Heartbroken Wexford musician releases late wife's last song
A HEARTBROKEN County Wexford musician has released the last song that he recorded with his wife before her death from cancer as a tribute to her and to raise funds for ovarian cancer research.
Bernard Traynor, from Ferns, whom his late wife Denise had twice nursed him through cancer, said that while at times he had found the project to release the song 'Flowers from Heaven' difficult, it was the right thing to do.
Former music teacher and classical vocalist Denise, who had an aggressive form of ovarian cancer, died on March 31 last year.
'We had started the song in 2013 and Denise had been planning to perform it with a group of ladies and bring it out in 2014,' Bernard told this newspaper.
He said, however, her health deteriorated dramatically in November, 2013, when Denise had a course of radiotherapy after it was found the cancer had spread to her spine and brain. Following the treatment, Bernard said he noticed Denise was 'not picking up' and in March 20 she went into Our Ladies Hospice.
'She was very upset about this and I can still hear her saying "I'll never go home again".'
Bernard said the song 'is the perfect way for me to pay tribute to my dear wife.. who I miss so much'.
'Finishing the song and getting it to a stage where we were able to release it has kept me going these past 12 months which have been so incredibly hard.
'After Denise had died my friend in church Phillip Galligan said we should try and carry on Denise's memory and mission in some small way and Declan Quinn from LCM promotions made this possible,' said Bernard, who is a classical guitarist.
'Not only was Denise a fabulous singer, but she was also a fighter and she fought ovarian cancer to the very end.
'She would be really proud of this song and my hope is that people enjoy it as much as Denise and I did.'
Bernard said Denise, who always put others first, twice nursed him through cancer.
'In 1993 I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Being diagnosed with cancer was a huge shock for me, but luckily with Denise on my side I got through it.
'In 2007, my brother died suddenly, which was a huge shock for me. The grief was hard to cope with.
'He had had a heart attack and his death really had an impact on me. Just one month later in July, I was re-diagnosed with cancer.'
Again Denise was at his side as Bernard went through a bone marrow transplant.
In 2010, Denise herself began feeling unwell, with symptoms at first thought to be Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a Urinary Tract Infection, which were subsequently diagnosed as ovarian cancer following a scan.
Bernard said his fundraising campaign was aimed at trying to push for better screening in Ireland for this aggressive cancer.
'We need to speed up the diagnosis so we can save lives in Ireland as about 350 Irish women die from ovarian cancer each year,' he said.
Speaking of the release of 'Flowers from Heaven', Bernard said: 'It feels strange that we got here.. I never thought that I would have finished it and at times I wondered whether I would because I was getting myself down.
'But it's just one of those things. I found it very difficult, but things aren't going to change no matter how I feel,' he said.
Proceeds of the track, which features Denise's vocals and Bernard on guitar, will go towards ovarian cancer research at St James's Hospital via the St James's Hospital Foundation.
'St James's Hospital is where both Denise and I were treated for cancer and it is therefore very fitting that the proceeds generated by the song will go towards research being carried out by St James's Hospital and Trinity College.'
Fiachra O'Riordan, CEO of St James's Hospital Foundation said, 'we feel honoured and privileged here at St James`s Hospital that Bernard has chosen our hospital to launch his song in memory of his dear wife and also to donate all monies raised to ovarian cancer research here at the hospital.'
Last Friday's release of 'Flowers from Heaven' coincided with World Ovarian Cancer Day.
The song is available to download on iTunes and those looking to donate to Bernard's cause can visit www.stjames.ie.
You can also text "James" to 50300 to donate €4 to the cause.