16 November 2011

Death: a time for gratitude

Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, with the round tower over the grave of Daniel O'Connell

There is a beautiful letter in today's Irish Independent expressing the writer's gratitude to those who had helped his mother in her latter days. He mentions, among others, bus drivers. I have seen many acts of kindness by drivers and passengers over the years on buses here in Dublin and similar acts of kindness in all sorts of ordinary situations. 'Whoever has eyes to see . . .'

I buried my mother in Dublin last week. Her quality of life became poor over her last two years as she battled against the effects of earlier smoking on her eyesight, heart and lungs.

But the people of Dublin were there to help. Bus drivers left their buses and walked her across to her little apartment; some even helped her up the steps and into her little 'home'.

Three complete strangers, her "three angels", did her shopping, washing and ironing and took her to get her silver hair done every week.

Staff in her local pharmacy in Rathfarnham village let her rest in the shop and often took her across to the bus stop or arranged a lift home.

We had a lovely last day. She went to sleep happy that night and did not wake up.

Thank you so much to the many random strangers who did so much for my mother at her time of need.

Frank Devine
Kenilworth, England

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