Benefits of Remembrance Run can be life-changing

'Buried Grief Can Cause Long Term Pain' explains founder Frank Greally

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

Entries have been pouring in this week to Athletics Ireland for the annual Remembrance Run 5k – Walk or Run -event that takes place in the Phoenix Park this Sunday next  – November 12th.

This unique event includes such diversity as choirs, music, songs and Poetry  on its Wall Of Remembrance while the running and walking starts at the junction of Chesterfield Avenue (Main Road) and Furze Road and takes in a lap that includes the Furry Glen.

There will be choirs at the start (Mellow Tonics) and at half-way – (Our Lady Of Victories) and all participants will receive a souvenir candle and a Goody Bag. 

This week the Remembrance Run 5k founder Frank Greally spoke about his long and difficult experience of buried grief and how he feels that an event like the Remembrance Run 5k where people join together to celebrate the lives of loved ones- family and friends passed is so important.

“In my case, I was in my fifties before I could find peace and full acceptance about the passing of my brother Gerard who only survived a few days after he was born in our home in Ballyhaunis, ” he explained.

“I was six at the time and Gerard’s death had a deep and lasting effect, compounded I believe by the fact that once he was buried there was nothing further said about him.

“Somehow it felt to me as if he had not mattered at all. I am sure my parents spoke together about their shared loss, but they did not include me in any of their conversations.

“For a long time I could not shake off the vision of the small white coffin being carried down the stairs at dusk of an evening and taken from the house to the local cemetery. To this day, I do not know where in the cemetery little Gerard Greally is buried. 

“For years I would remember the soft cries of my little brother upstairs in the hours after he was born and later the stillness broken only by my mother’s wailing. It was the unnatural silence that followed the passing of my brother that for many years caused me the most pain and confusion.

 “It seemed to me as if Gerard’s passing was too painful for my parents to discuss. It was the times they lived in and grief was often buried deep and not spoken about back then.

 “It was only when I sought and received professional help in my early 50s that I was able to fully deal with that long- clinging sense of grief and loss and mystery that followed on after my brother’s passing,” he stresed.

The Remembrance Run originator went on: “I’m sharing this sadness because in the interim I have  met many people who have had the same type of experience and sufferede longterm mental health problems that such buried grief can cause. 

One person told me the story of his brother who died young in an accident. He said: ‘We buried my brother in the graveyard but I feel that we also buried him at home. We never spoke about him because, in their grief, our parents closed down and did not want to or were unable to talk about their loss. It was their way of coping with that terrible tragedy. I think this had long lasting effects on all our family until we finally found a way to talk about our brother and his passing. Now we talk about him all the time and with much love.’

“I feel that it’s very important that we all find a way to talk about grief and loss through remembrance and resilience,” Frank emphasised.

“I founded the Remembrance Run Walk or Run event in 2012 in memory of my dear friend and journalist extraordinaire Con Houlihan who many may remember as king of the back page in the heyday in the now defunct Evening Press. 

“Looking back now I think that subconciously I may have had my brother Gerard in mind too when I came up with the idea for the event.

“It’s lovely to see participants in the Remembrance Run 5k – Walk or Run 5k write names of loved ones passed on the Wall Of Remembrance -as well as heart-felt messages. We all have a primal need or wish to be fondly remembered-even in some small way.

“When I write the name of my brother Gerard on The Wall Of Remembrance and the names of my parents as well – I am reminded that some day some of my family may write my name on the wall too-  hopefully in fond remembrance,” he concluded.

You can still register for the event at:

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