Belfast Telegraph

PR chief Kelly showed tremendous bravery to reveal story of how his mother abandoned his family when he was a child

Editor's Viewpoint

Today political commentator and public relations expert Tom Kelly uses his skills to tell our readers a very personal story of how his mother walked out of the family home when he was young, never to return. He reveals his attempts at reconciliation with her much later in life and to find personal peace of mind.

As many people will be reading his story - Tom, his family and siblings and their families will be in church attempting to draw a final veil over the story of their now deceased parent.

It is often said that no one really knows what goes on in anyone else's home. They only see the outward manifestation of the relationship. Tom has a nice sideways swipe at the gossips who used to talk about the children his mother had abandoned, but that was not the full story.

What he eloquently and courageously relates is the fortitude of a family from which one of the lynchpins was suddenly removed. After his mother's disappearance his father and his aunt, aided by other relatives, took over the rearing of the family and Tom is keen to emphasise that they made a great job of it.

Tom, in fact, became the first in the family to go to university and later occupy senior posts in public relations.

To many the idea of a mother abandoning her husband and family - later using the children as bargaining chips to gain a divorce - seems a terrible dereliction of duty and betrayal. Yet Tom and his siblings later tried to be reconciled with her, albeit unsuccessfully.

And she never revealed to them why she left to go to England and later remarry. That obviously is something which gnawed at Tom for years as it would any child who would wonder if any of it was their fault.

There are many other families who will have their own version of this story and perhaps Tom's courage and candour will enable them to share their feelings with others and attempt to find closure as he has, even if he never got all the answers he wanted. But he was grateful for what he had left - a loving family.

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