We hear so many stories every week from ALONE Volunteers about how much they enjoy their role. Recently we asked our volunteers to share them with us.
I am a new volunteer, but in just 3 weeks befriending Phyllis, I managed to ‘find’ her long lost nieces and nephews in Dublin. She’d returned to live in Dublin from London 11 years ago, without knowing where her long lost family lived. I managed to make contact with her nephew through Jennings Undertakers. After I spoke with her nephew, who was delighted to hear she was in Dublin, he arranged a family meeting with his Auntie Phyllis.
Phyllis is the youngest of a family of nine, and the only surviving family member. She has a lot of catching up to do now with many nieces and nephews.
As an ALONE volunteer, I have a warm heartfelt memory of meeting my friend Eva on my first visit. As I am from Donegal, I was worried she may not understand my accent and in my head I kept telling myself to not speak too fast when we first met.
When we did meet, I just started off talking and introduced myself and asked about herself, she started to smile immediately and her eyes watered – she said “As soon as you started speaking, warm memories of Donegal and my mother have come flooding back to me. I haven’t heard the Donegal accent spoken to me in person in years. Even if you came and sat talking about the weather I think the accent would comfort me.”
As a Dublin woman, she had been living in Dublin most of her life but her mother was from Donegal, and she spent all her childhood summers there. What were the chances? We all have something in common. Eva is a very good friend of mine. And I like to think I bring back happy memories of happier times for her.
I decided to start volunteering with Alone due to a void I felt after the passing of my Nana in 2011 whom I was very close to.
When I met my friend Mary last year I noticed a twang to her Dublin accent, she told me she is from Moate the same town as my Nana and knew the whole family well and was able to give me information about her and my great grandparents that I never knew!
It was an instant bond between us and with each visit with Mary I feel a connection with my Nana all over again.
Having been a volunteer for nearly 4 years with Alone/Crosscare I have come to getting used to my Wednesday visits with Ann, a lovely 81 year old lady living in Skerries. Having my hour with Ann is lovely. I think the visit is rewarding for both of us.We chat about the old days, the local news from Skerries or the family. Or when Ann was feeling well, teaching me how to make gluten free bread for my son. The laughs we had as I will never be a master baker, unlike Ann who has always enjoyed making bread. Ann has been poorly of late and had been in hospital, I was lost on a Wednesday as calling into Ann is an integral part of my week. Thankfully she is back home and on the mend and appreciated the normal routine this week of a visit on a Wednesday.