In August of 2013, June Curtin lost her husband John to suicide. He was three months away from his 40th birthday. This tragic and devastating event irrevocably changed the lives of June and her two children, then aged just 5 and 9 years of age. The years that followed were incredibly difficult with an array of unanswered questions amidst unbearable grief.
“You find a way of living with it, I don’t know if you ever quite get over it but you find a way of moving forward. I had to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other and just keep going”. Keeping going and staying busy taking care of her children was a priority for June through this period but she also admits it was an intense period of self-neglect. “I had to be there for my children but I also knew that if I wasn’t well enough myself I couldn’t care for my children. My sister in law Aoibhín also gently told me “You can’t serve from an empty vessel”. And so, it was time to “sink or swim”.
Having tried a variety of things from yoga and everything in between with nothing having impact or effect, June decided to try sea swimming, (despite not knowing how to swim…). “I went down to the beach one morning at 9 o’clock. It’s almost like the minute you get into the water, you leave your troubles on the shoreline.
June’s Instagram account @snamhaisasta has emerged as a wonderfully positive and inclusive community for many. “The most important thing for me was that I was very open and honest in sharing my story. If I help just one person, I feel that my job is done. Nobody has the perfect life, despite what you might see online. Nobody escapes this life without walking a step in pain but it’s all about how you deal with things when you fall on hard times.
You can read the full interview from June in conversation with Donna Reidy Maguire in our Spring Issue, it is a heartfelt read about love, community and perseverance.
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