Belfast Telegraph

Brian Kennedy so glad difficult year finally coming to end

By Jill Goligher

Brian Kennedy has told how he will be glad to see the back of 2016, saying events spiralled "out of control" over the last year.

The past 12 months have been difficult for the Belfast-born singer-songwriter.

Having been diagnosed with cancer in September, to then losing his brother 'Bap' to the same disease last month, this year is one he wants to quickly leave behind.

Speaking about the impact the events of the year have had, he said: "I am doing well, but... I will be glad to see the back of this year.

"It started off so wonderfully well and spun out of control.

"Ultimately, I'm optimistic. The treatment for my own cancer has gone well, though I will find out more about what needs to be done next."

Martin 'Bap' Kennedy (54) was diagnosed in May.

In November he passed away with his wife Brenda by his bedside, as she had been throughout his illness.

Shortly before his death Bap had been reunited with Brian for the first time in years.

His brother's death hit him hard. Speaking to the BBC's Talkback show, he added: "Losing my brother was such an unexpected thing. When people talk about losing siblings, nothing prepares you for it. When it happens you think 'that can't be true', and yet it is. The reality changes from day to day. Sometimes it's just a great deal of sadness and then the bittersweet - at least now he doesn't have any awful pain anymore."

To help deal with the events of 2016, Kennedy admitted he sought help. "I started counselling again.

"I found the year, in lots of ways, overwhelming and, having been in psychotherapy in my 20s, 40s and now in my 50s, I'm glad to be able to do that."

Reminiscing about his earlier years, he spoke of his childhood and what it was like to grow up in west Belfast at the height of the Troubles.

"Your childhood really shapes who you are," he said.

"We would be on the Falls Road, it would be on fire as usual. It would be the aftermath of a riot - and these journalists with these accents would arrive and say: 'Hello, do you want to earn 50p?' And we would say 'yeah', because, of course, 50p was a fortune.

"They wanted us to throw stones at cars while they took photographs."

Despite the tough year, Kennedy is hopeful for the future.

"I think I was given a return journey in terms of the cancer, and sadly my brother was only a single ticket," he said.

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