“GRAINNE had the best kind of death anyone could ask for. The consolation for me and the family afterwards is very hard to describe.”
The words of former Dublin inter-county footballer, Charlie Redmond explaining the impact on his family of the end of life hospice care received by his late wife.
Mr Redmond and retired Offaly senior hurler and GAA County Board chairman, Michael Duignan were interviewed by RTE’s Ella McSweeney on their experiences of losing their partners at the launch of the Hooves4Hospice fundraiser in the Greville Arms hotel, Mullingar on Thursday night last.
Mr Redmond’s wife died in Blanchardstown Hospice while Mr Duignan’s wife, Edel passed away without receiving hospice care.
The former Offaly All-Ireland medal winner recounted his wife’s battle with cancer from the young age of 33 until she passed away aged 41 ten years ago.
“Eel was completely ready to die, she was very prepared,” said Mr Duignan recalling the traumatic events of a decade ago.
She died from an infection and “did not get to the hospice stage,” he outlined.
He said he fully supported the fund-raising campaign for a Midlands Hospice but stressed he was “fed-up with the situation where we always seem to be behind in the Midlands.”
Mr Duignan encouraged people to become involved in fund-raising for the development but said it should not be on the people to provide the finance for the facility.
Recalling his wife’s last days in the hospice, Charlie Redmond said Grainne’s condition “actually improved due to the level of care she received.”
“I could never repay that debt of knowing that someone you love was pain free in her last days,” he said in an emotional interview.
Mr Redmond said it had always been the family’s intention that Grainne should die at home. But,he recalled his eldest daughter saying they were in “over their heads” and they made the decision to receive end of life care at Blanchardstown Hospice.
“She did not get treatment there, she got care which was unbelievable . . . they treated here with such dignity and every patient [with a terminal illness] deserves to have that comfortable passing away that Grainne had.”
He added: “She thought she was in a hotel and kept saying to me how are we going to pay for this.”
Mr Redmond said he had seen the other side of people having bad deaths from his work with Dublin fire brigade. “When I see the way Grainne died it’s really two different worlds,” he added.
Continued the former Dublin star: “The hospice allowed us to become a family again and we could stop being her carers.”
He said he was horrified to learn that there was no hospice in the Midlands and stressed that people in the region should be treated no different to elsewhere in the country.
Referring to the upcoming General Election, he said there was now a golden opportunity to make local politicians commit to the development.