Mom’s Birthday


Today you would have been 87.    

Today I think of you, as I do most days.

Ann Dolores [Murtagh] Maxwell of Shercock, Co. Cavan; Deansgrange, Co. Dublin; and Rosslare Harbour, Wexford.

Today the horror never lessens. And some days all I can hear is the crunch of bone, the splat of skin, snot and blood, and the pleas you made from your hospital bed “I tried to curb him.”  “I worry about the Wee Fella.” “I worry about him.”

Today I remember……..

The light in your eyes, the joy in your face realizing as a widow you could now do what you wanted, call your own shots, without permission.

You were at last your own woman.

Today I remember your only brother and sibling recalling the dire problems with your youngest, my chat with the doctor who recalled being asked to help in a volatile abusive situation.

You pleading for your medications, your coat, you standing in a December night chill at 80 years old, you being bundled into your youngest’s car. Not once but twice in my presence, his body bulk threatening you, threatening me, his lying, bullying, spitting tirades, that Gardai refused to hear.

The incessant mobile pings of your phone and texts while you tried to spend time alone with your other children. The telephone cut off switch in your hall foyer when we gained entrance to the crime scene, your home. The burnt and torn bank statements; the thousands taken out of your accounts while you lay unrowsable in hospital. The thousands before. The thousands after.

The last Christmas in 2009 when he kidnapped you, and HSE Elder Abuse stepped back, dropping its so-called investigation, cowed by your youngest.

Today I remember your broken shoulder, the one the HSE Elder Abuse missed while monitoring your case. The same one he shook – back and forth into the hospital bed pillow while you lay unrowsable. And all the while he tapping audibly upon your grazed forehead. No one questioning your falls in his sole care. No one questioning were your children really all living out of the country.

Today I remember the two hospitalisations, one on the very day HSE Elder Abuse assured me, assured another of your sons, you ‘were well taken care of” that you were being ‘monitored.’

Today I remember your neighbour describing to me how she rescued you after her own struggle to free you from some complex tied flex, and how she and you went down the stairs, bums on the step, one at a time, because you were so very shaken. How even the cup of tea you both shared took time to soothe and salve you.

Today I remember that same neighbour tell me how her daughter, having a late night cigarette around midnight, observed your youngest on a mobile phone, agitated, pacing in your bedroom, and the windows all open, including the skylight, and he flinging items into a skip in the driveway, as he’d been doing all day while you were nowhere to be seen.

Today I read the HSE letter promising a ‘Learning Analysis Review’ of the failures in your case.

What will they do about the Senior Elder Abuse Caseworker’s final sign off that there was ‘no evidence of abuse’? 37 people corroborated abuse.

I remember your youngest daughter – my sister – telling the weekend hospital manager how your youngest son once held you in a headlock, pummeling your face and head, breaking your nose and how it became infected, had to be re-broken and re-set and how he’d said he’d never do it again. How that doctor confirmed he was ‘a very troubled young man.’ How my sister’s own brave children filed complaints of horrific abuse from their years of living in the family home. Yet the HSE Elder Abuse allowed those statements to be retracted. And yet did nothing about the call the HSE Careworker received from your youngest son the day you were hospitalised, unrowsable in CCU saying he was driving you to his home in Bray and you were sitting in the front passenger seat of his car. Two places at once!

Today I remember all who facilitated your abuse and abuser –  to this day – who have ensured your murder and theft and fraud in your estate goes unaccounted for.

In particular:

Beauchamps Solicitors – Joseph Bowe and managing partner John White who falsified and backdated documents defrauding me in your estate; the firm’s chair Imelda Reynolds, its partners, its insurance broker Miller Insurance, its indemnity insurer Allianz; the Law Society of Ireland; the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal; Wexford Community Services; Wexford Senior Elder Abuse Caseworker Carsten Kohl; your GPs at Rosslare Medical Centre; Ombudsman; Panel Review injustices fiasco; Gardai in Wexford, Rosslare and Bray; GSOC and many more.

Today I do not recognize this country of my birth this Ireland of a hundred thousand atrocities.

Today I bring you flowers Mom, to try and soothe the new me who lives with your murder by elder abuse – day by day – year by year.

Today Mom…. today…. I really, really wish I couldn’t remember….

these horrors…..

these crimes…..

these betrayals…..

that others were/are so willing to let you, a little old lady remain battered, beaten, broken so that they can make a quick buck


….today it really sucks.

[For more on Dolores Maxwell’s story check out

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2017. Remember Dolores]