Galway Hospice – Remembering Ellen Hannon

“My Mother always enjoyed listening to Lyric FM over many years. Even when not conscious, a radio was placed on her bedside locker enabling her to enjoy her favourite station.”

My mother, Ellen Hannon (nee Lynch), died in the Galway Hospice on 10th August 2016. Reared in Galway, she was educated by the Presentation and Dominican Nuns. My Mother was the first President of the Presentation Past Pupils Union. She always had a great affinity with both the Presentation and Dominican Nuns and from her school days, made many friendships, which lasted all through her life.

While still in her teens, she met my Father, Hugh Hannon. They were married in June 1943. Their union lasted fifty-three years until my father’s death in July 1999. They had five sons of which I was the youngest.

It could be said that my Mother led a full and active life. For many years, she managed and ran an office for a firm in Galway, while at the same time rearing a family. She was at once a homemaker, mother and worker. She was busy over many years balancing her time between work and home.

After retirement, she was a keen golfer as a member of Galway Golf Club and her love of bridge made her an enthusiastic member of the Salthill Bridge Club. After my Father became ill, my Mother nursed him for a number of years until his death.

When her final illness approached, she was confined to bed for a number of years. She was looked after and cared for by two of her sons (my Brothers) who were unmarried and living in the house. This did not mean that my Mother slowed down – far from it. For her 84th birthday, my Brother gave, as a present, a mobile phone to my Mother. It is a myth to say that older people are intimidated by technology. In a very short time, my Mother had become very proficient with the new phone. Through calls and texts, she established a very wide circle of contacts. She was always up-to-date with both the local happenings and international events.

A great joy to her was to be able to see the celebration of Mass on CCTV in the parish church in Salthill. My Brother set up a laptop from which she could follow the various proceedings in the church, be it funerals, marriages or other ceremonies. She developed a great rapport with the local Parish priest as a result. They used to communicate by mobile phone on the various happenings and events/news of the parish. The Parish Priest used to make pastoral calls to my Mother, which she always enjoyed and they would exchange all the news and going on in Salthill.

Despite the care of my Brothers and some excellent home help, my Mother’s health deteriorated in the spring of 2016. She was admitted to the Galway Hospice due to her weakened condition. It was a great relief to the family that her care was given over to such professional and caring staff and volunteers. This lifted a great burden from the family to know that my Mother was being cared for in such a kind way.

My mother, Ellen Hannon, died in Bay 3, Room 16 on 10th August 2016.

My Mother was in the Hospice for a number of weeks before her death. The kindness shown by all in the Hospice who came into contact with her was of great comfort to us as a family. In many ways, it was in the small gestures that highlighted the culture of caring of the Foundation.

My Mother always enjoyed listening to Lyric FM over many years. Even when not conscious, a radio was placed on her bedside locker enabling her to enjoy her favourite station. Her last birthday, her 96th, was on 25th July 2016. All members of the Hospice staff celebrated with us – the family – making it such a special day for our Mother. How poignant that this was to be her last birthday. On the death of our Mother, the sympathy and kindness shown to us as a family by all the members of the staff, was both moving and greatly appreciated.

The work of Galway Hospice Foundation is supported in great part by voluntary donations. This applies to all the hospices all around the country. It is a reflection of the spirit of community and volunteerism in our modern society. Not only in Galway but all over the country, great care, kindness and comfort is being given to people at the end of their lives. This is done by doctors, nurses and volunteers who give so much of themselves to look after the welfare of people at a most vulnerable time. The support this gives to families of loved ones, at a time of great sadness and stress, cannot be measured. It is one of the great strengths of our country and should never be forgotten. Long may it last.

Written by Gerard Hannon on behalf of the Hannon family.

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