'We never knew before that the Night Nursing Service was there, or how much Night Nurses do.'
Ted Kelleher was well known in the community of Clondrohid, Cork where he lived. “He just loved music and set dancing, he was a farmer and he just loved life itself,” says his daughter Jackie. In April 2021 Ted became unwell. He was subsequently diagnosed with cancer and he spent his final days at home, surrounded by his family before he passed away in January of this year, aged 80.
“We were told that all we had to do was make him comfortable. There was no need to send him into hospital anymore; if we did, we potentially wouldn’t be able to see him because of Covid,” recalls Jackie. “We decided we wanted to keep him at home.” The close-knit family includes Ted’s wife Juliana, daughters Jackie, Margaret and Catherine, son Matthew, sons-in-law Connie, Michel and John and daughter-in-law Gobnait. Ted’s much-loved grandchildren, Liadh-Anne, Gary, Lisa, Ciara, Mikey, David and Jason were also there lending support.
“Our dad was lucky enough to have an amazing niece that was in a position to be able to guide us towards the wonderful Irish Cancer Society’s Night Nurses. Our Night Nurse Rebecca arrived at a time when we thought we were fine,” says Jackie. “We were thinking we didn’t need anyone here and that there were lots of us to look after Dad. Little did we know what was ahead of us and how well she prepared us for the tough nights that were in store.”
The rest of the family all feel the same way. “Our Night Nurse was non-intrusive, and she left us alone, but she guided us when we needed guidance. She let us be there and we were involved the whole time. She ensured we rested while she kept watch at night and we couldn’t have done it on our own, simply because we would have been exhausted,” says one family member. Because of our Night Nurse, we only have good memories of Dad because he was always peaceful and comfortable in his own bed and in his own home.”
“Our nurse was so gentle and caring. She would stand back to check Dad out before placing his hands and head in a comfortable position,” says Catherine, Ted’s daughter.
“Our Night Nurse Rebecca really made us feel involved and valued by showing us how to look after Grandad by moving him and putting on creams and she encouraged us to do as much or as little as we were comfortable with. We never felt in the way around her,” says Ted’s granddaughter Liadh-Anne. “She was so professional and couldn’t give us enough time. We will forever be indebted to her.” Ciara, another granddaughter, says, “She would never rush us. We all instantly trusted her and were made feel comfortable by her and we knew that Grandad was in exceptional care.”
After Ted’s passing, his family decided to organise an event to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society’s Night Nursing Service. The music and singing night with a céilí took place on November 19 at the Abbey Hotel in Baile Mhúirne, where Ted regularly attended céilís.
“We decided we wanted to give something back,” says Jackie. “We never knew before that the Night Nursing Service was there, or how much Night Nurses do. As my nephew Gary said, Rebecca is an amazing person whose job goes unnoticed and we wanted an event to highlight the amazing work she does, and the amazing work all the Night Nurses do.”
Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line
If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.
Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm
For more information