News of your compassion reaching people touched by death and grief across Ireland
The pandemic might feel like a distant memory to many of us now, but for people like Kara — who lost someone she loves to COVID — its impact is still raw and very real. But, Kara says, she’s grateful to you beyond words for the gift you gave her when her mam was near the end.
“My mother was 75, but she was young at heart,” says Kara with love in her voice as she remembers her mam, Margaret. It’s three years ago now since she died. But if you’ve ever lost someone you adore, you’ll know it feels like both an eternity and no time at all.
I got to visit her on Christmas Day for a few minutes wearing full PPE, and then not again until the day before she died. It was one of the longest and most difficult times in my life.
It was then that a nurse told Kara they had an end-of-life suite waiting for her and her mother. It was your kindness in that moment that made this possible.
Sanctuary and solace
Thanks to your generosity, the end-of-life suite available to Kara and her mother that night is one of more than 44 rooms like it across 26 hospitals in Ireland. Transformed into sacred spaces of sanctuary and solace as part of our Design and Dignity programme run in partnership with HSE Estates. They’re places fragile hearts can find care and comfort during the most private moments of their lives.
This lovely room was made possible by Irish Hospice Foundation. It has wallpaper with little birds on it, low lighting, less medical equipment. I’d heard of people standing outside of windows or waiting in cars as family members were dying, so I was very grateful to have this beautiful room.
And even though COVID parted Kara and her mam in their final days, this room meant she was as close and comfortable as she could possibly be. That’s why, she says, she’s forever grateful for your compassion and concern.
All day and all night
“This room meant I could be there with her all day and all night,” says Kara. “The end-of-life suite made a crucial difference in the experience of her last days… All I kept thinking was that this room is saving me. I was very grateful to have this beautiful room.” Kara showed that gratitude — to you — and Irish Hospice Foundation by raising over €3,500 in our annual Camino challenge in loving memory of her beautiful mam.
Today and every day in hospitals across Ireland, you bring comfort and compassion and care to people like Kara when the person they love is slipping away.
29,883 minutes of your kindness
Last year, more than a thousand grieving hearts picked up the phone and dialled our Bereavement Support Line. Because of you, a caring voice like Eric’s was there to answer.
You can hear Eric’s compassion as he speaks about his work for our Bereavement Support Line (BSL). He’s a volunteer and he’s been specially trained in bereavement care. “About 80 people die every day in Ireland,” says Eric. “So, at this very moment, there are families who are already grieving or will be grieving by the end of today.” Many people who call feel they have no one else they can talk to. At least not in the raw, unfiltered way they can speak anonymously to a BSL volunteer. “You are there to stand shoulder to shoulder with the person. You let them tell you how they’re feeling, and you meet them in their grief. It’s a privilege.”
A great many callers to the Bereavement Support Line have lost their partner. Eric remembers one man who touched his heart more deeply than he’ll ever know.
He broke down in tears. He was absolutely shattered and I just kept listening to him…He kept saying — ‘I’ve lost the love of my life’.
“His wife died suddenly, he’d lost his soulmate. He kept saying, ‘I’ve lost the love of my life’, he said it 5 or 6 times. I have my own love of my life. I can’t imagine what that’s like.” Because of you, someone whose world has fallen suddenly silent will hear words of comfort today. Thank you for your kind support of this work.
Your Mother’s Love
Even when she’s gone, your mam is always your mam. And her love lives on in you. This year, we invited people missing their mam on Mother’s Day to plant a sunflower and remember.
There is nothing in this world so powerful as a mother’s love. And nothing that can ever fill the hole in your heart when she is no longer there. It’s why Mother’s Day is so painful for many. And that’s why we invited caring supporters on our social media to plant a sunflower in memory of their mother on Mother’s Day. Thousands of people signed up online to receive sunflower seeds, and that’s not all. They raised over €78,000 in memory of their loved and lost for Irish Hospice Foundation to help others facing the end of their life or grieving a profound loss.
Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute to all of our dear mams and thank you for caring
The Love You Leave Behind
Giving is always your choice. But it speaks to the caring, concerned and compassionate person you are. And it’s these most beautiful and essential parts of yourself that can live on long beyond your lifetime. Some of our most cherished supporters — caring people like yourself who know what it is to lose someone you love — have chosen to make a parting gift in their will to Irish Hospice Foundation. If you’d like to receive more information about how you can make a lasting difference to Ireland’s dying and grieving, please contact [email protected].
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