Tuesday 16 October 2018

Why should you care about carers? Because some day it might be you

Sympathy and admiration are all very well - but that is not what Ireland's 200,000 carers need, says Brendan O'Connor

You should definitely make it your business to watch the first 45 minutes where Miriam O'Callaghan, displaying her peerless empathy and steeliness, shone a light into the often shockingly hard lives being lived by 200,000 people in this country who care for family members. Stock Image/GETTY
You should definitely make it your business to watch the first 45 minutes where Miriam O'Callaghan, displaying her peerless empathy and steeliness, shone a light into the often shockingly hard lives being lived by 200,000 people in this country who care for family members. Stock Image/GETTY
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Imagine wishing your own child would die. Imagine wishing they would die before you. Imagine if you prayed for that every single day. Imagine if she died and you were sad but you agreed it was the best option for her. That's how Sinead McDonnell's mother Mary felt about her daughter's life and death. It's a pretty damning indictment of our society.

There are parents all over the country who feel like that, parents who are terrified of death only because they can't bear to contemplate what happens after their death to a child they care for, and parents who will experience, along with grief, some form of relief and closure if their child dies before them.

They have no faith that society will look after their loved ones. A lifetime of caring and of having doors shut in their faces teaches them that to have any faith in society would be foolish.

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