Thursday 30 October 2014

Widow of Jim Stynes tells of family's struggle to cope with his loss

Published 27/02/2014 | 15:12

Jim Stynes with his wife Sam and children Matisse and Tiernan

DUBLIN GAA and Aussie rules star Jim Stynes' widow said that she and her family have finally found peace after his passing.

Sam Stynes (42) said that she and the couple's two children now have "space to strive, to live life", almost two years after his death.

The couple's children, Matisse and Tiernan, had a lot to cope with after their father's death, aged just 45, Sam said.

"The first year after his death was so (difficult)," she said. "There was so much going on in our lives, dealing with Jim's death.

"Now there's some peace, time, space to strive to live life."

"We're really good," she added.

The family - including Stynes' two children - will take part in Melbourne's March Against Melanoma.

Sam said that the four kilometre event on Sunday through St Kilda's Catani Gardens was a nice way to honour her late husband who lost his fight to cancer in March 2012.

"It is nice, in terms of a legacy," she said of the event.

"Raising awareness is really important, but (the march) also brings together people who have had a similar challenge.

"It's emotional, it's raw, it's real. So many people seem to be dealing with losing a loved one."

The march to raise awareness comes after news that the Rathfarnham native is to be commemorated with a bronze statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCC).

FITTING

"It is fitting that 30 years after the Gaelic footballer was recruited from Dublin, we announce Jim Stynes' induction into the Australia Post Avenue of Legends series," MCC president Paul Sheahan said.

"A true gentleman of the game, Stynes is an exceptional individual whose achievements as a non-Australian born player remain unmatched.

"There is no doubt that he is one of the most extraordinary and inspiring figures in the history of Australian sport," added Mr Sheahan.

Stynes was honoured with a state funeral in Victoria, where he spent his life after leaving Ireland aged 18 in 1984.

He holds the AFL record for the greatest number of consecutive games at 244 over 11 years. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2007 and was Victorian of the Year in 2003.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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