Archive for the ‘Bereavement’ Category

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

Michael Canty – No Ordinary Man

January 30, 2018

Michael Canty - US ArmyDelivering a Eulogy at the funeral of your dad, one of the most precious men in your life, is a huge privilege and an opportunity to show people who this great man is (I prefer that word to ‘was’).

I’d like to share this with you:

My cousin Tommy, who was like another son to dad, sent me a gorgeous text about him, which goes some way to explaining why he is so special.

He was just an ordinary man with no airs or graces. What you saw was what you got and everyone loved him

While we all have our own memories and stories about Michael Canty, over the last few days we have all got to know him a little better by sharing some of these with each other.

We heard about his buddy in Primary School, Joe Kenny who told us that no one messed with Michael Canty, because he was the one who took on the bullies who were mocking a poor lad with a hunchback.

We heard about the young Michael Canty who was shouldered back to his house after playing a key role in a school final.

Michael Canty - In the armyWe saw the fantastic adventure that he had in the US Army through the brilliant photos that he used send to mum with lovely messages to her. “To my beloved wife“.

They both wrote to each other each day so each day they would receive a letter.

We heard about the footballer who played in America with the Newark Portugese.

We read about the fantastic footballer and the cup winning captain who was a great teammate. He captained the first Cork team to win the Oscar Traynor Cup, in 1966.

Michael Canty - Oscar Traynor Cup winner 1966We heard about the two young girls that he saved from drowning at a beach in Cork. I am guessing my fear of water might come from witnessing that incident as a young kid.

We even heard from the young adults in the neighbourhood who remember fondly kicking ball with him on the green. They used knock on his door to see if he would come out to play!

We heard about the man who knocked on the door about two years ago, enquiring about Michael. He hadn’t seen him at the gym in a while and he was checking to see if he was ok.

Everyone did love him, even our dogs who knew he was a very special man!

One of the most fantastic things about Michael Canty was his sense of humour and his talent for putting others at ease.

Even in his darkest days at the beginning of this month the very sick Michael Canty leaned over to me in hospital and whispered “where in the name of god did the doctor get his pink trousers“.

We would tease him that he was getting loads of attention, to be told “Aren’t I worth it

While January 2018 will always be remembered as a terrible, very sad month in some respects it was a very special month when friends, neighbours and family rallied around to help in any way and to support each other. In the middle of all of this sorrow there was love, kindness and laughter, and plenty of it as we shared some of these special stories.

It’s very clear that the very special Michael, and all of his special characteristics have been passed on to those around him – he lives on, in all of us.

It’s only right that we leave the last word to him.

If we described him as being an “ordinary man” he might have an issue with it.

With a cheeky grin he would say…. “I’m not ordinary, I’m outstanding in my own field!

You certainly are Pops…..

Michael Canty - RIPMichael Canty, my beloved dad, my buddy, Rest in Peace, you will always be with us.

Greg Canty

Dad passed away peacefully at Marymount University Hospital and Hospice on January, 25th 2018, at 9:45 pm.

We were by his side.

 

 

 

 

Jenny, Oh Jenny – what have we done?

September 8, 2017

Gilabbey Park, Jenny Dennehy

Thank God it’s Friday we all think..

It’s been the end of another busy week as we all go about our thing.

In my case its been hectic, another week working between our Dublin and Cork offices, team meetings, lots of work, busy meeting clients and prospects.

Friday night means a trip to Dunnes Stores on our way home to do the shopping and to stock up on lots of nice goodies and tasty treats for the weekend as well as the basics. Yes, of course there will be bottles of nice wine, some beer and maybe even a bottle of gin, if we are running low.

The dogs are always thrilled to see us and they seem to sense that it’s Friday and they will see more of us in the next few days.

We’ll put the shopping away and take them for a stroll and when we come back it’s on with the grub and either head to the local for a drink or three or get together with our great friends.

The weekend is full of possibilities, things to do, fun to be had, visits to my folks, catch up with my kids and watch some football.

Before we turn off the light we will probably watch something on Netflix until those eyelids get too heavy.

Eventually the light is turned off and we comfortably slip under the covers waiting on a blissful Saturday morning to greet us…

 

…Jenny was evicted from her flat.

Jenny managed to get a tent from Cork Simon and she found a nice spot in Gilabbey Park to pitch it.

Jenny turned in on this same Friday night but never saw Saturday morning.

Jenny – God knows why everything started to go wrong for you and God knows why no one was there to give you the help you needed.

Jennifer (Jenny) Dennehy was found dead in a tent in Gilabbey Park, in our city in the early hours of Saturday, 2nd September 2017. According to all the reports there were no “unusual circumstances” – if you think about it, this is the most ridiculous statement ever.

There were all the usual declarations of shock and horror by politicians and a family asks for us to respect their privacy.

For a few days we all talk about the shocking housing crisis (we can build commercial buildings efficiently and without a problem but when it comes to housing our “people”, well that’s just something we are not very good at, or  being very truthful it just isn’t lucrative enough) and then move onto another topic until we have another Jenny.

Jenny, we are all to blame.

Jenny, Rest In Peace

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Thank you Glen Campbell for the precious memories

August 8, 2017

Glen Campbell

Me and my sis, Laura would sit in the back of mum and dad’s car on our Sunday drives.

We would go to see Uncle Dinny and Aunty Mary in their farmhouse outside Fermoy (that was my all time favourite destination), we would see another uncle near Bunny’s in Myrtleville on a sunny day or we would head to Kinsale, Garretstown or Inchydoney beach.

One time it was me and Laura in the car as dad was driving us to Shannon Airport as we were flying out to the United States for the summer – that was some trip to be taking in 1971!

The one thing that all of these car rides had in common was music – mum and dad always had music playing and we sang along to  Perry Como, Johnny Mathis. Johnny Cash, Jose Feliciano (I adore him) and my favourite from that time, Glen Campbell.

We even went to see Glen Campbell in concert in Dublin and to this day mum still talks about the woman in the crowd who heckled Glen in a heavy Dublin accent: “I love yer boots, Glen“.

Glen sadly passed away yesterday at the fine age of 81, after a right battle with Alzheimer’s – there is a fantastic and touching documentary about this on Sky Arts called “I’ll be me” if you get a chance to see it. It gives a great insight into his personality, his talent, the support of his loving family and also the corrosive effect of this cruel disease.

Glen Campbell - I;ll be Me

Glen will be remembered for his catalogue of beautiful songs including the huge hit Rhinestone Cowboy, which are a fine legacy that will no doubt, be timeless.

I’ll remember him for the shiny cowboy boots, the Sunday drives and the most beautiful and quite unusual love song ‘Wichita Lineman‘ .

Glen, thank you for the precious memories and Rest in Peace

 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Social Media after Death

December 1, 2016

Social Media after death

I spotted a post that a friend of mine had pushed out on Facebook of her and her husband on holidays somewhere.

I hadn’t seen her for years so I innocently posted “I hope the two love birds are doing great – must get together one of these days“.

Another mutual friend sent me a ‘panic‘ message “Delete the post, her husband died last year and she was just posting a memory as it is a year since his death“.

Oh no ….. how did I not know this awful news?

I sent my friend a private message on Facebook apologising for my colossal gaffe and offered my sincere condolences – thankfully she came back to me, was totally understanding and we actually ended up chatting on the phone.

It turns out she was happy to chat about her husband and in a strange way she was glad that someone behaved as if he was still alive..

The Last Will and Testament

I’ve been asked to go on air to chat about a newspaper article that discusses the trend of people leaving very specific instructions in their wills about keeping their social media accounts “alive” once they leave this life (or do they?).

The article claims that according to lawyers one in five people are now leaving specific social media instructions in their wills – I guess if you factor in that not all people in that supposedly older demographic have participated in social media, then it would suggest that most avid users see it as being really important.

People are nominating a social media ‘guardian’ in their wills who have the job of executing their instructions, which according to the survey are quite varied:

  • some are going as far as specifying how often their account should be updated and the type of content they want posted
  • some are requesting that a post goes from their account every single day!
  • some wish that once or twice a year some memories are posted for the person to keep their memory alive
  • the majority just wish for their guardian to reply to comments

More than half of social media users want their Facebook account maintained, which shows us that no one wishes to face the idea of someone hitting that “delete” button.

What is all of this interesting research telling us about social media and about life?

The first big observation is that it tells us that social media users while they can’t stay alive forever they do wish that their ‘digital footprints‘ stay alive…Greg is still here with us!

It also shows us that our social media presence has become our modern day ‘scrap book‘ conveniently collecting the memories that we choose to capture in our lives and this is much too precious to just ‘delete’.

These memories are a precious collection of that person’s life not only for them to enjoy but also their loved ones – maybe we should do a survey asking people if they would like if the social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away are preserved?

When you look at the very different social media platforms it does put Facebook and possibly Instagram at the top of the charts for collecting ‘memories’ from your life.

Do people who survive me really want to see my rants on Twitter about Donald Trump or Irish Water preserved for eternity? – then again all of this is part of who I am (or was!).

My last observation about this whole cheery topic is that the social media platforms need specific ways of dealing with accounts of users who have passed away.

For example on both Facebook and LinkedIn recently I have seen the platforms suggesting that I might like to ‘be friends’ or ‘connect’ with someone that I know is dead – the last thing that you would want to happen is getting a message from the social media guardian “I’m really sorry, Greg has passed away”. That would be more than awkward.

Facebook do have a process whereby the account of the person who has died is classified as ‘Memorialised‘. It is up to the loved ones to contact Facebook and invoke this process.

This means that friends and family can leave messages and memories abut that person – the word ‘Remembering’ appears before their name on that account – these accounts will not appear in public places such as ‘people you may know’ or ‘birthday reminders’.

I’m guessing that some of those who have been researched about their wills may not want their accounts classified like this?

For me I do believe that the people we love never ever leave us and I would want all of their memories to stay alive so yes, appoint that social media guardian and never delete their accounts.

As for posting on a regular basis – maybe leave that one to the people who are left behind but …everyone to their own!

I feel the sudden urge to take a photo of something nice and post “It’s great to be alive“!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Tragedies and differences 

August 27, 2016

earthquake in Italy

In the way to work I saw the headline on the front page of one of our national newspapers “10 dead in earthquake in Italy

This was a shocking story – people dying in an earthquake in a location that is so familiar to us.

As we sadly know now that headline was out of date and the number is now 287 and even sadder again by the time I publish this post and you read it this figure will be higher.

When this tragic number increases it is incremental news and if it jumps by another 30 it will never be as shocking as the first headline we read about 10 perishing in the earthquake.

To the best of my knowledge no Irish people died but three from the UK are confirmed as dead. Sadly one of these was a young child.

If an Irish person died the shock to us would increase, when people from the UK are involved that does shock us because we feel they are more like us and when the awful news came through that one of those that died was a child the shock increased.

I asked the guys in work a question about numbers and differences.

If the same earthquake happened in Egypt what number of dead would be needed to shock you to the same level? – Its a horrible question to ask but everyone mentioned a much, much higher number.

If it was Africa? A much higher number.

USA? The answer was the sane as Italy because aren’t they the same as us?

Australia? Pretty much the same.

So, are we different or are we all the same?

Of course we are all the same and just one person dying in a tragedy is terrible, no matter where it is.

Isn’t it?

Greg Canty 

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

Emotionally attuned

September 22, 2015

Mr Bing

It was a very sad Sunday ..

I came down the stairs to let our four legged one, Mr Bing out and I couldn’t believe it when I found him lying there, half on and half off his bed in the kitchen.

It was obvious that our 13 year old precious dog had passed away during the night unexpectedly and the moment we always dreaded had arrived – he was gone.

I had the awful job of telling Dee and then we had the even more awful job of figuring out what do to next. I had no idea as I was never in that situation before.

Outside the rain poured down and I briefly imagined that we would have to bury him in the garden – is that what you did? I had no idea.

In between the tears and the upset we managed to gather ourselves and call the local vet. We were the worst customers ever as Bing had only ever been there twice (just as well as he hated the vet!) – he was the most convenient dog ever, including picking a Sunday to wave goodbye to us!

The vet had a ‘for emergency use only‘ number and within seconds I found myself explaining our situation to the kind voice at the other side of the phone.

I’m so sorry to hear your news, you must be very upset. I will be at the veterinary surgery at 11 if you want to bring him over. Don’t worry we will take good care of him

He immediately settled us down and now we had the very upsetting job of carrying Bing from the house for the last time and into the car to make our way to the vet surgery in Togher.

Poor Dee was inconsolable as we drove to the vets. When we arrived there I went inside and was greeted by the loveliest and gentlest person, a girl called Karen.

I am so sorry” she said . “Let me open up the door at the back and I’ll help you bring him in” . This gentle woman helped me carry in our precious Bing and she covered him respectfully in a blanket.

As I went through the details with Karen I realised that I had to bring Dee in to figure out some of the options about cremation and what we wanted to do with his ashes. Karen realised how upset Dee was but we managed to get through the arrangements before saying goodbye to Mr Bing for the last time.

Dee wanted to put our own blanket on Bing, which we did. “Don’t worry , I’ll take good care of Bing until he is collected next Friday” Karen reassured us.

Before we knew it we were on the way home with empty hearts and plenty of tears but Karen made this horrible experience so much better.

She could not have been better, she fully understood how upset we were and she was absolutely perfect with us. She emotionally attuned to us and delicately went about the job that had to be done efficiently and professionally.

Our scenario was a very obvious emotional situation and she read it and attuned to it.

Not all emotional situations are as obvious as this one: I can’t afford to pay, the last customer caught us, the last work was shoddy, someone is sick in the family, I’m not well in myself, I’m worried about my kids or something bad has happened on my way here…it could be anything that has you in that emotional state.

The emotionally attuned person might pick up on this and flex accordingly but unfortunately many won’t do this even when the situation is very obvious. We are all too familiar with these situations “I’m sorry but there is nothing that I can do” might sound familiar! This is when it is too easy for someone to say the wrong thing and upset the situation, which could easily lead to it spiralling out of control.

The next time you are dealing with a customer try to emotionally attune and if you are the customer assume the person serving you is not a mind reader and do your best so they can understand your state of mind. We can all do better if we understand how the other person is feeling.

A huge thank you to Karen from Abbeyville Vetinary – you were absolutely brilliant with us and as for Mr Bing, we will always miss you xx

Bing with Ellen and DeeGreg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork