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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

'I shed another tear when I had a look': Dublin man's 'last goodbye' to brother from bench at hospital window

Padraig Byrne’s brother Francis passed away days after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Padraig says goodbye to brother Francis after he died
Padraig says goodbye to brother Francis after he died

A MAN WHOSE brother died days after being diagnosed with Covid-19 has spoken about wishing him a “last goodbye” while standing on a bench outside his hospital window. 

Padraig Byrne’s brother Francis passed away on 1 April a few days after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.

However, only Francis’ wife and daughter were present in the room at the time of his death because visiting hours at the hospital have been scaled back to prevent the spread of the virus.

“None of the family were allowed go up to see him,” Padraig explained on Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1 today.

“His wife had been up a couple of times. But the family weren’t allowed up when the restrictions came in.”

Padraig said that he had not seen his brother for around three or four weeks until the day he died as a result of the restrictions.

He revealed that the only way he was able to see Francis that day was by using some outdoor furniture to look through his hospital window.  

“The day he passed away, I went up to the hospital and I got a bench in the hospital grounds and I put it up against the window to see him,” Padraig said.

“That was the first time in about four weeks that we had seen him.”

However, he said that Francis had passed away about half an hour before he looked through the window and saw him lying on his hospital bed.

“It was the only way I could say my last goodbye to him,” Padraig said, explaining that what he did brought him comfort.

“We had tears over the time that he was in hospital, and I shed another tear when I had a look. I just said ‘goodbye Francis’.”

One of seven siblings, one of whom has already died, Padraig said that he was sad that he could not carry Francis’ coffin into the church at his funeral as he had done for his other brother.

“Little did we know when Francis passed away that we were never going to carry him in, and that just stuck with me… being brothers, you’d love to carry your brother in,” he said.

Padraig revealed that there was no funeral service for his brother. Instead, Francis’ undertakers brought him to his house in Clondalkin, where the hearse stayed for around ten minutes.

After that, the mourners drove in a car behind the hearse and left the estate, as local residents applauded.

Only around ten people attended Francis’ burial in the cemetery, and his family were not allowed to go up to the grave until he had been interred.

Padraig admitted that the experience was strange, and felt he would only know what he had missed out on once he went to another funeral.

“We probably won’t know about all of this until this is all done and dusted, and we go to another funeral where you have a mass and singers and a eulogy and everything like that,” he concluded.

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