'I lost my mother, brother and sister within months during pandemic'

A care home in Hamilton has paid tribute to those who died during the pandemic on National Reflection Day.

A woman has paid tribute to her mother and siblings who died during the coronavirus pandemic on the second anniversary of the first lockdown. 

Irene O’Brien, who works at a care home in Hamilton, suggested to her manager that they mark National Reflection Day with residents and their families. 

The quality and training manager at Abbeydale Court Care Home said the poignant tribute, which saw a piper play as balloons were released into the sky, helped her to say her farewells to her family.

“Unfortunately I’ve lost my mum, my sister and my brother recently, so [National Reflection Day] is personal to me and personal to the residents as well,” she told STV News.

“We just thought it was a mark of respect, compassion and for us all to come together today as one, coming together to help each other.”

Irene found the celebration comforting following her loss. STV News

Irene said she felt she was unable to give her family “a proper farewell” due to Covid restrictions surrounding funerals during lockdown.

“My mother and my brother [died] five weeks apart and we couldn’t hold a proper funeral service for them including a piper and I found it really, really difficult to experience,” she said. 

“It was as if the funeral took place but it wasn’t a proper farewell.

“We could only have 20 [people at the funeral] and I come from a very big family, so this is a tribute to them today. For me personally but also for my residents and relatives here.”

Irene believes the memorial event has helped staff and residents come to term with their grief over the loss of loved ones during the pandemic. 

“This is helping us, it is part of our grieving process and today for me personally, it was my tribute especially to my mum, my brother and my sister.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code