My name is Carmel Breathnach. I was born and raised in Ireland and moved to Portland, Oregon, USA in my late twenties. I hold a B.A. degree in English literature and Irish studies from NUI Maynooth and a Diploma in Education from St. Patrick’s College, Dublin. I taught elementary and Kindergarten for twelve years before leaving to focus on writing full-time. However, I still work with children when possible, volunteering with various local organizations for several months at a time. I’ve volunteered with Girl’s Inc., Catholic Charities Oregon and in various local preschools.
The bulk of my writing centers on the themes of bereavement, childhood grief and mother loss. I’m currently working on my memoir Briefly I Knew My Mother based on my experience of losing my mother to cancer when I was 11 years old following a prolonged illness. People often turn to memoir to help them understand an experience they don’t have. And of course readers look to memoir for comfort & to spend time in the company of someone who has shared a similar experience as them. Grief in childhood has a lasting impact, in particular from my personal point of view, the illness and death of my mother, and I believe in the importance and healing power of sharing our grief stories. Sharing openly about our losses helps to create a more empathetic, powerful and united community.
My work has been published in The Irish Times, Huffington Post, Upworthy, Scary Mommy, Voice Catcher, Modern Loss , Galway Daily and in the anthology Hidden Lights: A Collection of Truths Not Often Told published by Golden Dragonfly Press. I’ve had the privilege of reading my work around Portland at Unchaste, Grief Rites, SongbookPDX and Voice Catcher’s spring launch party.
A voracious reader & attender of many local book readings and national book festivals, I’m also a music fan and nature enthusiast. I value a holistic approach to life and health and I love to travel. I’ve lived in Ireland, Barcelona, London, Wildwood, New Jersey, San Francisco and Berkeley, California before settling in Portland, Oregon.
I am currently seeking representation for my memoir.
I’m so sorry for your pain and heartache if that is what brings you to my writing. Grief comes in many forms and it doesn’t have a prescribed course. Just remember we grieve deeply because we love so deeply. I welcome comments on my blog & do my best to respond to every message I receive.