Aaron’s Legacy


Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Veritas Publications (Sep 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1847301223
ISBN-13: 9781847301222

Marguerite Kiely

Marguerite Kiely and her family, suffered the devestating loss of baby Aaron. Out of this dispair and because of the refuge provided by Clic House in Bristol during Aarons stay in hospital, came the foundation of An Bru Columbanus, Cork. A fitting legacy to Aaron. She lives in Dublin and works as a psychotherapist.

SKU: 9781847301222A Category: Tag:


When a loved one is seriously ill in hospital, the phyiscal, mental and emotional strain on the family is considerable. However, there are facilities available to make that traumatic ordeal a little more manageable. In the case of Marguerite Kiely, the availability of accommodation at An Bro Columbanus meant that she and her husband could be near their son Aaron while he was undergoing treatment at Cork University Hospital.

An Bro (meaning hostel) is a home from home established by the Order of the Knights of Columbanus and maintained by a team of volunteers. The family of patients at Cork hospitals can take rest and comfort in a safe, warm and caring environment. In Aaron’s Legacy, Marguerite now pays homage to An Bro for the refuge and comfort it afforded her and her husband in their time of loss.

Aaron’s Legacy charts the development of An Bró and highlighting the fact that this is the only hostel of its kind in Ireland. Marguerite Kiely issues a rallying call for more such centres. In doing so, she not only pays homage to An Bró Columbanus, but to the memory of Aaron.

Additional information

Dimensions 0.5 x 12.5 x 19 cm
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One Response to Aaron’s Legacy

  1. jenright10 says:

    The legacy of a baby boy who lost his life to a rare form of cancer has seen the development of a vital accommodation centre for the families of patients attending Cork University Hospital (CUH).
    Cork woman Marguerite Kiely lost her baby son Aaron to a rare form of liver cancer in 1993, when he was just 11 months old.

    His legacy has since led to die creation of the 27-bed Bró Columbanus accommodation centre for families of patients who attend CUE Marguerite, originally from Mayfield, officially launched a book of her experiences which she wrote to help other families, called Aarons Legacy, at the Bró Columbanus centre this week.

    Marguerite, who has three other children, was living in Taunton in the UK with her husband at the time Aaron was diagnosed. He was taken for treatment to Bristol Hospital for Sick Children. When Aaron was first diagnosed, Marguerite and her family were approached by a social worker to tell them accommodation was available at Click (Cancer Leukaemia in Children) House; near Bristol Hospital.

    When Marguerites brother, Superintendent Charlie Barry, who was very much involved in community projects, returned to Cork after Aaron passed away, he was approached by the Knights of Columbanus who wanted to create something which would benefit the community. Remembering his time in Bristol with his nephew, Supt Barry suggested the Knights set up an accommodation centre like Click House, “”Cork badly needed a facility for parents of sick children in CUR At the time, families were travelling from all over Cork. Kerry and Limerick and there was no place for them to stay. They were staying on hospital wards, sleeping on chairs and on the floor,”” said Marguerite.

    Cork County Council donated some land at the back of the Wilton bar and Bró Columbanus was built.
    This 27-bed charity-run centre provides accommodation for the relatives of hospital and hospice patients free of charge.

    “”In the prayer room at Bró Columbanus, there is a tribute plaque to Aaron. People kept asking who he was so Bró Columbanus approached me to see if we could put down our experiences as a family and write a book which would provide inspiration to other families.””

    “”When we entered Click House, there was a book of extracts written by parents which really helped us. I wanted to pen the book so that parents coming into Bró house would have something to connect to and I could share my story. Its a sad book but also a book of hope,”” said Marguerite.
    The book is available in Veritas and other book stores.

    – Edel OConnell, Evening Echo, September 2008

    How do you cope with the death of your young child? What do you tell your other children? Does it help or destroy your marriage? When does the grieving become more about you than your dead child? Such is .the intensity of pain and loss experienced by Marguerite Kiely on the death of her eleven-month-old son Aaron, from a very rare and aggressive form of liver cancer, that this becomes a very emotionally difficult book to read, but also the reader wants to know that something positive has survived from the catastrophe which engulfed this family, and so continues reading to the end.

    Kiely writes with unconditional honesty about her personal feelings, her guilt about losing her baby, constantly fed by fears that she should or could have done more to save him. Her guilt at almost abandoning her four-year-old son Colin and husband Austin for a short period. Her older brother Noel, a Catholic priest, takes the brunt of her falling-out with god, but he too is suffering.

    The silence was suddenly broken by Noel collapsing and breaking down in tears. I rushed back to hold him up as he fell against the wall uttering the words “”Oh how I loved him”” over and over again … For those few moments I came to recognise that even those with the most intense faith are also tested.

    As the level of grief recedes, Kiely determines to learn from her familys experience of looking after a sick child in hospital. She remembers with gratitude the help and support they were given at the Bristol Hospital. Eventually she and the family, now including two daughters as well as Colin returned to live in Cork, and, 11 -12005, with the help of family and friends, opened BruColumbanus, a large parent-friendly house within a five minute walk of Cork University Hospital.

    It holds twenty-four family rooms, TV rooms, counselling rooms, prayer rooms, play rooms and offices. It provides all the help that families need to find within one friendly space, somewhere to catch your breath, to get some sleep, to consider the future. In the prayer room is a plaque in remembrance of Aaron.

    Catastrophic grief, for whatever reason, runs a well worn path through hope, despair, rage and eventually acceptance to a greater or lesser degree. Marguerite Kielys explicatory story provides many insights. Her decision to train as a psychotherapist, and to specialise in grief counselling, comes as no surprise.

    – BOOKS IRELAND, October 2009

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