Archive for the ‘Bereavement’ Category

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

 

 

Amy and Adam – are we all to blame?

May 5, 2017

My McCarthy

Amy McCarthy, a beautiful 22-year-old mother of one-year-old baby Adam, was found dead in a disused building on Sheares Street in Cork last Sunday night.

Apparently, this old building, which is in the centre of town and one that I have walked past a thousand times is often used as a squat for homeless people, alcoholics and drug users.

The Gardai are still apparently investigating what happened to poor Amy and have not ruled out foul play.

This happened in our city, under our very noses and I found myself wanting to find out more about this young girl to try to get some clue as to how something so wrong could have happened and if anything could have been done to help her.

If you look at her Facebook page it shows you a young girl who seemed to have a lot of friends who were all happy to admire baby Adam anytime that Amy posted a picture of him. It looks like he was born in March of 2016 and Adam O’Keefe is the father and her boyfriend.

What was Amy doing in this place on Saturday night and what happened her?  

Adam O'Keefe

26-year-old Adam O’Keefe, her boyfriend was arrested on Monday in Cork as he seriously assaulted another man in the city – the newspaper reports seem to indicate that Adam has been living in various charity temporary accommodation and this attack was due to the fact that he was ‘upset’ and intoxicated because of what had happened to Amy.

Adam was refused bail as it was felt he was a risk because of his vulnerable state. I wondered what was his story? Why was there no one with him at this clearly traumatic time – prison is a really great solution for this troubled kid.

His Facebook page reveals a young man originally from Midleton who was quite excited about Amy’s pregnancy over 12 months previous:

Amy McCarthy and Adam O'Keefe

my girlfriend 6 mtns pregnant and I swear 2 god I cant wait 2 b a father best thing ever luv u babe far eaver“.

Why was Adam living in temporary accommodation and where was he on the Saturday night that Amy died?

Where are the families of these two young people and what will become of their baby? Was she not living at home anymore? Did anyone try to help them?

While we might find out some of these answers in time, what is certain is that these two young people have been left down by our society, somewhere along the way.

At some point in their lives, they were unlucky and things took a serious turn for the worse.

Instead of getting the help, assistance or intervention that they desperately needed to set them on the right path and keep them safe they have fallen tragically.

Are we all to blame?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design 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

What I didn’t know about the 9/11 Memorial

September 11, 2014

911 Memorial

We were very recently in New York (late August 2014) and on a very sunny, gorgeous Saturday we decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial site, which is nearly fully completed.

We had mixed feelings about going there as it feels a little ghoulish and after all when you are on holidays do you really want to visit some place that could upset you?

For those who haven’t been there the site is dominated by a nearly complete huge new building, One World Trade Centre, which will be the tallest office building in the US soon to be occupied by thousands of workers. Alongside this building there are other smaller new office buildings along with the Memorial, which consists of two pools set in the footprint of the original twin towers with a museum close-by. These pools feature 30 foot waterfalls each descending into a centre void. The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze parapets, which surround the pools.

The idea is simple and impactful even though  I felt the centre voids were quite depressing and should instead have captured something more positive and uplifting. This didn’t stop the huge crowds visiting and taking photos, some strangely posing as if it were an exotic holiday location and not a place where victims were being remembered.

The whole development unfortunately turned out to be a well documented troublesome political football. The final design was selected through an international competition that received 5,210 submissions. This must have been an impossible task – how can you properly and respectfully remember the victims. highlight  the awfulness of the attacks and at the same time capture a resilient and positive spirit that will comfort and inspire all who visit?

Much of what I saw I was expecting but a few things really surprised me, which I felt were really worth sharing.

The Victims

The memorial features the victims of both the September 2001 attack and the attack on 26th February, 1993. In 2001 there were 2,977 victims from over 90 nations. The oldest was 85 years old and the youngest was two. More than 400 of these were first responders who died performing their jobs. Six people died in the 1993 attack.

Meaningful adjacencies

When we walked around the two pools we noticed that there seemed to be no obvious sequence to the names that were inscribed on the surrounding bronze parapets. Reading the names you get a sense of the huge mix of nationalities that were working together on that tragic morning including plenty of Irish names. Some names had flowers inserted in between the lettering and some of the names were women who were carrying unborn children who were specifically mentioned, which was very poignant bringing home the reality of these terror attacks.

We discovered that the names were arranged carefully based on what was described as ‘layers of meaningful adjacencies‘. People’s names were arranged depending on where they were on 9/11 and the relationships they shared with others who were killed on that day, honouring requests from victim’s families for specific names to be next to each other.

This must have been a very complicated undertaking but it is a beautiful sentiment that reflects the togetherness of the victims and their surviving families.

Survivor Tree, 911 memorial

The Survivor Tree

In between and around the two pools there are swamp white oak (I read the brochure!) trees carefully planted softening the whole area. In the middle of all of this there is one particular tree, which is a little different as it stands there with some unusual straps and supports around it.

This tree is a Callery pear tree, which was found after 9/11 by the workers who were clearing the wreckage at ground zero. At this point in time it was reduced to a eight-foot-tall stump. This stump was nursed back to health in a New York City park and with much care it grew to 30 feet sprouting new branches..

There is a discrete little sign near this tree, which is rooted in its new home and it is attracting a lot of attention. Many of the visitors take photos near the tree but there is a huge desire by everyone to touch the ‘survivor tree‘. We touched it ourselves and it feels strangely reassuring and uplifting as it embodies the story of survival, resilience and hope.

In some way maybe this simple tree is the very best way to remember the 2,983 people who perished in 1993 and 2001?              

The 9/11 memorial site will no doubt attract millions of tourists every year reflecting on the victims names around the two pools and reliving the tragic events as shown in the memorial museum. Next to them the offices will once again fill up with thousands of ‘suits‘ going about their busy jobs, just as the victims did before them showing how the world and New York does move on.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

Strawberry Fields forever?

September 2, 2014

Imagine - Central Park

Four days in New York …where do you start?

We were staying quite close to Central Park so that was a good place to start. Looking at our tour guide I was drawn to a quiet little area called Strawberry Fields, which was described in our guide book as a peaceful spot dedicated to John Lennon who was murdered close-by outside his New York apartment, the Dakota building in 1980.

Interesting ..

Off we headed on foot winding left and right through the park in between joggers, cyclists, skateboarders and even cars … Through the park there were footpaths and wider roads all winding in different directions. Eventually we exited the park and this maze of roads and paths onto the Upper West Side and decided to first find the Dakota building, his apartment which was located directly opposite the Strawberry Fields location in the park.

Yoko Ono still lives in this opulent apartment building, which looks majestically over Central Park. The friendly security guards in their smart grey uniforms stand for photos in front of the impressive building for tourists… behind them you can see the obvious wealth and you can just ‘imagine‘ what it was like having famous neighbours John and Yoko pass you everyday going about their everyday business.

We passed on taking photos (tacky!) and headed across the way into the park and within two minutes we were at ‘Strawberry Fields‘ which effectively is a discreet circular mosaic set into the walkway with the words ‘Imagine‘ in the centre. People were walking by, some were stopping and taking photos, taking it in turn to stand on the mosaic and others were sitting on the park benches located next to the mosaic taking it all in.

An enterprising busker was sitting on one of the benches in prime position next to the mosaic playing (quite badly!) one Beatles cover after another.

Yoko Ono donated the mosaic in memory of her husband and it gives us all a tangible way of remembering this talented, thought provoking Liverpudlian and reflecting on the needless violence that ended his life.

John LennonJohn Lennon wanted us to ‘Give Peace a Chance‘ as he sang in his immortal song of the same name that became an anthem for the anti-war movement in America in the 1970’s.

In the mosaic the word ‘Imagine‘ reminds us of his message in that timeless song of how simple life could be if we just lived in harmony:

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…..”

Just as we quietly reflected on John Lennon and his simple messages of peace we heard raised voices.

What the f**k, you have been here for an hour man, you know we all get an hour. Now it’s my turn so get the f**k out of here

Apparently busking here is lucrative business and the busker next in the rota wasn’t going to lose out to the guy who had prime position. He wasn’t shy either and gave the other guy as good as he got:

F**k you man

The mood was now quite aggressive and these two had no bother putting on a performance for all of us that was slightly against the spirit of John Lennon!

We politely moved on before the temperature rose any further and went about our day and wondered if John Lennon’s simple idea of living in harmony is just impossible?

Isis. the Ukraine, human nature, consider what’s going on in the world today ….maybe we just can’t help ourselves?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

The best of fun is the worst of tears

July 29, 2014

The best of fun is the worst of tears” is what I used say to my kids when I was dragging them away from a party or a friends house where they were having lots of fun.

When they were older I’d use it when they would get upset when my brother was returning to the States or someone else that was close to them was leaving.

My simple point to them was that the reason they were so upset is that they cared so much ..if they didn’t care or weren’t having so much fun then leaving would be no issue so in a way getting upset was just a sign that they experienced something great and was actually a good thing!

Today I sadly had to use it again when my daughter Ellen rang all upset because she had to say goodbye to her precious dog, ‘Paws‘ who has been in her life for most of it because the poor pet who is 13 had picked up cancer and was starting to suffer.

 

Paws and Ellen

Ellen isn’t a kid anymore but her tears today were bigger and sadder than the ones she used to shed years ago ..sadly there was nothing I could do except talk about the joy and love she shared with Paws, how Paws was such a special dog and was lucky to have been in such a loving home and how her memories of Paws will last forever.

Paws, thank you for showing my daughter so much love and for bringing her so much happiness.

The Best of Fun is the worst of tears” ..she knew what I meant.

Greg Canty

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

Thank God for Luis Suarez

June 28, 2014

Luis Suarez, Liverpool FC

Walking through town during the week I spotted a buddy of mine heading my way.

This was a little bit awkward..

Just two weeks ago his wife had passed away after losing a horrible three year battle with cancer. The last time I saw him was at the funeral home where I joined the huge queue of mourners, shook his hand. gave him a hug and did the same with his children. “So sorry” …it’s about as much as I was able to muster up at the time. His wife had always been so great to me…I’ll miss her.

Face to face for the first time since the funeral home we stopped and chatted.

How are you doing?” while this was an obvious question I felt awful asking it ..what was I expecting? “I’m ok” he said.

What did you make of the Luis Suarez incident?” I asked, quickly changing the subject

We stood there for 15 minutes debating the issue. He felt Suarez was a disgrace and deserved a huge ban and Liverpool FC should be glad to just get rid of him. As a huge Liverpool and Suarez fan I disagreed.

The ban was about FIFA reacting to huge pressure – Suarez seems to be a nice guy, he is respected by his team mates and in England he was recently voted by the other players as the Players Player of the Year. This is the highest honour in England voted by his teammates and opponents – if he was an aggressive, dirty, dangerous player that no one respected he would not have got this huge award.

Added to this he is a truly incredible footballer who is a gift to the sport and for me the objective with the punishment should have been to rehabilitate a player with some unusual psychological problem rather than this incorrect and brutal show of power.

The punishment was to Uruguay, Liverpool FC, football fans everywhere and of course to Luis ….none of it in my view dealing responsibly with the unusual problem that he has.

We debated, we chatted and for a while all that existed was Luis Suarez and the World Cup.

We both went on our way.

Thank god for Luis Suarez, the World Cup and all those things that keep life moving along even in our darkest days

Greg Canty

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