"Today is my sister Susan's birthday. Susan is the youngest of my siblings in a family of seven children and yet, despite having been born at different times and being fourteen years apart from me, we have grown closer each year since our parents died.
And yet, it wasn't always thus. Our family of seven children grew up at different stages of my parents' marriage. Me and sisters Mary and Eileen grew up together and even shared the same bed until I was ten years old. Then my brothers Patrick and Peter seemed to form the next phase of the family heirarchy. Then Michael and sister Susan brought up the rear end.
I recall us once reminiscing about the nature of our upbringing and had you been a stranger eavesdropping, you might have thought we'd been born into different households and brought up by different parents. That was because in some ways we were. You see, being born at different times in our parents' marriage did bring with it widely different experiences for each of us as we grew up.
The first three children were born during the years when my parents' love for each other was at its highest, and as such, we grew up in happier times of their marital union. The youngest two children were born however, when my parents' marriage had well passed its 'sell by date' and many of the memories of the two youngest children as they grew up would involve hearing more family rows in the space of one year than the three eldest siblings had heard in twenty.
It is only since my parents died that the entire seven siblings have got closer and closer in family unity. I am the eldest and Susan is the youngest, but today is her birthday and that makes her the most important of all family members of 'The Magnificent Seven.' She is an Area Manager in Social Work and is a loving mother and grandma. I love you Susan. Have a super birthday. Love from your big brother, Billy x" William Forde: April 11th, 2015.