son for the first time.
‘Are you OK?’ I’d ask, but he’d storm off. ‘I’m grand,’ he’d lie. Acting out, once he pushed me against a wall. He thought I was withholding information from him, but I wasn’t.
In summer 2013, the doctor gave him antidepressants and he started counselling.
But on 4 September 2014, he snapped.
Paddy and Tom Tom got ready for school and I kissed them goodbye, as usual.
‘Be good boys,’ I said, before Thomas and I drove to Waterford, 84 miles away.
We were buying them a miniature barrel top gypsy travelling wagon. They’d always wanted one!
Later on, we were seven miles from home when Jonathan called.
‘I’ve just got the boys from school, so take your time,’ he said. Then Paddy came on.
‘We bought you and Tom Tom a wagon to play with,’ I said.
‘Be a good boy now for your brother.’
‘I will, Mummy,’ he chirped. ‘Love you.’
‘I love you too,’ I told him.
But half an hour later, when we arrived home, our lives changed forever.
Stopped from entering the house, a neighbour said they’d called the police.
Paddy and Tom Tom had been killed. What?! Jonathan had stabbed them. A while later officers found Jonathan’s body, around 10 miles away.
He’d hanged himself beside the Awbeg River in nearby Buttevant.
The two knives used to kill the twins were found in the centre of the river.
My three boys, all gone. How does a mother ever get over that?
Wailing like a banshee, three days passed in a fog of grief for Thomas and I.
An eerie silence replaced the boys’ laughter.
On 7 September, Thomas and I walked in front of our boys’ coffins to Holy Cross Church, in Charleville.
Thousands came to pay their respects – family members, friends, even strangers.
Precious Paddy and Tom Tom were buried side by side in Charleville cemetery.
Jonathan was laid to rest in Kilmallock, County Limerick.
There was no room to bury them together, as I’d wanted.
Two months later, Thomas and I marked Paddy and Tom Tom’s 10th birthday with family at their graveside.
And in May 2015 we placed a plaque on a tree to mark the spot where Jonathan died.
It said, ‘In loving memory of Jonathan Kevin O’driscoll, passed away 4 September 2014, gone but never forgotten.’
In August 2015, an inquest at Cork Coroner’s Court found that Patrick and Thomas had been stabbed to death by their adopted brother, Jonathan, who then took his own life. My poor, troubled boy. I don’t blame Jonathan. His depression had spiralled out of control. I had to forgive him. He was my boy after all. Now I hope that sharing our story will help others, like Jonathan, who’re struggling with their mental health.
Men, especially, find discussing their feelings hard.
They must see a doctor, if they’re depressed and avoid another tragedy.
My three boys, all gone. How does a mother get over that?
DEPRESSION GOT HOLD OF JONATHAN
Thousands came to their funeral