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Death Becomes Him

When Brian Dowling lost his mum Rosie two years ago, it changed his outlook on life. Grief is a complicated journey, and one that Brian now endeavours to explore with the help of his friends and family. Join Brian and his nearest and dearest as they grow to understand death through open conversation, humour and honesty.

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When Brian Dowling lost his mum Rosie two years ago, it changed his outlook on life. Grief is a complicated journey, and one that Brian now endeavours to explore with the help of his friends and family. Join Brian and his nearest and dearest as they grow to understand death through open conversation, humour and honesty.

Brian in conversation with Maria Moynihan

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Maria’s loss is so personal. Throughout this entire series we’ve heard from people who have had very unique experiences but Maria’s might be the one that is hardest for most to understand.

In 2019, Maria Moynihan and her husband Danny discovered that they were expecting their first child. But as the weeks went on, the couple discovered their son Danann was suffering from a rare disorder. Here Maria talks about preparing for her son’s birth and death together. It’s a remarkably touching story, one that highlights the reality of parenthood and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Nov 14 2021

1hr 19mins

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Brian in conversation with Cian Sullivan

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When we grieve, there is an overwhelming urge to relieve the pain. Our bodies cry out for comfort, for support, for numbing, for crying, for whatever coping may seem right. And when a death is unexpected,  that need for relief is even stronger.

But when Cian Sullivan lost his sister Arwen in 2020 so much of his grieving process was halted by the early days of lockdown. And despite the usual coping mechanisms being denied, Cian has one of the most profound insights on loss, acceptance and compassion I have ever heard.

Nov 07 2021

55mins

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Brian in conversation with Sinead Barry

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When we talk about loss we talk about the overwhelming sadness, the grief, the shock. But what we often forget is the disruption of death – it’s something that Sinead Barry was forced to face in 2019. On new years days 2019, Sinead’s husband Michael was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. When he died in March, the couple’s new home was half built. Today she talks about the kindness of strangers and how sometimes it really takes a village to help us move forward.

Oct 31 2021

1hr 16mins

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Brian in conversation with Geraldine Mullan

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Words fail to describe the tragedy of Geraldine Mullan’s loss. In August 2020,  Geraldine and her family were driving home to Moville when the car veered into Lough Foyle. The accident claimed the lives of the three people Geraldine loved most, her husband John and children Tomás and Amelia. Today she talks about her own trauma and how trying to face the fear of the water has brought her closer to her family.

Oct 24 2021

1hr 15mins

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Brian in conversation with Lisa Cannon

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We’re so used to seeing Lisa Cannon composed, together and glammed up to the nines. But behind it all, Lisa has been deeply reflecting on her grief and how it has changed her. Today she opens up about losing her mum Laura 13 years ago to cancer. During that battle, Laura got a beautiful dog Lulu who became such a comfort to her that Laura battled through another year of treatment. This year when Lulu passed, past grief resurfaced and today Lisa opens up about how grief can creep up even years later.

Oct 17 2021

1hr 2mins

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Brian in conversation with Colleen McNally

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Today Colleen McNally opens up about the passing of her son Daragh. In 2019, 11-year-old Daragh passed after a battle with aggressive lymphoma. Colleen has been sharing her grief and experiences on instagram since then on the page @daraghs_balloon_ride.

Today she talks to me about how for her, time does not heal, but rather she has learned to live with the pain.

Oct 10 2021

1hr 13mins

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Brian in conversation with Andrew McGinley

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For the first episode of this season we talk to a man who’s story has already been plastered over national media. In January 2020, Andrew McGinley lost his three children  Conor, Darragh and Carla to homicide. His wife Deirdre, suffering from a psychiatric disorder, had suffocated the children while Andrew was at work. In May of 2021, her trial revealed the true tragedy of the events, the extent of her illness and the trauma that the family endured. Andrew talks today about life with Deirdre, the verdict of the trial and opens up about the everydayness of grief.

Oct 03 2021

1hr 16mins

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Brian in Conversation with Fiona Tuomey

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For much of the time I have been doing this podcast we have been in a lockdown.

It’s meant that these conversations have been one of the main supports for me as I coped with my own grief. It’s been a sort of group therapy and I believe the strength I’ve gained over the past number of months has been a result of not only sharing my experiences but listening to other people too. This is something Fiona Tuomey talks about in today’s episode of Death Becomes Him – when she lost her daughter Milly at the age of 11 to suicide, Fiona searched for a suicide support group in Dublin to help her with her grief but could not find one. So, after much discussion, research and support HUGG was established in February 2017 and since then supports hundreds families impacted by suicide each year.

Apr 25 2021

1hr 5mins

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Brian in conversation with Zoe Holohan

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On today’s episode, Brian talks to Zoe Holohan. Zoe opens up about the loss and trauma she suffered when husband Brian died on the couple’s honeymoon in 2018. The newlyweds we’re celebrating in Mati, Greece, when wildfires swept across the region. The fires claimed 102 lives.

Apr 18 2021

1hr 12mins

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Brian in conversation with Sarah Battle

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On this episode of Death Becomes Him, I chat to Sarah Battle. Sarah is known for sharing snaps of her gorgeous home and family on her account house by the whitethorns. But behind it all, Sarah has been grieving her sister Kate. Kate was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014, and sadly passed 18 months later. Sarah talks about living with grief and how she learned to process Kate’s passing through therapy and support from her family.

Sarah talks about grief in a way that really resonated with me. Her life is full of joy and happiness now but there is still a part of her that wishes Kate could be there to experience it too. And though it’s heartbreaking, to me it’s a sign of great love. Kate was so adored and so important that Sarah still thinks about her every day.

Next week I chat to Zoe Holohan. Zoe tragically lost her husband Brian on Honeymoon in 2018 and opens up about the trauma of the incident.

Apr 11 2021

1hr 8mins

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Brian in conversation with Bronagh Burke

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Often in the aftermath of loss, we enter into autopilot. Life needs to go on, the washing needs to be done and the children need to go to school. But for those who have lost people during 2020, these usual vices have been taken away. Mourning in lockdown presents a set of totally unique challenges. This is something Bronagh Burke talks about in today’s episode. She opens up about grieving her husband Thomas who died unexpectedly and talks about the differences in processing that grief compared to the coping mechanisms she had after her father’s passing in 2015.

Apr 04 2021

1hr 17mins

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Brian in conversation with Kathie Stritch

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Kathie’s family rallied around her sister Elaine when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. After rigorous treatment, life was getting back to normal in 2015, when Elaine’s husband Pa suffered a fall and passed away. Just over a year later, Elaine’s cancer returned and she too sadly passed. Kathie  opens up about caring for her sister’s children, their fundraising efforts to honour Elaine and Pa and how their wider friends and family will ensure Jason and Adam will always know their parents.

Mar 28 2021

1hr 7mins

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Brian in conversation with Jess Redden

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Jess joins me virtually from Perth austraila where she has been since earlier this year with fiancé Rob Kearney. Jess opens up about her father’s passing last year and how he encouraged her to live life to the fullest. She talks about the shock of his death, her plans for marriage and finding hope for the future.

The first year after losing a loved one can be the hardest – the first birthday, the first Christmas and the first anniversary without them can be heart breaking. Jess is still very much processing her grief but has used these key moments to remember her highlights with her father and share the love he showed her with the world. 

Mar 21 2021

50mins

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Brian in conversation with Amanda Cambridge

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Amanda opens up about the loss of her son Avery in 2019 when the family were on holidays in Spain.  While Amanda’s story is heart breaking, she has bravely made the decision to share what her family had endured in the hopes of helping other families.

Mar 14 2021

1hr 10mins

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Brian in conversation with Lisa Shannon

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Lisa is known to many for her incredible talents as a makeup artist, she’s a gorgeous woman with a wide smile and beautiful young family. But today Lisa opens up and shares her story – a history that she has kept close to her heart for years. Lisa lost her mum Helena after a long battle with mental illness. Lisa talks about supporting her mother and finding happiness after tragic loss.

Mar 07 2021

1hr 11mins

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Brian in conversation with Benji Bennet

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Benji Bennet has dedicated his work to bringing happiness to families. He’s the much-loved author of the Adam’s Cloud books in which our young hero Adam adventures through space, saves Christmas and hunts for buried treasures. The series was inspired by Benji’s son Adam who passed suddenly in 2007 of an undiagnosed brain tumour. Benji talks today about the shock of the diagnosis, the feelings of hopelessness and how his grief manifested in writing and creating a beautiful memorial for his son.

Feb 28 2021

1hr 4mins

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Brian in conversation with John McAreavey

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This week I speak to John McAreavey. In 2011, John suffered the loss of his new wife Michaela on Honeymoon when she was attacked and murdered by two intruders. The story of what happened was plastered on newspapers and John found himself at centre of  an investigation, and his grief on public display. He opens up to me today about the trauma of the incident, how he rebuilt his life and why he will never use the term “moving on.”

Feb 21 2021

1hr 6mins

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Rosie's birthday special: Brian in conversation once again with his sisters

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On this episode of death becomes him, I sit down once again with my sisters.

Earlier in the year we got together to talk about our mums passing, the shock and the immediate aftermath. At the time I wanted to understand whether I’d ever feel like me again and whether my sisters were experiencing the same sense of something missing. We talked, we laughed, we cried and really we walked away from that conversation understanding each other’s grief a little bit better.

I wanted to revisit this conversation now, a few months and one pandemic later. I want to know if my sisters feel like their grief has changed, how they managed to overcome the shock and how they feel now.

Dec 10 2020

1hr 1min

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Brian in conversation with Jackie Fox

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Today’s conversation is one of the most important we can have. Over the last two seasons, though I’ve spoken to so many people with such varied experiences there is a commonality in their grief – there has been a tangible reason, a sense of inevitability and ultimately an acceptance. But for Jackie Fox, the death of her daughter Nicole in 2018 is an injustice. Nicole sadly took her own life after years of online and offline bullying. Nicole’s whole world was impacted by the torment, and she was deprived of the everyday joys a young woman should be able to enjoy. Jackie talks to me candidly about the time leading up to her daughter’s death, dealing with the aftermath and how she’s campaigning for  change in legislation to ensure this never happens again.

Nov 09 2020

1hr 5mins

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Brian in conversation with Mairead Ronan

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On today’s episode, Mairead Ronan laughs when she tells me about her mum encouraging her to pursue a career in radio. At the age of 20 she didn’t think she had the contacts or background to succeed in such a competitive industry but her mum was her champion. She encouraged her, supported her and gave her the confidence to land her first radio gig at just 21. Mairead opens up to me about the devastation she felt when her mum passed on the eve of her 21st birthday and how despite the sadness, she thrived thanks to the upbringing her mother had given her.

Nov 02 2020

1hr 7mins

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