Let me introduce you to the most gorgeous woman in this world, this woman travelled from her care home in January 2019 to be with me and to support me in Showcase Ireland. This is the woman who has held my hand and got me through losing my gorgeous Ryan – she has stayed solidly by my side for the last 23 years, she has never let go of me, nor I of her.
This is Sr. Therese Culhane. At the time Ryan died, Therese was the chaplain of Temple Street Children’s Hospital. From the moment we entered that hospital with our little boy, Therese stepped in and became the voice that we had lost. It’s so hard to describe this in words, and even after 23 years, I still cry as I write. Therese took over everything for us, making sure that our lost voice was heard in even the smallest things in relation to how we were ever going to let Ryan go. It was never going to be easy, but if anyone could be there to ensure that it was how we wanted it to be, it was
Therese called the mortuary in Temple Street (and I’m sorry, I know most people will baulk at the thoughts of a children’s mortuary but really, it is a fact of life that all of us hope we will never know) but she called it “Rose Cottage” so as little as that may seem, we never had to say to friends and
family to come to the mortuary, we just told them to ask for Rose Cottage.
On the first night we had to leave Ryan there and believe me, we so didn’t want to, Therese took my hands, looked into my eyes and promised me that she would cradle my baby in her arms all night, that he would never be left alone, it was the only reason I left even though I didn’t sleep. I must
have called her every hour on the hour that night asking if she still had him – and on the hour that magnificent woman took every call.
I can’t even go through the motions of everything else, it’s still just too painful but family stepped in, helpless, to try and do everything they could to support Liam and I, Amy and Conor. None of us had ever experienced anything like it before and truly, I hope we don’t ever have to experience it again.
This woman, just made sure that everything that had to inevitably happen, happened with mine and Liam’s full consent – this was, after all, the last thing we could do for our boy.
I won’t dwell because I know for most people, who haven’t gone through it, it’s hard to hear but just after Ryan’s funeral myself and Liam had to leave the premises where people had gathered to have refreshments. We lay on the bed together and we asked “what do we do now?”. Liam said, “lets
ring Therese”. We did and this amazing Angel of a woman answered immediately, she guided us and helped us like nobody else could at the time.
So in January just gone, at Showcase Ireland 2019, this Angel, complete with her zimmer frame got one of the care workers from the care home to drive her to the RDS so she could finally see (ironically) the beauty that had become from our loss. I have never seen such pride on someone’s face and so much love. Myself and Therese, it seemed, had finally come full circle. This woman will forever be my absolute human Angel.
I love you Therese and thank you from the very depths of my soul my beautiful, beautiful Angel.