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Cultural Roots and Pain

Mary Byrne Eigel

March is here. Nature is greening and Spring is in the air. Being of Irish descent, I love that this month is also filled with St. Pat celebrations and parades. Above is a digital print I made by compositing  personal photos from the Claddagh area of  Galway, Ireland.

Reflecting on pain and our own personal concepts of pain, I realize that much of how I feel is related to the values of my family of origin, Byrne. Reading books by Morgan Llweelyn like Lion of Ireland or The Last Prince of Ireland, she portrays the unbelievable strength of the Irish people to struggle against the odds and personal pain. My father endured much physical pain but you would never catch him acknowledging it. He just persevered. I  know that I have fought hard not to let pain rob me of my dreams. I am not sure this was always the most sensible response, but it was definitely a learned response. I am thankful that I have discovered more educated ways to deal with pain and  see that in Ireland today there are Pain Management clinics and organizations like Chronic Pain Ireland that respect the fact that we need to use wisdom and resources and not just sheer determination in regards to pain.

About Mary Byrne Eigel

Before writing children’s books, Mary spent many years teaching in classrooms and creating art in her studio. She was born with bi-lateral hip dysplasia, a painful condition that causes normal activities, like walking, to be challenging. As a child, when Mary had to trek long distances, she often wished she had a wheelchair. For her, a wheelchair offered pain-free opportunities, not limitations. Mary grew up in Chicago, which is the lakefront inspiration for the town of Sail. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two dogs, Beaux and Trey.

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