My dad’s favourite saying was ‘feck the begrudgers’. He said there were far too many people in this world willing to point a finger and laugh and put others down. Dad wasn’t one of those people. If my brother Fergus and I said we wanted to build a ship and fly to the moon, Dad would have been out the back garden welding on the rockets. He’d have opened his encyclopaedia of a brain and come up with the formula for rocket fuel. He’d have gone on to Google and looked up the route.
Fergus and I spent our whole lives clutching our heads and whining ‘Daad, shut uup‘. Because Dad was so proud of us, and he was determined that every one would know just how proud. But we weren’t the only ones. In the four days since Dad’s death, the phone and the internet have been abuzz with kids of all ages getting in touch to let us know how much he meant to them. Some of them hadn’t seen or talked to Dad since they were in school, but they’d never forgotten him or how he had influenced the way they felt about themselves. It turned out he had, in so many words, told them all to ‘feck the begrudgers.’
Dad’s four grandchildren, Emmet, Grace, Luke and Carl, called him and Mam ‘the hedgehogs’. They also called their grandad ‘epic’. I’m glad they know how lucky they were to have had someone like Eoghan Cahill on their side.
Dad, you were always small – even more so as the cancer you fought for two decades wore you down – but anyone who knew you will attest that you cast a giant shadow. You were a tiny, hedgehog-shaped little man, but you have left an huge legacy of positivity behind you. We love you Dad. We’ll miss you. You made the world a better place.
Twenty years ago, appalled by the lack of support for men with cancer, Dad changed the lives of fellow suffers by setting up the support group Men Against Cancer. If you would like to support MAC and other amazing organisations like it, please please please donate to the Irish Cancer Society. Thank you.