Ireland owes Vicky Phelan so much.
This country feels incomplete following the loss of Vicky Phelan. The cervical cancer campaigner gave so much to this country, to the women of Ireland, and to women's healthcare. She used her short life to fight, raise awareness, and make Ireland a better country.
She inspired and influenced so many of us, but the best thing Vicky Phelan taught me was to embrace the everyday moments. A couple of months ago I wrote a piece about the things that matter most. The piece was inspired after Vicky posted on Instagram about enjoying the little things. She spent the day with her son, doing simple things like helping him with homework and playing Wordle. It wasn't anything grand or exciting. There was no lavish setting or fancy event. It was simple. It was what matters most.
After the piece was published, Vicky left a comment that I'll cherish forever. She told me, "Not enough of us take enjoyment from the little things. We rush through them waiting for the bigger things to come along.
"I am as guilty of this myself in my pre-cancer rat race days when I was trying to climb the career ladder and thought that happiness would come when I got there. It's a load of shite! We can all find happiness NOW by really taking the time to enjoy simple everyday moments.
Vicky added, "That's what I have learned on this journey and I am so glad if my sharing this will help others."
They're moments she should've experienced for many years to come, but ones that were stolen from her because of the Cervical Check scandal.
We need to honour Vicky's words by being grateful for the little things, for paying attention to them, and for seeing them for what they really are, the most important moments of all. It's so easy for us to overlook them. As Vicky said, many of us are too busy focusing on the rat race and waiting for momentous moments to come our way. But the little things make our lives worth living. These are the moments that Vicky made the most of before her untimely passing. They're moments she should've experienced for many years to come, but ones that were stolen from her because of the Cervical Check scandal. We can honour her legacy by making the most of these everyday moments. The death of Vicky Phelan has made me realise just how valuable the little things are.
Thank you, Vicky, for helping me, and so many others, appreciate the everyday moments. Ireland will forever be indebted to you.