Salthill native Shares Emotional Tribute:
Galway comedian, Seán Begley, writes an emotional tribute to honour his childhood friend, Brendan Mannion. Inspired to honour his legacy on the eighth anniversary of his death by suicide, his words are a touching acknowledgement of his childhood friend. Having grown up together in Salthill, Seán and Patrick went to Scoil Fhursa, Scoil Iognaid and St Enda’s Secondary School in the city. Afterwards, the duo ventured off to Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.
“I share these words and I perform my comedy show to keep the memories alive,” Seán says.
“It’s all I have. If I stop talking about him, he is truly gone. After eight years, many would say it might be time to let go. But there is no time limit on grief.
“In the wake of his death, it’s always there in the background. Here it waits to resurface. In essence, the trigger could be an old song played on the radio. Or when I drive past one of our old hangouts.
“It could be the aroma of a familiar meal we would often share together or an oft told joke that he loved.”
A Lifelong Bond:
Clearly, the bond they shared is palpable. Consequently, Seán grapples with the complex emotions left behind. Understandably, he ponders the unanswered questions. In light of this, he deals with the constant bargaining that takes place when we lose someone we love. As a result, his internal monologue is laid bare. Consequently, he questions his own actions. And whether there was anything he could have done to prevent the tragic loss of his close friend.
A Tragic Phonecall:
“On this very day eight years ago,” says the Galway comedian, “I received a phone call from Trevor, telling me that our close friend Brendan had taken his own life. I’ve often pondered on how things might have been different. If only I had given more empathetic and had insightful words of guidance. Or been more available, more open, more helpful.
“More something. More anything. I imagined being there at the beginnings of all his problems, armed with the knowledge and insight I now have given my own struggles with mental health over the past several years. As well as this, I imagined being able to pass on my experiences and ultimately help him through the dark time.”
Life with Loss:
Seán openly talks about the future conversations that would never take place. In light of this, he delves into new experiences that could never transpire. And he reminisces about the day-to-day life stories no longer shared.
To Turn Back Time:
Fundamentally, his longing to turn back time to that fateful day, to reach in and change the course of events, make the sense of loss more tangible.
“I naively imagined the miraculous development of time travelling technology at some point in my lifetime,” he says. “That I could gain access to that technology to go back and save him at that crucial moment on the morning of April 15th, 2014.
“Likewise, I imagined still meeting up every holiday, still having those phone calls, making movie and music recommendations, passing on teaching tips and expressing the frustrations and the joys of the job. In a similar way, I imagined sharing life experiences and strategies for dealing with the challenges of everyday life.”
Expression of Sadness:
It is through his beautiful words and his comedy show, Tragic, that Seán keeps Brendan close. In the wake of this loss, there is a blurring of the lines between reality and the spiritual world. As a result, the Galway comedian continues to bring Brendan with him on this journey through life.
The Value of Childhood Friendship:
From this, It is clear the bonds formed during their childhood can’t be replaced. Moreover, childhood friendship that continues into adulthood brings with it a unique relationship. Ultimately, there is a level of understanding unlike any other. “I imagined us in retirement . In the same way, I imagined our respective families all grown; being free to meet up whenever we wanted, nostalgically reminiscing about our formative years in Galway and beyond. Equally, I imagined a life and a world which was a little better and more bearable for having him in it. Presently, I imagine the man I might have been if this had never happened. And the man he would be right now if he were still with us.
He wasn’t perfect, who among us is? But he was a good man, a great friend and dearly missed still by so very many of us.”
Brendan Mannion 1977 – 2014