'We should have been getting the vaccine together'

The grief stricken husband of a Navan woman who lost her battle with cancer in 2019 says receiving the vaccine was a bitter sweet experience as he reflected on the loss of beloved wife who should have been by his side on this poignant day.

John Fitzpatrick’s wife Rosemary (81) tragically passed away from liver cancer in August 2019 having beaten breast cancer twice previously.

Shortly after Rosemary’s death, John (86) was diagnosed with prostate cancer and spent four weeks receiving radiotherapy treatment in the Beacon Hospital eventually receiving the all clear.

Speaking on the challenging couple of years John said:

“It is not easy but one way or another I seem to be surviving.”

John who was born in Blackheath later moving to Seldon in Surrey, England, to Irish parents admits feeling emotional attending the Bedford Medical Centre to get the jab last Friday: He added:

“I was emotional because I was thinking on the day that perhaps the two of us would have been going in to get the vaccine together if she was still here.

“Especially when you are around medics and the fact that she spent seven weeks in hospital I think it brought me back to that time.

“I can’t get used to life without her, she was my best friend.

“I really don’t think I’ll ever get over it.”

The couple who were married for 62 years settled in Navan after arriving from England with their three children, Kathryn, Michael and Shelagh.

John and his wife Rosemary

John worked for a company selling printing machines while Rosemary spent twenty years in an admin role in Dalgan Park, the home of the Missionary Society of St Columban in Ireland.

“We came over in 1972 with our children, she was from Shirley and I was living in a place called Seldon.

“The manager of where I used to work suggested we come to Meath, I was to be travelling around the country so Meath wasn’t a bad spot to kick off from.”

Brave Rosemary, a devoted mother, wife and grandmother was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, she received the all clear but the cancer reoccurred some years later and she underwent a double mastectomy.

Sadly, she was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2019 but Rosemary a formidable woman was prepared to battle once more to get back to health as her heartbroken husband explains:

“Because she survived cancer and two mastectomy operations before and became quite well afterwards she didn’t want to hear anything negative.

“She wouldn’t accept that they couldn’t do anything else for her.

“When I went to see her in the intense unit in the Mater I was in bits, I started blubbering and she said John you can bugger off out of the room if you are going to start that, go for a walk around the hospital.”

Rosemary, a keen traveller, rugby fan and dance enthusiast lived her life to the fullest according to John.

“I miss everything about her, she was my right hand, she was by my side every day, she looked after me.”

“She loved to travel, herself and my daughter went to Jordan, Egypt, Spain and Italy on trips.

“She loved dancing but she married someone who has two left feet, I even went to classes to try and learn but it didn’t work.

“We went to an Irish club in England and they played Amhrán na bhFiann we thought it was a quick step so we were trotting around the floor while everyone else was standing to attention, we didn’t go back again!”

After she passed away the devoted wife, mother and grandmother donated her body to medical science in Trinity College, Dublin for research.

“It meant a lot to her to do this.

“I stay in touch with Trinity College and they say the students involved are very caring.

“Next year she will be cremated at Glasnevin Cemetery.

“I miss everything about her, she was my right hand, she was by my side every day, she looked after me.”

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