I watched my father’s funeral by webcam from France


Nora Dempsey is from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. She studied experimental physics at Trinity College in 1998 and then did a doctorate there. In Grenoble, she did her post-doctoral research on magnets. Her father Jim died last month, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, she was unable to attend his funeral.

Grenoble has been my home away from home since I arrived 22 years ago. The attraction of the place, beyond its great gastronomy and its wine, is its great international character, thanks to its close links with the study of sciences. Grenoble also has many hiking and skiing trails, nestled between three mountain ranges.

I still have very strong links with Ireland. I usually travel home two or three times a year and I planned to come back in April for the third anniversary of my mother’s death. Sad because I had to miss it because of the travel restrictions of Covid-19, I was not ready for the surreal experience of having to follow my father’s funeral and burial online after his sudden death at the end of April.

My father, who had Alzheimer’s disease and heart problems, had spent a few weeks in Wexford General Hospital after falling home. After his discharge from the hospital, he was transferred to a nursing home as part of a recovery plan.

Due to the pandemic, he was not allowed to receive visits, although one of my sisters was able to see him very briefly the day before he was transferred from hospital to home. He was in good shape and seemed to have taken a turn.


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