Home Authors Posts by Colette Byrne
Let me share with you something amazing that happened. In mid to late January of this year I got a phone call from a gentleman saying he was from the People of the Year Awards, he continued to explain that I had been nominated for an award and was now shortlisted. Much of what he said didn't register and he had to repeat himself a couple of times at my request, I couldn't believe it, is this really happening? I wasn't even aware of being nominated. The phone call came from Martin Grant of Rehab and People of the Year Awards, who explained I was shortlisted in the category 'Everyday Hero' for my work setting up the bereavement support website Widow.ie. He continued to explain that the nomination was by a member of our forum who, at that time, wished to remain anonymous and that I would have to be willing to go on the radio. It was a lot of information to process.
There are some 259 million widows around the world, and nearly half are living in poverty. Widows are often stigmatized by their families and communities. Many suffer discrimination based on age and gender. Some have lived lives marked by physical and sexual abuse. Older widows often have few economic assets, after a lifetime of hard but unpaid work. Even in developed countries, the value of women’s pensions can be some 40 per cent lower than men’s. Younger widows face other challenges, as heads of households with childcare responsibilities and very limited economic opportunities.
The new Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has reminded families that the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance will be made available again this year, and urged families who are not automatically entitled to make an application before the August deadline. “The support provided through the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance helps parents with the cost of the new school year. The Department of Social Protection has allocated €38.8 million for the payments this year. I want to remind families who do not automatically receive the allowance that they can still make an application before the August deadline,” Minister Varadkar said.
Joe Biden was Widowed Young News this week US Vice President Joe Biden will visit to Ireland brings to mind a speech he gave back in 2012. In 1972, twenty nine year old Biden was elected to the US Senate. One week after the election he lost both his wife and daughter in a traffic accident that also injured both his sons. Understandably, he almost resigned his seat. Despite his grief, he took the oath of office at the hospital bedside of his injured son Beau.
The Irish Hospice Foundation has produced a number of helpful videos dealing with loss and bereavement. This video entitled, ‘Living with Loss’ is four women who share their story. They talk about what it was like after their loved one died and how they were affected by the loss. They tell us what they found helpful and how they have managed to come through the early difficulties of bereavement. In the video they mention the benefit of the Bethany Bereavement Support Group and how it helped them to communicate their loss. Bethany Bereavement Support Group is a voluntary parish based ministry which aims to help the bereaved and grieving.