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Brendan O'Connor on our TV, radio one, Brendan, for God's sake, lighten up and be a little more open to some positivity, says this texta nothing is ever absolutely RISK-FREE going to the supermarket, for example. Aviation is really good at adapting to threats and mitigating against them. That's why it's safe, says that texta. And I think I'm open enough to positivity, retexture Lokey. Donel had a job to do there and I had a job to do, and that is how it is.


And lest we say that I'm not being positive enough today, how about I give somebody a little trip away now within the borders of Ireland? I stressed out. So if you're dreaming about getting a break away from your four walls, then you might be interested in entering our competition today. So what we have is a prize for two people to stay in the luxurious five star passport hotel and spa in an askari in County Wicklow. So it's a two night stay.


Breakfast included both mornings and dinner on an evening of your choice in their seek a restaurant with views of the Sugarloaf, as you don't imagine. Imagine. So just it just so you're clear on what this is, someone else is going to make your bed and clean your room. Someone else is going to cook all your meals and you know, potentially you'll be away from your children as well if you can organise that. So to enter, what you have to do is connect the clips.


So we're going to play three clips over the course of the next hour. You simply have to tell me what do they all have in common?


So this is clip number one, went to the presidential inauguration. Yeah. What's the inauguration? I'm not attacking you. I'm a comedian. I like going on buses. This government does stuff big. It's like black Cadillac. They're black Cadillac and then a tractor. I don't know. What was it?


No, no, that's tricky. I give you a hint. That was Tim Allen there. You know, the actor and comedian Tim Allen talking about Donald Trump's Inauguration Day with Tim Allen is what you want to know. So wait until we've played all the three clips and then you can Texas your answer name to five one five five one. Now, an email came in to us this morning, and I'm going to read it, OK, because I think this is a conversation that is going on in a lot of families around the country at the moment.


So the email reads, My mother is 82. She's living on her own. Her mental health is plummeting for the obvious reasons, no activities or socializing with her friends since the beginning of the last lockdown and spending time with quotes. One household, which amounts to dinner with them once a week, know that the restrictions have eased somewhat. A conflict of opinions is really confusing me. One brother strongly believes we keep it at one household Christmas, he argues.


The lifting of the restrictions is a joke. The numbers are not substantially down and the whole country should remain in lockdown until the vaccine is rolled out to the elderly and those with underlying conditions. My other brother strongly believes Mom's mental health is more important at this stage, and we should allow our commander all of our houses during these Christmas weeks, one household at any one time. I'm really over it at this stage. Each of our three households in mom's vicinity is occupied with kids, teenagers and young adults.


What to do? It would be a massive help to my family and I imagine hundreds of other families, if you could address this problem on your show today. So, yeah, listen, I think there's a lot of conversations going on like this. So does anyone have any ideas on it? Or indeed, if somebody from Nevada wants to ring up and tell us what the answer to that is, they can't answer every single problem for every single household.


I know. But that is I think it's a tricky one that a lot of people are grappling with. And thanks for for that emailer. Now, another thing that a lot of people are really grappling with this year, as we all try and have as normal a Christmas as we can, there are going to be more families than ever this Christmas grieving who never expected they'd be grieving this Christmas. And, you know, and the best of times, grief can be overwhelming.


And then because of covid, many people didn't get a chance to say a proper goodbye. And that final journey of the end of life that is so precious to people was completely upended then the funerals that are so important to the people left behind that was upended as well. And people had to grieve apart from each other. And I suppose it's something that we have never experienced before. And and I I wonder, has the way we have processed grief this year have been turned upside down?


And is that another consequence of corporate poet and a wily and Aslan's Kreisky Dignam? Join me now to discuss this. Guys, you're both for Iraq and both of you have suffered significant losses this year and kind of come to you first. Your mom died during the first lucht. Don't tell me about that.


Yeah, that's right, Brendan. And first of all, I would like to say, just listening to their huge love goes out to all the people who've lost people during this very difficult time, and especially Hugi to all the frontline. Workers, especially the student nurses and midwives, we've all heard about them in recent times, they're all compassionate, caring, brilliant people. In my mother's case, she was in Newtown Barkhouse in Blakroc. You're right. We lost her right in the thick of the first shutdown.


It was the 11th of April. And as you said, I'm a poet. I love to read and into my head scheme that taking the words of Joan Didion, who said life changes in an instant, an ordinary instant. But I suppose in the case of anyone who lost somebody during this very difficult time, it wasn't ordinary. It was so extraordinary and it was very, very serious at the time when she died, we weren't allowed to touch each other.


To hold each other is very tricky. And my brother and I came up with the idea of looking in the window washer in the nursing home. She was luckily on the ground floor and we kind of scrambled through bushes. And I had never even thought of this until suddenly the urge came to see her. And so that's really what happened to us. We should die alone. Well, luckily, they were so kind and caring in the Newtown Sparkasse and Anri and the team there were amazing.


They did let my father in and they gave them kind of access, 24 access for the days leading up to her death. But we were it was so odd to be looking through a window at him almost up and touching her. Now, I know that so many people didn't have that privilege. And just listening to you earlier as well, it is true that we we adapt to the way we're dealing with the death and the way we have to grieve.


And we went to our funeral and there was only ten of us allowed. We we when we went to the funeral home, only a small number of us, my sister Roshen, my brother and then my father, we went in and we looked at my mum. We were only allowed there for a few minutes. So it was it was very, very strange. It was it was very odd. And I do think that there is a trauma to that, that you come home after the funeral and you're on your own.


Well, I have my husband and my daughter, but there's no grieving communally with people. This is very strange. I remember my friend and her husband, Ashley, and her husband came and stood outside the window of my house just to try and give give us some comfort. And the world was eerily still then. Do you remember, Brendan? It was so joyous. I do. So I mean and then I think when you're grieving as well, it often feels like that you're set apart from the world anyway because this world is going on around you and they don't know.


Yeah. That she's gone and you were there in this other war.


And now I have to say there was huge joy because I was there. Yeah, I was talking to my sister yesterday, and it's strange to say that there was joy in this difficult time. But I am so lucky. I have a brilliant family. There were five of us and we grew up in a very noisy, happy house. And my mother was just a beautiful person, full of love and joy. And in a way, do you remember that brilliant sunshine that was there back?


She died on Easter Saturday and the day was just so bright and so sunny. And the nurse who was caring for her, she opened the window and said, I'm so sorry for your out there. And she sent out a tray of ice cream and cakes for us. And we kind of felt we were standing in this sunny garden of the home thinking, oh, that's Mum. Now she's sending us out a little picnic. Yeah. Because she really loved the grandkids and we were all laughing.


And then suddenly two minutes later, the nurse appeared again. But it was sunny and bright. And I remember my sister went and stole from a local park, loads of cherry blossoms. And we went to the grave and we threw the cherry blossoms in. And my mum loved singing. So I know Chris Christie loves music as well. And we put on Shivaji Waddi for her. And, you know, it was brilliant. We actually sang and kind of moved, danced a bit at the graveside.


So we had a bit of fun. And you have to you have to steal moments of joy where you got you, don't you?


And Christie, your dad was in the nursing home, too, when he died, wasn't he?


Yeah, it was very similar to end of the story there. So basically and when we when we were told to go Culvers and we were told he had a very mild version of it. So we weren't really concerned. And then I just got this urge to bring him this day. And he had told us we could face time. But my father had dementia. So I talked to face time. I was just confused. And so I didn't really get into that particular day.


And I rang the nurse and she was standing beside me, father. So I said, look, put him on the phone. So she put him on the phone and he was saying why he's not coming to visit me. And so I was trying to explain to Annabel covid and stuff, but he couldn't grasp the concept anyway. So I rang. The family is very similar again. And I rang the family the next day, that day. And they said, look, why don't we all go tomorrow?


I'll get ten hours to bring them up to the window and we'll talk to them through the window. And that needs to be something, you know. So that's basically what we did the next day. And he was on the forest floor. So more and then. In order to hold this event and then after this, you know, we all went out in the car park and he just lay down and died. So I got a phone call the next day that he passed away.


And it was just the first thing we are told that it has to be out of there by 10 o'clock the next morning and the coffin had to be sealed and stuff like that. So we never seen we never seen them. I don't know how he was dressed going into the customer, anything like that, you know. So then those are the kind. So we got we had a funeral and again, it was it was ten, ten, ten people allow the funeral.


Now I have seven siblings. We had five had eight children. So we all have grandchildren and great grandchildren. So we are trying to pick and choose who could go and who couldn't go to the funeral, which was a nightmare, so that there was again a beautiful joy as we drove by the old road and things that we grew up in an area, the whole street was out. My father was is a big opera fan. But years ago he said to me in the living years with Mike and the mechanics, which absolutely shocked me because he wasn't into used to think of what I did was crap.


So he wasn't into it wasn't into contemporary music anyway. So the undertaker opened up the coffin on the road, opened the back of the coffin, and he had to speak and he played in the living years and the whole street was there, the walks up and you know, I was amazed and it was an amazing vibe. So that was that. And I was then we got to the Democrats at the end to the graveyard saying, your phone is ringing.


Sorry. All right. I just turn it off. Yeah. So we got to do the other of the graveyard then. And I was singing Danny Boy for the funeral. And he says, after the Cheney sisters and brothers were all crying and just standing there and you couldn't go near them, you know, it's just so it's so noirish because I don't know if it's interesting or it's just a family thing, but we're very touchy feely in the family.


And now I'm looking at my sister and my heart is breaking, you know, and you can't go over and over. Ah. So it was really it was really strange. And I remember thinking after and I was trying to look at my mother died a couple of years ago during normal. I know that feeling was never in any in any circumstance. But I think, you know, when you wake somebody and you go to the funeral parlor and you know, you say you see them in their coffin and they're saying goodbye and it gives you a sense of closure.


And I don't I didn't get this either, because, as I said, I just have a memory of looking at them with two noses and full and protective gear with face masks and gloves holding them up to a window. That's the last we'll have any father, you know. And it's it's just it's just strange. So surreal, you know? Yeah.


And and you didn't get that closure then of all the ritual and everything, Christi. So absolutely not.


That's you know, because, you know, as I said when I got the phone call, I just never laid eyes on my father again. That that was, you know, that that picture of in the window, it was my last picture of them. And it was just, you know, I think when it when they got you all the way up. So it was kind of it's kind of a gradually gets you into the into the idea that this person has passed away and that we know that all that whatever, that, you know, whatever I believe and you in the sense that this thing is happening, whereas this it was like it was like an emergency, you know, and it was just weird.


It's horrible.


And Christi, since then then because that if you like, you have grief interrupted there. How has the grieving been then recovered when I suppose you still have to stay apart from people and, you know, you're you're you're still having treatment and everything. Are you sorry? You have to be very careful.


Yeah, that's it. I mean, it's because of the funeral and Mueller's brothers and sisters were a little bit more adventurous, let's say, in there, in there and consoling each other. But because I was undergoing chemo at the moment, they had to be very careful. So I was kind of standing 20 feet away from them, you know, and then since then, you know, over the months, my end and things like that, everything is just it's just so separated and it's just hard it's hard to grieve on your own, you know?


Yeah. I only the person that understands our father, though, is the other family members, really. You know what I mean? They know the kind of, you know, the the nitty gritty of their life, their father and stuff. So if you can't console with them, it just leaves. It leaves you wanting.


Yeah. Yeah. And that that idea of a funeral without hugs, it's very sad.


It was terrible even in the days. And Kristie, I have to say, I'm so sorry for you as well. My mother didn't die from covid, but she she died from post pneumonia complications. But it was the same thing of looking through that window. And just a few days before she died, my. Daughter and I went to the window and looked through and the nurse pushed the bed close and she whispered in my mother's ear, she said, you know, your daughter and your granddaughter there?


And my mom said, big kiss. She whispered to us. And I just left that elated because you got did you get another good bye? I didn't see her, but the nurse said she's just sad because and actually, I wrote a little short poem if you wanted me to read it. Brendan, just it's time. I'd love to hear it. And it's Christie just listening to you. I just keep hearing the words through the window, through the window.


And that's what I call this phone, because I feel that there is an inarticulately to grief in this particular time. It's hard to explain it. And so I just wrote this quite visual little poem about looking through the window and how strange it was. Odd but necessary. The solution that comes to us to stare through glass at you. You're parched face slanted towards the afternoon light on your wall, a forest you painted when we were young to red coated figures walk under trees.


And we remember the bedtime story you read to us. Wardrobe portal into snow, a lamp post, Narnia's Wood. Now here is the mast carer opening the window to the love we yell in such force it unsettles you. We're ready to turn back to our strange world where we stand apart. Can't touch but lucky we've seen your lips pucker into one last kiss. Stephanie. Wow, that's amazing.


You mentioned well, you know, I'm really into myself here because as you mentioned in the poem there and about because I know it's something that happened for you that different versions of your mother have since come back to you from different times. And I think it happens a lot of people that when when they when the person's story ends, suddenly it's almost as if they see the whole of different times come back. And she comes back to you as a younger woman.


Well, that's true, actually. I mean, I think my family think I'm not here. But when you when you're grieving, particularly in this weird stage, you feel raw. And her birthday, she nearly reached her eighty second year. Her birthday was the 10th of May, which is very close to the time she died. And I kind of woke up and had this waking dream where I saw her and I was like a gift that she she gave to me on her birthday where she was vivid and young and bright and smiling.


And she was sitting outside my father's eyes wearing beautiful clothes and looking lovely. And there was a figure beside her and it was her father. And then I looked it up afterwards. And if you believe in these kinds of things, they say that if spirits come back, they usually bring an older spirit to mind them or care for them. So it was so, so touching that I saw on that particular day. I told my sister and she said, you're lucky, took her, you know, to see her again because she was a radiant person.


And if that was her in another state, if there is another state, I would be very happy to keep that picture in my head as opposed to looking through the window, Christi. Which is a very tough one, isn't it?


Oh, yeah, it's awful. You know, for that to be the final you know, my final picture of my father. It's just it's just awful. Yes. I wouldn't want to be sorry, Christi. Are you going to say something?


It's just it's just in every aspect of this, we kind of keep up to accepting things, you know, because it's because of the unprecedented situation that we're in, you know, in every situation, like we were told that it was only 10, 11. And you can't just accept these things for the better. It is for the grace of God and stuff. But it's still hot, you know. And yeah, it is generally because you are saying they're bragging about the after you know, like from the father's birthday, we all went out for a meal just to celebrate his birthday.


But again, it's it's not the same when I sit and find this treaty from everybody, you know. And yeah, I just, you know, as a nation, we're very, very, very touchy feely nation, I think. And it just it's amazing. Amaze me how much that that rubs us because I was trying to address that, trying to compare it to my mother's funeral. And, you know, all of that is that's what gives you a closure and your acceptance as all of those things, you know, those little whispers that, you know, when you see a brother crying and this something, they're there to comfort them.


All those things, I think, will give you a closure. And that whole acceptance of the person passing on, I mean, you don't have that. It just makes you feel wanting. You know, just I just I just felt one thing after my father and I still feel to this day, you know, and we don't know how he was dressed and things like that looking like that.


You were presumably there was a good suit there that you would have wanted him to go away. Yeah.


You know, everything would have been laid on. But as I said, we don't know, you know, how that it we just hope for the best, you know, that he was looked after and Christian as well.


It's very hard for people who are away. Like my older brother lives in the States. He couldn't make it back. But thank God for Zoome like it was very lonely when we came home. And my team, my family, we set up room and we connected with everybody on the day of the funeral. And that was helpful, you know. Yeah, well, Christmas be difficult for both of you.


Well, I was only thinking that I feel that I, you know, have been up for Christmas album and just this natural. And finally, it made us like a lantern with a picture of my father now. So I put it up on a washed up thing that we have as a family just to show them. So we're going to we're gonna go for Christmas and just put on this. Great. But, yeah, you know, you're trying to all the time.


I'm trying to get that closure, you know, and trying to see what brings that closure that I got with my mother, you know, when she passed away about nine years ago. So but I still as I said, I just did the one thing on this for some reason. I don't know.


And are you dreading the first Christmas? Well, I think I'm going to try and find some sort of hope in my family, my own family, my daughter, my husband, and connects with my family. But my dad will be going to my sister's house. And as Kristi said, we've all been making an effort because throughout I just keep thinking of all those people who are caring, the nurses, the doctors, the front liners. So we we were very like Christy's family.


We stuck to the rules and we did the best we could. And we just have to hope that we will be able to hug someday, Christy, our family and be together.


And really remember with you, when these vaccines come in, we've got some sort of normality. Last year we had. Exactly. Yeah, yeah, please, God, listen, Christian, and thank you so much for that. I mean, listen, you spoke to a lot of people out there. And by the way, I would bet you mentioned Joan Didion earlier. I think that book, The Year of Magical Thinking, I haven't always dealt with grief very well myself.


But that book is like a manual, isn't it? It's an extraordinary book for anyone grieving, I do think. OK, and the and Kristy Dignam, thanks very much.