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STILL MISSING CHRISTY




STILL MISSING CHRISTY

Christy Brown's sudden and tragic death in October, 1981 left his wife Mary (an agency nurse) devastated. The film of his autobiography is nominated for five Oscars. Her sense of pride is mixed with a sadness. The film only touches on their relationship, but it does capture their instant mutual attraction. Christy had been invited to appear on the David Frost show, and his brother had thrown a party to celebrate his visit. Christy was sitting alone and bored in a corner, a bottle of Bacardi by his side. When they met in 1969 in London she was 23 and he was 13 years older. She admired his painting but knew little of his writing. As they talked they realised how much they had in common, not least a love for Dickens. She never had any difficulty understanding what he was saying, she was actually tuned in to his speech. (overdone C's speech difficulty - understood so well) Every time she sees the film she sees something new in it, something she had missed before. At the premiere in Dublin it was completely overwhelming. She didn't really take it all in. In the opening sequence it is as if Christy himself is there. It was his honesty, his gentleness which drew her to him. He was a very vivacious person, very amusing and he had a great sense of humour. They had known each other for two years when he asked her to marry him. There were objections to the marriage because Mary was a divorcee and the couple received a stream of anonymous letters and phone calls. C's mother would be turning in her grave, they were told. They found it too suburban in Dublin, because there were just women and prams. You couldn't bring C for a nice walk anywhere without bumping into a pram. A constant flood of visitors also made it difficult for Christy to work. People thought it was open-house all the time. They thought C was on a permanent holiday. Mary has seen greater prejudice against disability in Ireland than in England. They can't cope with the fact that there is something out of ordinary. C brought out an instinct in men and women to love and nurture him, not because he was handicapped, but because he was so gentle. Life with C meant handling his bursts of frustration and anger. He used to get terribly bored. If he did so he would go on the sauce or get frustrated and write something stupid, for the crack. he would get frustrated with other people and angry at himself. He was always angry about his disability. C's drinking was legendary. He got very depressed towards the last 6 months of his life. It was a terrible effort for him to write because his heart wasn't really in it. Towards the end the novels were so tiring. He couldn't write short sentences. The adjectives just flew out of him. He wasn't proud of his book ("A promising career") What he was looking forward to was his collected poetry coming out. After his death Mary was on tranquillisers and sleeping pills, more or less walking around like a zombie. They had been watching a video when some food became lodged in is throat. To see someone die in front of you, it's terrible. The full realisation of his loss hit her later. She bursts out crying in the middle of the street, suddenly thinking of him. There is just nothing that can fill the void. They never had children, but that wasn't on the cards really. They were too caught up in each other to have anybody else around. It's unlikely that she will ever remarry. The self-contained, private woman prefers to be alone with her thoughts of Christy and would rather be at home with her pets. If C were still alive they would gave travelled to India, because C was always looking at different religions and got quite interested in Zen Buddhism.



CREATIVE BEING

C was a high-profile figure. "My left foot" had been published and had attracted enormous media attention.  Not just because it was a book which a hopelessly crippled person had written, but because it was a book of unusual literary merit. Connoisseurs looking at the painting at his exhibition (ooh-ing and aaah-ing) used the term "primitive talent" to describe Christy. C loved the lionisation because, after all, he was totally human. But he hated the patronising, pretentions comments on his work. His intellectual integrity told him that he was not a painter. So he forsook painting and concentrated on writing. He was a compulsive communicator, there were hidden volcanoes that erupted within his wasted body. He was a happy person, but he also had his fits of despair. He learned to cope with the fact that he was a cripple. He was all-giving when being interviewed. He desperately wanted to communicate to tell the world that he was not just an impossibly crippled person but a living, thinking, creative human being. He had a desperate urge to communicate. Most creative people have that urge, but the physical thing has made him more determined. C hated malicious people, pomposity and hypocrisy. He hated being regarded as a cripple rather than a writer. What he wanted was to be regarded as a creative being, not a freak.













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