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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hickey

Dear Ireland

My Letter for The Abbey Theatre’s production of #DearIreland

Performed by Clare Monnelly and Premiered on YouTube August 10th 2020

Dear Ireland,

Covid killed my Myra. She was ninety-three. She did not contract the virus but I believe the circumstances that arose from covid are what ended her life. Myra lived in a nursing home who shut its doors to visitors in order to protect their residents. This was necessary. But I didn’t realise how isolating it would be for her.

Myra went deaf just a handful of months prior to lockdown and was still adjusting to her new normal. Phoning her was no longer possible and she’d never taken to texting as neither her eyes nor her hands were strong enough. So during lockdown, I would duck under trees and stand in a flower bed to be at her window. I’d hold up messages of “we love you” and “we miss you” on A4 paper. She would reply, but often not loudly enough for me to hear through the tiny crack in the window that was permitted by staff.

Myra loved to laugh, watch sport, play poker and to straight up gossip. She was an opera singer and Queen of an acerbic eye roll, followed by a cheeky smile which always let her get away with it. She was told she wouldn’t live past her early twenties but she did. Her strength was undeniable. She was a fighter. But being unable to have real conversation and hugs with family, I believe, caused her irrevocable damage.

Though there were sixty-one years between us, Myra was my best friend. I received a box of her things that my extended family thought she would like me to have. I still haven’t been able to go through it because I don’t want her stuff, I want her. But that is not possible. And don’t even get me started on the restricted funeral we had for her.

I am sharing this with you because, whoever it is you’re thinking of right now, whoever has popped into your head because of my story, I want you to reach out and remind them they’re important, loved and not alone. Because:

Doing another quiz,

Watching another tv show,

Being on another social media app,

None of it matters as much as they do.

Most importantly, when you are allowed to again, hug them tightly and often. A lot of us won’t have that privilege anymore. Please let us live vicariously through you.

With love,



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