From inside the ‘Cocoon’ – Dying

Padraig Byrne peers into the hospital room where his brother Francis had just died. (Copyright Padraig Byrne)

This image will almost certainly become an iconic one. Here is Padraig Byrne, looking into the hospital room where his brother Francis had just died. Unable to be by his dying brother’s bedside, Padraig was desperate to be near him at this time and seized the opportunity to get as near as possible by pulling up a park bench and being able to see into the room where his brother lay.

Who would have thought that people are dying alone in hospitals, with family members unable to be there?

Such is the impact of the Covis-19 lockdown.

In Ireland, we ‘do’ death, dying and funerals very well, with huge rituals, crowds of people, plates of sandwiches, prayers, handshakes, all-night sittings at wakes, more plates of sandwiches and tea, more handshakes. Often unknown nooks and crannies of the life of the deceased are revealed by all who knew them, and often, that there are surprises that many knew nothing about. But these comforting rituals, like everything else during this crisis, has been turned on its head.

Now funerals are sadder and lonelier events with no church service and only a handful of mourners permitted in the cemetery.

No rituals

No comfort

No sandwiches

No handshakes and

No hugs.

Such hard and challenging times for all who are the bereaved.white-petaled flower illustration


And that includes a dear friend who lost her beautiful mother just a week ago. We could not stand with her when we should have been travelling from all over the country to share in her grief with our hugs, handshakes and words of sympathy.

It has happened and continues to happen all over the world, already more than half a million times, and counting.

We grieve for all of those who have been lost and for all those left behind. And this is for them.

  • Here in Ireland, everyone who is compromised by health issues and those aged over 70 must stay at home, with food and medication being delivered by family members or teams of volunteers.
  • This is called ‘Cocooning’ and this will be a series of short posts from inside the cocoon.



Filed under Ageing in Ireland, Covid-19, Ireland

6 responses to “From inside the ‘Cocoon’ – Dying

  1. Leith

    Silver Voice reminds me that caring more for others is an important lesson we should all take from this tragic crisis. Best wishes!

  2. Desperately sad. Indeed I have a family situation right now but it’s impractical if not quite impossible to travel from Jersey to the UK at present.

    You’re cocooned at 70 in Ireland?! I’m annoyed enough to be considered ‘vulnerable’ at age 65+ here but at least we haven’t been banged up entirely. Yet.

    • Well we are ‘cocooned’ at 70 or at any age if
      you have an underlying health issue. It’s tedious, but if it keeps the numbers down we will go along with it! Others may wander a maximum of 2 km from home for exercise. Buying food and medicine is alsos permitted all with physical distancing of course . You should be safe enough on an island? Stay safe!

  3. Congratulations! Your blog has been included in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    Thank you, Chris

  4. Such terribly difficult times – just a heartbreaking photo. We have had strict social distancing here in Western Australia but it has not been as draconian as other places and we have not been in complete lockdown. My elderly father in North England lives alone and has been finding it very hard though he does get out each day for a walk. My brother can’t visit him at present, which has been especially difficult. Very stressful and unprecedented times – take care X

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