I was standing on the beach, breathing my last breath. I was ready to end it all. The years spent wondering why I’m still alive, and what the point of it all was, would finally end here. I never could see the light at the end of the tunnel of my life, so I gave up trying. This was it.

I don’t believe in ghosts. But at that moment, standing on the beach ready to end my life, I felt a hand on my right shoulder. I heard my long-dead granny Sarah speaking to me. She said, “you are going to be all right”. I asked: “granny, is that you? I don’t believe it, prove it!” Then straight away lashing rain poured down on me. 

Again I felt the pressure on my shoulder, and the voice said: “you are going to be all right”. I asked her again to prove it. 

About a mile away across the sea, a small cloud broke up and a ray of sun shone down onto the water. My jaw dropped. I kept thinking “it’s not going to come over to me”. But it did. It stopped above me. For the third time, I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice saying “you are going to be all right” I burst into tears, felt a final touch on my shoulder and the weight I’d been carrying around all my life just lifted off me.

I went home and slept for a full day and night.

“IT ALL GOT TOO MUCH, AND I WAS READY TO END IT ALL. I WENT TO THE BEACH, PREPARED TO BREATHE MY LAST BREATH. I’D COMPLETELY GIVE UP, AND WAS READY FOR THE END OF MY STORY TO COME.”

Me and my Granny

The next morning, the strange, other-worldly feelings had not left me. I felt a strange pull to go into Dublin City. It had been an odd couple of days, so I followed my gut as I had the previous day at the beach. When I arrived, the same feeling made me walk up to an ATM and withdraw all my money. I went straight to a camera shop (I didn’t have a clue about cameras, but the “feeling” had steered me well so far) and bought a camera, lens and flash. Following my gut further, I felt a strong desire to look behind me. It was the Job Centre. Not very interesting on its own, but in the window display, it said: “photography course at Roslyn Park College” (the same college I went for my graphic design course). They had just one place left. I went in, got an interview, and got accepted. It all felt like it was meant to be. Just a few weeks later, a family friend asked me to shoot her wedding. I thought: “Is this the light at the end of the tunnel that I’ve never been able to see? I think it might be!”

My Granny’s name is hiding on my logo.

I haven’t felt the presence of my granny since that fateful day at the beach. But I no longer feel the weight that was bringing me down, either. That day changed my life, and I’ll never forget how it got me to where I am now. To keep humble and remember how I got here, my granny’s name is hiding on my logo.

Sometimes I think back to that day at the beach, and I feel so lucky to be alive because I have my wonderful family now: my wife Claire and my son Aaron, who I love so much. I know that “I will be all right”.

This is me

My lovely family, Claire and Aaron

photo by Elisha Clarke Photography