Sunday 19 November 2017

'We'll always be so grateful for that time' - Grieving woman on heartbreaking reality of losing a parent

Esther and Bernadette in happier times
Esther and Bernadette in happier times

Kathy Armstrong

A grieving woman has said that she felt her mother return to her old self shortly before she died.

Bernadette Costello-Tobin lost her beloved mother Esther Costello (87) on August 24 and has opened up about the reality of losing an elderly parent, saying she'll "always be grateful for that time."

Bernadette, who lives is Castleknock in Dublin, told Independent.ie:  "It's still early days, she only passed away on August 24 so it's only been a few weeks.

"She hadn't been feeling great, she went into A&E on June 26 and two days later we found out she had pancreatic cancer and they couldn't treat it, we were absolutely devastated.

"I had no worries about her going into a hospice, one of the things she actually said in her will was that she wanted to go to a hospice, so she was extremely happy going in."

Bernadette said that even though herself and her siblings Brian, Noeleen and Angela were heartbroken watching 87-year-old Esther slip away, she said the welcoming environment in Harold's Cross Hospice in Dublin provided some comfort to her family.

She said: "Mam was there for about six weeks, she was really happy, she was happy with the treatment and we were allowed to have special time with her.

"She was in a beautiful big room, it wasn't depressing at all and we had so much privacy and could come and go to visit her when we liked, so it was great.

"I must say the staff there were phenomenal with my mam, they really are second to none, they were so nice to us as well, very welcoming and so accommodating.

"They're amazing people and I can't say enough good things about them.

"It was like a home away from home, she was so afraid at times but it made things so much easier for us knowing when we couldn't be there that she was getting such fantastic care."

Bernadette added: "When she was in hospital before that it was a surgical ward and there were people coming and going all the time so it was a bit of a stressful environment for her.

"When her pain was managed and she could go into the hospice it was like she came back to being her old self for a short while and it was fantastic to just have that time with her.

"We'll always be so grateful for that time."

Read More: Former vice president Biden in tribute to carers during emotional Mayo visit

Bernadette was speaking ahead of Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice Together with Bewley’s, which will take place tomorrow morning to raise money for local hospices and homecare services.

Esther Costello with family in the hospice
Esther Costello with family in the hospice

Celebrating 25 years of hospice services, they are hoping to raise as much as €2 million.

Some of the famous faces backing the event include Brendan and Domhnall Gleeson, Keith Duffy, Mario Rosenstock and Dr Ciara Kelly.

Bernadette also said that she will be attending a coffee morning with her sister and friends.

Pat Quinlan, Chair of the Voluntary Hospice Groups said: “The nature of hospice care is such that we must be in a position at all times to be able to respond in an appropriate and timely manner so that patient needs are fully met and their families supported.

"The funds raised from Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Hospice Together with Bewley’s are crucial in order to ensure that our services meets these objectives on an ongoing basis and clearly without such support we could not provide the level of services that we do."

To help #Coffee4Hospice you could host or attend your own coffee morning, to register visit www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie or call 1890 998 995.

Hosts are provided with a Coffee Morning Pack containing Bewley’s coffee, posters and invitations free of charge.

To donate €4 text COFFEE to 50300

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