Lives Lost to Covid-19: Frances Haskins won her mental illness battle to live life to the full

Kildare woman is remembered as a keen writer and for her generous charity work

Lives Lost: Frances Haskins from Dublin, 1957-2021

Lives Lost: Frances Haskins from Dublin, 1957-2021

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. You can read more of them here. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email liveslost@irishtimes.com

Frances Haskins

1957-2021

Frances Haskins and her partner Paul would often rise at the crack of dawn and climb into their car just to watch the world wake up around them. For her daughter Carrie it was not just about a new day, it had been the beginning of a new life for her mother who had spent years battling mental illness, and won.

But it would be tragically short-lived. Frances died of Covid-19 in February, a matter of days after becoming ill. She was just 63. Paul, who fought the illness for five weeks in hospital, has only just pulled through and must now learn to walk again.

“It’s just horrible what happened to them; they were two of the quietest, nicest people,” Carrie says from her home, where the mantelpiece is adorned with both condolence cards for Frances and congratulatory ones for her eight-week-old daughter Charlotte who had only met her grandmother once.

“She came to a place in her life when she was at her happiest because she met a wonderful man and they began their journey together which [only lasted] five years,” Carrie said.

Frances was born in 1957 and grew up among a family of nine in Castledermot, Co Kildare. She would later have two children given up for adoption but whom she later made contact with. In her 20s she moved to Dublin where she worked as a waitress and a secretary, and eventually met her ex-husband John who had been in a showband with her brother Raymond.

Amazing relationship

Later in life though, Frances suffered from mental health difficulties and spent years in treatment. Her daughter is determined she be remembered for battling the odds and emerging on the other side and into a new life.

“When I was small she was completely different but I built an amazing relationship with her,” she says.

“How a person can go through so much pain. Back then the help for mental health wasn’t great and she was fobbed off and put on so much tablets. She had to rebuild her life on her own and she came through it. That’s what I would like everyone to know.”

Frances is remembered as a keen writer who had posted various blogs, and for generous charity work. She and Paul had met seven years ago, striking up a relationship two years later. They had enjoyed a quiet life in each other’s company. In the end, he could only watch her funeral online from hospital.

“She loved life,” Carrie said. “As soon as she could wake up and live it, she would just live it to the full.”

Covid-19: Lives Lost

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