Bereavement Support Line 1800 80 70 77

Your Irish Hospice Foundation Autumn 2022 Newsletter

The Parting Gift You Give

When someone you love has been living with a terminal illness, you know in your heavy heart when the end is near. Daragh and his siblings were caring for their mam at home, but when her health took a downward turn, and her needs became more complex, he knew they needed help. That’s when he turned to our Nurses for Night Care service. Your kindness did the rest.

You can hear the love in every word as Daragh speaks about his mam, Margaret.

“She was an extraordinary woman. My Dad was the love of her life, we lost him many years ago in a car accident, and she raised us five kids alone.“ 

In her late 80s, Daragh’s mam got sick. Daragh says with pride:

“She was a very strong and capable woman. But at the end, she needed help. Mam knew she was dying.”

A ‘home bird’, Daragh says his mam hated being in the hospital. She just wanted to be at home with her beautiful family in her final days and nights on this earth.

Your kindness makes it possible

It’s your steadfast support of our Nurses for Night Care, even through tough times like these, that made it possible for Margaret to choose where she would be when she left this world.

For Margaret, her family, and hundreds of patients every year, yours is truly a gift beyond all measure.

“When Mam’s health was getting worse, we were desperately looking for what services were available. We couldn’t find anything. Then we discovered Nurses for Night Care. That was a turning point for our family – what a difference they made. “

But the gift you give people who are dying and their families is so much more than medical care alone. Describing the relief a Nurse for Night Care brings, Daragh says:

“The nurse brought a sense of empathy, calm and respect. When Mam was agitated or upset, the nurse knew how to calm her. It’s a gift they have.“

You know how it feels to lose someone you love. So you understand how important it is to be around people who are sensitive to your crushing loss. Daragh says:

“In the end, she told us it was time to gather around. She calmly explained what would happen and gave us our space with Mam to say the things we wanted to say.”

The end we all hope for

Were it not for the kindness of caring hearts like yours, Margaret could not have taken her final breaths at home, wrapped in a circle of her family’s love. Every precious hour of night nursing costs €42. If you’re able to donate an hour or two, your generosity can bring untold comfort.

After you’ve taken care of your loved ones

Many of our most caring and constant supporters are choosing to leave a gift in their will to Irish Hospice Foundation. People like Marie who, like you, has been touched deeply by loss.

“I added Irish Hospice Foundation to my will recently. When my Mam died, they were there for us as a family. The Nurse for Night Care took such a weight off our shoulders at that time. I want to give that support to other families.”

Choosing to leave just 1% of your estate means you can care for your loved ones and remember the causes you care about.

Find out more about leaving a gift in your will.

The paw prints they leave on your heart

If you’ve ever lost a beloved pet, you know how deeply you feel the grief when it’s time to say goodbye. This is how your compassion and empathy is there for people experiencing every type of loss.

“She’d lost a member of her family.”

says Catherine, a coordinator of our Bereavement Support Line.

“Her dog had died. She was broken-hearted, and she just needed to talk to someone.”

You miss the pitter patter of paws that greet you. You miss their unconditional love. It’s a bond like no other. But, Catherine says, the difficult thing when a pet dies is that not everyone understands that type of loss. Says Catherine:

“If you’ve never had that deep connection with an animal, it’s hard to understand. But grief is grief. We’re here to support you no matter who you’ve lost.”

At the end of the call, the woman was so grateful. Through tears she said to Catherine:

“A lot of people don’t understand. I’m so grateful to you for listening to me.”

Coping with the loss of your best friend

Grieving a beloved pet can be isolating if you don’t have others in your life who understand you’ve lost a family member. Reach out to people you know who won’t belittle your pain.

Let yourself grieve. Let the tears fall. And don’t let anyone diminish the very real pain you feel in your heart for the one you’ve lost. Creating a place of peace – somewhere you can lay flowers, and say a few words – may bring you comfort. You might like to plant a tree or rose bush in their favourite garden spot to remember them.

Grief throws up a huge orchestra of emotions. You might feel guilt, anger, or even resentment toward a surviving pet. Whatever you are feeling, it’s normal. Give yourself time and be kind to yourself. The strength of your love for your departed friend is how you can be sure they were blessed to have you, until the very end.

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

Support Line Info

No matter who you’ve lost your grief is yours, and our Bereavement Support Line is here for you.
Open Weekdays, 10 am -1 pm

Read more about Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Love in Each and Every Stitch

Through our Seed Grants to fund creative projects, generosity is helping people across Ireland express their grief and connect with others who have lost someone they love. For this and millions of small mercies you give, we thank you.

Phil, May, Helen, Mary, Liam, Tom… every name lovingly stitched into this quilt represents a lost loved one of a member of Newport Women’s Shed in Tipperary, under the expert eye of Geraldine. A volunteer with the group, she says the idea for the group was born out of the grief of losing her mother.

“I wanted to give women in the community a way to pay tribute to their loved one. It takes patience to quilt.”

A quilt involves many months of work. But in that time members have the space to share stories about the one they’ve lost and connect with others who are grieving.

“There’s one woman who lost her daughter and her mam in just a few months. Being with others who are grieving – crying, sharing memories, or just sitting silently, knowing she’s with people who understand. Sometimes there are no words to express the heartbreak. This has been incredibly healing for her.”

Said Sheilagh from Tipperary:

“I cried heavy tears as I placed Dad and Mam’s names on the quilt, but there was something very comforting about it. Remembering them in this special way, sharing my grief with others, and knowing that their names are permanently attached to a quilt that will be much loved, was very healing. Being with others who are grieving made me feel I’m not alone. I’m so very grateful.”

Read more about the Patchwork Quilt Seed Grant project in Tipperary

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