Stories of loss from a pandemic
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Sayit, feelit is a collaborative project from The HedgeRadio Podcast and The Irish Hospice Foundation, made possible with funding from The Creative Ireland Programme . The project is a creative response to the themes of dying, death and bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please listen to those stories below.
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Morgan is a 19 year old fashion design student from Wexford studying in Dublin. He lost his father when he was eleven years old.
“I know exactly what he looks like. I know everything about him, I've been told so many stories. It’s just the voice, it kinda hurts just not being able to remember someone's voice”
After his fathers death, Morgan was raised by his mother, Sinead, a primary school teacher who was diagnosed with cancer at the same time as his father. She promised Morgan she would see him through secondary school, she died within weeks of the end of his final year.“We looked after each other, it was never a thing of like, me looking after her predominantly. It was like… she did so much for me that i’m so grateful for”
To hear Morgan's story press play below
Ronan is married with two grown children and lives in Wexford, he is a heritage consultant. While Ronan was in his mid twenties he lost his father, Michael Thomas Ashe O’Flaherty, to Parkinson's Disease. He died peacefully in the family's living room with all his loved ones around him.
“he died quietly in the bed while we watched TV and chatted with him, we took turns at night to sit with him, which was a fantastic experience I have to say. It made up for an awful lot to be able to do that”
When Ronan's mother, Una,died last year from Covid 19 whilst a resident in a nursing home, Ronan and his family got no such opportunity to have time like that. Ronan did get one final visit with his mother in the nursing home, covered head to toe in protective clothing.
“...afterwards it means, you realise, you have now once more turned your back, shut the door and left your mother in the care of somebody else at a time when you should be there at the bedside. The whole family should be there because that’s what’s supposed to happen”
To hear Ronan's story press play below
Servaas was born in the Netherlands and he has lived in Ireland since 1992 with his wife, they have four adult children and a grandchild on the way. His mother, Marie-Thérèse, died suddenly in August of last year at the age of 92. She lived at home right up until the end, only getting sick a week before her passing “....for her it was an absolute blessing, because I think any home we would of put her in, would have been torture for her”
In the Netherlands the custom is to bury somebody about a week after they have died, a length of time Servaas believes is necessary to prepare yourself to say goodbye
“I think your mind needs to get accustomed to the idea that the person is actually dead, before you can actually say goodbye you need to have a little bit of time”
Servasas and his family had a restricted funeral service for his mother with a limit of 35 people, which were the guidelines at the time in the Netherlands.
To hear Servaas' story press play below
The music for the project was composed by Galway based producer Paul Hayes. We sent Paul some of the interview material and he composed the piece of music as a response to what he heard. We have used it sparingly in the stories to help give moments of pause. Please take the time to listen to it in full here.
Many people have experienced and will experience the death of someone close during the COVID-19 pandemic. It may have been a COVID-related death or a death from other causes. People may also be finding a previous bereavement more difficult at this time.
In the face of such loss, our Bereavement Support Line, in partnership with the HSE, is there to provide connection, comfort and support in these exceptional times. If you need support the national freephone service 1800 80 70 77 available from 10am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.