Archive for the ‘Bereavement’ Category

Special Saturday nights..

November 5, 2019

Gay Byrne

The Irish Times morning update popped into my inbox with a powerful image of one of Ireland’s iconic figures.

Without having to read anything the moment when I see that image of Gay Byrne a thousand stories, memories and feelings invade my head.

For me, I guess the strongest is me as a young kid being at home with my family on Saturday nights, in my pyjamas, feeling warm and safe. That special thought brings tears to my eyes as time moved along pretty damn fast and I’d do anything to have dad in the room with me again.

Clearly a multitude of other things come to mind like the interviews with Ireland’s biggest punk, Bob Geldof and of course “the rocker”, Phil Lynott and so many of the other interviews with stars, personalities and those in the middle of the controversies of the time (innocent times!).

The Toy Show went from being “toys for me” to being toys for my kids – it is like he was there as we grew up.

Gay, thank you for the memories and for being there on some special Saturday nights.   

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Soft messages and the downward spiral of Social Media

January 27, 2019

AlgorithimsIt’s a funny, sad old time.

It’s been a year since my dad passed away so I wrote a blog post (as I do) to capture what I’ve been feeling and published it.

I have my blog set up so that when I publish, it automatically pushes the post out to my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

If my posts are business oriented posts they are suited to LinkedIn and Twitter and if they are more personal they are suited to Facebook and Twitter.

The auto publish facility that I have set up with my blog doesn’t differentiate and this personal post was pushed out to all.

You would reasonably expect that this personal post would “perform” best on Facebook (which is really the best platform for family and friends) but the platform where I got the biggest feedback and reaction was on LinkedIn, which makes no sense really!!

I was getting some really heartfelt responses from people who clearly had read the post and were leaving some nice messages and even sharing some of their own experiences.

Why wouldn’t this personal post resonate more on Facebook and Twitter?

There is nothing wrong with my logic – this type of post is most relevant to my Facebook audience, those friends and family who use it primarily to chill out, catch up on news and gossip when the work of the day is done.

The truth is Facebook (and Twitter is also following suit) have gone way too far, the algorithms are manipulating the posts from your friends so much that you end up seeing very few of these in between too many sponsored posts.

At this stage very few of us are seeing the posts by friends and family and those from organisation and business pages that we follow.

So, my conclusion isn’t that the business audience are suddenly more interested in “personal stuff”, it’s that LinkedIn is still just about hanging in there as a place that isn’t totally warped by those algorithms, those set of rules that dictate what we see and don’t see. I wonder about those working in these social media companies and if they believe that what they are actually is a good thing – they are not!!

They are eroding the value that we have in their platforms,  bit by bit , which will impact on their market value eventually.

As for LinkedIn, hopefully this platform will try to stay pure.

For anyone in business using these platforms, if you want your posts to be seen you need to advertise – we are in that phase where people think it’s still worthwhile.

It won’t last too long …

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sad times and amazing mums

January 21, 2019

This week last year was a tough week, probably one of the toughest.

Dad was at Marymount Hospice and visibly getting worse with each passing day and there was a relay of family members sitting by his bedside 24/7 holding his hand and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

The visitors came and went, all coming to spend some last time with him and he tried his very best to be attentive and at a minimum give them a customary thumbs up as they left.

Laura, my sis was terrific and barely left his side, my brother Colin (who had to come from the States) was a star and the grandkids showed their true colours and my own Ellen also had a path worn to that place, where we all hate to even contemplate, but one where dignity and care are delivered with an abundance of compassion and kindness.

I tried my best to play my part, visiting for hours each day and yes I did do a few overnights but I must admit I struggled with that caring part, that minding, nursing instinct – it felt strange for me as this was my strong dad, the one that cared for us and not the other way around.

I think in a funny way, that he would have realised he was in serious trouble if I was by his side helping him with his food, or drinks as that was all he was able for at that stage.

On the night of the 25th January, 2018 my dad, Michael Canty peacefully slipped away with us all by his side.

I deliberately haven’t mentioned my mum yet, but on this night she insisted that we all said a Rosary, not one decade but the full shebang!

I whispered to my daughter, Ellen that this might finish him off – humour can be a great way to lighten the pain at such times and dad would have been the very first one to say something funny to cheer you up or take your mind off something bad.

I spoke too soon and literally with the very last words of the Rosary, with us all sitting in a circle holding his and each others  hands he took his very last breath and left us.

Mum is a colossal tower of strength and was incredible with dad during his sickness, minding both him and us. During those last weeks she barely left his side and while she was losing the love of her life she still was so conscious of how all of us were coping at this awful time.

Since then mum has been incredible. It’s nearly a full year on and in particular the last few weeks have been really tough for her.

We all know dad took a bad turn on Christmas Day, we know the day he left the house for the Bon Secours and never came home again, we know where he was on New Years; Eve, we know the day he was told he was going to Marymount (that was heart breaking “I thought I was getting better, now I’m really worried” he said) and we can pretty much relive each calendar day until the 25th and the funeral.

Mum has been so positive, organising the funeral, responding to all the letters and cards, getting out as much as she can, she goes to mass each day and visits the cemetery, she comes over for dinner regularly, she meets the neighbours, she visits dad’s sister, and she warmly greets the procession of visitors who all enjoy her fantastic company. If she’s not up to visiting she tells us, and that’s ok too.

Of course she is in mourning and of course she is deeply upset and she does have her teary moments but she has been a warm, brilliant, caring and strong person for the rest of us.

Dad was lucky, we are all so lucky.

So, on this tough week I wanted to acknowledge and salute one of the very best people that I know on this planet, my mum, Ann Canty.

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

The Season of Goodwill?

January 6, 2019

Christmas Carol

Another Christmas “season” comes to an end.

The long break that we were looking forward to for ages, the one we all needed to get some much needed R and R,, just came and went in a flash and it is done, the Christmas tree is down and we get back to our normal routines and kick off another year with resolutions and great intentions,

This year was a strange one, well at least it was for me.

This time last year the big “C” finally got the better of my dad, he had a bad turn literally as dinner was served on Christmas day and then we entered that dark and horrible, inevitable tunnel that saw him sadly pass away on the 25th January.

So heading into this Christmas break I wondered how it was going to be for me and the family and I could see this “dilemma” echoed by so many others on social media and in the general conversations that people have – for many it just isn’t a good time for many different reasons.

I wasn’t really sure how I would feel, how it was going to be for my mum and the rest of the family.

Thankfully it felt great, the decorations went up and I could not help but be carried along by the genuine season of “Goodwill”.

I felt a genuine sense of joy, we had worked hard all year and we were going to enjoy a much deserved break and spend precious time with friends, family and the two dogs, Honey and Bert!

One silly moment captured what this time of year is all about for me.

We were in a huge queue in the fantastic newly revamped Dunnes Stores in Bishopstown Court in Cork, which nearly stretched the full length of one of the aisles.

I’m sure that this was the very last place anyone wanted to be spending an hour of their busy lead up to Christmas and instead of being stressed and irritated in the queue people were in great form and there was plenty of friendly banter between everyone.

There wasn’t one cranky person, the Dunnes Stores team even went as far as handing out sweets and bottles of water to those in the queues, and for those with babies and the odd older person who wasn’t great on their feet, they were moved up without any grumble from anyone.

There was one guy in a line directly opposite me and we were having some fun as my queue seemed to move a lot faster than his – I won the race!

Everywhere you go at this time of the year people wish you Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year and while part of it is formula, a big part of it is genuine – we are allowed to be nice to each other at this time!

How bad is that?

A close friend of mine (who absolutely hates Christmas and refuses to get together at this time) sent me a text asking how I was. I think she was expecting me to be down because of dad but instead she got the opposite and she got really cross with me when I explained that I was in great form and feeling genuine joy.

You must think of others who are having a hard time at Christmas” she responded.

Of course I do think of others but I am joyful and I won’t alter that because of your beliefs!

I pushed her to join us over Christmas – even if you don’t “believe” it’s still a great time to relax and enjoy the company of friends without the stress of work and life.

Nothing doing unfortunately, and she insisted that she would avoid all contact until the “season of goodwill” was over…bizarre!

The present I bought for her will be delivered some time in the next few weeks.

My biggest concern was for my mum this Christmas but she refused to be down, she put up her tree and decorations and despite the incredible sadness and loneliness she had fun and spent lots of time with us, as well as the inevitable tears for dad, which we all shed at various times – we miss him deeply.

So reflecting on it all, the traditions, the commercialism, the symbolism and the rare time off I feel it is the very best time of the year, a time to be embraced and enjoyed with friends and family.

And if nothing else, it is a “season of goodwill” and how bad, that for this special window of time each year we are all a little nicer and a little kinder to each other.

How many weeks is it to Christmas?

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Missing the simple chit chat

December 9, 2018

 

Mum called me this morning.

She had been to mass (as she does each morning) and she wanted to share a little moment with me.

The gospel that morning had been about the two blind men that Jesus had cured in Galilee by touching their eyes.

Mum told me that when she heard this she had to do everything in her power to keep the laughter in, as she instead was thinking of the rhyme that dad used always share with us and all the grand kids.

He used deliver this rhyme with actions and funny gestures and in some ways it summed up everything that this gorgeous man was all about. He had a great sense of humour, he adored children and would do anything to make them laugh.

One fine day in the middle of the night,

Two blind men got up to fight,

Back to back they faced each other,

Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t, see

So they chose a dummy for a referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,

A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralysed donkey passing by, kicked the blind man in the eye,

Knocked him through a nine inch wall,

Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,

And came to arrest the two dead boys,

If you don’t believe this story’s true,

Ask the blind man he saw it too!

This was a tall tale that has been passed down from generation to generation and everyone seems to have a slightly different version.

Mum thought of dad as she does all of the time and she couldn’t stop laughing.

She missed him and misses him every day. She misses the simple chit chat the most and of course, his humour.

He wasn’t there with her, as he always had been but of course he was, he always is.

Mum misses him, we all do

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

A salute to my first boss, James Barber

November 19, 2018

Greg Canty

I was really sad today to find out that my very first boss, James Barber sadly passed quite recently at Marymount Hospice.

Many people play a big role in your life, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, a classmate, a colleague, a child, a life partner but your very first boss is a very special role and in my case, James Barber was the very best boss I could have had.

Why James choose this enthusiast, post leaving cert 17 year old with a big afro, beyond other candidates I’ll never quite know but I’m very grateful that he did and I’m forever in his debt that he treated me so well and gave me a hunger and love for business as well as a lesson in how to treat young people in their first ever roles.

(The pic is of me on my first day in the job, September 1982 – my mother was very proud if me!!)

The brilliant thing about James is that he always treated me with respect. I never felt like a young kid, he brought me to business meetings when we met clients and he made me feel like my opinion and my input was always valuable.

In particular, I remember our long trips in the car to see a client in Tralee and at the end of those days I used come away from them buzzing after learning so much.

He gave all of us in the office great training, he always gave us detailed briefings and clear guidance about each client so that we were always fully informed and therefore confident that we could execute our work well and we did just that. He was the ultimate professional but he also knew how to motivate us.

James was the first person who introduced me to the world of computers – god knows how much it cost but the practice bought a machine and it sat in his office and we were invited to use it and complete tasks for clients. It sounds odd now but it was really progressive and great for all of us.

My proud boast was that we (Barber & O’Leary) were a lot more than auditors and accountants, we were business consultants and for the most part it always felt like we were adding huge value and I credit James for that clever brand positioning, which always helped us to differentiate against competitors.

He was a great accountant, but he was also a great businessmen and I loved every minute of the work on some of the projects that he was involved with.

Towards the end of my days there after I had qualified I was getting itchy feet as I wanted to be even more involved in business and not just working on accounts, so I moved on.

I think James had other plans for me and it was always a regret of mine that I didn’t explore that more but I had made up my mind to move on.

A few years ago, James actually became a client when he came to Fuzion for help with media for a project he was working on and thankfully our input made a difference and we achieved our objective for him – in a very odd way I found it strange to work for him as I still felt he was my boss, still Mr.Barber and not a peer in the business world!

To this day I still talk about those formative years working at 80a South Mall so warmly and I credit James for my grasp of all types of business and the valuable skills he taught this eager young man.

When anyone passes I firmly believe that they live on through everyone they influenced and I know there is a part of him in me.

James…Thank you for being a great boss and for giving me such a great foundation and I hope I can be just as good for all the young people that start their careers with Fuzion.

Sincere condolences to his wife and children, Vivienne, Stephen, David and Amanda.

Rest In Peace..

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Mother, the Mother-in-Law and the Queen

July 28, 2018

Pat O'Connell and The Queen, English Market

I just had to grab the man, with the heartiest and biggest laugh in Cork, Pat O’Connell for the latest episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast.

Pat, for those few who don’t know him is the famous fishmonger who is in that iconic photograph with a smiling  Queen, during her visit to Cork.

Pat runs the very successful Fishmerchants, K.O’Connell, in The English Market, which is now one of the popular attractions in Cork city for locals and visitors.

In the podcast I explored his early career and what it was like to grow up in a hard working, entrepreneurial family where his clever mum, Kathleen understood what was needed to differentiate your business.

While we all take the fantastic English Market for granted, Pat explains how this wasn’t always the case. Just like markets all over the world, it was a very functional, drab, market for locals, which opened a few times during the week and it required the clear vision of a few forward thinking people to change direction and evolve into the special place that we experience today.

Pat’s story is one of a family business and succession. His mum, an early female entrepreneur with a gift for people started this business, which Pat joined full-time after a brief stint working for the City Council. His brother Paul works with him in the business and the next generation of O’Connell’s are also involved..

Like so many stories, there have been bumps along the way, including the passing of his mum, work partner and great friend, Kathleen, which has left Pat and Paul to take the special business into the future.

Pat is a very proud Corkonian, a recent President of the Cork Business Association and anyone who has spent even five minutes chatting to him will understand why he believes Cork is the best place in the world to live and work.

In our chat I learnt a lot about his business philosophy and he also shared some exciting news about a new development with Dunnes Stores, which will be opening very soon in the Bishopstown store.

I hope you enjoy listening to Pat share his story as much as I did!

Click here and enjoy the show..

Fuzion Win Happy Podcast

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Nice dreams and bad jokes..

April 19, 2018

Dad and me

We were sitting at the dinner table and the conversation was flowing.

Mum had told us about some friend of hers who was suffering badly with arthritis.

When I hear that word I just can’t help it, and I cracked one of my woeful jokes ….

That fella Arthur should get a life and leave people alone

Dad just cracked up at my poor joke and was in convulsions..

I looked over at him, grabbed him and gave him the biggest hug and told him that I loved him.

Then, I woke up and realised it was just a dream, a nice dream – He was there, for just a beautiful moment.

Miss you Pops … 

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Why Cheltenham?

March 19, 2018

Cheltenham

I was standing in the queue at the Spar on Mount Street in Dublin waiting to order a coffee to get me in shape for the day’s work in the office.

I spotted Dave, a buddy of mine from the drinks industry who I hadn’t seen for a few months collecting his coffee and he nodded across to me.

He made his way over and as jovial as ever he explained that he was exhausted after a few days at Cheltenham: “Jesus, I’m getting too old for this crack and I have a mountain of work to catch up on“.

When we both worked in the drinks industry these “junkets” were part and parcel of the job and while fantastic fun they invariably involved lots of travelling, late nights with more than a drink or two!

Dave is still working in the industry “The recovery time seems to be much longer these days” he told me.

The conversation went on and he asked that question: “How’s your dad doing?

He obviously hadn’t heard.

This is always tough because the answer always leads to some awkwardness and invariably warrants a much bigger conversation.

Dad, sadly passed away at the end of January” I replied and I started to give him some of the details including how he passed, how everyone was coping and both of us stood there holding our takeaway cups and we spoke about mortality and our different experiences.

Life is short” he said “and we never quite know how short it will be“.

We both stood there nodding and contemplating in silence.

That’s why we have to go to Cheltenham” he said and we both went on with our respective days.

He is right..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Sorry for your loss…

February 12, 2018

Sorry for your loss

Another phone call, another person reaching out.

I haven’t spoken to her in a long time but I can guess why she is calling.

The thing is, my dad sadly passed away two weeks ago and I am still receiving calls, texts, emails and cards from many people offering their condolences. As well as this, people are still stopping me on the street or pulling me aside at meetings and having a private word.

The condolences vary from a simple “sorry for your loss” to people who knew dad and will share their own memory of him, to others who want to share their own personal experiences with grief and loss.

In many cases I can end up having the most personal conversations with people, who up until this moment I would have only had a professional relationship.

On one occasion (there have been so many), just last week, I stood in the corridor listening to one man telling me fond stories about his own father who passed away over 10 years ago. I got a sense that he just loved the opportunity of talking about his dad – my relationship with this man has changed forever.

A part of me feels that in reaching out it allows everyone to be a little human and share something that is normally private and precious to them. I get the feeling that people want to connect, they want to reach out at a level that is beyond the every day superficial interactions, and death in a very strange away provides this opportunity.

The reaching out by people, has been so incredibly welcomed – I always wondered, if it would feel like a nuisance and a little tiresome to the person on the receiving end of the barrage of condolences, but it is so much the opposite.

I also get that very often people are very uncomfortable about what to say to the person who has suffered a loss – just shake their hand, give them a hug and let them know you are thinking of them.

Each and every interaction is a valued support.

So, please, whatever is going on in your busy life, reach out to that colleague, that neighbour, that old acquaintance when they have suffered a loss.

It’s worth everything to them.

Greg Canty