not a member? click here to sign up
I life less ordinary
In the final months of his battle with cancer, TONY GREGORY sat down with Hot Press to discuss his life and career. Knowing it would be his final interview he was in a reflective frame of mind.
Jason O'Toole, 23 Jan 2009
It’s probably true to say I had an excess of religion in the first 20 years of my life and I just haven’t been able to cope with anymore since! When I was growing up, my mother was hugely religious – as country women, in particular, were. My mother had an intense devotion to the Blessed Virgin and all the traditions of the Catholic faith. I went to the ‘Nine First Fridays’, as they called the 8 o’clock mass. I ended up going to 8 o’clock mass every day of the week. I was an altar boy. I was a member of the Legion of Mary. I wouldn’t be anti-religious in any way. I respect people’s beliefs and so on. I have to be honest and say, I don’t particularly share those beliefs now. But at the same time, I’m not the type of person who believes that I have all the answers. I don’t spend a great deal of time deliberating or contemplating or reflecting on that aspect of life. I probably had too much of it as a kid and I’ve just closed myself off from it and I just get on with day-to-day life.
Do you believe in the afterlife?
We would all like to believe that there is life after death and that heaven awaits us. Unfortunately, I believed that fervently when I was a kid. I was brought up to believe it. Reluctantly, I can’t see any logic or sense in it now. But when I’m really in desperation – like a lot of other people – about something or other I pray to my mother. Despite what I just said to you, I believe her spirit is still somewhere out there, as I know that she totally loved me. I have some sort of feeling that the intense love for your children doesn’t die – it doesn’t go away. It’s somewhere out there and, in some sense, is watching over me. I have that now. That may be a hangover from what I would call excessive religion in childhood. It may also just be an emotional response to my own love for my mother. I believe that when you love somebody so much that person never dies. They are somewhere out there forever. I would love to believe she is in heaven. But when I bring that down to logic, I have to say I just don’t have the beliefs that I was brought up to have. I don’t see any logic in any such belief.