Imagine waking up Sunday morning to a knock on your door. Your Saturday night quickly forgotten as you open the door and are greeted by the Police, in this instance it was the Irish Garda (An Garda Síochána)
They ask you if you know the whereabouts of your son, furthermore, they tell you that he was involved in an incident where someone was killed.
What would your reaction be?
As your Sunday unfolds you are once again contacted by the law enforcement of your particular country. "Your son," they tell you, "has been found." They continue, "I'm sorry to inform you that your son is dead."
Just comprehend the above scenario. I've tried but plummeting myself into such a scenario really means nothing. Rik Mayall is on my TV, I don't need to put myself in anyone's shoes to feel their pain. I have potatoes on the hob boiling - why would I want to paint a picture of someone else's problem?
Leonie Fennell is a friend, more importantly, she is a mother. It was she that endured the above scenario, along with her husband, Tony.
I've heard them both relive that day and felt sickened. It would be a lie to say I felt their grief, how could I, how could anyone? Yes, of course, as a human I felt their pain, at least a very small amount of it. It's a pain that both Tony and Leonie carry around with them every day.
As the years have rolled on their nightmare has been rehashed in various newspapers and documentaries. Their dead son, Shane, has been labelled and mocked even though an inquest on his death returned an open verdict. This, after it was learned, that Shane stabbed himself in the chest 19 times after fatally wounding a young Irishman.
Psychiatrists, who, in the main, make their name through column inches in the press, have offered their opinion. Shane had a mental illness, he was driven to a mad rage of jealousy, etc, etc, etc.
These same interfering white-coated buffoons ignore the suicide/homicide link related to the drug Shane was taking at the time, Cipramil (citalopram) - marketed in the US as Celexa.
Anyway, I don't want to dwell on the past. Shane's story (the honest truth) can be read on Leonie's blog (link at the end of this article)
So, to the title of this post, "She Feckin Did It!"
Well, I can imagine Leonie now, speed reading through this piece of mine, uttering under her breath words such as 'fecker'. She'd be embarrassed by it all.
You see, despite suffering the heartache of losing her son, despite having fingers pointed at her and her other children, despite the chin-wagging of those that never really knew her son, Leonie has battled on. A popular blog, threatening letters from lawyers representing an Irish psychiatrist and even a trip across to Denmark to visit Lundbeck, the manufacturers of the drug that killed her son, a meeting that was covertly recorded too - much to my delight :-)
So, what do you do when something as hellish as losing a son in such a bizarre manner?
Leonie did what she was driven to do and now she has graduated with a LLB (Legum Baccalaureus or Honours Bachelor of Laws) from ITCarlow.
Leonie set out five long years ago on a journey, she writes...
Five years ago I ventured out of my comfort zone as a scared, scarred and grieving ‘40 something’ – as a third level rookie. I had decided on a ‘Foundation in Law’ course in Dublin’s Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, more by accident than any foregone design. Having attended an information evening (and handing over my Visa card), before I could utter “erm, not quite sure…”, I was duly plonked on a chair and photographed. Soon afterwards I found myself standing on the steps of DIT with a student card in hand, complete with obligitory dodgy student photo. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, but when I adjusted to the shock – it turned out to be one of my better decisions (the course, not the photo).
The whole story, ITCarlow – My Alma Mater, can be read here.
It's quite an achievement to pass any sort of course, particularly in that of law, which frankly is a mindfield of mind-boggling rules and regulations that we must all, apparently abide by.
I like Leonie's style, not her fashion sense, last I heard she was still wearing flared trousers and tartan scarves around her wrists. I just like her approach to blogging, her approach in offering support to those who need it, her approach to life in general.
Leonie is a funny woman, full of that stereotypical Irish wit. It's a pleasure to know both herself and Tony and their beautiful children. It's also my pleasure to publicly say, Leonie, you feckin did it!
Eiridh tonn air uisge balbh.