Bernie Kane has had a life full of extraordinary moments. For about 30 years he was a radio DJ with Ocean Fm, NorthWest Radio, Q101 and Glencoe Radio.
“I should be retired but I’m still working,” he says, for the White Hotel Group based in Ballyshannon. Originally from Roscommon he moved with his family to Wales in 1960. He has been living in Donegal since 1973, the connection to the area was through his mother’s family. He lives in Frosses now.
Bernie says he has “unshakable faith” for a number of reasons.
He tells The Irish Catholic about the car crash he had in 2004: “I was at a junction (in Inver Donegal) and whether I took off when I shouldn’t, or they were going too fast – it was neither here nor there – no one was killed thank God.”
“For some reason I didn’t put on my seatbelt but luckily that saved my life. I got catapulted out of the side window. When I came around, lying beside me was my Bible.”
He says he was lucky he was so healthy and didn’t drink or smoke because he had a punctured lung and was in hospital for around 9 weeks after the accident.
However, he doesn’t regard this lucky incident as the most extraordinary thing that has ever happened to him.
“My son died when he was 29, the same year I had the accident,” he says. Brian Kane worked with the United States Air Force and died suddenly on October 23, not long after his birthday. “He died at three minutes to 6pm Irish time.”
Bernie says, “now I wanted a sign that he was happy, you look for all kinds of signs especially if you lose a son or a daughter.” He says the first sign was that his son was brought home remarkably quickly.
“The American Air Force was amazing. They got him home within a week, the next Saturday.”
Bernie says he went with his cousin to meet the remains in Dublin, and the car broke down three miles outside the Kells side of Navan. “He was all upset that we would be late getting there , I said don’t worry Tommy there’s a reason for this.”
They eventually got help from someone in Dunshaughlin. They collected Bernie’s son and headed home, stopping in Cavan along the way as many people heading that direction would.
Once they were near home he says, “We passed where Brian used to work and stopped, passed his grandfather’s house and stopped there too.
“When we got to the house it was exactly three minutes to 6pm. Three minutes later the Angelus bell rang.” Bernie says it was the sign he had been looking for.
“I wanted him home at three minutes to 6pm, the same time he died in America, you couldn’t arrange that with the best logistics team in the world,vv” he says.
The last incident is one that stuck with him. A year after Brian died he said he had a friend over from Roscommon for the weekend and who called to him on the Friday. They talked about Brian and Bernie told her: “Brian never missed an occasion, he always sent a card, Father’s day card b-day card, whatever it was. There will be no card this year.”
On the Sunday, Bernie says: “I have this old shed at the back of the house and I never go into it, on the Sunday, on the Father’s Day, we were looking around in a corner I hadn’t looked at in years. I saw old vinyl records I had from when I was involved in music, I used to love that old vinyl stuff.”
He said to himself he would have a look around since he hadn’t in years. “I went across and the first thing I saw was a card with ‘Dad’ written on it.
“It was a Father’s Day card from Brian. How it got there, I don’t know, where it came from I don’t know. That is Gospel.”
He says, “I don’t remember getting it. There was no stamp, just a white envelope with ‘Dad’ written on it, I still have it.
“That’s why my Faith is so strong.”
Bernie says that before these incidents he would have gone to mass every Sunday as he was raised a Catholic, but didn’t have a strong connection to his Faith. “I feel my faith is stronger with God now.”
“I don’t believe in any particular religion, I believe were all equal in the eyes of God,” says Bernie “But my Faith is unshakable I have great Faith.”
“The one great things about the Catholic Faith, I do think to myself, is our attitude toward forgiveness. I think that’s the greatest gift anyone can get.”
Bernie passes on his story as a way of spreading his Faith: “I tell my story and I’m very proud of my son. I wear his ring all the time and I feel he’s with me all the time. I do feel he’s certainly guiding me through life.”