People of the Year Awards, Colette Byrne &

People of the Year Awards Colette Byrne
People of the Year Awards Colette Byrne

People of the Year Awards, Colette Byrne &

Let me share with you something amazing that happened. In mid 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 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.

A couple of weeks went by and the day came for the radio interview to be recorded, I was nervous, very nervous. But I needn’t have worried. Evelyn O’Rourke from the RTE Radio One, Today with Sean O’Rourke show arrived at my home. What a lovely person who put me at ease as we chatted. I showed her the site and did my best to answer her questions. Several hours flew by and before I knew it, the interview was over.

Difficult Memories

But that’s not to say it wasn’t difficult at times. Recanting the early days of loosing my husband Peter brought back painful memories. Initially I struggled to really explain the reason behind setting up the website, How do you explain that absolute feeling of loss, a pain like I never knew could exist? How, as the weeks went past after the accident, that pain got worse and I could feel myself going downhill into grief so very fast. I feared for my child who was only three when her Daddy died, how would she be without her Dad? I did my best to explain the need to talk with other bereaved and widowed people in Ireland and to learn if its possible to survive this horrible thing called widowhood.

If your reading this and are recently widowed, please know that yes, the pain does gently ease. For a while it’ll feel like one step forward and two back and no matter how difficult it may seem right now, it does get easier.

Day of the Radio Broadcast

The day came for the interview to be broadcast on air, I was in work and for that fifteen to twenty minutes, we did something that’s never done – the phones were taken off the hook.

I sat with my elbows on the desk, hands wrapped around my head… is it over yet?

Its difficult hearing your own story going out on the airwaves to the entire country. I thought of Peter’s and my own family who would be listening and hoped they’ll be all right because, they miss him too.

I also wondered if I’d explained well enough how the site works, doubt swirls your mind.

Then I remembered, if my story helps just one other, then it was worth it.

The piece came together really well and for me, it was a beautiful tribute to my husband Peter’s memory. Thank you Evelyn O’Rourke and all at the ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke‘ RTE Radio One show for your kindness and for sharing my story. Thank you also to Rehab and People of the Year Awards, what an incredible privilege to have been given.

And yes, I did learn who put the nomination forward, thank you David Curran its such a great honour.

Keep an Eye out for Part Two of this story over the coming days. I’ll be writing about the day RTE Arrived, what beautiful a surprise!

Listen to the Podcast

Play the Podcast – Today with Sean O’Rourke

The People of the Year Awards will be shown live on Sunday 15th April 2018 on RTE One after the 9pm news.




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