Jacinta’s Smile: Awareness of Sibling Bereavement
Awareness of Sibling Bereavement
Three young sisters from Co. Roscommon, Aishleen, Katie-Anne and Charlotte O’Toole, have set up an organisation called Jacinta`s Smile because they lost their sister Jacinta suddenly to a brain aneurysm (2016), their brother Fintan to alcohol poisoning (2017) and another brother Declan to a brain tumour (1996).
They have contacted the ACP because they feel it would be important for priests to be aware of this organisation. Priests are often the first point of contact when a child dies and so it would be important that they know that there is support for the siblings.
Jacinta’s Smile advocate on behalf of young brothers and sisters that have lost their sibling.
Aishleen, Katie-Anne and Charlotte found when growing up with the loss of Declan that there was not a lot of support and when Jacinta and Fintan died as young adults there still was no support for siblings, so they decided to set up the organization Jacinta’s Smile to change that.
The three sisters ran the Dublin Marathon in 2016 to begin fundraising and it has snowballed from there.
Jacinta’s Smile provides adventure days out and subsidised counselling for those that come into contact with them. They also have a blog on a Facebook page that generates a lot of interest about how we deal with death as children and as adults; this can really hit home in the honesty of the devastation and the impacts on our mental health.
In the short time Jacinta’s Smile has been in existence Aishleen, Katie-Anne and Charlotte have spoken at National events organised by The Irish Hospice Foundation, The Psychiatric Nurses Association, Anam Cara, Children`s and Young Peoples Services, Roscommon (CYPSY) and have also been invited to the Dáil to raise awareness for sibling bereavement.
Jacinta’s Smile will be carrying out their first adventure day this year, in April, for young children 7-17 years of age. (See the attached the poster.) There will also be a Digital Detox adventure night for young adults 18 -25 in July (more details to follow).
The following Feedback from events organized by Jacinta’s Smile includes;
- “Please get into schools to let them know how to deal with us when there is a death because they haven’t a clue”. – Rose
- “Keep doing what you are doing”. – Olive
- “More fun days like this”. – Lilly
- “Today was a very supportive place to express feelings and meet like minded people. It felt very safe”. – Jack
- “I have never from the day my sister passed away felt as light and supported”. – Rebecca
The organisation Jacinta’s Smile would like to reach those young children and adults that need this support so that they no longer feel so isolated and can be offered a sense of safety and belonging.
Please do feel free to share the poster and information to anyone who you feel could benefit in your personal or professional capacity.
Vita House, Abbey Street, Roscommon Town, Co. Roscommon
Landline: 090 625 898
Mobile: 087 422 0000
Email Address: email@example.com
Web Address: www.jacintassmile.ie
Jacinta’s Smile is a Sibling Bereavement Organisation co founded by 3 sisters- Aishleen, Katie-Anne & Charlotte O’Toole.
This organisation is fully registered under Charity Number CHY19275.
In association with Vita House, Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Very well done a cailini agus a buachailli !
This is the kind of small support groups that are needed within a living church guided by the Holy Spirit…
This is Church in action, isn’t it, Church ALIVE! We shouldn’t have to wait on priests or religious to organise support groups as people can do it for themselves. For too long those of us older generations in particular have expected others to take the initiative and to do what we are all capable of doing ourselves -reassuring each other of Christ’s presence in each one of us, allowing a safe space for those in need of a listening ear or supportive shoulder to just BE and let the Holy Spirit go to work.
“Oh, the comfort—
The inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words—but pouring them
All right out—just as they are—
Chaff and grain together—
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them—
Keep what is worth keeping—
and with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.”
( Dinah Maria Muluck Craik)
(I still think this is the best description of friendship.)
What the official church can do is encourage this sort of support and allow their buildings to be used for such wonderful initiatives as these. It is quite uplifting and encouraging to read about what these young siblings are doing. Bail ó Dhia ar an obair.