Space to remember the lost little ones

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Denis Casey, End-of-Life Care Co-ordinator, UL Hospitals Group and Sr Helen Culhane, Founder, ChildrenÕs Grief Centre, open the ChildrenÕs Remembrance Area in the Chapel at University Hospital Limerick

A SPECIAL area where families who have suffered the heartbreak of losing a child can remember them has been created in the chapel at University Hospital Limerick.

The Childrens’ Remembrance project was the concept of parent Theresa Noonan, whose daughter Katherine died in the care of UHL Children’s Outreach Nurse Hilary Noonan and the Milford home care team.

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It has been developed by the Paediatric End-of-Life Care Committee at UHL and opened by Sr Helen Culhane, founder of the Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick.

The centrepiece of the new area is the Children’s Book of Remembrance, which is kept in a cabinet beautifully crafted by Mark Griffin and funded with a grant from Milford Care Centre Compassionate Communities.

The specially commissioned stained glass was designed by Alexander Vugs from Ildanach Studios in Cork. The stained glass has many different shapes and colours which represents the uniqueness and individuality of each child remembered. This was sponsored by the Brosnan family in memory of their mother, Eileen.

The Children’s Book of Remembrance can be viewed by arrangement through the pastoral care team at UHL. The book, which will be presented to the altar at the biennial remembrance service, contains each child’s details and a personal message. The book was funded by a donation from Liam and Yvonne Kelly and family in memory of their son and brother Joe.

Speaking as the area was opened and blessed last week, Sr Helen said it was an honour and a privilege for her to launch the remembrance area.

“When Denis Casey, the End-of-Life Care Co-ordinator in the hospital, approached me to do this, he would have been unaware that before the age of eight, I lost three brothers. Martin was a cot death at three months and James and John died at birth. They were twins.

UL Hospitals Group chief executive Colette Cowan said that a child’s death was one of the most difficult things that healthcare professionals had to deal with.

“Across the UL Hospitals Group, we have active and committed End-of-Life Care Committees who are dedicated to helping families through grief.”

She also pointed out that the area or the book of remembrance were not solely for children who had passed away in hospital.

“It is open to anybody to contact the pastoral care team to preserve their memories. There is no time limit,” she said.