wanted to keep - friends, family, love - I don't know how much I wrote but the waves just kept coming and washing them all away.
When we finished I went up to the Greenway with mam to watch the tide wash away our creation. It was carthartic. I felt like I had the weight on my shoulders washed away. This process has shown me how the tide will always turn, no matter what's happening no matter how good or bad, it'll change, the tide will turn. There is great power in nature, there's such a sense of peace to be had from taking a walk beside the tide and just writing words and watching them wash away. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Joe and Sean for sharing this gift with me. I would urge everyone to go do the same - it's incredibly uplifting. So why not go to your local beach and say it in sand? You'll be delighted you did.
Wherever you are & however you feel today, know that I am sending you loving light to wrap around your heart. All love, dear ones, Cheryl.