As the dust settles on another day and we move forward facing another unknown and filled with advice from every corner, even ones we didn't expect or realise were so knowledgeable or medically qualified, but who still insist on giving their professional opinion on this unforeseen times and what we are to do, how we should act and what we are to expect. In fairness there is so much information finding its way around and sometimes it can very easily be miss heard or taken in a wrong context and it's so easy to decide what someone else does is wrong, instead of taking stock of our own actions and trying to do what is best to maintain a slightly normal approach and reign some calm and help instead of adding to the confusion.
While most business were forced to shut down, we had to try keep our show on the road, under new conditions and recommendations which were changing daily. The effect of this pandemic will be felt I believe for a long time, the business which were shut down will take serious time to recover and make up for loss of income and people’s behaviour has changed and when our habits are changed, sometimes it is very hard to get us to revisit and return to previous ways of life, we once took for granted, we are people of habit and if we get out of certain habits our return may be slow or not at all, we have adjusted to life at home, socialising more closely and in reduced numbers, cooking ourselves and attending religious services on our lab tops and phones, something we were reluctant to do, but adjusted very quickly when we had to.
Our funeral services were seriously effected by not offering our families the usual support of people calling to the funeral home and offering sympathies and telling the stories of the deceased which the family had not heard, thus filling their hearts with pride, joy and laughter, the large numbers who showed their support by turning up and simply saying “I’m sorry” and shaking hands till it hurt and then turning to the deceased and saying goodbye sometimes with a funny comment or a little prayer or tear all of which was a major contributor to the grieving process, and helped the bereaved and was the subject of many a conversation afterwards, shining a light and helping in a time of great sadness a glimpse of hope and a reason to carry on, these conversations along with how well the deceased looked, helped enormously and were a tradition we held dear and were very reluctant to let go.
But we were given no choice, so adjust we had to do, internet broadcasting of funerals became a must, people now standing along the roadside as the cortege moved from funeral home to church, cemetery or crematorium very quickly became the new normal way of expressing your sympathies, a new world without contact or interaction, but which still moved families and helped so much in their time of need of which they expressed such gratitude and appreciation. We were lucky as some businesses were not given any guidelines or ways of continuing, even in a different way, at least we could provide our services even if in just a slightly different and more cautious manner, we could still serve our customers needs.
I felt proud as I heard of the different ways funeral homes continued to offer their great services and expanded very quickly to provide online services, such as live streaming , web services to communicate funeral times and movements and online condolence books, all of which helped to provide contact between family and fiends helping to provide the support we are used to in this country in a time of bereavement, different methods , not the same, but the new norm we have now to embrace. Businesses used to catering for families after funerals were hit in a major way, but they too rose to the occasion and provided food and refreshment in small gatherings often in a garden or marquee, thus giving a little taste of that support needed to help bereaved cope with the new reality facing them and a chance to express thanks for the kindness so often showed by neighbours and friends at a sad time.
The cemetery became a focal point, so along with lining the route, people felt safe in this outdoor environment and often gathered and remained at a distance, but this was still an amazing site and comfort to bereaved families. Our clergy had concerns regarding their own health and gatherings in churches, which people were very kind and considerate at all times and respected.
Changed times we live in and we are not out of the woods yet I’m afraid, we still await further news and developments every day and hope that an end is in sight and we can begin to return to what we considered normal.
A respect for tradition, with a regard for change
These words probably mean more now than ever as we try embrace change , while respecting tradition.
Covid-19 or the Coronavirus arrived on our doorstep and the advice on how to handle every aspect
of it as far as a funeral directors were concerned arrived as fast, and constantly conflicting and
sometimes frightening accounts of what happened in other countries, what could happen here
and how to prepare for the worst scenario very quickly became an everyday event. So much so that
it was hard to know which was factual and which was not, especially as the information very often
came from what we considered informed, reliable and educated sources, people we believed
to be educated to handle such a situation, to give us good advice on how to prepare and
survive during something we had never seen or experienced before.
We took all advice on board even though it was painful to listen to some of it. We listened and had
our own meeting and decided to keep up the professional standards offered by us to families who
trusted us over the years and I believe this was one of the proudest moments I have ever had in my
career, backed 100% by my wife and staff. We then put our resources into place in order to
deal with this new challenge, Covid-19.
The investment in our premises was to prove to be the number one asset in our corner, something I
have believed in since the first day I walked into my friend David McGowan’s funeral home almost
30 years ago, David installed in me a belief that the funeral home was your number one asset and
money invested in it was never wasted, so when I built my funeral home in 1996, it became a life
long ambition to have it up to a very high standard inside and out, something that now stood no end
to help us in this new challenge , this would indeed prove to be our number one asset . The
complete and dedicated commitment of everyone who works here was every bit if not more
essential, and together we set out a plan that has carried us through.
The investment in the funeral home included state of the art embalming facilities and equipment
which gave us confidence to be able to work in a safe environment and another investment was a
scholarship I won which enabled me to study and receive a masters degree in restorative art, in
Liege University, the year I spent here concentrated very much on embalming highly infectious
cases, something I couldn’t have foreseen then, that would stand so much to me now. This
knowledge was invaluable and along with some serious infectious cases handling qualifications also
received by my fellow embalmer, we were fully equipped to provide no change in the professional
embalming service offered by Grey’s, something which defines our funeral home service.
The funeral home has over 100 parking spaces and is over 6000 square feet inside, something I
thought would initially be a hindrance, very soon became an absolute blessing , despite falling
numbers in attendance at funerals we were very quickly and easily able to offer social distancing by
having a minimum of 6 feet distance between people at any one time while visiting the funeral
home, our two state rooms became a very important part of our service and when the numbers
attending funeral were reduced to a small number, we still had so much room to ensure all
guidelines were adhered to at all times, but still allowing our families as much visitation time as they
Another investment which proved invaluable was a fast internet service in our funeral home and a
very good web site which was developed over the years. A serious boost to this was our manager
Thomas Bourke, who proved invaluable and his knowledge of everything technical was to shine and
provide families with unreal live streaming. This enabled them to have their complete funeral
service under our roof, offering a very dignified funeral service without leaving our
funeral home until interment was to take place, complete, dignified and very respectful services
took place in our funeral home and I must personally thank all the Clergy who so kindly officiated at
these services, making them so special to bereaved families.
Thomas developed our online condolence book, which we could then email to families and they could share without printing, yet another help to the environment while improving our service.
I believe we took the right approach, improving our service and developing to a new world which we
all have to face and get used to. We believe there was enough disruption to life and death without
us adding to a families grief and refusing to offer the professional service we have become respected
for. We had no choice but to adjust and change a little, but I believe in holding on to the values
which made us what we are, showing respect for both the deceased and bereaved. Our investment
in our knowledge, skills and premises helped us to keep up and improve our standards, something I
have always believed were more important than funeral vehicles and will be remembered long after
a number plate digits are forgotten.
The number one asset of course was my fellow workers who decided from day one to provide all
services in a dignified and professional manner. From first contact with a family to final interment,
everyone worked to ensure all standards were maintained at all times, something I am very grateful
for, we improved every aspect instead of cutting back, sticking to our original motto
"dedicated to those we are privileged to serve"
Over 1000 Easter eggs delivered safe and sound
Heart To Hand had a busy day today delivering Easter Eggs to people working on the front line of the Corona Virus following a very large donation of Easter Eggs from MARS Ireland this week. The eggs were requested for Eamonn Greys annual Crumlin Easter Egg Run but we received way more than anticipated. The staff of Crumlin having received over 1000 eggs from Eamonn last weekend, kindly asked if we would look after their fellow workers around the country who were dealing with the corona virus.
Today we delivered Eggs to The Mater Hospital, St Vincents and St James Hospital in Dublin. Nenagh General Hospital, Sue Ryder Nenagh, Lakeside Nursing Home Killaloe, Limerick Maternity Hospital, University Hospital Limerick and to a few Garda stations all of whom are doing great work to fight the corona virus.
Heart To Hand would like to thank OMC Technologies for the Lorry and driver Seamus Collins, Noel Fehily in the OMC Dublin office for warehousing and loading.
We want to thank Mars Ireland for the donation of 3,800 Easter eggs and 1,800 Celebrations Easter packs all of which were delivered today.
Finally we would like to thank Cornelia Brouder for all her work with this over the past week and for being available today to help with deliveries.
Our 9th motorcycle Easter Egg run, all help and donations of Easter Eggs very much appreciated, thanks so much to Marie, Liam and Staff for hosting this event, Premier av productions for posters and audio visual support, Francis Hogan and Stove Fit, for transport and to all who very kindly donate and help each Year, helping to make Easter special for all those Kids in Crumlin.
Crumlin Easter egg run
This year for the first time since we started our fantastic Crumlin Easter egg run, we will not be travelling as a group to Crumlin to deliver all the Easter eggs to the children who are eagerly awaiting them due to this horrible virus known as Coronavirus!!
We will deliver the eggs in a van with only one or 2 persons travelling so we will still collect as many eggs as we can for all the wonderful kids in Crumlin! Please feel free to leave eggs at the door of Greys funeral home if you wish.
This year we would like to pay a special thanks to everyone who helped this fantastic run to be the wonderful success it has been over the years from Aidan and Cathrine Bourke who are the back bone of this special run, John Fogarty and Tc Collins who lead the run every year, to
who every year has the van and the bike at the ready to safely deliver all the eggs to Crumlin, to
and Marie who were this years hosts for the starting point for the run and to
who is always camera ready to capture every moment and to each and every person who donates eggs or joins the run to Crumlin or just turns up on the morning too see off all the bikers from the bottom of our hearts thank you because without your continued support this run would not happen. Once again thank you Eamonn and Louise Grey
Hi All, On Sunday the 15th of December we will hold our 8th annual Toy Run. This run is one of our favorite runs of the year as we are giving a little to help a lot. Once again this year we will be meeting from 1 pm for refreshments in the Old Malthouse Templemore,very kindly provided by Francis Murphy and his staff, leaving for Cashel at 2 pm to arrive at 3 pm in Scoil Chormaic, all toys will be handed over on arrival in Cashel. Along with the staff and children of Scoil Chormaic we would be delighted if as many people as possible would join the run on the day along with any toy donations on the day or any toy donations can also be dropped into Greys funeral home from now until the 15th of December. So please share far and wide for this super event. Thanks for all your continued support over the years Eamonn Grey and Louise Grey
We would be delighted if you and your family could join us for the lighting of our Christmas memorial tree here at Grey’s Funeral Home on Sunday the 22nd of December at 5pm.
Cards will be available for you to place on the tree. We will hold a short memorial service with music and poetry. Refreshments will be served, and memorial candles will be available for everyone to take home and light at Christmas.
North Tipperary Hospice Movement will gladly accept any donations, a collection box will be available for any voluntary donations.
We hope you can join us,
Eamonn and Louise Grey,
This morning we received a receipt for €1200.00 from North Tipperary Hospice for all the monies very kindly donated the evening of our Christmas memorial tree service. We would like to sincerely thank everyone for what we can only say was yet again another amazing Christmas memory for all of us here at Greys Funeral home. To spend that evening with all that gather for such a special service for all of us here at Grey’s is such a great pleasure every year. Once again thank you all for making this such a special evening every year from Eamonn & Louise Grey, Wayne Cummins and Thomas Bourke.
16th of December 2018, is our date for this year’s Memorial Tree at 5 pm. The Pipe Band will be in attendance and we will have refreshments and a card for everyone to put a personal message on the tree and a memorial candle to light in your own time.
This year’s poem, by Cathy Hogan:
It is so hard to ever understand,
The ways of God and his Master Plan,
Why is it that we’re left to cry,
When he takes our loved ones to the sky.
There are no answers, it just feels so wrong,
And it’s hard to cope and always be strong,
Our lives are shattered, our hearts so sore,
There’ll be this empty space for ever more,
But we will find strength from the one we love,
They watch us from where they rest above,
They walk with us, they hold our hand,
And try to help us understand,
That their spirit did not ever die,
They just earned their wings and learned to fly,
And when we struggle to get through the day,
Angel signs will come our way,
A soft white feather sent from the sky,
Or a perfect coloured butterfly,
A rainbow after the storm has gone,
Random playing of a favourite song,
And we will travel often down memory lane,
To meet our loved ones time and time again,
And when grief’s shadow rises,
To let the sun once more shine through,
I pray you will find the strength to smile,
As your Angel walks with you x
Click on our video link to view a video of last years memorial service.
Grey's Funeral Home Memorial Tree Service 2017 Video
I AM SENDING THIS CHRISTMAS MESSAGE,TO YOU WHO I DEARLY LOVE,
TO TELL YOU THAT ALL IS WELL WITH ME, AS I REST HERE UP ABOVE,
I KNOW YOU FIND IT HARD AT THIS SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR,
I SEE HOW MUCH YOU MISS, I SEE EVERY SINGLE TEAR,
BUT I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT ALL IS GOOD WITH ME,
AND RIGHT BY YOUR SIDE THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON,IS WHERE I’LL ALWAYS BE,
I WANT TO SEE YOU DO THE THINGS, WE ALWAYS DID BEFORE,
CHRISTMAS SHOULD BE WHAT IT ALWAYS WAS, THOUGH I’M NOT THERE ANY MORE,
I’LL WATCH AS YOU DECORATE OUR FAMILY CHRISTMAS TREE,
AND I KNOW EACH ORNAMENT YOU HANG, WILL HOLD A MEMORY OF ME,
BUT LET THESE MEMORIES BRING YOU COMFORT, WITH JOY PLEASE SPEAK MY NAME,
THE GREATEST GIFT YOU’LL GIVE ME, WILL BE TO SEE YOU SMILE AGAIN…
HEAVEN IS SO BEAUTIFUL AT THIS SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR,
THE STARS SHINE EVEN BRIGHTER AS CHRISTMAS DAY DRAWS NEAR,
WE SIT HERE ALTOGETHER, ANGELS YOUNG AND OLD,
AND STORIES OF OUR TIME ON EARTH, ARE SO OFTEN TOLD,
THE ONE THING THAT UNITES US ALL, IS THE LOVE THAT WE ALL KNEW,
BEFORE GOD CALLED US HOME TO HIM, WHEN WE SHARED OUR LIVES WITH YOU,
THE ONLY GIFT I CAN SEND THIS YEAR, IS A PARCEL FULL OF LOVE
AND A PROMISE THAT I WILL FOREVER, BE WATCHING FROM ABOVE..