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Comedian calls for national conversation on grief

Author: Petrina Vousden
03 May 2017
  • Katherine Lynch at the launch of her Camino de Santiago campaign for Irish Hospice Foundation

Comedian Katherine Lynch has called on Irish society to think about how it deals with bereavement and grief.

The character actress who presented hit TV shows like Wagon's Den and Working Girls admitted the death of her own father Tom Lynch left her unable to cope with life. She said people need to take time to grieve no matter how busy they are.

Katherine said: “Two days after I buried my father I had to perform at Vicar Street. That was really tough.”

“You are really fooling yourself if you don’t take time for bereavement. Bereavement is a really important part of our society.

“I didn’t take the time and then I really ended up having a really bad time, maybe six or seven months later in the sense that I just couldn’t cope any more.

“I was asked to do another Wagon’s Den and I said no to it, because I needed to step back from it.

I went to New York for three months and I hid my head in the sand.”

She eventually went for bereavement counselling. She said it is time for society to look back at how grief was treated in the past.

Katherine said: “Years ago they wore the black band for a year and they didn’t make decisions and everybody around them had to be as kind as possible and we need to think about that.”

Katherine made her comments during an interview with Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show on RTE1..

She is walking the Camino de Santiago in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation from September 24th to 1st October this year.

Katherine called for other people to sign up and join her on the walk this week during an appearance on TV3 chat show Elaine.

“Get on the trip, there will be great fun as well, there will be great chats along the way, there will be tears, there will be laugher, and wine stops. There are wine stops,” she said.

Katherine added:  “It’s very close to me because I come from a small town. I have come to an age in my mid- forties that people pass away. You’re closer to people for a longer time. I’ve seen how hospice helps people from my town and how kind it is and ow much dignity hospice gives people before they leave this world. “

The Irish Hospice Foundation operates the website. It advocates for hospice care to be available to everyone, no matter where they live across the country. It initiated programmes like Hospice Friendly Hospitals and funds the Nurses for Night Care Service which provides care to non-cancer patients.

Helen McVeigh, IHF Director of Fundraising, commented: “By stepping out on the Camino you are embarking on a personal challenge but also supporting people nationwide who are facing death or bereavement. Our vision is for no one to face these difficult times without the care and support they need. This is your chance to make every step matter."

She added:"Katherine is an amazing ambassador and the Irish Hospice Foundation is delighted to have such a high profile personality leading the way. Nurses for Night Care service provided 2,027 nights of care in 2016 and helped 600 families. 48 hospitals have been involved in our HFH programme since it was founded 10 years ago.” 

Katherine will take on the role of Ms Hannigan in a production of the musical Annie at the National Concert Hall this December.

Further information on walking the Camino with Katherine in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation is available here.






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