John Quinn met his wife Olive in Blanchardstown sanatorium. The shy, young teacher and the confident beauty fell in love – letters flew between them and diary entries recorded heady times. In June 2001, they went for a trip to Rosslare to celebrate Olive’s recovery from a recent illness. Olive went for a swim in the sea as John watched fondly from the shore – it was the last time he would see her alive.
Since her death, John has tried to make sense of his devastating loss by weaving together a selection of letters, some written during their courtship, some written by John after Olive’s death, diary entries, anecdotes and poems to illuminate his account of their life together.
This book includes John’s first book about Olive, Sea of Love, Sea of Loss, and John’s recollections about and letters to Olive in the ten years since her death.
||John Quinn is a former RTÉ radio broadcaster. Previous publications by Veritas include Goodnight Ballivor, I’ll Sleep in Trim, also the subject of a TG4 documentary,Letters to Olive: Sea of Love, Sea of Loss, Seed of Love, Seed of Life and Credo: Personal Testimonies of Faith.
Shakespeare wrote that ‘grief casts a thousand shadows’ and in Letters to Olive Sea of Love, Sea of Loss, Seed of Love, Seed of Life, John Quinn now reissues the original 2003 publication of his personal letters which followed the death of his wife Olive, recording the thousand and one ways in which he grieved his loss. The present volume however includes a new part written ten years later charting the years of painful change and adaption that followed but which have also brought seeds of hope and renewal for him.
It requires a particular kind of courage to disclose some of the deeply personal material to be found in those early letters. Even the renowned C.S.Lewis, who published a similar ground breaking work which became a standard in the field of bereavement, A Grief Observed, did so anonymously in order to protect himself from the inevitable questions that would follow.
John Quinn has chosen to reveal himself in order both to reflect on his own particular loss and as a means of helping others to comprehend theirs. In her preface Marie Murray describes the letters as a tribute to married love in all of its realities and the response of early readers to the first publication echoes the honesty they too found in his description of married life.
This latest publication with its poems, reflections and intimate thoughts framed within the context of love, faith and eternity provides both a testament to one man’s bereavement and also a source of hope and renewal for those similarly affected who take the time to read it.
- Fr Paul Clayton-LeaClogherhead, Co Louth