‘White Feathers’ - for you Mum

Clare Hegarty with her book.

Clare Hegarty with her book.

A Derry woman who suffered chronic depression after the death of her mother last year, has written a book of poetry in her honour.

Clare M. Hegarty said she fell into a deep depression and found it difficult to accept the fact that her mother, Deirdre, was gone.

Clare with her mum Deirdre and sister Fiona.

Clare with her mum Deirdre and sister Fiona.

But when she began to see white feathers on the street, she took it as a sign from her mum to start writing again.

“My mum Deirdre died last summer,” said Clare. “She had symptomless cancer and by the time we found out there was very little we could do. It was very hard to process.”

After her mum’s death Clare moved to Liverpool when she got a job with as a speech and language therapist in nearby Manchester.

“I shut myself away and I was suffering depression,” she admitted. “I was irritable and snappy, I cut people off, I would make plans and cancel them at the last minute. I would just go to my bed.

“I had always been a writer and mum told me to write. She said she would show me a sign.

“After she died I kept seeing white feathers. One night I couldn’t sleep and stayed up writing and writing poems.

“I showed them to a few people who told me they were good.”

The poem ‘White Feathers’ which is also the title of the book, was written and dedicated to mum Deirdre.

“The book is a collection of 20 poems,” said Clare. “And the poem Confidentially Anxious has recently been selected to be published in a mental health magazine.

“The book doesn’t come out until July, but I want to tell everyone about it now because it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. And Tuesday is mammy’s birthday and it just means so much.”

Clare said she now realises that she has battled depression all her life - but has only identified it.

“I hope the book will let people know that they are not alone. I turned my grief and pain into something positive.”

Clare said her mum would be looking down on her filled with pride.

“She’d be saying - look at that eejit of mine.” laughed Clare. “And writing this was like something from a sitcom. I’d be in the dark crying, then the next day it was a like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

“I’d like to thank my brothers and sister who have been supportive to me. And my former teacher at Lumen Christi College, Leona McGlinchey who really inspired me to write. I can’t wait to show her the book.”