Covid-19 ‘heart memorial’ unveiled at Tallaght hospital

Sculpture is based on an initiative that has been carried out by the pastoral care team

John Kelly, director of pastoral care; Niamh Gavin, chief executive of the Adelaide Health Foundation; Lucy Nugent, chief executive of TUH and Ann Hickey, assistant director of nursing at the memorial.

John Kelly, director of pastoral care; Niamh Gavin, chief executive of the Adelaide Health Foundation; Lucy Nugent, chief executive of TUH and Ann Hickey, assistant director of nursing at the memorial.

 

A permanent memorial honouring those that have died during the Covid-19 pandemic was unveiled on Wednesday at Tallaght University Hospital.

The sculpture by artist Mark Ryan and sponsored by the Adelaide Health Foundation is located in the garden adjacent to the hospital chapel and contemplation room.

It will be known as the “Heart Memorial” in honour of those who died during the pandemic, for grieving families, hospital staff and the community “who provided so much support during the pandemic”, the hospital said.

The sculpture is based on “identical hearts”, which is an initiative that has been carried out by the pastoral care team throughout the pandemic.

As part of their end-of-life care, healthcare chaplains have been placing a handcrafted heart in the hand of a dying or deceased patient, while an identical heart has been given to the next of kin or a family member.

The hearts have been handcrafted by hospital staff as well as by members of the public.

The message to the bereaved families reads: “Your loved one was not alone. We cared for them. We stayed with them. Life has to end, love doesn’t – a pair of identical hearts, one is with them and this heart is for you made with love.”

The hospital’s director of pastoral care John Kelly said: “The image of the identical hearts incorporated into a permanent memorial commemorates this tragic time of Covid-19.

Identical hearts

“The memorial has a reference to Celtic standing stones. The split in the piece vertically relates to the identical hearts with the bronze heart in the centre connecting the piece.

“Standing here it conveys a forceful message to remind us of those who died and the sacrifices it commemorates.”

Hospital chief executive Lucy Nugent said the memorial “provides us all with a space to honour those that have died in our hospital but also for those of us that have lost loved ones during this pandemic”.

“It also recognises the dedicated care provided by staff throughout this pandemic who have and continue to contribute to the care of end-of-life patients with courage, selflessness and dedication,” she said.

“The Covid-19 memorial ensures that there is a special location where family members and hospital staff can pause and remember, a reminder that loved ones lost to us, are forever in our hearts.”

Niamh Gavin, chief executive of the Adelaide Health Foundation, said memorialisation is “an essential part of the grieving process and it is a wonderful way to cherish the fond memories of those who have died”.