Sunday 18 March 2018

Marie's memoirs tell many poignant tales

Esther Hayden

Tom Curran, the partner of the late Marie Fleming, will appear on The Late Late Show this Friday night with Marie's children Corinna and Simon as Marie's memoirs, 'An Act of Love', hit the book shelves.

The book, which was 15 years in the making, recounts Marie's life and details the struggles she faces as she tried to run a household at the tender age of 14 years after her mother left the family home.

Pregnant at 16 years old, Marie then faced another battle, the battle to keep her first born child, a battle which showed a streak of the courage and dignity she was to become synonymous with during her right to die campaign.

Published by Hachette, 'An Act of Love' will be part of Marie's legacy and fittingly it was placed in the coffin with her by Tom although tragically she never got to see the final product.

'She got to approve the cover,' said Tom, 'and she saw a draft of it.

'Then because they (Hachette) knew she was so ill they tried to get a single copy printed for her and that arrived the day after she died.

'I put it in the coffin with her. It was her book, it was only right she had the first copy.'

The book, which was started by Marie originally as a novel and was then changed to her memoirs, was the work not only of Marie but by Sue Leonard who did most of the editing and also Ann Reed of Arklow and Ann Walshe of Greystones, who read back Marie's words and who also did a lot of the typing.

Tom and Marie moved to Killahurler in Arklow 21 years ago and the couple remained devoted to each other.

Tom said the weeks since her death at the end of December have 'been hell, so lonely. Before, every minute of my time was taken up with Marie, doing something with her or for her and now that's all disappeared.'

He said physically caring for Marie was never a problem but his biggest struggle was seeing the deterioration in her quality of life. 'I felt helpless.

'There was no way I could stop it.'

Tom said Marie's 'strength gives them the impetus to get up and go on'.

Tom said the book doesn't just focus on Marie's bid to decide how she died but also her life before MS.

'There's an awful lot more to Marie than MS'.

Although only on sale since Monday Tom said the reaction to the book has been overwhelmingly positive.

Wicklow People