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Your Kindness Brings Solace to Mullingar

After working at Mullingar Regional Hospital for years, James had seen his fair share of death and raw grief. But, when the sudden, shocking loss of a close family member brought him to the mortuary at his own place of work, James saw the hospital through new eyes. This is how your generosity and compassion is bringing practical relief and comfort to families facing tragedy…

James never knew how unwelcoming hospitals could be for newly bereaved families until that terrible Thursday in June. A day he’ll never forget…

While enjoying a holiday in Cork, James received the shocking news that his twin brother, Daniel, had died suddenly. Of course, he did what every brother would – he raced home to say a final, heartbroken goodbye.

You can imagine how grief stricken James was, you may even have experienced a similar sudden, painful loss yourself… all the things you wish you had said but never got the chance. How life can change in the blink of an eye.

“I worked in the hospital so I knew how things would go,” said James, “Daniel would be brought to the hospital. I wanted to see him, so I phoned my colleagues and they met me at the mortuary. The lasting memory I carry with me is seeing him laid out in a big, dark, cold space… It was only a brief visit but one I remember vividly.”

On the inside, looking out

That was the day James experienced the hospital through the eyes of a devastated family for the very first time. Such a different experience from standing on the outside of family’s personal grief. It wasn’t until then that James realised how desperately the mortuary and bereavement room for grieving families needed to be transformed at the hospital.

It’s something you might not think about until you are that family. But the surroundings available to people receiving crushing news — “Your mother isn’t going to make it”, “Your brother is gravely injured” — make a real difference.

Some family members can be in hospital for weeks or even months, barely going home, because they don’t want to leave the side of their loved one who could die at any moment.

Yet some hospitals still don’t have dedicated bereavement rooms. And others are cold, lacking in comfort or facilities, and in dire need of refurbishment.

And that’s why your support is so very treasured. Because thanks to you and other caring souls, the mortuary at Mullingar has been transformed from a ‘big, dark, cold’ space, into a warm, respectful place of peace for devastated families.

It’s one of the latest of over 40 such transformations at hospitals across Ireland as part of the Design & Dignity programme… all made possible by your generosity. Places where fragile hearts can seek solace and privacy during the worst moments of their lives.

Room to breathe

Since the new facilities have opened, they have brought untold comfort to many, including the mother of a young man who tragically died suddenly and unexpectedly.

Heartbreakingly, she told us that she had been following the project to transform the hospital’s spaces for the bereaved. She could not have known that in a matter of weeks, she would be in that same room saying goodbye to her beloved boy.

And while the situation was terrible, you gave this grieving mother a special place where she could spend some precious time alone with her son.

Nothing can heal the broken hearts of newly bereaved people. But you’re bringing warmth and comfort to the sometimes cold and clinical hospital experience.

Your gifts give mothers, brothers, husbands and wives a private place to cry, make a hot drink, splash some cold water on their faces… or simply somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of the hospital at a time when their world has just fallen apart. Your gifts are a true blessing.

We hope you never find yourself in this room. Nor the 40+ others you’ve helped to create across Ireland, but we’re grateful for every moment of comfort you give grieving families…

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