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Bereavement support "enabled me to be Mum...not counsellor"

Thanks to your support, families in our care have had someone to turn to, someone who understands, whose hand they can hold to support them through the loss of a loved one.

John O'Shea was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. Following chemotherapy treatment, he received the news that his illness was terminal. John sadly passed away at the age of just 38 in the care of our Inpatient Unit, leaving behind Caitriona and three children Livia, Lorcan and Saoirse.

Since the devastating news of John’s diagnosis, our Children’s Bereavement Co-ordinator, Tracey, has been there, every step of the way.

A year after John’s passing, Caitriona reflects on their journey with the Hospice.

“The Hospice are like a family, supporting me and my kids from 6 months before John left us through to today.

“Tracey was someone the children trusted from day one and opened up to. As well as attending Family Support sessions at the Hospice, she visited the children’s school, supporting them to prepare for when the day came. Even over lockdown, Tracey has provided counselling sessions for the kids over the phone, it has been a real lifeline for all of us.

“In sad times, it was lovely to see the children laughing with their dad in his room, playing together and doing memory activities. Memories I know they’ll always cherish.

“I was by John’s side when he passed away at 5.20pm in the Inpatient Unit. Within seconds, my thoughts went to the children. I didn’t know what to do, I had so many questions. How do I tell them the daddy they loved so much has died? I called Tracey straight away. With no family living locally, I felt immediately comforted and supported knowing that the kids and I weren’t alone.

“The support I received enabled me to be ‘Mum’ and not a counsellor. A person for them talk to that wasn’t me was so important; a person who understood their individual needs. When I say ‘I wouldn’t have got through it without Tracey’, I genuinely mean that. The Hospice supported both me and my children and thanks to them, I know whatever happens, we’ll be ok.”

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