“For those we lost along the way, I tell this story. For all the children who suffered in this terrible place. For all those I consider my brothers and sisters; the ones who died, the ones who lost their minds, I tell this for you.”
Based in Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, Little Drifters is a story of extreme hardship, suffering and abuse. It is the story of 11 siblings, abandoned by their mother and torn from their father, incarcerated in convents and then driven apart in the cruellest ways imaginable; it is the story of their ruined childhoods and their fight for justice. But more than that, it is a story of courage and survival. Here, Kathleen tells Tesco Books Blog about the experience of writing her remarkable story…
Ever since I started keeping a diary at 13 I’ve wanted to write a book about my experiences. I used to write everything in my diary, filling up dozens of notebooks over the years with my thoughts and my scribblings. The things I went through, I didn’t want to forget them. As the years passed I realized I also wanted my children to know what had happened. It needed to come out.
Back then the nuns’ power blinded everyone to the truth and that’s how they all got away with the abuse for so many years. They abused their power and position but everyone in society let them do it because they showed them such respect, just because they were high up in the church.
I’m still angry with The Reverend Mother and Sister Helen because they knew what was happening and they covered up. Their decisions still make life hard for me, my family and all the children they put through so much suffering. We are living with this today and the pain continues down the generations. I don’t think they realise that.
As a child you blame yourself but going through this process as an adult really made me understand how everything unravelled around us. It gave me a greater understanding of what went wrong. I understood why my mother did what she did now. I’m not so angry with her anymore. I can see that she was pushed to the limit. She became hard because she lived a hard life. Writing the book allowed me to forgive her.
I believe if you really want something and you never give up – even if it takes years and years, which it did for me – it will come to you.
Little Drifters: Kathleen’s Story is available in store now!