THE widow of Irish and Munster rugby legend, Anthony "Axel" Foley, is the newly appointed ambassador to the Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick. Olive Foley recently spoke of her grief experience following the death of her 42 year old husband, in October, 2016. Shortly after Anthony's death the principal of her sons' school provided her with Sr. Helen's phone number, founder of the Children's Grief Centre. Speaking about the support provided to her young boys, Olive said "Over the last year and half she [Sr. Helen] has supported the kids and really seen them through a very difficult time so I have really seen first hand the work she has done. It is quite extraordinary to be able to give children a beautiful place where they can go to, and express themselves through talking, express emotions through art and all these different lovely mediums. She and her staff do incredible work.
The Loneliness Taskforce was established by Dr. Keith Swanick in collaboration with the CEO of ALONE, Seán Moynihan, to coordinate a response to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. Through its work, the Loneliness Taskforce is seeking to increase awareness about the issue and to produce a set of recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers. Over 300 submissions have been received by the Taskforce sent from the general public, Oireachtas and Northern Ireland Assembly Members, MEPs, NGOs, Local Authorities, Public Participation Networks, and Volunteer Networks across the country, both North and South. The establishment of the Taskforce has created a much-needed national conversation on the loneliness and social isolation faced by people in Ireland.
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.
If you did a straw poll and asked folk what is their favourite season I'd hazard a guess that a lot of the answers would be Summer and Spring. After all they are the two seasons of growth and renewal. What's not to like about Summer? The days grow long. The sun shines and it's holiday time. Spring is the beginning of the end of Winter. Daffodils poke through the cold, wet ground and Mother Earth awakens from her Winter sleep. So, what about poor old Autumn/Winter? I like being different. I am not a great fan of Spring or Summer. There's too much light around. I love the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness that poet John Keats wrote about and and the Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
I haven't posted in a while. Apart from being on sick leave from work for stress and anxiety I've caught a nasty cold and a really irritating cough. The runny nose is gone but the cough persists. I had a similar cough last autumn/winter. That lasted for four months. I just feel drained and tired. My daughter is on holiday in New York and the house is so quiet and empty. I really love the autumn season, so, I try to stay focused on keeping healthy in both mind and in body. I had the largest crop of apples in the thirteen years since I've lived here. I made loads of chutney and stored two full boxes of apples in my shed. Everyday I look out at my garden and look at the leaves turning into many different hues of autumnal shades. Leaves are scattered everywhere and the small wild birds are flocking around the bird feeder as they try to survive.
And the "Mother Of The Year" awards goes to... Where were we? Feeling miserable? Being a useless mother? Not sleeping? Too much crying going on? No energy? Yeah, something like this. So, school has started. And we survived the first week. Another big achievement considering I nearly poisoned my daughter. And I totally grossed her out. All in one day. Last Monday - first day of school. I started off do well. Got up early to fix her uniform, to make her lunch, to make sure she gets up on time. Doddle right? Just one kid left, nothing else to worry about... When we left the house I noticed I had used a blue thread to fix her black uniform. Oh, well. Spent the day doing whatever until it was time to collect Katie from the bus stop. As she walked towards me I noticed a somewhat not impressed look on her face.