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Pen Pals

After his very first documentary is broadcast, an email from a stranger sends Proinsias Ó Coinn on an unexpected journey.

In 2015, Proinsias O’Coinn made a programme called ‘Lacrimosa’ about his search for a work of art that could bring him to tears. One of the reasons he couldn’t cry, is that he had always struggled to accept who he really is. A month after the documentary was broadcast, Proinsias received an email from a woman called Donna who wanted to tell him about the work of art that makes her cry - a sculpture by Ossip Zadkine called The Destroyed City, which commemorates the bombing of Rotterdam in WWII.

They started writing to each other and discovered they actually had a lot in common. Donna understood Proinsias’ struggle with his sexuality, as her daughter is gay. But there was something else too. They both had the same type of cancer. Proinsias found out he'd had cancer after his tumour had been removed, but Donna was not so lucky – her diagnosis is terminal.

Proinsias knew he had to meet Donna and visit the sculpture with her. Maybe, it would be the work of art that would finally bring him to tears. More importantly, he wanted to meet his new pen pal.

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