A Spanish artist living in Donegal is producing a thoughtful book on grief.
Maria Gasol, who has lived in Gortahork for 15 years, lost her father to Covid-19 last April.
Unable to travel to Barcelona for the funeral, Maria resorted to therapeutic journaling to express her sense of loss. Her response inspired her daughter, Nora (aged 6), to conjure a story-poem to console her with care, innocence and imagination.
Maria was motivated by her daughter’s work to start an innovative project and apply for an Irish Hospice Foundation SEED Grant, in partnership with the Creative Ireland Programme, for funding to share the poem with others.
Now, Maria is working on a digital illustrated book entitled ‘Lily’s Grandpa is an Angel’ to bring the story-poem to life in words and picture form.
As a volunteer in residential care and community support agencies in West Donegal, Maria has joined forces with local community groups to share her project further.
The book will be completed next month, and, when released, it is hoped that it will become a tool to generate conversation among grieving families.
‘Lily’s Grandpa is an Angel‘ is one of eleven projects in Ireland to be supported by the Irish Hospice SEED Grant.
Announcing the recipients of the scheme, Arts & Cultural Engagement Officer at IHF Dominic Campbell said:
“Processing the applications has been like reading a national audit of how people wish to reflect and remember all their losses during this pandemic. We received an extraordinary diversity of hugely creative responses to the breadth of grief in all our homes.
“From the rural GAA club and the village choir creating murals and choral works reflecting loss in their communities, to the potter making personalised urns for an individual’s ashes. From the illustrator explaining a grandparent’s death while apart to a child, to the playwright talking to people facing the end of life, to the digital and architectural memorials which will invite Ireland to share their losses; all illustrate what IHF’s People’s Charter on Death, Dying and Bereavement revealed and the pandemic reinforces – people are seeking more opportunities to talk about and process death, dying and bereavement. Our Seed Grants are growing into places where we can be with each other in loss.”