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.

Visit my Twitter page here: @AuthorCarmelB and my Facebook author’s page here: Carmel Breathnach and I’m also on Instagram.

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. IMAG6036

12 thoughts on “About

  1. Jill says:

    I am so sorry for your loss and at such a tender age. Your tribute to your mother is so beautiful and I know she would be so very proud of you. You are so blessed to have such a remarkable caring and loving father.
    As a survivor of stage 4
    ovarian cancer, and a mother, I am so hoping you are being followed by a top notch Dr. in this field. This disease is still called “the silent killer” to this day.
    I’ve lost many friends young and old to this horrible disease and quite a few whose mother or grandmother had it.
    It may seem inappropriate to use this site for such a message. For those of us fighting ovarian cancer our hope is to prevent another woman from going through what we are.
    Blessings to you


    • Thank you, Jill, for your kindness. It is a frightening disease. I worry about my health and the health of those I love constantly, given my childhood. I appreciate your advice. Blessings and best of health to you and yours.


  2. Dear Carmel, Thank you for your honesty. I will turn 64 years old on May 1st and my mother died when I was four. I so understand your thoughts and feelings. Keep writing and sharing your story. I can tell you are a beautiful soul! My blog at soulspeak2016@wordpress is all about being a motherless daughter. We are healing and growing and loving and I’m so glad to see you on this journey.


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  4. I love your blog. It is similar to mine. Motherloss.blog

    I’m in process of writing a book. I would love to incorporate part of your story and your information. I will contact you for permission first of course.

    More later…I just now “found” you.


  5. Jennifer Sopko says:

    Carmel, I love my mom due to Kidney Cancer on 7/16/16. I was very close to my mom she was my best friend. The first year was horrible then I found your blog and followed you on Facebook. It was comforting reading you stories then seeing all of your followers comments made me feel like I was not the only one going through all this. I went to counseling to help but your groups really helped me. 4 weeks ago I went through all those feeling again when the necklace I wore that was my mommas broke and I lost it. My world came crashing down, it felt like the morning of 07/16/16 when my brother called me at 6AM and told me mamma passed in her sleep unexpected. She was doing good, so this came as a big shock and I leaved three and half hours away so I wasn’t there. I know it was a necklace but it was her necklace and whenever I felt stressed I would rub the necklace and it felt like she was with me telling it would be okay. It doesn’t help that the 3 year make is coming up. So I have been going back and reading all your blogs and it has helped but the pain is still there and I know it will always be there.
    I just want to thank you with all my heart for all of your stories they really help me. God bless you. You are a hero in my eyes.


    • Hello Jennifer, thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your story here. I am so sorry for your loss and heartbreak. Also, I feel your pain on losing your mother’s precious necklace. It was so important and special to you and we treasure these items belonging to our mothers. Nothing replaces them. It means a lot to me that my writing and stories are of help to you. I write to support and connect with others who understand the pain and sorrow of mother loss. Thank you for your kind, honest words, Jennifer. Sending hugs and lots of love as you navigate the upcoming third anniversary of your mom’s death.


  6. Finian Cassidy says:

    Hi Carmel, I’ve just read your piece in the Irish Time’s Abroad section (Monday, December 4th 2019), where you share with us your experiences with your aging dad. Thank you for a really nice read, gifting me a pleasant trip “down memory lane” of recalling many such simple, joyous moments with my own dad when returning to Ireland and when he visited us in France. Your piece really “hits the nail on the head” when describing the emotions and appreciation of such adult moments spent in the company of a loving and like-minded father, sharing laughter, wisdom and views on life. Alas, although never forgotten, such priceless and precious moments become fond, fleeting, fading memories : somewhat like a hushed, muted soundtrack playing in the background of your “present reality”. I wish for you and your dad many more such special moments of sharing kindred-spirits and making memories, making your own unique soothing soundtrack.
    Finian Cassidy (France)


    • Hello Finian, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I appreciate you reaching out. I do hope for many more special moments with my dad and I’m looking forward to spending time with him at home over the Christmas. All the best to you and yours. ~Carmel


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