I grew up in Killaloe Co Clare with Kerry parents and 2 older brothers. My Mam and Dad gave us all a love of sport, with our childhood spent following Clare in hurling and Kerry in football, meaning I had was incredibly lucky to o have made some amazing memories in Croke Park as a child. The sport I enjoyed through my own childhood was Irish Dancing and then as I moved into my teenage years, I grew to love playing basketball, winning All Irelands with my School in Killaloe and Varsities with University of Limerick, while making great friends and memories along the way.
Work took me to Dublin ( I am an accountant by trade with tax, legal and HR qualifications), where I met my husband, and after many great years there, we made the move to Laois in 2017 to raise our family and be closer to our relatives.
In 2016, while pregnant with our second child, my Dad unfortunately became terminally ill. Having looked after all his tax affairs for the previous 10 years, I knew everything that needed to be done for Mam when he sadly passed on.
A detective by trade, my father was the most organised man you could ever meet – he managed all financial aspects in their relationship (but always consulted Mam on everything). He left this life exactly as he lived it, meticulously organised and with everything perfect for Mam and easy for me to sort, when the inevitable occurred.
When he passed, I saw first-hand how difficult it was for Mam. Thankfully, I was on maternity leave at the time and able to spend a lot of time with her. It was therapy for me too.
My Dad had some wonderful friends, one of which, was a huge help to us in the days and weeks after his death. A former member of an Garda Siochana also, he was a great help in pointing us in the right direction with regards to what to do following Dad’s passing. In this moment I could see the importance of getting the right advice at the right time. A seed was sown.
Mam is an amazing person, who gave up so much for her husband and kids. She gave me everything to become the person I am, and I was determined to remove as much of this burden from her. In the days and weeks after the funeral I saw how difficult it was for her as each letter with Dads name on it came in the post. Even though my Dad had left his affairs in pristine order, it still took 3 months for me to finalise most of the documentation, and in one case over a year as the organisation forgot to tick the box ‘ceased’ on their system.
I was so surprised as Dad could not have organised the documentation any better for Mam. It just seemed to be a myriad of organisational errors, processes and automated letters that caused delays. It was difficult to see how emotional each correspondence became for Mam even with the passing of time, especially knowing I had previously been in contact with the organisation.
One day as I was organising bank and solicitors’ appointments for Mam, she turned to me in the kitchen and said, ‘you’d be amazing at this’. I laughed her off thinking “I’m on maternity leave in a good secure pensionable job that I’ll probably never leave”.
Maternity leave came to an end and I joined the great commute to Dublin, starting my days at 5am. Like so many others in transit beside me, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make for my family and the pleasure of a country life, but it wore on me almost from the start. I missed my kids, I missed my husband, and more and more I thought of my Dad and Mam and the life they had given me growing up. It was on one of these commutes that I began talking to a fellow commuter about how they had recently lost a parent and began to pass on the knowledge of what I’d learned with my own Dad. It was at that moment, that I remembered the words Mam had said to me all those months ago and I had a eureka moment. The seed of Hereafter began to bloom!
I was very fortunate to be working with Mairead Dunne of Spritz Mindset at the time, and she gave me the confidence and encouragement to pursue this dream. I was passionate about helping people, and I could see the benefits of the Hereafter concept, but I had never done anything like this before, could I really make this work? I was determined to change my mindset and see that not only did this provide me with another way to live, but it also gave me an opportunity to help people at incredibly difficult times in their lives.
If I could do this while improving my own work life balance, then I owed it to myself to take this leap of faith.