Sunday 11 December 2016

Opinion: Death of a loved one breaks open the heart and strips us back to our most tender selves

Paul D'Alton

Published 22/10/2016 | 02:30

A hearse carrying the remains of Munster coach Anthony Foley passes through the streets of
Limerick. Photo: Brian Arthur
A hearse carrying the remains of Munster coach Anthony Foley passes through the streets of Limerick. Photo: Brian Arthur

We humans are the only species with the capacity to reflect on our own mortality. The outpouring of grief for Anthony Foley touched the whole country.

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Death is the single universal event that affects all of us in more ways than we care to know. Death does not simply involve the last hours or days of life. It involves how we live this one precious life each of us has been given to live. We die as we have lived.

We know intellectually that death is inevitable, that one day each one of us will painfully separate from the people we love. We know that each year 55 million people die on this earth, 29,000 of these in Ireland. In Ireland, close to 80 people die each day. With up to 10 people affected by each death, an estimated 290,000 people are profoundly emotionally and psychologically affected each year by the death of a loved one.

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