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Your Irish Hospice Foundation Summer 2021 Newsletter

Your Irish Hospice Foundation newsletter summer July 2021 Brianna

Brianna’s Life of Love and Laughter and the Precious Gift of Time You Give

Horse lover. Dog whisperer. Tesco enthusiast. And born leader — little Brianna was so much more than her condition. It’s hard to imagine the devastation Brianna’s mother felt when the light of her life died at only 9 years of age. But when the very worst happens, your kindness gives grieving families like Brianna’s the precious time they need to breathe…

When Arabella’s baby was discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health, she knew something was still wrong… a mother knows. And she was right. Doctors later found that as well as having epilepsy, 30% of the left side of Brianna’s brain was missing.

When you’re the parent of a child born different, it’s a full-time job. But when she talks about her beautiful Brianna, you can hear the love and pride in Arabella’a voice.

“We were told she wouldn’t walk, but she did. She rode horses too. That’s who she was.”

Last words

Although Brianna was mainly non-verbal, her mother remembers with love the last words her daughter ever spoke to her.

“It was the morning, and she was cuddled into me, and she said…I love you.”

Twenty minutes later, Brianna died.

“Her brain just disconnected from her heart. She was my whole world… you feel numb.”

Worry on top of grief 

As the mother of a child with special needs, Arabella was Brianna’s full-time carer for nine years. But the day her daughter died was the very day her carer’s allowance was withdrawn — pouring worry about money on top of an ocean of grief.  

“As well as the grief, you’ve got the fear and panic about how you will make ends meet.”  

But thanks to you, Brianna’s family got the financial support they needed so they could concentrate on saying goodbye to their daughter and coping with their raw grief.  

One parent to another 

Your kind gifts support our partnership with Rosabel’s Rooms and the Rosabel’s Room-to-Heal Fund. It was started by parents Suzanne and Gary in loving memory of their daughter, Rosabel, who died suddenly at just sixteen months old. The Rosabel’s Room-to-Heal Fund is a grant that gives parents coping with the loss of a child the support they need to help with funeral and other costs, as well as therapeutic support.  

Arabella will never forget how your generosity was there when her world fell apart.

“I didn’t know my carer’s allowance would stop immediately. Knowing that help was on the way lifted some of that worry. It meant that when Brianna came home after her autopsy, I could cherish every last second that I had at home with her, even though she had died. I’m forever grateful for that.”

Nothing can ever take away the crippling pain of losing a child, but your kindness gives families the precious gift of time they need to heal… Thank you.  

Rosabel’s Room to Heal 

There are no words in this world that can heal the heart of a parent who has lost a child. But when the unthinkable happens, you can give the gift of precious time. 

With your compassion and generosity, the Rosabel’s Room-to-Heal Fund has just hit the bittersweet milestone of 100 families supported after the tragic loss of a child.  

Many children who die have special needs, and it’s a full-time job. But when their child dies, carer’s allowance is cut off. Imagine it… losing your child and your income in one go.  

We know that you believe every parent should be able to grieve the loss of a child without worrying about funeral costs or other financial stresses. 

Please, will you give another grieving family like Brianna’s the gift of precious time? 

Your gift will give a family time to heal after a crushing loss. If you can, please donate below or call us on 01 6793188.  

Your Compassion in Every Maternity Hospital in Ireland

If you’re a parent, you’ve felt the love and joy in the maternity ward. But for parents who suffer the loss of a baby, it’s a place of sorrow beyond measure. Imagine the weight of the grief you would carry out of the hospital in place of the baby who should be in your arms.  

“It’s a complex type of bereavement. You don’t expect your child to die.” 

says senior midwife, Riona.

Thanks to your support, bereavement training is underway at all 19 of Ireland’s maternity hospitals. From midwives and nurses to porters and canteen staff, your generosity will ensure bereaved parents are treated with sensitivity and compassion.  

“It’s a kind word from a porter who takes the baby down for the post-mortem, or the kitchen staff who bring the family a cup of tea. It’s the little things that matter so much when you’ve suffered a loss.” 

says Riona.

Thank you for your compassion, and for caring so deeply about grief-stricken parents. 

A Trail of Tiny Broken Hearts 

Calls for support for bereaved children has almost doubled during the pandemic. Here’s how you’re helping children in Ireland through the pain of losing someone they love… 

How would you explain to your 6-year-old that their Daddy has died? How would you find the words to tell them he’s not coming back?  

With the pandemic causing so many deaths in Ireland, people are turning to the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN) like never before – another project your kindness supports. Thanks to your thoughtfulness and compassion, parents and teachers are getting the support they need for children who have lost someone they love.  

“I spoke to a mother of three young children whose husband had died suddenly. She was just paralysed.”

says Maura, who works at ICBN supporting parents of bereaved children.

“People are afraid to say the wrong thing. This service is about helping them find the words, and gently and practically supporting parents so they can be honest with their children.”

Thank you for your compassion. 

How do you speak to a bereaved child? 

It’s only natural you want to protect children from the pain of grief, but it’s always best to be gently honest with children about death and dying. Here are some tips on speaking to a child when someone close has died…  

  • Talk — The very worst thing you can be is silent. Ask them how they feel. And if they ask questions, tell them the truth, using clear language they can understand.​ 
  • Explain — When adults try to protect children from the truth, it can be confusing. Try not to use euphemisms like, “he’s in a better place”. Explain that the person has died in a way that they understand, no matter how young​. 
  • Acknowledge — Let the child know that they can ask questions to help them understand what’s happened and cope with the emotions​ they’re feeling. 
  • Reassure (+ Repeat) — Comfort the child with kindness, and be patient. You should be prepared to have to repeat yourself until they can fully comprehend what’s happened. It takes time.  

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