When I think of my father, I can see that throughout my life, he was always trying to give me wings so that I could go anywhere I wanted.
I was born and raised in Derry City at the height of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. My dad wanted me to get away, and he said over and over that my education would be my passport out. He encouraged me to work hard in school so I could go to college. My mother had died when I was only ten and my father had to step into being a single dad. We were very close. He was always supportive and encouraging of my artistic desires as well. He wanted me to live my best life.
As I was preparing to leave Ireland for college in England, I began to feel anxious about leaving him. This was before the internet and cell phones, and to be so far away from my father with no way of immediately reaching him made me nervous.
One night, just a few days before I was scheduled to leave, he took me outside