By VIEW editor Brian Pelan
A birthday party followed by a trip to a hospice in a way sums up my life as VIEW editor.
I travelled yesterday, with photographer Kevin Cooper, to St Francis Hospice in Blanchardstown, Dublin, for the launch of the VIEW print issue on palliative care. The night before I was in Bert’s Jazz Bar in Belfast celebrating my 63rd birthday.
Going to the hospice, which is run by a wonderful group of caring staff members, has a way of bringing you back to earth after a night of good food and music.
Among those present at the launch were director Karen Charnley, programme manager Brendan O’Hara and chair Fintan Fagan from All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) who sponsored this edition of VIEW.
Paul and Margaret FitzPatrick, who featured on the front cover of the magazine, also attended the event, along with Dr Joanne Balfe, who works at the LauraLynn Children’s Hospice in Dublin. Paul, who has been diagnosed with two life-changing conditions, is being treated at the hospice.
For more than three months myself and the VIEWdigital team were immersed in the palliative care sector. It’s an experience which I will never forget. I got to speak to a wide range of professionals and individuals whose lives have been directly or indirectly touched by their involvement in caring for people with terminal conditions.
They include Dr Kathryn Mannix, Dr BJ Miller, Louise Hagan, Colm Davis, Joanne Ballentine, Deirdre Shanagher, Harry Reid, Kevin Doonan, VIEWdigital deputy editor Kathryn Johnston, Sonja McIlfatrick and Professor Merryn Gott.
The most touching moment for me yesterday was meeting a young woman whose father is being looked after at the hospice. Her face bore all the strains and emotions of caring for someone you deeply love.
In essence – this VIEW issue on palliative care is about people and our need to support them.
As the poet Philip Larkin wrote at the end of his poem, An Arundel Tomb – “What will survive of us is love.”