Sunday 26 October 2014

Norah Casey: 'My late husband wanted me to find love again and not spend rest of my life on my own'

Published 24/06/2014 | 11:14

THE late husband of broadcaster Norah Casey urged her to find new love after his death.

Broadcaster Norah, the former star of RTE series ‘Dragons’ Den’, said her late husband, businessman Richard Hannaford, told her on numerous occasions he did not want her to spend the rest of her life on her own.

“I promised myself that after the second anniversary that I would start to think about finding someone for companionship. That's the best way I can put it.

“As I said, Richard wouldn't have wanted me to be on my own all my life after he died. He said that to me many times before he passed away. He said it would be better for both of us,” the mum-of-one said.

The businesswoman and publisher is now in a relationship with Dublin fire fighter Peter whom she met two years after Richard passed away.

However, her late husband is never far from her mind and that of their 15-year-old son Darragh.

Last weekend, Norah gave a very moving interview to the Sunday Independent about her husband’s death.

He died from cancer at 1.20am on the 12th of October, 2011,  in Our Lady’s Hospice in Blackrock.

“We were trying to find a way to live a life that wasn’t about the fact that he was dying; we would consciously not talk about the future or about the summer,” Norah said.

Norah - who is presenting a documentary on the subject of death  called 'Way To Go: Death And The Irish' which airs on RTÉ One on Tuesday 1 July at 9.35pm – said it was only recently that she “gave herself permission to live again. “

“I definitely felt that there was something different about me. I had this capacity for happiness again. Mainly because I found myself speaking to people a lot about death and about grief and bereavement,” she says meaning the RTE documentary.

“For all those Richards out there who died too young and don’t have a chance to fulfill their life to the full…for all the people who sit in hospices and won’t get a chance to fulfill their potential…for all the mothers in the world who worry about clean water for their children….there is a moral obligation to get out there and get life and just live it.

“You can’t just sit passively by and crawl under a bed and hope it is all going to happen,” Norah continues.

“I have been given good health. I can stand on my own two feet. I should be living life to the full.”

Richard would rest at home in between gruelling chemotherapy sessions – but a small glass of Prosecco would give him some joy.

“Richard had terrible problems with taste. A lot of people with chemo have that problem, where they can’t taste things.

“When we got married he had that one joy – he loved Prosecco. It was a little story in our life. We went to the place where was made. When we were courting and when we got married we brought in Prosecco from that vineyard. 

“So when we came in from James’ hospital I used to have a glass in the freezer , so he could have a glass of Prosecco chilled. He would only manage a few sips. He would be sitting here in the garden and the sun is shining.

“So Richard will be three years dead in October,” she adds.

“I maybe think that maybe with the second anniversary, I was looking at that as being a bit of a milestone in my life.  ‘If I could just get to the second year. ‘ But it just doesn’t really happen like that, like in books. There are weeks when you feel lethargic.”

“Even now, I will be quite happy going through the day and some piece of music will come on and you start to fill up,” she says meaning that the music will remind her of Richard.

“I know that in my own mind, the acceptance is enormous. I accept the fact that Richard is dead. When I see here – my kitchen,” she says pointing through the floor-to-ceiling clear-glass, “Richard’s portrait used to be right opposite where the kettle was."

"So every morning I used to have a cup of tea. And naturally, if you spend most of your life having a cup of tea with someone, it was kind of comforting to look at his picture on the wall and have the cup of tea. So after a while I thought this crazy stuff. I can’t be sitting having a cup of tea with Richard on the wall. So his portrait is now in the hallway.”

“And when I feel I want to look at it, I go and look at it. So it is an entirely kind of a mindset.”

Irish Independent

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