The Men’s Shed in Lismore, Co Waterford, pondered our invitation to create a space as a place to take grief and loss with a response that was both poignant and practical. Their former Chair and well-known postman, Joe Tobin, had died recently. Joe’s role in the Lismore community delivering post for many years inspired conversations about writing to those who have died.
Through discussions and the magic of creative thinking, the idea of the Lismore Post Box was born. A sturdy green post box was made, affixed to the gate, and now has pride of place at the entrance to the Lismore Men’s Shed.
An event took place on Saturday 1st July to officially launch the post box. Joe’s widow and family were invited to post their own letters to him. It was hoped that by sharing their loss, others in the community would be encouraged to share their own, and the post box would be a focus for starting conversations around things that may be difficult to express in relation to loss. The invitation was extended to everyone in the local community to ‘post’ their own individual memories and tributes to lost loved ones died.
Rebecca McLaughlin, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Irish Men’s Sheds said:
“When we joined forces with Irish Hospice Foundation to invite Shedders nationwide to explore grief and loss ‘shoulder to shoulder’ within the ‘House of Memory’ project, we knew that Sheds would respond in unique, individual and creative ways. It’s fair to say our expectations were surpassed here! Well done to everyone involved in the creation of these wonderful projects, Lismore has set the bar very high with their post box.”
The post box will remain in situ at the entrance to Lismore Men’s Shed for at least six months for anyone wishing to write and post a note to express their feelings as a result of a loss.
Dominic Campbell, our Arts and Creative Engagement Lead, said:
“We are delighted to have collaborated with Men’s Sheds in bringing the Lismore Post Box to fruition. People can write and post notes to their loved ones. No one will read them unless it’s indicated on the letter the sender would like us to.”
Ultimately all the posted letters will be burnt at a ceremony and the ashes scattered where saplings will then be planted. In time, solid roots and new trees will grow from sorrowful words. We hope this brings comfort and helps in some way with grief and loss.