Jason Byrne has opened up about watching his father die earlier this year, after he suffered a stoke.
The comedian’s father Paddy passed away on February 24, just weeks before Ireland went into lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking on Doireann Garrihy’s podcast The Laughs Of Your Life, Jason said: “When my dad died, I’d never seen death, and I’ve had loads of friends where their dads and their mams and sister died but I’d never experienced it.”
“When I was in the hospital with my dad, yeah that was pretty heavy, because I was going, ‘Oh my God, is this what death is? This is not funny at all.'”
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“It’s quite a serious thing but at the same time, a beautiful thing,” he continued. “I always say this to anybody who has a parent or anybody who’s dying, is definitely try and be with them when they’re dying.”
“Because a lot of people get afraid and want to walk [away]. But they’d want you to be there.”
Jason explained: “I was holding his hand with my aunties, and my mam and my sisters were in the corridor.”
“It was mad because… so he had a stroke and then two days later he had died, which is my dad through and through.”
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He joked: “At his funeral, they were going, ‘Jammy b****d’. Because he didn’t end up in a wheelchair, he didn’t have to come home in pain.”
“And I often say that as well, anybody who has parents that are stroke victims that are at home in a bed and everything like that, that is horrendous.”
“And they had told me, they just wish their parents had passed away. But at the same time, I actually went, ‘I kind of wouldn’t have minded my dad coming home because he still would have been alive’.
“So yeah, I held his hand, his breathing gets faster, real kind of scary, and then it just stops. And then you can watch the life just go out of him,” Jason said.
“There’s no need to fear death in that way, because he didn’t know he was dying.”
“A brilliant guy called Alan Watts… He always said that you don’t know when you’re asleep, so you don’t know when you’re dead either so it’s fine. Being dead is like being asleep forever.”
“So you couldn’t see any fear in his face or anything like that because he was unconscious but when he did go, you could definitely see – whatever you want to believe in; energy, spirits, anything like that – but something definitely left his body.”
“An energy definitely left his body because his whole body sank down and he kind of shrunk which was amazing to see,” he said.
“I wasn’t crying or anything, I was just holding his hand as if this was something my dad always does. The nurses keep saying, ‘Keep talking to him, he can hear you’.
“They don’t really know that, but he probably could because with the shock going in and out of your body, you probably could hear people. So I was holding him, and it just kind of went.”
Jason also said watching his father die made it easier to say goodbye at his funeral.
He said: “That’s what was really good because when he was in the coffin and when he got cremated, I was able to tell my mam and everybody, ‘he’s not in there’.”
“Whatever my dad was or whatever left his body, it’s a shell now. So there’s no need to worry about him.”